How to Build Kathy--A 20-Ft. Outboard Runabout


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  • Pub No.: 5377
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by Don Rodney

The arrangement plans reveal full-length berths extending under the forward cockpit, galley, toilet and stowage space.

A friend said to me, “To satisfy my various likes and dislikes,” he replied, “I would need to own two boats; an outboard runabout for breezing about on the lake during the day and an outboard cruiser for ‘gunk-holing’ and overnight cruising. I like the runabout with its windshield and open cockpit where you can sit up forward on comfortable cushions and clearly see the water ahead. I also like the runabout because one can get farther away from the motor. On the other hand, while I like all the cabin accommodations of a cruiser with its comfortable berths, galley and toilet, I don’t like the arrangement with the wheel on the after cabin bulkhead so that one must do all his navigating while trying to see out over a long cabin top. A wheel within the cabin structure is not the answer to that problem either. I get claustrophobia when I am confined within a small cabin and can’t get out to handle dock lines and one thing and another. If someone would only combine an outboard runabout and an outboard cruiser into one boat, perhaps I would be interested.” “What you are looking for,” we said, somewhat facetiously, “is an outboard cruis-about.” We didn’t have any specific ideas on this type of hybrid design but one afternoon, we came upon an advertisement for a Matthews cruiser complete with forward cockpit. The forward cockpit was nothing new to us but what did interest us was the fact that the berths were extended up forward under the cockpit seat, thus saving a few feet in overall length. This gave us the clue as to how we could arrange a forward cockpit, a roomy cabin with full-length berths, a galley and a semi-enclosed head, plus a six-foot after cockpit; all in a boat only 20 feet in length.Beginning at the bow we find the customary rope locker beneath the forward deck followed on the upper level by the forward cockpit. This is complete with a curved Plexiglas windshield and spray wings. Complete controls mounted in this location will permit full control of the outboard engine as far as forward and reverse shift and throttle control are concerned. With the canvas top cover in place, there is no reason why this forward seat should not be used as an auxiliary berth since it is over six feet in length and comfortably wide. Access to the cabin interior is through the bulkhead door on the starboard side. This door is divided similarly to a “Dutch door” for a specific reason. For ventilation purposes the top half of the door is hinged along its upper edge so that it can be folded inward against the cabin ceiling where it is hooked in place. The bottom section is hinged along its outboard side and swings back into the cabin. Since the lower section also forms the backrest of the right-hand portion of the cockpit seat, it will normally be closed and latched in place. The top half can be left open for ventilation or closed as desired. Inside the cabin structure, the typical outboard cruiser arrangement of two generous, 6-foot 6-inch berths is to be found. These run fore and aft along either side of the hull and make use of the available space under the forward cockpit which otherwise would be useful only for stowage. The two berths are spaced approximately 26 inches apart so that there is formed a liberal gangway or walk space running the full length of the cabin. This gangway leads into the galley on the starboard side and the head on the port side. These units are separated from the berths by partial bulkheads rising about 41 inches above the floor. Opposite, on the port side, is a raised platform of the same area as that occupied by the galley. Here is mounted a pump-type marine toilet. By the installation of a curved curtain pipe, as shown in the plan layout, this area may be curtained off for greater privacy. Careful attention has been given to the matter of private locker space by the inclusion of three fair-sized drawers, one under each of the two berths and the third sliding under the center extension between the two berths. Additional stowage is available under the berths through the handholes provided and also under the forward cockpit floor ahead of the berths. At the rear of the cabin enclosure is a folding door which leads out into the after cockpit. It is double-hinged so that it will fold flat against the cabin bulkhead without covering up the toilet window. Almost on the level with the cockpit floor is a screened, louvered vent to allow additional ventilation throughout the little ship. Plenty of cabin ventilation while lying at a mooring does much to prevent mildew and discourage dry rot. The after cockpit is approximately six feet square and affords a comfortable lounging space for a limited number of occupants whether under way or lying at anchor. The motor box which covers the outboard engine is sound-insulated to suppress most of the noise. This engine box is not entirely without use and an unwanted obstruction in the cockpit for it is about the correct height for sitting and makes a good seat.

20 pages, 4 plate(s)


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