- canal boat/river boat for the Venice Lagoon + Full Dayboat plans
A compact trailerable motorboat with accomodation
- Simple to Build
- Economical Performance - Good speed
with small outboards
- Light enough to be trailered
- Easy building method
- Flexible Interior
- 26ft 10" (8.2m)
Beam - 6ft 8" (2.05m)
Hull Weight (approx) - 850lbs (400kg)
- Gaboon (Okoume) Ply
Displacement (people and some equipment
approx) - 1600lbs (720kg)
Power - shortshaft high thrust 4-stroke
Earlier this year I was contacted by Pierangelo from Italy
who liked the look and simple construction of my Dayboat/Launch
but wanted something a bit more "live aboard".
He contributed a sketch of what he wanted and it looked
quite sensible (below).
When I say "sensible" I mean that the boat
has a chance of having a quite wide appeal to lots of
different people. This makes a big difference as to whether
I think it is worth my time to develop the boat or not.
If a plan has a wide appeal I am happy to charge around
the price of the normal stock plan which is a small proportion
of the cost to develop the full instructions - and I can
recoup the cost of development over a larger number of
If a boat has limited appeal then then the customer would
be up for the complete development cost of the plan and
materials - in effect a custom boat. For example this
boat has taken several weeks to develop and a single owner
would be unlikely to cover the full cost of all that work.
So I will just have to hope I can sell around 10 plans
- which I think is quite possible. I really like the look
of this boat and think it has a useful bit of space inside
and would not be too arduous to tow for distances if required
or easily fit in a shipping container to be taken overseas.
An additional fillip is that to have a boat being built
to be used in Venice is a very useful marketing tool!!!
The design is derived from my slightly shorter Dayboat/Launch
- picture above. Both plans are included in the package.
Not only does the new boat have more room at very little
extra cost but it will have better rough water handling.
Not that these boats are meant to be taken offshore -
their natural environments are rivers and calmer days
The fine bow will cut any chop nicely and the boat will
cover distance without bouncing around - providing she
spans two or three waves within her length. But if the
seas are big enough for the boat to climb up the faces
and drop down the backs of the waves she will break -
it would be a foolish person who had her out on such a
But any day that it is nice to be out there - a wonderful
The original Dayboat has the fine bow of the original
"Phil Bolger style" riverboats but has a cut
off stern to keep the length down. This can result in
an unbalanced hullshape which can be a bit wild in a following
sea because the bow is so fine and the stern so wide.
"Venezia" however has her stern restored to
her so will be a much easier boat to drive in following
seas than the smaller version - she will tend to track
straight rather than changing course as waves catch up
with her from behind.
Construction is by a prefabrication method where the sides
and bottom of the boat are built first along with the
The bottom is fully fabricated right through to being
finished on the outside with the skeg and bottom runners
fitted, fibreglassing and right through to painting.
It is then turned upright and propped into the required
curve and the rest of the boat built on top of it.
This building method means that there is no requirement
for a strongback frame to build the boat over and doesn't
require that the whole boat be turned over at any stage.
Just like a house - you build the foundation and then
build up from there - with the difference that most major
components can be prefabricated on the flat.
While a certain amount of the internal furniture and structure
is required for the strength of the hull there are certain
options as far as changing the position of the various
parts of the interior.
For example in Pierangelo's version I think he has put
too much area into the head (toilet and shower). I would
tend to move the front bulkhead of that section back quite
a long way to fit some extra seating inside the main cabin..
Another possibility would be to have the back section
of the boat open if the general use was more for daytrips.
As with the smaller Dayboat there are a number of rules
for modifications - mostly oriented toward keeping the
centre of gravity low for stability (the cabinsides are
quite lightweight and the roof is not meant to be walked
on) and ensuring structural integrity (the furniture provides
a lot of strength to the hull).
The basic rules are:
- You cannot add weight up high. So if adding cabin
sides it is recommended that you do it in 6mm plywood.
- You should be careful about adding weight to the back
of the boat – otherwise the stern will start to
drag and the performance and fuel economy will suffer.
- The simplicity of construction is largely possible
because the hull sides and bottom are supported by the
furniture. There needs to be furniture effectively glued
to the inside of both side panels as well as the bottom
panel (the original function was carried out by the
seats and seat webs). It is particularly good if the
furniture extends far enough in from the hull sides
to meet the location of the bottom skids under the boat.
This is a very light boat and is relatively narrow. This
is excellent for good cruising speeds in displacement
The best motors are the "high thrust" four
strokes like the 15hp in the Yamaha range. It weighs almost
the same as the 10hp of a few years ago so will boost
The 4-strokes are to be preferred because they have a
wider power band so will run at a wide range of different
speeds without any problems.
The high thrust variants are good for punching along
in adverse conditions and are generally more suitable
for bigger craft like this.
As to speed...
I would expect that the boat without too much gear aboard
would hit a top speed of around 8 knots and a crusing
speed of around 6. I wouldn't be surprised if the 15hp
could add a couple of knots to both those figures without
making too much noise and fuss, but the most economical
cruising speed will probably be around 6.
I don't expect her to make many waves so probably will
not be responsible for the settling of Venice any faster
into the mud!
I've made a bit of a career out of square and almost square
boats. The trick is to get them to look good in the water.
This boat has a lively traditional sheerline and a nice
"in proportion" cabin.
As well it is a very practical boat - reasonably easy
to build, small enough to not be too big a worry to own,
economical to run and capable of covering ground at good
It can be trailered and has a big enough roof to take
a couple of solar panels if required.
Click here to download a PDF
with a materials list and plan outline