Poke About - A stable paddle or motor boat built from 1 sheet of ply
Poke About specifications (all dimensions are maximum):
- Length = 76 inches
- Maximum Width = 31 inches
- Height = 12 inches
- Hull Weight = 40 pounds
- Draft = 5 inches nominal
- Max Load = 260 pounds (occupant, motor, and battery)
- Hull Speed = 4 mph
Suggested Motor = Trolling Motor up to 4 HP max.
Ready for Transport Nested Size:
2-3/4 feet x 3-1/3 feet x 14 inches
The design bug is still alive within me, and the latest creation is the POKE ABOUT. It was a design exercise to see
how small (short) a boat could be built that still exhibited good stability, was easy to make from one sheet of ply,
and would fit in the trunk of most cars. As you can see from the pictures, it is different, and that's intentional.
But, it meets, and exceeds, the design criteria. Assembled of 2 modules, it weighs 40 pounds and can carry a 200
It was designed as a paddle boat, and as a trolling motor powered transportable. My guess is most builders will
opt for the motor, as the hull shape is not ideal for efficient paddling, as compared to a canoe. But, I have
designed and built a double paddle to be used with the boat, and the plans are offered free to those that need
one. The cost to build the paddle should be about $15, using wood scraps from the boat build.
After building and testing POKE ABOUT, I realized that a heavier occupant (I weigh 165) might require more
buoyancy in the aft end, if they were to use the motor and battery option. So, I designed removable buoyancy
cells to be placed on the transom for just such an occasion. These have proven to not only benefit flotation, but
also add about 1/2 mph to the hull speed, due to the lengthened waterline. I have recorded 3.5 mph maximum
speed with a 36 pound thrust trolling motor. Not bad for such a small boat. Building cost of POKE ABOUT is
under $100, with an additional $60 for finishing and painting, including the cells.
The other design goal was stability, and the POKE ABOUT has not disappointed. Seating is low in the hull, but
comfortable. Leaning from one side to the other does not send shivers up the spine, as the wide stern prevents
excessive roll. I have broached some hefty waves set up by power boats with ease, and powering straight into
them is just an exercise of up one side and down the other. A spray shield is suggested on the bow, to prevent
water from dripping onto the legs of the pilot.
At the present time this is the only boat in my garage, as all others have been sold to make way for some new
designs on the drawing board. As a result, I have spent quit a few outings on the lake with POKE ABOUT, and
have found it to be a fun little boat. It is easy to transport, launch and operate, and one can just poke about the
coves and tributaries with ease, as it turns on a dime and draws only 4 inches fully loaded.
The attached pictures should provide a good overview of the boat, and the sample pages of plans and the paddle
will give sufficient information for prospective builders.
Many thanks for your attention to this latest entry in the portable boat category.
Samples from Poke About plans
Plans consist of a 48 page heavily illustrated PDF document that you download and print on your home computer.