A New Fav: H.W. Taunt

colorized taunt boat (1)

It’s been so long, yet here I am again, thinking of building a boat like the Doc Bemer.  See my previous stories here.

I colorized the picture of a boat used by photographer H.W. Taunt on the Thames in 1886, a platform for his photography.

So what do I like about this boat, and the similar Doc Bemer boat?   Well, as someone said on a Facebook post I did about the Taunt boat,”Very sweet. That would be a wonderful boat to waste summer evenings on in the New York and Canadian canals.”   It is sweet, isn’t it?  It’s a bit of unpretentious charm from a bygone era, yet it has some things going for it in today’s world.The lines look just as good today as they did back in 1886.

It has standing head room, something my wife insists upon after a few too many nights aboard my Escargot.   And the Escargot sleeping space, though it feels wonderful to me, it feels way too tight for her legs, which are fit in under the front deck.   She has claustrophobia.

I like the narrow cabin that gives it something of a playhouse look, in a good way, though I’m not sure what that means.  As I’ve drawn up some possible designs to build from, it simply cannot get too wide.  If you draw the boat as a 24 foot boot with an 8 foot beam, it loses some charm.    It looks best at six feet wide, though I’d prefer something closer to 7.

Given how tall men were at the time, maybe 5.5 feet, I think the boat is about 5.5 feet wide and about 22 feet long.  Guessing.  I’ll do more work on that soon.


Here I have assumed the man is 5feet 6 inches tall and the boat is the same width as that.   I used an Android app that then gives measurements for all the other dimensions I chose.   Here, with those assumption, the boat is 19’8″ long.  The front deck is 5 feet 6 inches.  the back deck is 2′ 5″ long.   Not sure if this is accurate, of course.

This is one idea of proportion.

In my initial drawings if it is something just under 7 feet wide, and the cabin is 16 feet long, it looks right, and, there seems to be enough room to fit in the features I like.

So what features do I want, in addition to my wife’s request for standing head room?  I love the idea of having two separate spaces separated by the head and a small cooking space, in this way wife, Karen, and I can actually be apart if we needed to be.   I read an article recently that asked… “Dear people with tiny homes.  Do you ever wake up thinking, “I’ve made a huge mistake”?   The article says, “What if you’re having a shitty day and you just want to be alone? You can’t be alone, right? Because your partner or children are sitting two to ten feet away from you at all times. Don’t you feel like a rat trapped in a cage? Don’t you ever want to turn toward your lover or spawn and shout, “Get out! Get out of my tiny house!””

Yeah.. I love my wife and we have a great relationship, and… we need some time alone.

So, there would be a small space at each end of the cabin where we can each spend time should we need to be alone.

I live in the rainy Seattle area and I think many boats loose way too much cabin space to decks.   I want to be able to go out when it rains, and if it is sunny, I’ll just open all the windows, making them so they open up very wide. With screens though, as the mosquitos on the NW sloughs can really get to you.

So this boat has room for all that.

It has a very shallow draft, and in the sloughs I hang out in that is mandatory.  I also prefer the amount of freeboard in the Taunt boat, over the small amount in the Doc Bemer designs.  I love that Doc Bemer boat, and may still build it.. but that freeboard is might small.

Back to the HW Taunt… It could be made fairly light weight.   This is a simple boat, really.   The hull could be built thick enough to withstand hitting some snags, but it would still be light.  And the cabin space could be built in the SIP panel style, with light wood and insulating foam.


I like the idea of making this light for many reasons, but the most important one is it is far easier to tow, and wouldn’t need a HUGE truck and trailer.  That just adds immensely to the expense.

Though a beam of 6 feet may be the best for scale, it is possible that a reasonable bath could fit, inspired by this:

Washroom - Four Lights Tiny House Company.clipular Components_photograph_Washroom_grande

and right across from that would be the kitchen.   Not exactly like this tiny house kitchen, but similar:

Components_photograph_Kitchenette_grande Kitchenette - Four Lights Tiny House Company.clipular


I love the open space in the bow, until some jet ski comes by creating a huge wake and the front of the boat digs in and takes a hundred gallons of water in, leading to me sinking.  Ugh.   I’ll need to work on a way around that.

I’ll add more to this later.

Why is this picture of a door here?   I think the front of the cabin could be built just like this, but with a smaller door and bigger windows. I’d also like a dutch door.  But this just looks like a boat frame to me, a very elegant and relatively easy to make boat frame.


I’ve always gone for bright colors, but I think this boat would look great in these colors, and I’d have lace lower curtains and nicely colored larger curtains that could open and close.

2014_0428cabin0042 (1)

I’ve just discovered a French boat that is similar.  It is called “toue cabannée”.   Here is one site.   It isn’t the same as HW Taunt, but there is a family resemblance.






More to come.

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