HARMONICA, MINISHANTY, 13' X 5', 400
Harmonica is a tiny shanty boat that
sleeps two in its cabin. There is a porch up front suitable
for lounging and a small room in the stern for the kitchen
and the water closet. I think it is arranged so that two
people could wait out an all day soaker without feeling
too pressed. For protected waters only. I've been asked
more that once if Harmonica would be OK in the Ohio River,
etc.. My answer is no. In calm weather you might get away
with it but you always run the risk of huge wakes, especially
from large motor yachts. The prototype Harmonica was built
by Chris Crandall of Lawrence, Kansas.
This boat was originally
called Fusebox. It was intended
to be an electric boat for the wonderful little conservation
lakes we have around here. But later I thought that the
electric scheme was strained because few trolling motors
could push this box on a windy day. And because I noticed
that none of the local conservation lakes have electric
plugs at the docks, so recharging the batteries there
would not be possible. Putting a gallon of fuel on board
is a lot easier than taking an 80 pound battery home.
Chris used a 1 horse Tanaka and that was about the minimum
required, pushing the boat at 2 or 3 mph. At the same
time I would say that 5 hp would be a reasonable maximum.
You don't need much power or speed because you never can
go more than a mile in any direction in the lakes I'm
I also heard from John
Applewhite, of Gainesville, Fl.,
who built the Harmonica shown in the photo at the top
of the page. He had quite a bit of shantyboat experience
and also some electric experience. He used a 3 hp Minnkota
and two golf cart batteries, probably about 200 pounds
of gear. John said this electric is used nearly all the
time with great satisfaction but he also has a small gas
outboard on the transom as a backup.
John also wrote, "...The entire
family (two adults and two children) has spent the night
on Steel Will. I put 1x2's between the slats in the two
forward bunks and created a single bunk that is five feet
wide. We have found that the thick cushions sold to cover
lawn furniture very adequate mattresses for boats."
Harmonica soaks up four sheets of 3/8"
plywood and six sheets of 1/4" plywood and uses simple
glue and nail jigless construction.