My Wheelbarrow PDR --- Another Way to Transport a Duck
By Wes Lewis
Hard pressed to load my PDR alone, I thought I'd try to move it like my yard wheelbarrow. I've used it a year now, and can say that It works well. I use the oars as handles to get it up a ramp and into my tall, one ton pick-up truck. A removable, drop-in, hard rubber bow wheel rolls along easily unless the sand is too deep.Once at the lake, I can unload it and wheel it across the shore to the water where I remove and store the wheel prior to launching. Everything is always with me to move the boat---even when arriving across the lake. No large equipment needs to be carried inside of the boat. Nothing protrudes below the boat to cause drag.
I built a rectangular wood box, open on the top and bottom, that mounts to the bow. An attached gate handle allows lifting the bow as necessary to put the wheel in and out. The wheel is any old thing lying around---in my case it is a ten inch hard rubber wheel I inherited in a box of garage-sale junk. A 2 x 6 was notched to fit the wheel using my saber saw. A seven inch, 1/2 inch diameter bolt secures the wheel in place with lock-tight applied to the threads under the nut.
Once on the lake , I simply pull the wheel out by lifting up the PDR by the handle on the bow and slip the wheel down and off. Then it can be dropped in upside-down into the same box structure in order to contain it while sailing. It looks a little funny, but what else is new?
My two, seven foot long, Thrift Store purchased, wooden oars fit into two holes cut into the transom and allow wheeling the PDR fairly easily to and fro. It puts a bit of stress on the oars, but they haven't snapped yet! Since I added the cabin structure and the weight has increased, they're taking even more of a beating, but still hanging in there. The quarter inch plywood transom is wearing some (chipping around the top of the holes) after this first year of use and needs a second layer of plywood reinforcement on the top half of the hole cutouts to support the load. One of these days I'll get around to that...(!).
I made an eight foot long ramp out of 2 x 6 lumber with guide plates on the sides and a metal pin to secure it to the tailgate. A longer ramp would have helped to load the PDR, but I wanted to be able to store the ramp in the truck bed. I don't have a picture of me actually loading the PDR, but the process I use is to get up some speed and just keep the momentum going up the little ramp as I walk forward and end up straddling the ramp as the PDR reaches the top of the ramp and is completely on the tailgate. Half way up the ramp, I shift from a below-hold to a top-hold on the oars/handles to give myself the leverage I need to push it home. Once the front wheel is on the tailgate, it's easy to push/slide the boat into the bed fully and close the tailgate. The photo was staged. In reality, I would load the PDR facing downhill so as to reduce the height required to lift the load.
All in all, I am very satisfied with the results of this transportation method. I don't need the expense and bother of a trailer to load and unload my boat and I can go solo at the drop of a hat. I appreciate that my dolly parts are always with me.
There are many other methods out there which work well. Some use a larger dolly and move the boat on its side; some use a wheel like mine mounted in the mast hole and move the boat while it is upside-down, These methods are difficult for my now heavier boat (I don't want to consider flipping it). A nice article came out in Woodenboat Magazine a few years back I believe, that used this similar "Wheelbarrow Method" but with a built-in wheel in a well in front of the boat---I don't recall him using oars, though. He did a beautiful job of it, but it is more complicated and it uses up precious internal space. It's larger, air inflated, easier-rolling tire would be advantageous on soft surfaces, however.
I hope this article encourages you to consider yet another way to move your PDR. For a few bucks and a few hours, you too can join the "Wheelbarrow Club" and be getting curious looks from strangers at your local lake!
Wes Lewis 4-29-12
PDR 346 "Laurie Lee"