Friday, April 25, 2008

the botorhome -- "one of a kind"!

This unique houseboat was built from a well-maintained 1976 23’ Wilderness travel trailer (the outside of the unit actually measures 20’). Assembled, this fully self-contained unit measures 32 feet in length and 13 ½ feet wide but while trailering, falls within the 8 ft. limit. The pontoons provide a 30-inch walkway on each side of the cabin with a 4 ft. rear deck and a 7 ft. awning covered front deck. The craft is extremely stable and moves along at a modest 6-7 mph powered by a 28 hp Evinrude outboard.

Pull into any campground on your way to water, connect the electricity, water and sewer, and you are camping! All the features of this camper are completely functional on land as well as on water. There is dual voltage lighting and a small portable TV, gas/electric refrigerator, gas stove, furnace & water heater. 110-volt appliances include microwave oven and air conditioner. The 10,000 btu Whirlpool air conditioner has been used one season and is located in the forward left storage compartment. The bathroom has all the conveniences of home with a sink, shower and toilet. There are three tanks (black & gray holding and fresh water) each approximately 40 gal.

If the lake is your destination, allow 1 1/2 hours to make the conversion to a houseboat. If you are expecting to press a few buttons and turn a key, this craft may not be for you. Two strong men can lift the (8) pontoons, made from polyurethane foam wrapped in Kevlar and Rhino-lined, from their storage place on the front deck and install them with no special equipment. However, my wife and I can assemble it with the help of a built in jib crane and the pontoon dolly. The engine is raised and lowered via a hand operated hydraulic pump.

Finally, the houseboat is launched off of a fifth-wheel trailer, which was custom-built for this unit and is part of the total package. The total weight of the unit is approximately 8500 lbs. The camper/boat is about 6500 lbs. and the fifth wheel trailer is about 2000 lbs. The pontoons draft 10 inches and the lower unit extends a few inches below that. Once underway, you will find the unit operates as any other watercraft with steering and engine controls on the starboard (right) side. It has a marine radio, navigation lights, horn and bell. Also included are (8) life vests, (2) floatation cushions, (1) life ring, (2) paddles, 18 lb anchor with 100 ft of rope, (4) heavy dock ropes, misc. dock bumpers, (2) 5 gal gas tanks and (1) 2 gal gas tank, and an extra fuel hose. There are also electric adapters for connecting to 30 and 50 amp marine power, and a sewage adapter for emptying wastewater tanks at marine sewage pump-out facilities. Some misc. household items are also included.This is definitely a unique item. You will have no problem meeting people on the water as it draws other boats in like a magnet for a closer look. We have spent hours answering the questions of curious on-lookers. We have fished, swam, sunned, and cruised. Thirteen years of boating have proven this craft seaworthy. We have only had it on inland lakes but found that it has held up to some rough water.