Duckworks - Projects
The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders

OzFlyfisher Drift Boat

3.55m x 1.25m
design by Eugene Sitcheff

The Beginning
Like most other adventurers who get the homeland travel bug we have been drawn to the beautiful coastline of Queensland, Australia. The question arose “ how do we get out on the water ”. Since my wife Helen cannot cope with offshore swells, then a boat with estuarine capabilities was to be the go. Up to now we have enjoyed stillwater paddling in our tandem kayak, so a quiet stable boat suitable for inshore estuarine and river touring was to become the design objective. Not forgetting the need for a Flyfishing platform.

click to enlarge
(click this image for larger view)

Design Criteria
Since we tow a trailer-home a car-topper was the solution. Hence size and weight became very important. For ease of propulsion and stability the dory lines became the initial hull shape and further enhanced with the help of ProSurf3 to configure for an outboard at the transom. Lightweight monocoque construction or stitch and tape plywood was to be the construction mode. Propulsion achieved by rowing or outboard motor.

The boat
After a lot of research within John Gardner’s excellent dory book I set to designing what some would call the semi-dory. The end result is a boat 3.55metre overall by 1.25 metre at the beam, capable of supporting two adults. The hull depth is 0.36metre at the lowest point to maintain least lateral windage, whilst having a reasonable sheer sweep. The hull floor has 50mm of rocker at bow and stern to assist manouvre with a short skeg at the transom to assist maintaining course. The hull cross section is of multi chine and hence secondary stability becomes effective. The height of the transom was limited by the outboard engine leg.

After many combinations and iterations within ProSurf 3 a set of construction tables was drawn up. Prior to committing to cutting out the plywood a decision has to be made and settled on in regard to where the boat will go. Whitewater rivers were ruled out so the light-weight ply-woods were to be adopted. Floor consists of 6.0mm plywood and the hull sides are 4.0mm plywood. The entire hull outside is 8oz glass clothed, set with epoxy; and the hull interior is 6oz glass clothed, set in epoxy. All internal joints are taped in addition and the bow and transom are externally taped with 75mm glass cloth tape. There are structural bulkheads of ply-wood laminated to 12mm thickness. The bulkheads become integral parts for the fore, central and transom seats. The two floor wells have been reinforced with “D” moulds which also help the foothold. The transom is additionally thickened to 30mm. All the ply-wood & glass cloth & epoxy was marine grade sourced from Boatcraft Pacific. The amateur builder should allow 150-200 hours to build the boat.

The boat can be rowed or propelled by outboard gasoline engine or electric. I recommend a 2 to 3 HP motor. With two on board the best seating is at the fore and rear seats, and the boat motors along well balanced and the hull draws 100mm water. Due to the skeg the hull will drift in about 150mm water. We have recently motored in 15knot conditions with little spray entering the boat as the boat punched into the waves. The boat rises easily to wave swell and handled the bow waves of passing boats from front on, side on and from astern; quite admirably. When there is only myself at the tiller, I carry a jerry can of water strapped in at the fore seat to assist the balance. To try and rise the hull to the plane is a waste of effort as it travels best at displacement speed, for which it is designed. Great for trolling also.

As a touring boat the interior space is adequate for two people and their icebox etc etc.. The hull may feel tippy at first but the secondary stability does take effect; so moving about the boat is a matter of familiarity. There is adequate space for two people to fish with spin rods.

Flyfishing Platform
From the outset the boat had to also be a stable platform for Flyfishing the saltwater flats. I have installed what I refer to as a central steering console which clips into place in 5 seconds with two toggle latches. Hence with the center console you can walk around the boat. The console also doubles as a seat when standing in the fore floorwell gets a bit tiring. When standing under way I use the tiller extension handle thus it allows me to have good vision over the flats. Once fishing and casting the boat offers very good stability.

In conclusion
The boat weighs 110lbs and I can load it to the car’s roof racks easily. Two people lift it up even easier. We don’t need a boat ramp so any sandy beach is a good excuse to launch and go look about. Images may be viewed at the web site.

Eugene Sitcheff

Ph 54296276

A4 Construction Tables …US$90.00 …postage US$5.00
Drift Boat Panel Kits POA. ( Dealer inquiries are welcomed)