hydroplanes

the amateur boat builder who was interested in a hydroplane had to be content with an ultra-light, temperamental racing hull designed to carry only one or two persons. In spite of recent breakthroughs by boat manufacturers in taming the race-bred, three-point hydroplane for more general use, build-it-yourself
UNTIL NOW,

This hydroplane seats four
By ARTHUR MIKESELL

Designed by Alan Scott, this modern three-point runabout can top 50 mph with a 65-hp motor
Sleek and sassy, this three-pointer combines the excitement of a racer with runabout versatility

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building a runabout, continued

1410

No building form is required, but temporary legs which support the frame should be secured to the floor

The bottom-side planking aft of sponsons must be slit to form inner chine. A lift rail covers this joint

plans for a true recreational three-pointer just were not available. So we decided to ask Alan Scott to design a recreational hydroplane. These were the design requirements we gave him: • An easy-to-build three-point plywood runabout approximately 14 ft. long for use with a motor in the 45 to 65-hp. range. • A clean, modern topside design, featuring a roomy cockpit with seating for four. • The capacity to operate efficiently while towing a water skier. This was a pretty tall order; but when we received the plans and built the Hydro Dynamic, it turned out to be a rousing success on all of the specifications we had requested. If you've never driven a three-pointer, then you've missed one of the biggest thrills in boating. Let your imagination go, and slip into the driver's seat of Hydro Dynamic for a test run. As you ease the throttle lever forward, the boat comes smoothly up on a plane just like any normal planing hull. But continue to advance the throttle

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and Hydro Dynamic suddenly climbs to her points with an effect like cutting in the afterburner on an F-104. The boat seems to be flying over the water rather than skimming along the surface, and you feel that almost imperceptible "walking" action, found only in three-pointers, as the sponsons slide from wave to wave. Of all the air-lift hulls (sea sled, catamaran, etc.), the hydroplane design is the most sensitive to weight. Since this boat is designed for general recreational use rather than flat-out racing, the sponsons were made wide and flat, with a rather

deep entrance. This may not be the most efficient design for racing speeds but it brings the boat up on its points sooner and provides support for a heavier load, enabling you to enjoy the advantages of a three-point ride while towing a skier or carrying extra passengers. But a word about materials before we go on to the construction of Hydro Dynamic. The hull of the pilot model was planked with AA-grade exterior fir plywood. Naturally, solid-core marine plywood can be substituted here, but it will raise the cost of the boat substantially. Likewise, fir 1413

hydroplanes

For a flush joint between 3/8-in. aft bottom planking and 1/4-in. forward bottom planking, glue a 1/8-in.thick batten over the butt straps at this joint

After securing the aft edge of bottom bow planking, clamp fore end to bow beam and add other fastenings. The outside bow planking notches to center section

The sponson framing will require considerable fairing. To save time, you might cut this bevel oversize with a saw, then finish it with a rasp

A completed sponson includes two rails which slant inward, providing a slight "tunnel effect" to gain additional lift. Round the ends as shown here

.r building a runabout, continued was used for all frames, battens and other structural members, but mahogany has a better strength-to-weight ratio and would make the boat somewhat lighter. However, mahogany is more expensive. All joints are both glued and screwed, and all exterior fastenings should be countersunk slightly and concealed with wood putty. While cadmiumplated steel screws are specified in the materials list, you could just as well use 2 lbs. of 14-ga. 1-in. serrated bronze nails (Stronghold, Anchorfast or similar) in place of the 1-in. screws. 1414 Fiberglassing the entire boat would have added a small amount of extra weight, so only the seams and rear sponson surfaces of the pilot model were glassed. However, this is a matter of personal taste, and you may well feel that the returns in easy upkeep and appearance are worth the extra cost and slight sacrifice in performance (less than 1 mph). Caulking compound should be used when installing the lift rails and also at the bottom transom joint. If you plan to glass the seams or the entire boat, be sure that you don't use an oilbased compound as this type prevents proper bonding of the resin.

Bucket s e a t s a r e framed with light b a t t e n s o b t a i n e d by cutting 1 x 2 s t o c k in half on a circular s a w

Two dress-up touches which aren't absolutely required are the special seat cushions to fit the square bucket seats and the vinyl deck covering. The seats come in a variety of colors. As for the vinyl-coated deck fabric (Du Pont, Nautolex or similar), it won't scuff, crack or peel and is easy to keep clean. We used a teak pattern, but it comes in other patterns and colors. The teak seemed most fitting but the choice is yours. Before you begin building Hydro Dynamic, make sure that you understand every construction step. Study the drawings—particularly the exploded view on p. 1410—until you know the whole boat like the back of your hand. Then, after "building the boat in your head," begin the actual construction by cutting out and assembling the frames. While most of the side and bottom members of each frame are simply straight pieces of 1 x 4 stock, Fig. 5, the transom, top beams and bow beam must be cut to a curve. To avoid errors, make full-size paper patterns of each one, using the grid system to scale the drawings up to actual size.
make a tracing tool

You can make a handy tracing tool for transferring these patterns to the wood by salvaging a gear from a discarded alarm clock and mounting it on a nail between the legs of a wooden clothespin. Tape or tack the paper onto the wood, run this tool around the edge of the pattern and you'll produce a neatly dotted outline of the frame member on the stock. Begin with frame 4, the transom. This is made up of an inner frame faced with 1/2-in. plywood and reinforced with a 2 x 4 cross beam. A 1 x 4 running across the bottom on the outside provides additional strength. Since the keelson, bottom battens, sheer battens, etc., will all be notched into the inner framing and butted to the plywood, cut these notches before mounting the frame members. Then fasten the framing to the plywood with glue and 1-1/4-in. No.-8 f.h. wood screws spaced 2 in. apart. After assembling the transom, cut out the transom knee, Fig. 5, and mount it on the transom. Note that it must be notched to fit over the bottom framing member. Next, cut and assemble frame 3, using three 1-1/2-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screws at each corner joint. The dashboard mounts on supports running aft from frame 2. While you may cut out these pieces now, installation will be easier if you wait until the hull is turned. Frame 2, the step frame, is somewhat more 1415

Back-to-back seating takes advantage of every inch of space with rear legroom extending under the well

building a runabout, continued

complicated. The bottom crossmember must be made double thickness since it also acts as framing for the sponsons. The forward thickness fits between the two side framing pieces and is notched for the outer sponson framing member, "A" in Fig. 2. The aft thickness runs the full width of the boat and isn't notched. Thus, the notches in the forward thickness must be cut before it is secured to the aft thickness. Use glue and 1-1/2-in. N0-8 f.h. wood screws to mount it. You'll have to add a 1 x 2 cleat on the aft surface of the bottom crossmember of frame 2 to serve as a nailing strip for the 1/4-in.-plywood bottom planking. This cleat must be notched to accept the two outer bottom battens before securing it to frame 2. Be sure to make the inner notch large enough to accommodate not only the batten but the nailing strip which runs along its outer edge and butts to the aft surface of frame 2. After cutting notches, secure the cleats with glue and 1-1/4-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screws. Assemble frame 1 as shown, cut out the bow beam, and you are ready to begin framing the hull. Although no complex building form is required, you should have a stable, level nailing platform on which to assemble the hull. You will note from the photo on page 1411 that the frames are supported on legs above the building floor. Since we built Hydro Dynamic in a shop with a wood floor, it was no problem to toenail these legs directly to the floor. However, if you plan to build the boat in a concrete-floored garage, assemble a skeleton building platform from scrap lumber and attach the legs to this. Use C-clamps or screws to mount these temporary legs on the frames.
installing the keelson

Once all four frames are supported at the proper height and correct distance apart, Fig. 4, install the 1 x 2 keelson using glue and two 1-3/4-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screws per joint. Next, mount the sheer battens on the frame, securing each joint with glue and two 1-3/4-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screws. Note that these must be attached to the outer ends of the curved bow beam. The chine battens go on next. They must be curved rather sharply from frame 2 forward to the bow beam, so in order to make the bending easier we suggest that you slit this portion by running it through a circular saw. After slitting, fasten the chine batten to frames 2, 3 and 4 using glue and one 1-3/4-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screw per joint. However, don't fasten it to frame 1 yet. Instead, bend this slit forward portion through 1416

Towing a skier, the Hydro Dynamic speeds over the water, staying well up on her points

the notch in frame 1 so that the end meets the joint between the sheer batten and bow beam. Trim the end of the slit batten to fit flush against the sheer batten, then fill the slit with glue and clamp the chine batten in place. When the glue has hardened, secure it to frame 1 and the

bow beam, then fasten it in place with glue and screws. A reinforcing block is required at this joint, too, though it shouldn't be installed until after the center deck beam is in place. Mount the bottom battens next, trimming the end of each to fit against the bow beam. Secure

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them with glue and one 1-3/4-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screw at each joint. Before fairing the frame and beginning the job of planking, you might mount the three foredeck beams. While the operation isn't absolutely necessary at this point in the construction, these beams will make the hull slightly more rigid, thus providing extra insurance against pulling it out of alignment when planking. Since most of the hull surface is flat, the frame will require a minimum of fairing. Remove the temporary legs which have supported the hull thus far and place the hull on the floor. Then fair all framing surfaces until they will mate evenly and smoothly with the plywood planking. use plywood panel Begin planking with the 4 x 8-ft. panel of 3/8-in. plywood. Place this in position on the frame and attach it temporarily with four 1-in. N0.-8 f.h. screws. Then crawl underneath and mark the location of all framing members on the plywood. Also mark the location of the forward edge, so you will know where to install the 1 x 2 butt straps which reinforce that planking joint. Next, remove the panel and predrill holes about 2 in. apart for 1-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screws, using a double row of screws along the transom. After installing the butt straps between the bottom battens, coat mating surfaces with glue, apply calking compound to transom edge and secure the panel to the frame. Once the 3/8-in. panel is installed, you can mount the nailing strips along each side of it. Made by cutting a 1 x 2 down the middle, these strips are attached to the two bottom battens and elevated slightly so as to bring the 1/4-in. planking up flush with the 3/8-in. planking. In order to achieve the bend necessary to form the inner chines, you'll have to make a 54-in. saw cut in the two outside sections of aft planking, Fig. 3. Secure these two sections as you did the center panel, using a double row of screws along the 54-in. slit. The forward bottom planking is also 1/4-in. plywood, so glue a 1/8 x 1-in. batten along the fore edge of the 3/8-in. planking to bring it up to the proper height. After securing the 4 x 6-ft. center section of planking, make paper patterns of the two 4-ft. outer sections and mount these. Before you start on the sponsons, install the side planking, following the same procedure used in planking the bottom. 1418

Each sponson is framed with two longitudinal side pieces cut from 2 x 6 stock, Fig. 2. After mounting these framing members, add a tapered filler block at the fore end to serve as a nailing strip for the planking. Then cut out the 1/4-in. sponson planking, bevel the fore edge to fit flush against the bottom planking and secure with 1-in. N0.-8 f.h. wood screws and glue. Before turning the hull over, install the eight lift rails. Those on the sponsons should slant toward the center of the sponsons, while those on the aft planking slant toward the center of the boat. Taper and round the fore ends of the two rails covering the 54-in. slits at the inner chines. Use calking compound and 1-in. N0.-8 f.h. screws to mount all rails. Finally, mask all fastenings, fiberglass the seams, and give the bottom at least three coats of paint. Then turn the hull over, resting it on a padded surface so as not to mar the finish or the bottom of the hull. Add the deck beams and battens, if you haven't already done so, then mount the dashboard and add the perforated hardboard bottom to the glovebox. After fairing the deck framing, install the deck planking and the basic hull is complete. cockpit is lined For appearance, the cockpit of the pilot model was lined with 1/8-in. perforated hardboard. This does add a certain amount of extra weight, and can be omitted if desired. However, if you wish to do this, attach light l x l nailing strips to the bottom of the boat and secure the hardboard to these and the deck battens. Then conceal the upper edges under the rounded coaming strips. Next, make the four seats, Fig. 7, and mount them on 1/4-in. plywood brackets attached to the bottom battens. The self-bailing well and fuel locker, Fig. 6, will complete the boat. If you wish, drill 1/2-in. holes at the corners of the well to allow water to drain out. The fuel locker is a simple box construction of perforated hardboard framed with 1 x 2s. If you require more space, make the locker longer so that it runs between the rear seats. Finally, paint the interior of the cockpit, install the vinyl-coated deck fabric and the boat is complete and ready for the water.