Ok, so here's the link to the web page for my build of the boat. Link to the original designer's site, etc.
The goal is a boat small enough to trailer easily, power minimally, sleep overnight in. I want to explore the small rivers of Minnesota and Wisconsin canoe-trip style, but I don't want to camp out. So the Chugger design is perfect. It's like a jonboat with a pup tent combined in one funky looking package.
I built a Portuguese Dinghy last year and that was a lot of fun. But I wanted bigger. I really thought about building an Escargot, but that's a bit out of reach still. Once I saw the Chugger I knew it was the boat for me.
Ideally I'll be done with it by early June and can show up with it at the Lake Pepin Messabout and get some time on the Namekagon river before the summer heat lowers the waterline and adds to the rapids. The St. Croix and Minnesota rivers are also options. I'm also really grooving on the idea of having adventures on Bear Lake, where we have a cabin.
I took the design plan, broke it out into distinct steps, and printed each stop on it's own page. So far I'm almost done with the sides and tonight I cut and framed the roof and deck. I am excited by the idea that I'll go "3-d" this weekend. Once I get the bulk of the construction done the hard work starts. Epoxy and fiberglass filleting, covering, sealing and finishing. And then sanding, more epoxy, layers of paint, layers of spar varnish, etc. I think it'll be good.
I waited as long as I could before beginning the build, as the "shop" is actually my car's half of the garage. So now that the snow is gone I can park on the street and work in the garage. But now that I'm working, I remember how much I enjoy it. Popping the garage door open, catching a breeze through the shop, feeling the night air.. Awesome. I keep thinking I need a radio or something out there, but the lack of noise is so much better.
The livery/style is modeled after the european Doerak look. Utility with a touch of style.
The designer says it's for protected waters only, and the other builders of this model all agree. Apparently Lake Minnetonka is right out, but more than one has show up at the Lake Pepin Messabout over the years. Funny enough most of the builds are up here. Designer is from Iowa, the Think Pink is from Princeton MN, and another one was built in Illinois. I think it's well suited to small river travel. That said, I don't know how far down the St Croix I'd go. Any of those powerboats kicking up the huge wakes could make for at the very least an uncomfortable trip.
Nobody has done a capsize test in a Chugger, and if I can manage I intend to do one myself. I really want to know it's limits as far as tipping, waves from the side, etc.
I like it because it's a quick build, easy to customize, and has a unique look. Like all my boats it's not intended to be an heirloom, just a fun toy for as many years as it'll last. (With proper care, of course.)