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neon4891 Reader
5/25/08 11:47 p.m.

with the general consensus being "it's a bad idea" I think the best option would be and older, yet solid Whaler and give it a kick ass out board. To much to get wrong with an in board.

MitchellC New Reader
5/26/08 12:20 a.m.

Is there much that can go wrong with a cheap Craigslist-special canoe? If I got a roof rack for my 3-dr Focus, would it be possible to transport a standard 14-footer? Well, if it was possible, would you do it?

Storz New Reader
5/26/08 1:59 p.m.

My dad bought this baby new in '77 and still has it to this day, not exactly grassroots but still a blast on the water. Its an 18' Carribean with a semi-built 460ci Ford. Rooster tails a-plenty

GameboyRMH Dork
5/26/08 2:55 p.m.
IMO, I think that the best way to get thrills on water are with Jet Skis or Wave Runners. So much fun, and probably a lot cheaper than a boat.

Yeah, but the ride is insanely harsh (imagine riding a motorcycle with solid suspension over concrete waves). Also if you try navigating on the water, you'll get a really good appreciation for road rules.

pinchvalve SuperDork
5/27/08 8:16 a.m.

My experience has been that if you buy a used boat, you will need to replace the motor soon. So check this out: Dolphin Fun Boat

The 30hp motor is probably ready to explode anyway, so drop in a new 50hp Mercury for some real fun. Or heck, go for a 100hp, or 200hp or 250hp monster!

914Driver HalfDork
5/27/08 10:10 a.m.
mistanfo wrote:
914Driver wrote: Hmmm... You can aways find a dead Hobie catamaran behind a barn somewhere. Broken mast, needs a $900 trampoline, lost interest etc. There's a company that puts a fiberglass deck over the od Hobie trampoline which has a bench seat, steering and a motor mount. Think about how much water a cat draws. A 7hp scoots it along pretty good, a 15hp kicks butt, a 30 will flat scare the Bejeepers out of ya. Grassroots enough?
Any further info on this? Sounds interesting. Might even be able to replace the CLC sail/row/outboard kit that I'm looking at.

I wandered around the Internet this mornning and couldn't find it. There is/was a company that makes a kit that bolts right to a Hobie after you remove the trampoline. The usual shot of two pretty girls sitting on the fiberglass bench seat.... Why couldn't you make one? Fab up the thing in plywood and glass over it. The steering and throttle controls are readily available at West Marine.

Last time I was in Chesapeake Bay I saw a guy water skiing behind a catamaran called a Stiletto. These come in 23, 27 and 30 foot models. I want one!


ClemSparks SuperDork
5/27/08 10:26 a.m.
MitchellC wrote: Is there much that can go wrong with a cheap Craigslist-special canoe? If I got a roof rack for my 3-dr Focus, would it be possible to transport a standard 14-footer? Well, if it was possible, would you do it?

I've got just that (and a kayak too). Warning, the canoe is not much fun to load on the top of a car single-handed...but I can do it since my car is a beater and I don't much care if I skuff the rustoleum up on top. Mine's an aluminum canoe, though, so it's hefty. The kayak is much easier to load, but it's a one-person rig...so I can't take the kids with me. I actaully thought about getting a cheap little boat trailer and setting it up for two canoes or kayaks, or any combination thereof.

But rooftopping is still a simpler solution...


Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
5/27/08 1:10 p.m.

If you are serious about a boat project, check this site out:


My brother owns a marine surplus outfit in Port Canaveral. He ships worldwide. He has everything from guages, to bimini tops, and stainless hardware, to steering wheels, and.....well, you get the idea.

Tell him you are a GRM reader, and message board regular. He'll give you the "friends" price. His name is Ken.


ClemSparks SuperDork
3/23/09 9:09 a.m.


I'm going to give "Grassroots Boating" a whirl. I decided aluminum was indeed the way to go (due to aforementioned wood rot that will inevitably be found in old fiberglass boats)...and the best one that came along happened to be an outboard model. While outboard is not my first choice, it'll have to do (and I do think it will likely be simpler and probably cheaper in the long run).


I have no idea when I'll actually do anything with it


914Driver Dork
3/23/09 9:23 a.m.

I had to....


GTwannaB New Reader
3/23/09 11:43 a.m.

I know nothing about boats, but I know a V8 when I hear one. You want a 'Jersey Skiff'. Take a rowboat, cover the nose and drop in a small block Chevy. I saw one of these cruising the East River in NYC many years ago and I had to ask a few friends to figure out what it was. http://www.jerseyspeedskiffs.com/

walterj Dork
3/23/09 11:54 a.m.

To annoy an entire lake community... I like the idea of an unmuffled litre bike engined bayliner. Anything that can maintain 13k RPMs for hours at a time will do.

Ian F
Ian F Reader
3/23/09 12:01 p.m.

To me. "grassroots" would mean DIY-home-built... something like one of these:


(warning: if you have even a passing interest in boats, hours can be lost on this site)

MadScientistMatt HalfDork
3/23/09 12:17 p.m.
MitchellC wrote: Is there much that can go wrong with a cheap Craigslist-special canoe? If I got a roof rack for my 3-dr Focus, would it be possible to transport a standard 14-footer? Well, if it was possible, would you do it?

Brings back memories of when I was growing up and my father bought an old Alumicraft. I don't remember the canoe itself needing any maintenance. The 1950s vintage 2 stroke outboard was another story - he's still got that motor sitting around and running, though, after putting a fair amount of work into it. We hauled the canoe around with a Datsun 210 station wagon on the roof.

If I ever get into any sort of boating related hobby myself, it'll probably be kayaks or canoes. Like Clem said, putting an aluminum canoe on top a car is a job for two.

mw Reader
3/23/09 12:22 p.m.
GTwannaB wrote: I know nothing about boats, but I know a V8 when I hear one. You want a 'Jersey Skiff'. Take a rowboat, cover the nose and drop in a small block Chevy. I saw one of these cruising the East River in NYC many years ago and I had to ask a few friends to figure out what it was. http://www.jerseyspeedskiffs.com/

I wonder how much different the hull of one of these would be than your average aluminum row boat...

I think mid mounting a v8 in an aluminum row boat would be a good solution and there is no concern about exploding out drives.

curtis73 Reader
3/23/09 1:38 p.m.

A couple links to get you started:

www.glen-l.com . Glen-L is an old boat kit company. Some of their designs are a bit old-school, but they have boat plans and kits for steel, aluminum, fiberglass, stitch-and-glue, plywood, the works. I almost bought one of their plan kits to build a shallow-vee inboard ski boat, but I ended up buying a boat instead.

and here is my sorta-grassroots boat build. I bought an 83 Baja 19' Sunsport in sad shape for a price that was worth it just for the trailer. The boat had a rotten floor and rotten motor stringers... so rotten that it actually had grass growing out of them. Get it? Grassroots?

Complete thread on the build here: http://www.teambajamarine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9895

The boat/trailer cost about $1000. It had a seized 305, a small electrical fire, and rotten guts, but the hull was VERY sound; good gelcoat, nice decals, looked good after I hit it with the buffer. I put about $4000 in it, new upholstery, new Vortec 350 with performance manifolds, rebuilt the gimbal and outdrive, re-did the floor and electrical system, and its given me three years of 60mph fun on the water. Fast, stable, fun, and I did it myself. All tallied up I have about $6000 in it start to finish. I could have bought a good used Baja sunsport for about the same money, but it would have been a 190-hp 305 with age on it. This way I have a completely rebuilt boat with 300 hp and new guts.

One of the secrets to keeping marine things cheap is knowing what has to be marine and what doesn't. Ignitions, starters, alternators, spark arrestors, and water pumps NEED to be marine. The rest is up for debate. You don't want to skimp on the ignition sources because marine engines like to go boom.

But, do you need a $4000 marine engine? No. For grassroots purposes, an automotive engine will be fine. Marine engines are built with slightly larger bearing tolerances, often have Inconel exhaust valves, and use more cast iron and brass/bronze to prevent corrosion issues, but an automotive engine will do great. If you go to the marina for a replacement intake gasket it will be $120, but a $20 Fel Pro is probably even better quality. Just know where to get your stuff and what stuff can be found at the Auto Zone.

That link to my baja build includes a link to a marine salvage yard. Great stuff.

Another link for you www.boatdesign.net/forums . There is a sticky in that forum called "automotive engine marinization" that is great. Stick to the common marine engine families and you'll be fine, but go with a Subaru flat six and you'll probably not find some very necessary marine things, like exhaust manifolds, starters, etc. It can be done, but sometimes its not just grassroots, its Chuck Norris grassroots.

slantvaliant Reader
3/23/09 1:57 p.m.

If you want grassroots boating, check out MOUSEBOATS

Single-sheet stitch-and-glue plywood construction, easily cartoppable on little cartops, and it can be made for paddling (Get your mind out of the gutter) or sail.

Variants abound, including motorboats.

It's the Locost of boats.

ClemSparks SuperDork
4/3/09 11:16 a.m.

When you mentioned the name "mouseboats" I was initially thinking "Small Block Chevy Boats."

slantvaliant Reader
4/3/09 1:41 p.m.

I think you'd need more than one sheet of plywood to float a Chevy Smallblock. Hmmmm ....

Now, if you want autocross-like action, how about a JET SPRINTBOAT? Boats that NEED rollbars are really, really special.

ClemSparks SuperDork
4/3/09 1:52 p.m.

I can't watch the video right now but I know what you're referring to and yes...those are badass boats! Not grassroots but I think one similar on a budget would be cool.

kreb Dork
4/3/09 2:42 p.m.
914Driver wrote: I had to.... http://www.berkeleyrowingclub.org/boats.html

Dude, I was a member there for years!

I have a friend (Ted) who has an offshore racer type boat for under 10 grand. The hull sat in a marina for years till Ted hit the manager up about it. It was a very high end layup for the owner of the company that built the boat. For some reason it was never finished, and Ted bought the hull for a song. CL big-block and outdrive, pieced everything together and now he has a pimping Miami-vice boat. So it can be done - the same way trick car builds get done.

ClemSparks SuperDork
3/30/11 11:31 a.m.

I don't know why...but every year I end up with this boat bug again. I sold the old Starcraft Jupiter that I had bought. And I traded the 85 hp engine for a 6 hp engine. So now I'm looking for a little 12' or 14' aluminum boat to putt around on.

But as it usually goes, in the course of shopping for a used rowboat or square-stern canoe, I run across things like these:

http://columbiamo.craigslist.org/boa/2292925512.html (The seller tells me someone has already said they'll come pick this up today...)
http://columbiamo.craigslist.org/boa/2292546617.html (Probably way too far gone...but I'll take a look anyway)
http://columbiamo.craigslist.org/boa/2291621841.html (I'm still not keen on outboards, but that thing would scoot!)

And the one that I think is PRIME for what I have in mind...but a bit pricey...
http://columbiamo.craigslist.org/boa/2292503831.html (imagine it with an LS engine (yes, someone is making wet exhaust manifolds for them) or old school SBC...)

My current favorite, though is this one since I think it's aluminum...
http://kansascity.craigslist.org/boa/2292647043.html It's REALLY calling my name! (though it's 2 or 3 hours away...) [Edit...scratch all that. The seller just emailed me and it's a Fiberglass boat with no title ...oh well]

I want to make a statment here to help with the "It's not designed for it, don't do it" naysayers:
In my life, in general, the good ideas are ok. It's the BAD ideas that really get traction and go somewhere. It's more about the fun building with the machine than using it.

All that said, I probably won't do ANYTHING like this since I have too many car/truck/bike/house projects anyway. But a guy can dream...he can also buy a boat to languish until it gets sold off for a gain (like has already happened once)

I should really see about fixing my sunfish sailboat this spring!


ronholm New Reader
3/30/11 12:46 p.m.
Jack wrote:
914Driver wrote: A 7hp scoots it along pretty good, a 15hp kicks butt, a 30 will flat scare the Bejeepers out of ya.
I've water skied behind a wind powered Hobie. I like that idea - Wow! Jack

I had a sweet 71 Sidewinder Jet boat... 455 olds... 75+mph... pulled skiers GREAT cruised awesome.. looked awesome.. sounded awesome... turned heads for sure.. (that hull looks a lot like the GT150) and really as far as boats go... besides the gas it couldn't have been any cheaper to work on... All the Marine specific engine stuff bolted right onto any automotive old Big block...

No better way to enjoy a fast boat on the water... Sure the outboard and prop guys will have a higher top end... But the acceleration of the jet drive puts you halfway across the lake before they get moving....

Cheap ones are easy to find.. and if you enjoy glass work not a big deal to restore...

After all that...

I sold it and have a couple Hobie 16's around... SO MUCH FUN... out several times in 30+mph winds with that thing just flying.. Pitch poled it HARD several times, and never had so much fun doing it.. The best was last year this storm was blowing in... We had came in... but didn't see any lightening.. So on a screaming reach..... here we go flying back out onto the lake in 35mph winds dodging all the jetski's and boats headed for cover.....

What a frign riot...

93EXCivic SuperDork
3/30/11 1:09 p.m.

One of the two things my girlfriend really loves are boats. And that scares me a lot. esp after reading this thread.

FlightService Reader
3/30/11 2:43 p.m.

Yeah what exactly are you wanting?

try a VP75 set up for cheap easy fun

14 ft with a 70 or 75hp Evinrude/Johnson outboard, good for about 80 mph (I think the class record is 82, but I have slept since then.) You can get a reliable set up for less than $3K Skimp and be in at $1K. But you better know what you are doing at that price.

The Boston Whaler with a big outboard is a bad idea. A hard chin boat likes to walk, if you never experienced it, you have no idea.

Used to be the team engineer on a F2/SST120 race boat and before that a F3/SST60. They are a blast but you really really have to watch your purchases to be grassroots about it. We were and still went through a grand a race weekend with NO improvements! Finished in the top 5 our best year in the standings.

Bring Out Another Thousand, more like Bring Out Another Ten thousand!

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