Readers Rigs


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Scott Farris

So far no one has shared any low cost variations of duck boats. Thought I'd change that, as I'm proud of my creation. I purchased a 1959 Wolverine 14 ft V-hull a number of years ago as a general-purpose fishing, etc. boat. I was told that it had started its life as a rental boat for the state of Mass, on the Quabbin Reservoir. It is a very stable, high freeboard heavy aluminum riveted hull. Powered by a 7.5 Evenrude, I used it for sheltered coastal hunting into February the last five years. Well I caught the itch to play with sea ducks and add to the safety margin when running around in the sound.

Step one, I wanted to get the boat up on plane, which a borrowed 15hp Johnson accomplished but it didn't seem to have much margin for rough weather or heavy loads. After consulting my homeowner's insurance co. I found out they covered boats with up to 25hp motors. So I selected that size (note: there is no capacity nameplate on the boat, gone long before I got it), as it seemed to be within the maximum limits of other heavy 14 foot v-hulls. Due to cost, word of mouth, and the high usage of Nissans as rental engines along our New England Coast, I ordered a 25hp-pull start Nissan.

There was no way the transom of the old boat was going to be able to handle the 103 lb motor due to the deterioration of both pieces of wood sandwiching the aluminum hull. To remedy this I replaced the rather skimpy inner transom plywood with true 1" thick mahogany creatively cut to provide maximum coverage. Original wood was 6" high; replacement was 11" with cutouts for the aluminum ribs. The outer wood was replaced with a slightly larger 3/4" plywood board. The outboard is both clamped and bolted to the new transom. Now the motor no longer bounces along the highway like the old 7.5 did.

Another major safety issue was the floatation, at thirty years old I was concerned. I was able to locate a Styrofoam dealer locally who sold me a 4x8x4" sheet for roughly 35$. When I removed the seat covers I found three mice nests one mummified mouse and a snakeskin. Additionally the center seat had some chunks of foam thrown in but not much more then half full. Over all I would estimate that the boat had 60% of the design floatation. The seats are now packed with the new foam.

The last step was to deck the hull over with 3/8" encapsulated marine plywood deck. The deck sits on the rails of the boat overlapping them by an inch. I fabricated aluminum clamps out of 1" square stock and 1.5" angle x 6" long. Two carriage bolts draw the clamps against the underside of the rail (outside of hull). I used six clamps down each side of the boat. Brackets were used to fasten the stern end of the deck to the transom wood. 1"x 6" pine was used as the coaming. 2x2s down to the seats are used to provide added support. The same 3/8" plywood was used to make flip boards to provide a low blind.

The cockpit is 32" W x 10' lg. The flip boards provide shoulder high concealment and windbreak. Paint scheme was just being creative, not being too concerned because the boat will be draped with netting or fastgrass mats if concealment is serious. For sea ducks, I expect to get away with the paint job. I need to come up with a good way to attach the fastgrass mats, probably will sew in to strips on the back of each mat with attachment loops. One attachment band each, for the top and bottom of the flip boards. Mats will be attached after setting decoys. Still have to add bolt on / removable oarlock sockets just in case. Also need to get the boat welded up in the off season, it is not very water tight, but leaks less then what the dog brings in.

Boards up - Birds Eye view

Ready to roll

Boards up

The deck turned upside down

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