|Doug's original Water Rat with my son, Steven, showing off the boat's stability. Steve was about 12 then, and I haven't seen this activity performed by an adult - but for a canoe she is a very stable boat.|
Ross Trinder, from Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia, has built a number of boats recently including a Green Island 15, one of my First Mates, and a Water Rat. My good friend Al Burke also built a Water Rat, but used 4mm plywood instead of the 6mm plywood specified. Al applied some strategic stiffening materials and as you can see in the comments, his boat weighed in at 17 kg.
Ross Trinder is now building a second Water Rat, and this time he also is using 4 mm ply. Another variation on the theme being experimented with by Geoff Leedham in his boatbuilding program at a school in Alice Springs, Outback Australia, is to use 4 mm plywood for the entire boat with the exception of the bottom panel, which is made from 6 mm plywood.
This boat is a very simple project which involves very little time and very little money. However, it represents a great way to gain experience in the use of epoxy and plywood, and the resulting boat is great fun to use, is very stable, and is surprisingly seaworthy in protected waters.
Ross Trinder has asked me whether it would be practical to fit Water Rat with a sailing rig. Given that she is 3 feet wide and carries her breadth out into the bow and the stern, I think that she would be able to carry sail reasonably well, and the only real challenge is to decide how best to give her some lateral plane. My first reaction is to make use of the leeboard, but I'm beginning to think that an off centre dagger board would suit the boat very well. I will be doing some preliminary drawings shortly, and will post them here.
In the meantime, here are some photographs of the early stages of construction of Ross Trinder's 4 mm Water Rat. You can also see Al Burke's finished 4 mm version via the link at the end of the first paragraph.