Thursday, August 16, 2012


I was doing a google for catamaran kayaks, two kayaks joined by tubing to make a more stable craft and fishing platform, as well as providing an area to mount a small gas motor or electric motor.

You can go here and see what I'm talking about on this thread I came across. I hadn't seen this board before but it appears interesting and not too radical in nature.

I've long thought about having a craft like this, although my earliest thoughts involved taking a Hobie Cat or similar sailing craft, making a cabin that mounted to the trampoline frame out of plastic and aluminum tubing and having it as a motor powered craft rather than sail powered, as you'd be changing the entire ergonomics of the craft by lowering the cabin from the normal trampoline height.


To me, I would think lowering the center of gravity by constructing a lowered passenger cabin would enable you to also have a nice sort of sun cover over the cabin, one that was low enough to be effective in sun blocking but high enough to allow fishing. Also, the use of roll down sides to block the sun would be nice.

In brief, my idea of lowering the passenger area from a tarp would involve adding some vertical aluminum tubing (salvaged from part of the mast) to create a slightly lower passenger cabin. If you want to save weight, and I think that's a good idea to keep the draft low, you could basically suspend the tarp lower and perhaps put up some tarp sidewalls  to create the actual cabin. A couple of lateral horizonal aluminum braces could serve as mounts for some comfortable well padded seats with armrests, or a horizontal seat like in a jonboat could be easily created for seating.

Motor mounts would be welded/bolted on the rear and front for a small gas and trolling motor respectively. A 5 hp outboard and a nice trolling motor would zip a craft like this along at a good clip. The catamaran pontoons themselves would provide a good storage space for some paddles or oars and some poles to do some "poling" in areas too shallow for the motors.

I'd like to cut the mast off at a height where it could be used as the main support for the roof/suncovering over the cabin area. Again, a frame of lightweight aluminum tubing, smaller perhaps than the tubing used in the frame of the boat proper, could be used to construct a square frame the size of the cabin.

Spare pieces of the mast could be used for some or all of the vertical supports for the cover. I would raise the boom to the height of the cover itself to create another main support for the roof, using the mesh like material I mentioned above to create the roofing material.

Another alternative to the mesh covering would be the flexible "quilts" of solar energy panels to generate power for the AC, lights and I would guess a small bank of batteries.

To me, a converted Hobie Cat would be a great shallow water craft for small ponds and lakes and certain rivers. You could stand if you had to once you got the cabin height at the right level and I think with a lowered center of gravity it would be a very stable craft in the kind of areas I'd be taking it.

Ideally, one could rig some sort of small marine air conditioner for some reel (sorry can't resist the pun) angling comfort. Some roll down sides

I should have jumped on a sail-less but with a nice trailer Hobie Cat I saw on Craigslist a while back going for like $250. It's a project I've got some time for this fall and winter, and I've got enough welding and machinist friends and connections to be able to do it on the cheap.

The sun in Texas is often brutal in the summer and fall, hence my fair-skinned concern for getting sunburnt. Likewise, the heatwaves we had for 100+ days last summer and the current heat wave we seemed trapped in are good cause for all the sun protection you can get, not to mention the effect of getting some shade in the cabin with proper boat postitioning. 

There's a material, which I don't know the name of,  and it's some kind of mesh with sunblocking capability but it allows wind through it. When I was crewing on a large sailboat many years ago, there was a device, a sun shield, that would go over the boom with the sail lowered and stretch out over the cabin and would create a sun shield for the cabin yet let the wind through for cooling. This was many years ago and I'm sure there have been big advances in material like this.

In any event, a sun shield of some sort would be nice, particularly on these unrelentingly hot summer days.

You might think I'm wasting time and money trying to create some kind of freakish converted sailboat catamaran mini-trawler with a cabin of sorts. I think I could do it pretty cheaply. I've got sources for the tubing, and know welders and a heavy duty seamstress. I have several friends who would have good advice about cabin height and be interested in that aspect of the project.

I might even be able to score some sort of salvage or used tinted plastic/canvas cabin covering from one of the large sailboats/powerboats/yachts that have those kinds of things and have it adjusted or cut down to size. Surely there are some used full covers available from boats like the powerboats or sailboats I've seen over the years. 

More on this later...

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