My NEXT Shantyboat: What I Want

I built my first boat about 27 years ago, and since that time I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t thought of my next boat.

The most important boat in my life was the Phil Theil designed Escargot.   Mine was the first after his proof of concept boat, and he mad substantial changes after that one.   I’d seen the prototype at Seattle’s Center for Wooden boats and fell in love, so I called him up and popped by his house, just a few miles away, to pick up the plans.   While I was there he tried to talk me into building a smaller boat, and later told me that as I walked out he told his wife, in effect, “that guy’s never going to build that boat”.   I don’t know what it was about me, but perhaps it was my somewhat ignorant enthusiasm!


Well, I did finish it, and I have scores and scores of nights aboard it.  You can read about my adventures by clicking on ESCARGOT in the menu above.

So, now it’s time to build another boat, something for my retirement.  I’ve been at the classical radio station in Seattle for more than 35 years, and I can see retirement from here.

So what do I want in THIS boat?

Standing head room.  That’s been one of two challenges for my wife.   I added six inches to the height of the boat, as I am very long in the torso.  Sitting works fine, but she hates that hunched over feeling, especially when it comes two her second problem, the rather basic head.   IN brief, she wants a a more comfortable space with a bit of privacy.

My needs?  I love my wife, but I have a high need to be alone, too.   I want to have two very distinct spaces aboard the boat, and both spaces need to allow some serious hobby time.  My wife does sewing and knitting and lots of paper craft.   I do, well, just about everything, from crazy quilts to robotics to unusual instruments like Theremin and Futajara.   So think storage and a work table of some sort.  I can’t and won’t bring all I own, but I do need a bit of space.

I also want to have the boat capable of handling South Puget Sound, so want lots of freeboard.   I want to trailer the boat, too, including trips of more than 350 miles on the road, so it can’t be TOO big.   I want to take the boat down the Snake and Columbia Rivers to Astoria on the Oregon Coast.

I’ve hit upon 23 feet long by 7.5 feet wide.   Other measurements would have worked, too.  I’ve named it Balboa.

Bryan Lowe.clipular (14)

It will be powered by an outboard, with a small back up outboard, too.

I spent some time recently thinking of all the “things” I want aboard, and throughout the next few weeks I’ll share those.  Please feel free to add thoughts in the comments below.

Ideas to discuss so far:


Bathroom sink

Clothes washing and drying

Lights internal and external




Folding Table


Kitchen Sink


My inspiration: LOTS of shantyboats… but this one is the design’s namesake:    \

Original River Houseboat, Balboa

Bryan Lowe

Originally posted 2016-11-06 03:10:09.

A website about Shantyboats and affordable living on the water. More than 800 stories to date, and growing.


Comments are closed.