In my mind shantyboats are supposed to be simple in design and simple to build. If you’re going to be living on a shantyboat then you need to have a dinghy to get you to shore, to haul your kit back and forth and sometimes just to get out and go exploring. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds of boats a person can build that would meet the criteria. Simple stitch and glue boats. Check out Harold “Dynamite” Payson’s Instant Boats. Many of Phil Bolger’s designs are appropriate. There are a ton of one- and two-sheet wonders. Small boats you can make with one or two sheets of plywood. Any cursory Google search will turn up enough designs to make your head spin.
I recently came across something called the Puddle Duck Racer that I think is absolutely wonderful. Basically it’s a modification of Phil Bolger’s Brick, a box you can sail or row or even put on a very small outboard motor.
Simple to build, the plans are available FREE online. What’s remarkable about the Puddle Duck Racer, commonly referred to as a PDR is that a whole community has grown up around this design. It has become its own class of boat complete with sanctioned races and events and there are groups of people building and racing PDRs all over the USA and other countries around the world. If you decide to build a PDR, when you get the hull completed you can send a picture of the hull to the web site below and receive an official number for your craft, just like each production boat has on their sails.
For a fun hour or so rummage through this web site:
Now, go to Home Depot, Lowes or some other place near you that sells plywood and lumber and build one of these:
They really sail, too.
You can listen to Shorty Pen’s interview about the PDR on FurledSails.com:
Turn off your computer for a while (but don’t forget to come back later and check out my sites) and build yourself a boat.