Length – 11’6″ (3.11m)
Beam – 4′ 2″ (1.62m)
Weight – 100lbs (46kg) – Gaboon (Okoume) Ply Power – 6 to 15hp
*see notes about power allowable by law in the second paragraph – red
- Simple to Build
- Very Stable
- Three Built in Buoyancy tanks
- Excellent Utility Boat for Caravanning.
- Comprehensive Plan Pack with step by step instructions and many illustrations
PDF Plans by email – $80
Paper Plans – Please discuss with Agent.
The Handy Punt was my third design. It was derived largely from the great 8ft (2.4m) Phil Bolger designed “Skimmer” – yet another example of Bolger’s Genius. (Skimmer plan is in Dynamite Payson’s book “Build the New Instant Boats” if you need an 8ft boat)
The advantage of the “Handy Punt” is purely in terms of load carrying capacity. She will carry a family of four quite happily though I would be recommending 8hp where it is allowed for that load.
With all that built-in buoyancy there is quite a good margin of safety like a well designed Jon Boat, but it is important to remember that punts really are small boats suited to lake, river and estuary waters.
The Punt comes out of 4 sheets of ply. One of the fun aspects was the amazing lack of ply wastage. Probably less than 5% of the ply is not used in the boat. An interesting corollary of this is that it is difficult to stretch her in length or beam without increasing the amount of ply needed substantially.
With new regulations in Australia, the USA and other countries there might be a restriction on the amount of power below what we know works on the boat.
The regulations also require a small amount of foam buoyancy to be fitted under the rear seats. It is not a lot as the hull is so buoyant, but needs to be considered during building
When I drew the plans up I made the transom strong enough to handle a 15hp outboard. The first few launched used modest powerplants of 6 to 8hp which she handles very nicely. Lower power (5hp) is OK if there is only one person and a light payload – maybe a child and some fishing gear and the intention is to chug along.
Given 8 hp the punt moves along quickly with two people and gear and still moves well with three.
The report I have heard of the 15hp is that one or two up it is a very fast ride – lots of speed – lots of spray – but it sounds like 10hp makes a lot more sense where it is allowed.
Performance and handling:
The punt is one of the most common utility boats. They are fast under moderate power in reasonably smooth water, have a huge initial stability and good weight carrying ability.
THe usual problem with punts as small boats is weight of the bottom construction. The Handy punt avoids this by having large external bottom runners which distributes the loads into the seat faces. The epoxy technology allows this approach as the boat is effectively glued into one piece. Not my idea but stolen from the original boat
The Handy Punt will lift up onto the bottom runners when lightly laden at higher speeds, this reduces the wetted area for a reduction in drag, and more speed.
Weight has a huge affect on speed and general performance. The weight of 110 lbs would be acheivable using Gaboon Plywood which is 30% lighter than most other plywoods. If you have trouble locating supplies of this or any other of the materials give me a call. I can organise for a pack of all or part of the required materials to be delivered to you.
Building a simple plywood Outboard Dinghy:
Building is instant style with all components of this small boat prefabricated out on the flat. The sides are then set up with the bulkheads and transom between.
It is all rectangles except for the sides.
The boat is now turned over and the seat tops and gunwale framing fitted. Finally the boat is inverted again and the bottom and bottom runners are now fitted. They work in conjunction with the frames inside the boat to provide a very stiff structure.