I recently received this comment from Roy Schreyer: “Would you be interested in a write up on DIANNE’S ROSE a “Tiny” Houseboat?” As it happens this is a boat I’ve admired as I’ve roamed through the cyber world looking at shanty boats to write about and possibly build and own, so naturally I wrote back in the affirmative. This is what I received…
DIANNE’S ROSE, Shanty/Camp/Houseboat
DIANNE’S ROSE is now complete and on her second season as our “Tiny Cabin” on the water.
My wife, Dianne Roselee, was the inspiration behind this design. I loved sailing our beach cruiser, Whisper, accessing the wilds. “Roughing it”! Dianne, not so much! She encouraged me to build her a more comfortable boat, nothing tippy please! I like my wife, so decided to oblige. The result has made quite an impression on others but most importantly Dianne likes it! She is less adventurous than I and in this boat I’m able to enjoy more time on the water in the wilds, with my wife. DIANNE’S ROSE has kept us dry in rain, cool under the hot sun, safe during storms and warm when the snow was on the river banks (we havve a mini wood stove to warm the cabin, driftwood being plentiful)!
This spring took forever to arrive and our first trip out on Georgian Bay (the Great Lakes) we helped break up the ice (see You Tube)! Thanks to this unique boat I’ve had my share of adventure and Dianne has been comfortable and safe even if I’ve pushed my luck! I did just that last fall on an overnight trip on our local Nottawasaga River. Wanting to see the river’s upper reaches where there is a large swamp, we (the boat and I) were happily boating between trees and bumping over submerged logs. The scenery was breath taking, just imagine a Louisiana Swamp but colder. Squeezing past many “pinches” to get here, I was proud of my boat handling skills. For every such moment experience tells me I will soon be humbled! Dianne was concerned generally but at one of these pinches in particular. The main stream of the river was running strong from recent rains, she questioned if we would be able to navigate it on the return trip, with the current pushing fast from our stern. I’ll admit I did scrape a few more branches than I cared to and stressed Di more than I cared as well! On the up side, we found a beautiful nook to spend the night where we fished and enjoyed hot soup from our galley (Not even a bite!). We woke relaxed with mist on the water and enjoyed a simple breakfast of toasted egg sandwiches as the sun burned the mist away. Yesterday’s mistakes also faded. I enjoyed a fresh start.
On hot days we sit in the shade with windows and doors open, funneling cool breezes to our passengers. This is a social boat with room for eight (we’ve had as many as twelve). Some boaters have passed by asking if it’s hot inside unaware how wrong they are! Yet the cold has not been a problem either with the tiny portable wood stove I mentioned. It warms the cabin up, when outside is near freezing! This has doubled the length of our boating season. There was snow on the river banks on the last outing of last season and ice still in the bay on our first outing of this season!
DIANNE’S ROSE is 17’ X 8’ beam and needs only 6” to float, making her perfect for sneaking into shallow coves (swamps) and pulling up to isolated beaches.
The boat has a refined barge hull with the sides having a slight “V”, providing the extreme shallow draw and the accommodations for our comfort. We can easily find shelter from wind and waves as we did on another trip during a severe thunderstorm. Tucked well up a creek, thanks to our shallow draw,we enjoyed the sound of the heavy rain without a care! Others anchored in a reasonably sheltered bay that our creek fed were tossed about all night. We later found out this storm spawned a small tornado (no one hurt).
This hull shape has surprised many as being quite sea worthy, not limiting our adventures to just protected waters! The next morning we were the rare boat out in choppy waters (others may have been catching up on their sleep?)! Confidence in such conditions come from a high freeboard, a cabin that can be secured tightly, a strongly built hull with divided compartments and a boat with positive buoyancy. The size of the boat and the shape of the hull also help. Smaller boats bob between waves like a duck, never dealing with two waves at once. Not being overpowered we don’t run on top of waves, slamming as we go, but ride in the water as a displacement hull does! We use a 9.8 hp outboard, which keeps fuel costs low and propels us at 6 mph (3/4 throttle). I tested her in 3-4’ breaking waves (not my wife, just the boat), she performed well, light enough to rise over large waves but heavy enough to punch through smaller chop. There was lots of spray but not one wave broke on deck! Of course using good judgement is part of good seamanship, I intend to use her mostly on good weather days but I want confidence in case the weather turns!
Another unforeseen advantage is being able to launch off less than perfect sites, as is often the case in the wilder places we enjoy. The interior has surpassed our expectations! On our first trip we experienced the biggest advantage of this design. It rained for most of the first day but we were completely comfortable inside, opening the rear windows for just the right air flow. It was surreal to enjoy what would normally be a miserable day on the water. Later that day we navigated down a long narrow channel (Lost Channel… really!), we slipped over submerged logs and rocks, settling into a wild lagoon for our first night on board. The bugs were horrible but with screens in place, we paid little attention to our pesky neighbors and enjoyed a dry retreat. Hardly claustrophobic, with large windows we have almost a full 360 degree view. A simple supper from our modest galley was soon ready.
The 8’ X 10’ cabin has areas that perform dual function and more! Two couches, 62” long, face each other and serves as lounge, driver’s seat, dinning and sleeping areas. We have bigger than a queen-sized bed when filler boards are in place! These boards transform into dining table, additional seats, storage shelves (under the deck) and into the steps in and out of the cabin. There is a small bathroom with full standing headroom on the left rear side. This space is also our coat closet and a change room with the composting toilet (which does not smell) slid back under the rear deck.
The kitchenette is on the opposite side and doubles as our vanity. A propane camp stove sits on a 36 X 32” counter with a sink. The stove and cooler can be taken ashore for cookouts. A curtain hung across the aisle, the back of the boat now becomes a full bathroom. Toilet, sink and bathing, camp style of course, using a basin to stand in and a pitcher to wet and rinse. Hot water is provided from a pot or solar bag! The front, 4’ X 8’, and back 28” X 8’ porches add livability. We fish off the rear deck sitting on the fuel boxes as one sits at the end of a cottage dock. The front is our main entrance and swim platform with boarding ladder. It could accommodate a small tent arranged similar to “pop-up” tent trailers. This adds space to accommodate a small family! I design DIANNE’S ROSE to be home built so kept construction straight forward but strong, combining “stitch and glue” and “frame” construction. Most panels are built on a bench, then assembled “egg carton” style. Other parts are simply butt joined, epoxied and screwed. The curved ply skin is dry fitted, marked, cut and then easily wrapped onto the framework. The roof appears difficult but is not with the templates provided. It is broken into three manageable sections and “T&G” planks follow the shape easily, creating a strong but light structure when fiberglass is added.
About 600hrs were needed to build DIANNE’S ROSE. I personally know there are many rewards along the way. The milestones come steadily encouraging you to push on! On occasion a boat party breaks out as curious friends drop in, some even help. As time passes regardless, building this Tiny Houseboat will give years of pleasure when complete! Some unforeseen uses at home when on its trailer (saving marina costs) are; it is my “man cave”, guest house, and a second bathroom. We launched on June 15th, 2013 and are continuing to get to know her better, but thus far we are very happy! The small size has been a large part of the fun!
Plans and Study Plans are available, inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check my web site www.RoyDesignedThat.com (work in progress) for other interesting projects and see You Tube for recent videos (type- royschreyer).