Boats are interesting beasts. I've lived around them (and sometimes on them) for most of my life. I'm a "chicagoian" so my body of water is Lake Michigan. Though I've put a lot of time in on the Chain of Lakes, and Lake Geneva.
Most of my boating experience has been with medium size fast cruising boats. Sedan-Bridge models mostly. The first, my dad owned, was a Sea Ray 270 Sedan Bridge.
I had some experience before that, my grandfather got out of airplanes, and moved to houseboats.
My dad moved up, and over the years I got to drive, live on, and enjoy life around some really nice midsized boats. I'm happy for this.... But it also has skewed my idea of what a boat should be. And I kinda want a boat. (I am looking ahead beyond the airplane...)
There are little boats, things between 14-20' that are definitely boats. But rarely are they anything I'd like to spend the weekend on. And the idea of having to rent a hotel room, when I own a boat, just seems silly.
You can guess where that leads.... Boat plans. I'm not exactly fixated on any particular style of boat. But what really catches my eye, are displacement cruisers, and houseboats.
Bateau.com has a lot of plans available. And they have a series of houseboats that are quite neat. Starting, at get this, sixteen feet! They do have some hilariously uninspiring names; "Houseboat 16", "Houseboat 20."
http://svensons.com/boat/ Has a huge list of free plans, a few of which we'll revisit.. Including this 1970's monstrosity. http://svensons.com/boat/?p=MechanixIllustrated/BudgetHouseBoat While I think it would work for what I want, it doesn't seem like it would be long lived. It's the usual mechanix illustrated tradeoff of form over function. ... it's pretty... but it's clunky.
Another builder we will come back to sells plans to the Aqua Casa: http://www.berkeley-engineering.com/AquaCasaHouseboat.html Which is a 16 or 20' boat, which also can double as a travel trailer. It's proportions are cute, and it seems like it would be a great getaway, and a place to go swimming from.
http://atkinboatplans.com has several houseboat plans for sale. And they even have a pictures section so you can see some of them. http://atkinboatplans.com/Photos/index.html The houseboat of theirs I like best is: http://atkinboatplans.com/Misc/RockingChair.html. It's an outboard powered 30' boat, which seems like it would be a relaxing place to be.
However, their houseboats, which are good looking, seem to be very, very old designs. And the boats of theirs that really catch my eyes are "floating cabins" more than houseboats. Designs where I'd need to find someone with a private lake that would let me leave my shanty boat. For the most part, I've dismissed these as potential boats. http://atkinboatplans.com/Misc/HeraldOfTheMorning.html http://atkinboatplans.com/Misc/Retreat.html Retreat seems like it might convert to a motor houseboat without any real pain...
Speaking of shanty boats, http://www.simplicityboats.com/shantystuff.html has the full plans to the coolwater. Which seems to be a decent barge design.
Back to houseboats though. Glen-L has a small houseboat that catches my eye as well. And it seems to be one that can get up and move. http://www.boatdesigns.com/25-Delta-Q-trailerable-houseboat/products/167/ Thankfully there's several pictures of completed boats, so I can have a really good idea of what the boat will end up like.
Glen-L also sells the designs to the boats I really drool over. But I think I'll post about cruisers next time.