Cruisette Builder's Log

This is the builder's log I kept during the construction of our Cruisette. It is a 15-foot power boat with cuddy cabin. Since it's no longer logging an in-progress project, I've decided to put each major section on one page instead of making a separate page for each day. Along with that, everything will be chronological order instead of most recent first.

Selection Criteria

There were several things that we considered as we searched for an appropriate set of plans:

  • Cabin: this was a unconditional requirement, due to the need to create a sheltered, conditioned environment for Devy. Summers at Lake Diefenbaker are frequently hot (30 deg. Celsius and higher), windy (30 km), or both.
  • Level of difficulty: I'd like to eventually be able to build direct from plans, but I think skills are acquired over a range of projects in varying difficulties. We built a small recreational rowing shell (Merry Wherry) from a complete stitch-and-glue kit. Given the boats I'd like to build, building a standard-framed boat starting with a frame-kit seemed like the next logical step.
  • Weight: Although we won't trailer the boat a lot, we do need to haul it occasionally and we really shouldn't be hauling much more than 1500 lbs behind our little 4-wheeler (2000 Chevy Tracker).
  • Aesthetics: This is a pretty subjective area. After much searching, the short list came down to the  Cruisette, a Glen-L Marine design and the Shark Cruiser from Clark Craft. In the end, there was just something about the lines of the Cruisette that captured my heart.
  • Quality and Support: I got excellect advice from several people, but Glen-L and Clark were familiar friends from decades of dreaming and both went above and beyond when I had questions.

Planned Customisations

 We were going to take the option to lengthen the boat from 15 feet to 16.5 feet, but some confusion led to cold feet. Still, we have a few other things planned. We'll post photos as we actually do this stuff.

  • Air-conditioned cabin: We're going to use an automatic-transmission cooling radiator, 12-volt fans, and a 12-volt water pump to use lake water as a coolant to keep the cabin at a reasonable temperature. There is also room for some insulation in the cabin roof and I'll see about getting other parts insulated so that this strategy has a chance to work.
  • Swim platform: Well, not really much of one, but I like the idea of having a hinged platform that folds down from the transom to simplify getting in and out of the boat in the water. I've never used a boarding ladder that I liked, so I'm hoping that this will work better.
  • Accessories: We'll be installing some kind of portable toilet for emergency use :) I also really like the idea of having a small fridge and campstove built-in somewhere.
  • Floatation: I'm pretty sure that I'll be using a two-part expanding foam floatation to fill the space below the floor and possibly part way up the sides. This will cut down on the available storage space, but give that extra margin of safety in the event of capsizing.
  • Storage space: This is where the real creativity comes in. I'd like to turn every non-structural wall into a cabinet of some kind. There isn't a lot to keep tucked away, but having it tucked away is a lot better than having it under foot.
  • Boat rack: No, not for this boat, but for my rowing shell. I'd like to have a pedastal-style rack with removable legs so that I can store or carry my rowing shell over head on the cruiser. I'm not sure what this looks like yet, but it's something I can leave for a year or so while I think about it.
  • Canvas work: The obvious one here is to cover the cockpit while parked or in storage. However, I'd also like to put something in place that provides coverage while in use and, ideally, while under way. I have no idea what this looks like yet and it's obviously not part of getting ready for launch.
  • Windshield: The base plans don't call for a windshield. For the most part, that's OK, but if I want some kind of canvas over head while under way, we'll have to figure out how to see where we're going :)
  • Steering and throttle: The plans actually show the steering on the port side (left). This makes perfect sense to me for a couple of reasons. It's what we're used to from driving cars and boating rights-of-way are the same as the rules of the road (stay right, except to pass, etc.). It makes it easier for the pilot to dock normally (they call it 'port side' for a reason). On the other hand, it does look funny in relation to all the other boats out there and does make moving from boat to boat a bit more challenging. I'll probably conform to the masses and move the steering position to the starboard.