Our Dream was to build a boat and vacation on it! Not just any boat. We wanted to build a boat that could be trailered, have room and amenities to live aboard during vacation and use as a camper along the way.

After looking at factory built boats it was plain to see that a family with children just did not have money for luxuries like a houseboat.

So, we built our boat right in our back yard and you can too! The hull was constructed of local lumberyard materials and covered with fiberglass. The end result was a craft that out performed factory built boats at a fraction of the cost. Plus, there is a special feeling knowing you built your boat yourself.  It becomes more than a boat, it becomes part of your family and I can not think of a better family or school project.

Amateur boat building is huge around the world. Canal boats, pontoon boats, houseboats and just about any type of factory built boat can be constructed by the back yard boat builder.

Over the years we have received many questions about how we built this boat and what materials we used.  We have answered all these and more in our book Dream Building

This book is packed with information and humor about how we built and cruised our own boat affectionately named the "Fair Havens".  It is loaded with photographs and answers to questions that arise with such a project. . If you are planning to build your own boat, or you are looking for a great family project, this book is for you! Even if you do not build this particular boat, the information you get will be invaluable even when building from other boat plans.

One of the repeated themes we share in Dream Building is how we used local supplies.  This saved us a lot of money  without sacrificing the quality of our boat. However it took a lot of research time. We share all our research with you so you can spend time on your boat!

This book is not all about boat construction. We share the story of our Maiden Cruise up the Florida Intercoastal Waterway from Cocoa Beach  to St Augustine. Enjoy our Florida Key cruises where our family vacationed for many years staying, not in expensive hotels, but on our boat.

You will experience an average family building their dream boat together...

After a long time we narrowed our selection to two boats found in the catalog.  The sleek Raven, and the homely Gypsy.  The Raven had it all.  She was a 27 ft. trailerable cabin cruiser with sleek lines.  The cabin had nice berthing, galley and head.  I could see myself coming into dock as all drooled over my mini yacht.  The Gypsy on the other hand had all except looks.  She was a homely boat but very practical.  She did have a very shallow draft, which I wanted for the Florida lakes.  Also, the Gypsy could be used as a camper, and I thought the layout was more practical for a family with children.  So, with the children chanting, "Raven, Raven," I picked up the phone and ordered the Gypsy Plans!  I never regretted this decision, and soon the family came to love the homely Gypsy that we christened the "Fair Havens."

To the excitement of the Maiden Voyage!

That night the children wanted to sleep on the bow porch, which I agreed to.  I noticed as I went to bed that along the shoreline you could hear small minnows splashing.   So we fell asleep with a gentle rocking of the boat and the soothing splash of those minnows.  Around 4 A.M.  I awoke and noticed the splashing of the minnows was very close, so I tried to get up to investigate.   However, I couldn’t sit up, because the bow of the boat was angled down.   Still being half asleep, the thought came to me that I should not have let the kids sleep on the bow porch, because their weight was pulling the bow down.   Then I jolted awake with the realization that something was terribly wrong!

Even if you never build your own houseboat this book is a great read.

To order just click on the link below and fill out the ordering information. After your order has been processed (within minutes) you will be directed to our download page where you can download your copy of Dream Building in PDF Format.

All orders are processed through Ckickbank on their secure link

Order your copy of Dream Building at only $12.95

credit card - book - boatbuilding

  • How we selected the right boat plans
  • What boat building material we used and where to find it 
  • Step by step construction tips with a lot of photos
  • How to prevent wood decay with products found at the local stores
  • Boat Fiberglassing 
  • Interior construction
  • Painting on a budget and what the paint store will not tell you
  • The excitement of the family as we build this dream
  • The agony of the engine purchase
  • The first test launch 
  • The Maiden Voyage and how not to anchor
  • The case of the moving channel markers
  • Trips to the Florida Keys with color pictures

Order your copy of Dream Building at only $12.95

Dream Building
was featured in the July 2002 addition of
Houseboat Magazine

See pictures from the plans