Toter2 Design Concept
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The need for small, one or two occupant, portable boats is obvious. They can be built and stored in confined spaces. They can be transported in almost any vehicle. They are low in cost to build and operate. And, they can traverse most inland waterways for hunting, fishing or just everyday recreational purposes. After reviewing a slew of different small boats, it seems to me that most available are of the manufactured type, plastic or inflatable, and tend to be somewhat expensive (a few hundred dollars). And homebuilt small boats, either kits or plans, are really not too portable either, unless you have a small trailer or a big vehicle. Anyway, not what I call portable. What about the rest of us who do not want to trailer ?
My original design in this area was the 'Toter'. It has good performance, is lightweight, inexpensive to build, but only holds a single occupant, and requires modification to a trolling motor. After much thought, some feedback, and a few other larger boat designs, I have come back and revised the basic configuration of the 'Toter'. The new 'Toter 2' is the result, and although no longer than the original (8 feet), it holds two occupants in tandem, is wider, has more freeboard, has built-in safety buoyancy, can carry up to 450 pounds, uses a non-modified electric trolling motor for propulsion, and best of all, it looks like a boat. As with the original, when nested, it occupies an area only 3 feet square, and 17 inches high. It will fit in most car trunks, and all RV's, SUV's and Trucks. No trailering or cartopping !
The initial design wish list was long, but first was the method of construction and assembly. Fortunately, since the original 'Toter' was designed, I have developed the 'Tape & Glue' method of holding all the pieces together, to produce a watertight and lightweight assembly. Of course, the new 'Toter 2' will use this process. Then came the decision as to how the 3 hull modules would be fastened together. Here too, past portable boat designs helped in the decision process. My favorite method is the use of dovetail connectors, but builder feedback has indicated it is too difficult to produce and fit. This left the bolt together method, and results from my 'Pollywog' design/build showed that even a larger boat could be safely bolted together. Placing 3/8 inch bolts on the center of the side panels, at the bulkheads, would ensure a strong and tight assembly. This is the same method most recently used in my 'Kayak+' design, and it works quite well. Easy to set-up, and easy to dismantle.
Finishing of a boat has always been a task for me. Sand, recoat, sand again etc. And what paint to use? I have tried exterior enamel, exterior porch and floor and polyurethane, none of which satisfied my long term requirements. I know, what about Marine Paint? One word, expensive! Most recently I have been using Marine Spar Varnish, and although somewhat expensive, I like the end result. It seals the wood and provides a natural wood finish that makes any boat look better, and it's a good way to show off your craftsmanship.
One more 'Toter' thing. Some people have inquired about adding a sail to the 'Toter' design. I have responded by saying the hull was too narrow, and there would be stability problems. With 'Toter 2' that is no longer an issue, as the base is wider and the sides are more generously sloped. So I will be designing a sail rig, similar to the 'Pollywog', just as soon as time permits. Not much different than a PDRacer, really, but a truly portable design.
As usual, any and all concept comments are always welcome, although not many have provided feedback on the initial inquiry I recently posted on the website. Maybe this information will be more detailed, and will foster real constructive conversation.