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.
TUSITALA has been regularly maintained and, though she still needs some work, is in the water ready to use now.
Launched as Elizabeth for Mr. and Mrs. John J. Sesnon, this yacht changed appearance dramatically in the 1950s when MIT-trained marine engineer Thomas Rowlands enclosed the upper deck to form what amounts to a “second story” containing the galley and dining area, and added a new wheelhouse atop the old one with a flying bridge above that. Either configuration, early-and-slinky or later-and-stately, looks unusual, and to my eye, really very appealing.
The Pride of Buffalo, designed and built by Michael R Weekes is a 16′ long, 10′ wide, 9′ high geodesic houseboat inspired by R Buckminster Fuller. It was launched at Canalside on the Buffalo waterfront at the Western Terminus of the Erie Canal on Thursday, July 25th. The boat was built by myself, entirely, in 28 days, for less than a cost of $2,000 USD. It weighs approximately 900 pounds. The unique cabin is made of common 2 x 2 lumber, connected to 1/2″ plywood 8″ dia. hubs. The vessel is arguably the most efficient home-built houseboat in the world.
Trumpy maestro Jim Moores (see WB No. 207 for "Trumpy Man: How Jim Moores became Florida's go-to guy for restoration;" WB No. 176 for "Save A Classic: IBIS: A Trumpy-Mathis houseboat") saved the deckhouse of IBIS, though her hull was cut up by another firm. The deckhouse now serves as an office at the North Carolina branch of Moores Marine.