Boca Ciega Bay, Florida, November 14, 2015
Today was the official launch of my new jon boat, Toad. Rich and I drove a couple extra miles to Boca Ciega Bay because she isn’t registered yet. Lake Seminole Park has too many government officials hanging about. Yes, I know there’s a 30-day grace period, but who needs the hassle?
I was pleased with her performance using the little Honda 2.3 outboard. Toad got up on plane at less than 80% throttle with just me.
With both my son and me aboard, she handled the confused seas and powerboat wakes with aplomb. I did manage to scrape her across an oyster-encrusted rock and run into a mangrove tree; fortunately the damage was only cosmetic. I need to add bottom runners or a skeg. Directional control was iffy.
We only went a quarter-mile offshore, staying out of the main boat channels where the 30-40 footers were running on plane. I wasn’t as comfortable as I might have been; I forgot to bring something to sit on, and my tiller extension.
It wasn’t until I saw the photo of Toad zooming along that I realized I had forgotten to cut the notch in the transom. She might work better with the prop all the way down in the water. Good thing it’s an air-cooled motor.
I built Toad for two purposes: 1) Proof-of-concept for some different construction ideas and, 2) boat building practice for me. This is the first boat I’ve built. My (former) ignorance of proper technique is obvious. The finish is rather rough.
Launch conditions (per NOAA):
Wind 7 knots, gusting 12.
Chop: Moderate (6 to 12 inches, very confused seas)
Air Temperature 74º F
Water Temperature 81º F
LOA 10′ 6”
Beam 4′ 0”
Draft maximum 4.1” at 620 lbs.
Empty weight: 46.8 lbs. (as launched)
Foam flotation: 840 lbs.
Material cost < $300
Construction time (designing on the fly) < 26 hours
Installed hp: 2.3
Displacement as tested: 270 (one up), 500 (two up)
According to my calculations, the recommended Coast Guard limits are:
Displacement: 620 lbs.
Person capacity: 4 skinny people, 485 lbs.