Don Rodgers' Vamp
VAMP, LIGHT ROWBOAT, 12' X 3.5', 60
After the success Frank Kahr had with
Robote I designed
a smaller version with most of the same features. The
idea was to get a fast and seaworthy boat that would cartop
so easily that you would want to leave it on the car top
more or less all the time, ready to go at a moment's notice.
From cartopping smaller boats like Toto
I had found that they hardly slow the car down or keep
a compact car from getting 30+ miles per gallon on the
highway. I thought the trick was to keep the boat small
enough that complicated tie downs were not required. I
also knew that Piccup,
at about 90 pounds, is about the most a fellow would want
to cartop. Lighter is better, of course, but once the
weight gets below 70 pounds the boat becomes so easy to
load that getting it super light is not mandatory. The
prototype Vamp that you see here was built by Ken Prims
of Layton, Utah. Here is his boat atop his compact car,
a very nice package as I had hoped.
Why not stick to a canoe like Toto?
It has the size, weight and shape (mild sheer and squared
stern) that makes for easy cartopping. But a good rowing
boat can be as fast, dryer, and take a passenger with
more ease. The only problem I see with Vamp is that her
V bottom can make beaching more challenging than a boat
with a flat bottom plank.
Construction is with taped seams from
three sheets of 1/4" plywood, the same bill of materials
as for the larger Robote. Robote will be a lot better
if you are rowing with a passenger all the time. Vamp
might be a handier impulse boat for a solo boater, although
it can take two adults in a pinch.