Seeking Feedback

An open letter from John Martin:

A while back I had sent you a plan view of my new 20′ houseboat for you to take a look at. Well I had a bit more time to work on it and I think I have it narrowed down to the final look. I got my inspiration from the 17′ boat that Roy Schreyer did in last year’s Small Boats Annual and after a bit of talking with my wife we decided a boat similar to that is what we are after.
With that said I have decided on a 20′ boat. A bit longer than Roy’s, but the extra 3′ gives me a bit more space outside the cabin which was important to me. While the overall style is basically a barge style hull, I decided to give the top sides a bit moreĀ flair and model it after some of the Edwardian Launches seen on the Thames River in England. While not nearly as fancy, the overall look was what I was after. If you have ever seen one, they typically have rear cabins, with an exposed cockpit at the front of the boat that is covered in a canvas roof. I didn’t want too have to deal with a removable roof since I plan on trailering this boat so went with a hard forward cabin roof instead.
As you can see, my boat will be modeled in a similar fashion. The main cabin will be at the rear, with a full head and shower. A queen sized berth is forward of that with a removable table that will be stowed in the bow of the boat when not in use. Outside the main cabin we will have a pair of seats for helm and passenger, along with a rear-facing bench seat forward of those. I will have a removable propane grill mount forward of the passenger seat at the front that will also store in the bow when not in use. Optionally I may decide to put a small galley at the rear of the boat in place of the shower and combine the shower/head into one space which may be better overall. I’ll leave it up to your readers to let me know what they think would be best.
20' Houseboat Rev 1
Construction will be of plywood with nominal lumber frames, epoxied and fiber glassed, then painted. Top sides will be plywood and hardwood, painted on the exterior and painted/varnished on the interior depending on how we want it to look. Windows will be removable for getting a nice breeze through. There will be (3) skylights along the roof with 6′-2″ head height along the center aisle. Beam will be 7′-6″ which I felt would enhance the look at bit by giving a slightly slimmer look without the loss of too much interior volume. Power will be a Honda 25 outboard. While it is a bot more power than needed, the extra power will be nice when motoring along the ICW in Florida, Georgia and the Carolina coast in those areas where currents can be a bit stiff at times. I hope to use a small, portable generator overnight on the bow to give a bit of power to top of the house batteries overnight. I may consider adding a small “dry ice” style ac unit as well for the hotter days.
I hope you like the overall look and hope your readers will chime in with any concerns or ideas that I may incorporate. If you have any questions please let me know.

Originally posted 2015-06-27 06:12:38.

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  1. Hi John, I’d like to thank you for crediting my DIANNE’S ROSE as you inspiration. Firstly yours is different enough to be your own design and I will say that I quite like it (of course I would)! The look and function will make for a very useful, fun boat. I too will be starting to build a 20 + or – this fall but it will remain more like our Rose. This is not intended to replace our boat but to develop a new design that I think many may like and I will sell it when complete. It would be cool to see more as your build begins. No doubt you will keep Bryan posted and I’ll keep an eye out for you posts. Good luck! Best/Roy

  2. I must say, I quite like the forward cockpit and front porch. I wonder if that table will be a nuisance when it is in place preventing movement to the head/motor. Your drawing almost looks like it’s designed to be a “Pop-Top”. I know that’s not the plan but if you removable canvas sides/windows, it wouldn’t take much to do that. It would make trailering and storing much easier.

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