Inflatable Boat, Outboard Motor and Gas transport Modifications

Avon Redshank with 6hp JohnsonAvon Redshank with 6hp JohnsonIf I wasn't touring the country via motorhome, I would be cruising the world in a sailboat. As such, the ability to take a small craft to get on the water with us on our journeys was a high priority from the start.

The choice of watercraft was fairly simple. We already owned a venerable 1984 Avon Redshank along with a 6 hp Johnson outboard motor, and Northwest River Supplies rowing frame complete with 8' Carlyle oars. (The raft is fantastic - is was a little pricey $1200 in 1984, but is constructed of a sandwich of Hypalon, and looks as good now, as it did 20 years ago)

This was the only craft that I could think of that would allow a family of 4 to go river rafting in (Class II and maybe III tops please) - as well as go power boating on Lake Powell, Saint Mary's Lake, Lake Superior (Pictured Rocks) - at a rather sedate, but comfortable 4mph.

Alternatives that might be considered for a couple would include a folding Klepper or Feathercraft Kayak - or maybe a rigid kayak if a viable roof rack could be designed.

However, since we already had the boat, motor, and rowing frame - the challenge became one of how to transport all the required gear in the Lazy Daze in a secure and safe manner.

Avon Redshank Raft Storage

The raft itself is weighs about 80 pounds and fits in it's storage bag of about 34" round by 48" tall. This goes at the foot of the overcab kids bed. It's a bit of a grunt to hoist it into position, but it doesn't move much once it's there.

The floorboard for use with the motor was hinged so that its 24" by 6' dimensions would tuck neatly behind the drivers seat in the right side of the refrigerator.

The rowing frame and oars break down into components which are stored in the left rear storage compartment.

The biggest challenge was finding transport for the 6hp, 65# motor, and 3 gallon gas tank.

3 Gallon Tempo Gas Tank Storage

RV shed for gasRV shed for gasI didn't want to store this in the rig, since it's probably illegal, and I didn't want any gas vapors in the coach. I wound up constructing an 11x12x48" box out of ¾" plywood. The gas tank just fit inside the box - and the box was mounted under the rig, bolted onto the struts that support the rear of the rig.

The box was constructed with great strength. I used angle iron on all inside corners, and bolted it together and used construction adhesive on all joints. The entire box got several coats of oil based primer. Then the interior was painted white, and the exterior black.

When mounted correctly, the box will never bottom out - i.e. the rear guards will hit bottom if you go over too steep an incline. I added some vent holes and a hinged door and hasp for a lock. The gas tank along with the gas hose, oil, plugs, anchor, and other boat gear fits nicely inside. With over 60k miles, it is still as solid as new.

6 hp Johnson Outboard Storage

Outboard motor rack for 6hp JohnsonOutboard motor rack for 6hp JohnsonThis was a little more challenging. It weighs close to 60#, and has an awkward weight distribution. I rejected the concept of trying to heft it to the top of the rig via an external backpack frame but only after I had nearly herniated a disc trying to make the first step on the ladder. (This was not going to work,, and I was probably not going to get more athletic with additional years.)

The final solution, and one that has proven it's success with over 60k incident free miles of travel is that of a angle bracket that is mounted to the rear bumper and ladder shown in the photo to the left. It supports probably 90% of the motors weight on the bumper, with only a little bit possibly pulling on the ladder. It is fairly easy to mount the motor by screwing it onto an artificial transom, and it still allows us to use the Yakima bike rack to carry 4 mountain bikes.

BIC Lambada Windsurfer Carrier

Antique windsurfer carrierAntique windsurfer carrierAn extra benefit of the motor mount was that it can do double duty as a carrier for our Bic Lambada windsurfer. The windsurfer is carried in a sling made of 1" nylon climbers webbing, and then strapped to the carrier and ladder with bolt on windsurfer carrier straps from Thule. Unfortunately, our windsurfer is of the older style and is almost 12' tall. This would still clear anything on the highway, but the exposed 3 square feet of surface area at 70mph highway speeds would probably stress the ladder more than I would like. As such, we limit our transport of the wind surfer to the fewer than 50 mph speeds that we use on the island.