A modern 33'6" floating home

by Laurie McGowan



WB No. 254, Jan/Feb 2017: SKIMMER is a light and fast houseboat, merges the idea of a livable Dutch motor barge with a fast and light Hickman Sea Sled. Motor barges are generally flat-water boats that maximize living space, and they can be found throughout Europe’s canal system. The Sea Sled, progenitor of the ubiquitous Boston Whaler, is fast and seaworthy.

SKIMMER Particulars

  • LOA: 37′10″ (11.54m)
  • LOD: 33′6″ (10.21m)
  • LWL: 31′10″ (9.70m)
  • Beam: 8′6″ (2.59m)
  • Beam WL: 7′7″ (2.32m)
  • Draft: 7″-8½″ (0.18-0.21m)
  • Displacement: 5,440 lbs (2.47t)
  • D/L ratio: 75
  • Power Twin long-shaft four-stroke 40- to 50-hp motors

The afterdeck makes a welcoming entryway to the interior. Two davits arc above it, for convenient dinghy stowage. Ample windows make for a light and airy cabin.

Vertical hull sides minimize the amount of spray (and energy) cast to the sides, while ample spray rails help keep water from coming aboard. A jog in the tunnel’s top, near the bow, deflects water that might otherwise climb over the bow.

To reach a modest 15 knots, the boat requires a mere 24-hp; 40-hp will push the boat to nearly 30 knots.

Space is maximized by the boat’s near-rectangular cabin plan. The accommodation includes a galley and dinette, a queen-size bed, and ample stowage.

Laurie McGowan is a Nova Scotia–based boat designer in with a diverse on- and below-water work history. He specializes in energy-efficient commercial and pleasure boats. More of his work may be found at

Do you have a boat concept you’d like to see Laurie McGowan develop in WoodenBoat magazine? If so, send it to Sketchbook, WoodenBoat Publications, P.O. Box 78, Brooklin, ME 04616, or email it to Your letter should be no longer than 500 words.

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