Posted by: oldsalt1942 | May 6, 2016

That Shantyboat Feel

We’ve looked at all kinds of different shantyboats here over the years (can you believe I’ve been running this thing since May 2009?). There have been barges, rafts, pontoons, but one thing we haven’t seen is sailboats. I’ve been seriously thinking of modifying a small sailboat when I return to the States in a few months, and I’d like it to look like this:


This is a Com-Pac 23 footer that goes for umpteen thousand dollars, but I like the concept. There are tons of small sailboats roughly the same size, called “trailer sailers” and they can be had for as little as a grand or two. If you take the sail rig off and just use them as a motor boat they are referred to as “terminal trawlers.” Some of them are pretty ugly:

trawler 7

But you get the idea. I’m sure my friend, Stephen, who, along with myself, have a combined half century, at least, of repair and restoration work on boats under our belt and could probably produce something that comes close to what that first photo looks like. There’s a web site with a ton of pics for the Com-Pac but it’s impossible to download them and they’re beyond the realm of the shantyboat genre.

But today while browsing around I came across a Craigslist ad in Manchester, New Hampshire, for a boat made from an O’Day 20-foot hull. O’Day’s are pretty good boats. I grew up with an O’Day Daysailer in Orleans, Mass., as a kid. It’s what I learned to sail on.

This is what they look like:

oday 20

This boat, with an asking price of $2,500 that comes with a 7 hp Nissan outboard with remote steering and shifter has that “Shantyboat” feel about it.


outboard mount

Can ya dig the stained glass windows?

from cockpit


cabin looking aft


looking inside

looking aft

It ain’t no yacht, but somebody’s gonna have fun with it…



  1. Why use a 20’O’Day when you can get a 23′ Aquaeius which has a 13″ draft and only weighs 2000lbs ballast is 600lbs.. This boat has a motor transom and a tiller with its own well.. Nice for a auto pilot and relax in hammock while under way.. l would make a cheap conestoga cockpit cover that rolls up..
    Many people think they can have a water RV that runs on air but this is nonsense… Most cruisers will tell you they motor 80% of the time.. A sailboat has a perfect hull for a small 6-8hp outboard that will cruise at 6knots..
    Most people except the fact that they can only get 20-25mpg with small outboard w/ shallow draft but there is another way by adopting a 6-8hp lawnmower motor to a long shaft out drive and making a simple Kalcker Reactor to increase the mpg to 6x.. l would have electric start, alternator, motorcycle muffler with exhaust running into the water to further quiet its running noise..
    The alternator could charge 4 100amp recycled batteries using a Ritalie Radiant Charger.. With this simple charging system you could have a 3hp electric hybrid system.. You could easily double you mpg again or just add a solar panel to the Ritalie Charging System and have all electric boat with the 6hp gas motor as back up..
    l would also have two sculling oars..

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