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#1 17 Nov 2011 10:34 pm

Rookie
Member
Registered: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 4

Little Laker Motor Canoe

What an enjoyable website this is, and what a good idea to have this forum

I once built from plans a coracle-like canoe from a single sheet of ply - it was a brilliant concept, and I was secretly quite pleased with the result, but a craftsman I am not, and I have never built any other boat

I live a couple of hundred yards from the Grand Union Canal, I no longer have a car, and at last I have all the time in the world...

I need a boat that I can wheel down the road, and launch single-handed from a concrete bank

I want to enjoy paddling and/or rowing locally, but also to be able to motor more serious distances when the fancy takes me

I'm thinking that maybe the Little Laker Motor Canoe might suit my needs (she should be light enough, she looks supremely functional, and she is extremely pretty), but some questions remain...

(1) The boat is clearly designed very much for use under power - will the transom stern and lack of rocker seriously compromise paddling performance?  Is paddling, as opposed to rowing, a serious option (sometimes on the canal it is better to be facing forward!)?  Is the boat flat-bottomed?

(2) Would a 2HP outboard suffice, given the 4mph speed limit on canals?

(3) The boat is built over a frame.  Please pardon the silly question, but am I right in calculating that the frame itself is not built into the boat, and is disposable/reusable when the boat is complete?  Does the kit include pre-cut timber to construct the frame?

(4) The specification mentions that individual builders might choose to personalise the interior layout, but what does the basic kit include in the way of thwarts/seats and buoyancy/gear storage?

(5) I will have to build the boat in the open air (either in my own garden, or at a nearby boatyard) - apart from needing to cover it up every time I leave it, will this give me any serious problems?  Do you think I am being over-ambitious for a first-time boat-builder?

Sorry for the long post, but I would be very interested to hear any suggestions

Cheers, Rookie

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#2 21 Nov 2011 3:15 pm

Paul
Employee
From: Gatebeck Cumbria
Registered: 4 Aug 2011
Posts: 119

Re: Little Laker Motor Canoe

Rookie, welcome to the forum and thank you for your posting.

The Little Laker does have a rocker and is easily rowed. The transom is reinforced for strength but this doubling of parts can be left off to keep the weight down and the buoyant chambers to the aft opened up and used for storage.  I have not tried a 2hp engine on the boat but I should think that it would be sufficient for your purposes.

I am sorry if there is some confusion but if you build the boat from the plans following the DVD you will, indeed, start by constructing a timber frame that is disposed of when the boat is complete.  However, if you build the boat from a kit you will not need a frame: we have so designed the panels and joints that the boat forms itself into the correct shape when the joints are made.

This is one of those boats where builders customise the interior to suit their particular requirements. The kit includes the thwarts and buoyant tanks that are in the original design.  There is one central thwart and a seat aft.  The buoyant chamber in the bow has a deck at the shear level although many plan builders lower this reducing the buoyancy of the boat.

I do not think that you are being over-ambitious in wanting to build this boat but I do think that you should look again at your requirements.  When choosing a boat there are always compromises that have to be made and, in this case, you need to give a priority to the various features that would make your perfect boat.  If you want a boat that is easy to carry then you should look at a Sassafras 12 or a Mill Creek.  If your priority is motoring with some rowing then you should look at the Prams.

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#3 21 Nov 2011 5:38 pm

Rookie
Member
Registered: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 4

Re: Little Laker Motor Canoe

Dear Paul, many thanks for your helpful reply, and particularly for clearing up my confusion about the frame

I have to say that very high on my list of priorities is that a boat has to look good, and try as I might, I cannot include the prams in my list of possibilities!  The Sassafras is gorgeous, but I definitely want a motor-boat.  The canals are not brilliant for single-handed rowing, there is quite often limited width, there are lots of blind bends and just one of those narrowboats would soon convert my boat back into kit form, urgently needing re-assembly... paddling would be better, because I would be facing forward.  Also, canals are very much all about 'working boats', and Little Laker has a little bit of a pedigree in that area (I googled the designer's website)

I will probably not even think about starting this project until next spring.  It would be really nice to see a completed boat, but I daresay that will not be straightforward

One final question - is the boat flat-bottomed, or does she have floorboards?  I would guess the former, but the pictures don't make it absolutely clear

Cheers, Rookie

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#4 22 Nov 2011 10:49 am

Paul
Employee
From: Gatebeck Cumbria
Registered: 4 Aug 2011
Posts: 119

Re: Little Laker Motor Canoe

Try as I might I cannot find any photographs of a finished boat that has not been customised: a large part of the pleasure of building your own boat is that you can alter it to suit your needs.  The closest I have come are some pictures of a boat under construction.

Self-built-motor-canoe.jpg
motor-canoe-little-laker.jpg


Here are some photographs of another finished, but customised, boat. 

motor-canoe-trailer.jpg
motor-canoe-being-built.jpg
little-laker-canoe-trailer.jpg


The hull has a rocker and a flat bottom as can be seen in the following picture.  Only the two skids are in the kit: the keel is a customised addition (sorry) since the owner launches from a rocky beach.

little-laker-hull.jpg

We have the permission of the builders to use the photographs.

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#5 22 Nov 2011 5:35 pm

Rookie
Member
Registered: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 4

Re: Little Laker Motor Canoe

Hi Paul, and thanks again for a useful reply - the pictures answer all my questions

I agree with what you say about the pleasures of customising a self-built boat - when I built my 'coracle' all those years ago, I actually modified the hull quite significantly to give extra freeboard.  And then I sawed it in half, with the intention of using the two halves as the ends of a 'stretch limo' version, but my plans never quite materialised...

But in the case of the Little Laker, I doubt whether I would need to change much of the basic kit - I would be an unashamedly fair-weather boater on totally still water, and for stowage, I would simply pack a few beers into a coolbox

There is a serious possibility that I will go ahead with this project, but I have a few other things to complete first, and I will make some decisions during the winter

Cheers, Rookie

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