Widgets The Floatery » A Catalog of Unusual Boats

Saunalautta – The Sauna Boat



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I salute you Michael Smith aboard the proud vessel, Alice Williams

A picture of a man camping on a dock in Boston harbor caught my eye yesterday. Here is the story of the Mainer who wants to live out on the Harbor this winter.

Though I don’t expect our grand children will be reading his literature, I cant help but find some parallels between Mr. Smith and the people of Boston, and the odd Mr. Thoreau and the people of Concord. Both went out and lived alone in places few would find habitable, past the edge of town. Both are drawn to the natural world and appear willing to sacrifice comfort to gain better access to it.

Photo: Steven Senne / AP

Mans home a 14-foot canoe in Boston Harbor – Connecticut Post.

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Folding Boat by Oru Kayak

This project is so good, it forced me to resurrect this blog!  I will be watching this project keenly.  Key points for me:

1. It’s a kickstarter project, which I admire.

2. 25 lbs.  Impressively light

3. freaking clever folding design!

My main concern for it right now is the durability of the folding points.  I wonder if repeated beach landings might take a toll and create weak points.  I think for many recreational kayakers, including myself, we aren’t really going to be on the water so often that this would particularly shorten the useful life of the boat.  I also expect patching would be pretty easy.

This is also raises corrugated plastic in my mind as a potential DIY boat material.

Check out the excellent video.  It’s no wonder these guys hit their target in 5 hours!

Oru Kayak: the origami folding boat by Oru Kayak — Kickstarter.

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The Weedyak

Fast forward to about 1:30 on this youtube. A funny idea, and it looks like a lesson trying in pulling this kind of thing off. Perhaps the RPMs are way too high and the propellor is just cavitating? Regardless, it doesn’t seem to be doing much. But kudos for the effort!

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Zippity Doo Daa

Long time no post, but this somehow inspired a comeback.

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Ridiculously Good Looking Boats

Photo by Kathy Mansfield

Photo by Kathy Mansfield

Among many others, I have long admired Iain Oughtred’s boat designs.  I found photographer Kathy Mansfield has uploaded this stunning set of photos of a variety of Oughtred’s designs sailing in Scotland.  Recently, I’ve been thinking more about building one of Oughtred’s designs, especially once I found you can purchase kits.  I’m eager to find a boat that can be launched and loaded single handed from a beach(< 250 lbs?), and can hold four people with either two people rowing or enjoying a relaxed sail in Boston Harbor.  I don’t know if this is really possible, but it’s my current fantasy.  Sailing performance can be worse than rowing, but stability it very important, and the ability to handle big wakes and unexpected weather.  Oughtred’s beamier double enders like his Ness Yawl look wonderful.  There is a wide variety of choices in this range, both Oughtred designed and others.  Regardless, these photos are just delicious.

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My kind of side car, my kind of bike


Caillou boats made this cool side car for a tandem bike to hold their sailing kayak.  These guys apparently sell boats in only fancy, expensive stores.  It looks to be a fine boat, though I don’t see much backup to their claim of having “a better small boat.”  It appears to be a 17.5 ft sailing kayak with a dagger board, and a 27 sq ft sail.  I have a easier time believing “a better boat cart.”

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Solar boats race 220 km in Holland

It's smart to put a helmet on the brain that built this boat.

It's smart to put a helmet on the brain that built this boat.

Gizmag has an article about the Frisian Solar Challenge that took place last summer in Friesland, a northern province of Holland.  There isn’t a lot of info about the race itself, but the photos are cool.  The race has its own site as well.  This 220 km race mimics the path of a historic ice skating race through 11 cities.  Winning boats complete the race in a little under 17 hours, cruising just over 13 km/h (8.1 mph). 

Look out this summer for more solar boat races in Lake Maggiore, SwitzerlandRio de Janeiro in Brazil and all around the world.

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Boats Eat Sun

I found a great page of solar boats at  Unfortunately, I cant find information about this boat in particular whose image is posted.  It looks like an insect, but I like its space-ship quality.  The modern trimaran designs of a lot of solar boats prevent the salty look I enjoy in boats.  I appreciate when they go the other way and come out strange, futuristic, and beautiful for the unique shape and efficiency.  

Below is a model of the solar navigator itself. 

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CMD Redwing 18 – A Pretty Bird

  The Redwing 18 from Chesapeake Marine Design fits many of my ideals for a Harbor cruiser / adventure craft.  It can take electric power with the efficient shape of a launch.  You can beach it, and it has berths.  At 18 ft, it should sit inside most garages.  It has a small cabin. I love traditional picnic launches, but I think Boston requires some protection in order to enjoy spring and fall, the most quiet and thus best seasons for boating.   CMD claims it can be built for $5000 in materials, which brings it out of the far reaches of the price stratosphere, where most boats float. Pang. They have the one for sale whose construction was documented over 3 issues of wooden boat magazine. Redwing 18 – Boat Plans and Yacht Designs — Chesapeake Marine Design.


UPDATE: CMD also wrote up a nice summary of choices in electric boat hull shape choices.  Check out the PDF.

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