Rufus Sailing Scow

Rufus Sailing Scow

At TheBoatBuilding.Shop we are suckers for any boat that combines a shantyboat with a sail, as it ticks off a lot of boxes for us.  We present for your consideration the Rufus by George Buehler.  None have been built that we are aware of, and the plans are too expensive compared to others of this type.  Drop the price to $59 or even $79 and there would be more sold in a year or two than during the entire life of this design.  She is, though, one of a kind and could be adorable, practical, fun, etc.

LOD: 33′ Beam: 11′ Draft (board up) 1′ 3″ – Plans

Some years ago I designed this boat, named RUFUS, for a guy who lived along the Intercostal waterway in Florida. I had alot of fun thinking it up, and I mean to own one myself some day. I’ve thought of building it way up the Columbia river, and floating down to Astoria. Or maybe building it at the headwaters of the Mississippi, and floating down to New Orleans. Of course, it would be a fine craft for quiet fjords around here.
The idea was a cheap and simple to build floating camp. It would have a small inboard, or a “power” outboard like a Honda or British Seagul, and a big sail to loaf along down wind. Since she was designed smaller outboard technology has exploded and today, I’d look real close at a single 15 to 25 “Hi-thrust” four stroke outboard. Of course a small inboard is nice too but the outboard is much less hassle to install, and gives far better control under power.

The hull is just a plywood box, covered with ‘glass cloth and epoxy, and wouldn’t be any trouble to build. And since she is just a box, it’s easy to change dimensions and make her narrower if you want to trailer her (you can usually sneak by with 9’ beam) or shorter. Or longer!

The house is set well back from the hull to give lots of deck space. Since I designed it, I’ve thought I might extend the house clear out to the side decks and back to the stern, leaving the foredeck as the helm. One guy said he was going to build it that way, and attach a diving board to the back of the house roof, which sounded pretty good to me. This bigger house would open up the interior considerably, and give room for permanent bunks rather than the fold down system shown here.
However, as drawn the deck space is nice, and gives holds on each end for crab pots, fishing gear, and so on. And the interior is perfectly comfortable for day use. I have an old cabin where I have to fold down the couch at night to make a double bed, and it’s no great hassle. But looking at this, you can see that if the house was extended you’d get a hell of a lot better interior options. Of course the looks would be hurt too; I like the way she looks now.   Everything about RUFUS is meant to be cheap and simple.


Our Sketchup drawing of a smaller version.

One thought on “Rufus Sailing Scow

  1. I’m 60 + year old I’ve built several phillip Boldger boats my last was the micro troller I stretched it 4 feet to hide the o b made a large cabin any way. Ide like to make a rufus though change the cabin kind of make a large aft cabin open midship steering either mid ship or on her aft cabin roof and a small forward cabin for a separate shower and head what I’m shooting for is a Dutch tub but still be able to live aboard and tow it legal 8.5 bm live a board on land or sea perhaps a electric o b in a well in the stern I’d be going to alot of pirate events land and such
    So she might have a mast with a few square sails a jib or 2 and a small ketch mizin aft. Her electric out board hidden would help make her move up wind even on tack please send me your thoughts positive or not
    If + perhaps a cartoon drawing. Thanks in advance. Skull Shaw

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