The Handy Punt, designed by Michael Storer, is a lightweight and stable outboard motor boat for fishing and exploring.
It has a large load-carrying capacity, able to carry a family of four quite happily. With all its built-in buoyancy there is quite a good margin of safety, but it is important to remember that punts really are suited to lake, river and estuary waters.
The punt is one of the most common utility boats. They are fast under moderate power in reasonably smooth water, have a huge initial stability and good weight carrying ability.
The usual problem with punts is the weight of the bottom construction. The Handy punt avoids this by having large external bottom runners which distributes the load into the seat faces. The epoxy technology allows this approach as the boat is effectively glued into one piece.
The Handy Punt will lift up onto the bottom runners when lightly laden at higher speeds. This reduces the wetted area for less drag and more speed.
Weight has a huge effect on speed and general performance. The weight of 46 kg (100 lb) would be achievable using Gaboon (Okoume) plywood which is 30% lighter than most other plywoods.
The transom is strong enough to handle a 15 HP outboard motor. Given 8 HP the punt moves along quickly with two people and gear and still moves well with three. Lower power (5 HP) is OK if there is only one person and a light payload – maybe a child and some fishing gear and the intention is to chug along.
With a 15 HP motor, one or two up it is reported to be a very fast ride – lots of speed and lots of spray – but it sounds like 10 HP makes a lot more sense where it is allowed.
There may be regulations in your country restricting the maximum motor size you can use. You should check the regulations for your country before purchasing a motor.
The Punt is made from four sheets of plywood. One of the fun aspects is the amazing lack of wasted plywood – probably less than 5%. An interesting corollary of this is that it is difficult to stretch her in length or beam without substantially increasing the amount of plywood needed.
All components are prefabricated on the flat before the sides are set up with the bulkheads and transom between. The seat tops and gunwale framing are then fitted and finally the bottom and runners are fitted. They work in conjunction with the frames inside the boat to provide a very stiff structure.
The 43-page A4 plans for the Handy Punt are more like a book or a boatbuilding course. They contain detailed information on each building step, including how to join the plywood, mark the shapes of the panels and use the epoxy.
An electronic version of the plans in PDF format that can be viewed using Adobe Reader. After credit card authorisation the file will be sent to the email address put on the order form.