An expansion of an earlier post.
Through my years of boat ownership, I’ve learned that the best boat is the one that gets used. Most don’t get used, truly. There are a lot of reasons why, but here are a few I’ve experienced:
- Too heavy to launch on your own.
- Too big and expensive to operate/store.
- Need to get wet in order to launch, limiting times of the year it can be used.
- Don’t have a tow car.
- The boat doesn’t ring your bell or just isn’t enjoyable.
- The boat has condition issues.
- You don’t trust it, or yourself with it.
- The boat doesn’t match your needs or local conditions.
Enter The Punt
OK. Something small. Cartopable. Hmm.
Other people do kayaks, and that is great, but I’m thinking of something like an English pole punt. That rings my bell. With a pole, paddle and small electric outboard, it is perfect for the sloughs, my favorite place to boat. I could even see sleeping aboard. (see images of tent at bottom of this post).
I just need to make sure to build it small enough to put on my car’s roof rack.
A bit of review first.
A punt is a flat-bottomed boat with a square-cut bow, designed for use in small rivers or other shallow water. Punting is boating in a punt. The punter generally propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole. A punt should not be confused with a gondola, a shallow draft vessel that is structurally different, and which is propelled by an oar rather than a pole.
Building at Home
Designer Jim Michalak offers simple and affordable plans for this PolePunt, as shown here in yellow is the first build from Poland. This builder even added a sail.
Read more about the first build here at DuckWorks.
There is no doubt this punt could be built so that it has some of the dreaded “never use the boat” issues listed above, especially by making it too heavy to cartop. I’ll be working on that. Ideally it would be about 50 pounds. The yellow punt is supposedly 70 pounds, though the designed estimated a weight of 110 pounds.
But could it be built in three sections like this boat? I think so! This site says so! In that way, each piece is light enough to carry. I’d make a center section about 7 feet long, with no frames, allowing one to sleep on the floor of the boat or use that section to walk as you pole.
Hmm. Imagine the places you could go in this little punt, and with such class! Unique? Definitely!
Oh, and I found an old video that shows punts with tent-like covers: