Friday, 14 March 2014

Project Punt

The ultimate flat-bottomed boat is, of course, a punt, a type of boat that has surfaced on this blog at intervals. The Thames pleasure punt is, I believe, the best boat ever devised for cruising inland waterways. A punt can be propelled easily at a decent rate of knots while facing in the right direction. No oars stick out to obstruct narrow canals. And it offers simply acres of flat space for cooking, relaxing and sleeping on.
Members of the UK Home Built Boat Rally have been discussing the design of a punt for our annual pilgrimage to the Thames Boat Show at Beale Park. The aim is to produce a punt that will be reasonably cheap to build and easy to fit into and on a Ford Focus Estate (Car of Choice in West Sussex).
My concept is a punt in three parts, a square saloon, as the main part of the hull of a punt is called, and a pair of swims, the angly bits, which bolt on to the ends. 
The saloon will go on the roof rack and the swims inside the car.
Dr Chris Waite, designer of such classics as Octavia, Polly Wee and Katie Beardie, has stepped nobly up to the plate and developed shapes for the hull which should come out of one plywood sheet of 10 x 5ft and another of 8 x 4ft. His model is above.
So far, the design has been developed on the HBBR Forum but today the Design Committee met in the Dell Quay Committee Room to discuss the way forward. Teeth were sucked. Hands were waved. Napkins were drawn on. 
The next step is to decide where she will be built. Don't tell my family but the front runner is the dining room, which offers a flat stone floor of sufficient length and we hardly ever use it for dining in.
I will report anon...

I was being a bit optimistic about the bill of materials. Chris writes:
I hate to disembowel you of your dreams, but in reference to your postings of the day, you will need two (TWO) five by ten foot sheets, as well as the eight by four foot sheet, to build the most minimal punt as modelled by yours truly.  Don’t short your magnificent frame
Otherwise you’ll be punting an open-top,
Ten foot pontoon

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