My last (for now) pass at covering available and interesting Dutch Barge designs.

Last mostly because I think I’m going to rule it out for now, although I really don’t want to. As a coastal cruiser, I think they would be great for U.S. River and ICW (Intercoastal Waterway) use.

The flip side is that most of the designs I can find are for significantly larger craft, and all metal construction. I like and want the all metal construction, but I don’t think its practical for me right now. The lack of tools and especially a good place to build it just about does it in. Not to mention the fact that its hard to buy steel "as you go"… I can order steel in bulk and get it shipped to me, no problem, but I don’t have the cash for a big order… a few pieces of wood "as I go" is much more practical.

The nicest professional designs that I have looked at are from (there are plenty of other references to both these companies elsewhere on this site):

Both of these firm will sell kits and/or CNC cutting files to have the "kit" cut locally (in the case of Branson).

Tom MacNaughton has the preliminary plans for his Eventide which is quite a nice boat, and would be home-buildable I think… although again the downsides of steel and the higher plan costs ore difficult factors for me. I know… if you’re worried about the cost of plans, then you shouldn’t be building a boat… well… probably true, but again, its a large lump payment, as opposed to smaller, pay-as-you go things.

I have only been able to find designs (really two versions of the same design) from one plans company for Dutch Barges for wood/home build purposes. As many as are built in the EU, I would have expected otherwise, although I seem to see much more "sail-away" building there, where the steel work is done by a professional shop and then the DIY homebuilder does the interior.

The available plan is from Selway-Fisher, a well regarded plan supply company.

The craft comes in a 32’x10′ version:

This is a shortened version of the 45′ Teign Motor Barge and has the same flat bottom panel for maximum capacity and ease of construction. We have the plans for the hull construction only in, strip plank and steel…

and a and 45’x12′ version:

In stead of using a slab sided hull seen on so many modern steel barges, we have been able to use the ability of strip planking to produce a hull with well curved topsides and modelled the barge on the old Teign gravel barges. Construction simply starts by laying down the flat bottom using the shape given on the plans. The bottom is a sandwich of ply and baulk timber. On this, the frames/floors are then erected (again the shapes are given on the drawings and the hull sides are planked with 2 overlapping layers of 1" strip planks. Quickly and using fairly basic facilities and tools, a very strong hull can be made by using this method. With a length of 45′ and a beam of 12′ the barge has a large amount of space to fit out the interior as you wish.

Downsides include:

  • Limited wheelhouse space in this design (see previous "Seating for 5?" post regarding wheel house space)
  • wider beam (10′ width will require a permit for over-the-road transport in the U.S.)
  • strip/plank construction – not necessarily bad, but doesn’t work out well for a boat that is stored out of the water or on a trailer… of course for this size range, a mooring/slip is more reasonable, but higher cost