Lake life. Hot summer days baking in the sun. Cooling off with a turn on the waterskis, or a jaunt to the closest sandbar. Sunburns. Humid breeze at sunset. Fireflies. Burgers. Campfire. Stargazing.
This is Lake Wawasee in Indiana. Pelican Lake or Lake of the Woods in Minnesota. Or almost any other lake in America. It’s the quintessential American summer experience.
The basis for that timeless experience is the boat. The boat unlocks life on the water. It makes a little community out of a large community. After visiting Lake Wawasee for the 50th Anniversary family reunion, it dawned on me it was its only missing component. The boat. So I decided to build it.
No one really believed me when I casually mentioned at the reunion that year that I intended to build a boat by hand and bring it there. I mentioned it much like Ralphie did over the dinner table. The response was generally of the that’s-nice-dear-pass-the-potatoes variety. I believe references to and punchlines of Noah’s Ark peppered my conversations for a few days. And that’s about it. Still, I hardly knew myself if I could pull this off. And many times I felt like I couldn’t.
I researched for several months to determine the best combination of building method and boat plan. The ideal plan had to include the following characteristics:
- Outboard: It had to have an outboard. I didn’t want to have to deal with the bulk and engineering of accommodating an inboard motor.
- Seats up to 5: I wanted a nice but selected crowd in my boat. A pontoon boat style experience wasn’t as desirable for me.
- Low Maintenance: It had to essentially have a classic look without the high maintenance varnishes and winterizing.
- Lightweight: It had to weigh under 3,000 pounds so it could be towed with a V6. I didn’t want to change my existing vehicle to be able to tow it.
- Size: It had to be large enough to be fast and fun, but still fit in a standard garage space.
- DIY: The building technique needed to be simple enough that the boat could be built, repaired, or serviced by me without specialty tools.
- Simple Electronics: I didn’t want the design to require new technologies, or sensitive high-maintenance gadgets to operate.
The plans I chose were developed by Glen L Witt, a naval architect out of California. Glen has designed boats for the amateur and professional boat builder since the 50’s. He’s seen a lot. His designs are practical, affordable, and can be dressed up or down depending on your inclinations. His company, now run by his daughter, sells plans, kits, and other resources to help you. There’s also a great community of other boatbuilders that are building your exact plans, somewhere in the world, that you can connect with.
I maintained my inspi
Name: Double Trouble
Designer: Glen L Witt
Builder: Raz Carcoana
Material: 2″ White oak members, 1/4″ marine-grade Mahogany plywood sides, 3/8″ birch plywood deck, Mahogany plank dashboard
Top Speed: 40mph
Cruising Speed: 25mph
Motor: 1976 Mercury 850 (85hp)
Fuel Capacity: 10 US Gal