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WB Magazine


A trailerable houseboat

Design and commentary by Laurie McGowan and Michael Schacht

Posted: August 11, 2014
Tags: Gypsy, houseboat

For our 40th anniversary issue of WoodenBoat, we asked the magazine’s founder, Jon Wilson, to specify his current dream boat. He responded with specifications for an amphibious houseboat—one “with a measure of grace and more than a modicum of seaworthiness.” It was a challenging assignment, for the boat had to be liveable both on land and in the water—with ample storage, comfortable seating, and good seakeeping qualities.

The designers responded with Gypsy, a 27-footer with a tunnel stern, a box keel, and an above-water appearance that blends the traits of an English narrowboat with a Gypsy vardo.

Below are two a rotating three-dimensional models of the boat. To read and view the full description of the design, pick up a copy of the September/October issue of WoodenBoat (No. 240).




Submitted by thor pedersen on

I am looking forward to getting hold of a set of plans for the Gypsy house boat, I plan to start building early next year. I will be using Tasmanian Huon pine for the hull. I will be planning to travel down the Murray river in Australia in it the trip will be about 2800km long through 14 locks and two states. Cannot wait to get started and i will be filming the trip.

Submitted by Nanani on

Likewise I'd be interested in getting study plans when these become available.
My wife and I would like to tour around Australia. We've used a Trailer Sailor as a 'caravan' in the past
This design looks ideal for combining the ability to sail the lakes and rivers, and use on the road.
I would build in plywood, having recently restored a Hartley 28ft StarDrifter yacht.
Please let me know when plans become available.

Submitted by Sketchbook on

Thank you for your comments about Gypsy. Laurie and I have been gratified to see the interest in the design. We are moving forward with study plans. We'll make an announcement here in the comments when they become available.

Thanks again for your comments,
Michael Schacht

Submitted by dhohman on

Wonderful looking design. I'm anxious to see the study plans. The Gypsy Houseboat seems to fill a niche for me. Thanks!

Submitted by valerygaulinval... on

When this plan will be available? It seams to be exactly my program. I looking currently for my next building project. The look and the concept seams perfect for what I want to do....

Submitted by LM on

Dear Valery: Thank you for your interest in Gypsy. Michael and I enjoyed working on the design very much. We do not have finished plans of the boat yet, as it would take us a few weeks to finish them while we've been busy with other designs. We're thinking of trying something we're calling "client funding" - where people who would like to buy the full design pay up-front 33% (or so) of the plans so that we may finish them. Then these clients would get a discount on the price of the finished plans. With enough clients we would be able to finish the design. It's taking the time away from other work to complete what is essentially a 'spec' boat that's tough on us. Would something like this interest you? I am making a Sketchbook website, and we will have details of this on there.

I hope this helps, and thanks again!

All the best,