In addition to comfortable houseboats with fiberglass or metal hulls such as flat-bottomed flatcuts, catamaran boats have become widespread abroad. The displacement part of such vessels is a pair of sealed pontoons of rectangular or cylindrical cross-section, most often of welded construction made of corrosion-resistant aluminum alloys. The pontoons are connected by light cross-links, on top of which a flooring of shields is laid and the walls of the house are mounted.
The advantages of such a design are obvious. Floats turn out to be lighter, since thin sheets of metal can be used for their manufacture and limited to a minimum set — mainly in the form of transverse bulkheads.
As an example, photos of two «pontoon» boats, as they are called in the USA, released in 1976, on the market by the company «Coyote» are given. For lovers of water recreation with a modest family budget, the model houseboat «Pioneer». The delivery package includes two aluminum pontoons with a length of 8.5 m and a width of 0.585 m, a set of shields for assembling the house and a set of fasteners. The pontoons have a rectangular cross-section with a small keeled bottom and a pointed bow. To improve the germination on the wave and the reflection of the bow breakers near the stem, wide splash bumpers are installed.
The design is such that no special tools or any fitting work is required to assemble the house. The dimensions of the catamaran deck are 7.3x2 m, the floor area in the cabin is 3.6x2 m. The walls of the house and the deck are thermally insulated and decorated with decorative plastic. There are doors in the forward and aft bulkheads, wide opening windows, a spacious bow deck, a steering post with remote control of the engine, running lights. All the internal equipment of the cottage is provided to be made by the owner himself or to equip him with products available for sale.
After all, practically a house on the water is no different from the same country house on the ground, except that you need to securely fix everything in its place and economically use every cubic decimeter of volume.
Recreational and tourist pontoon boats with an open deck or equipped with an awning are also popular in America. For example, the boat «Deluxe Commander» of the same company «Coyote», is available with cylindrical pontoons 6 or 7.3 m long and 0.5 m in diameter. The deck has dimensions of 2x4,8 m or 2x6 m, respectively, and is protected by a light bulwark. It is equipped with a control panel and a driver's seat, comfortable sofas for passengers, a galley and other equipment necessary for walking a group of 4-6 people. The permissible load for floats with a length of 6 m is 850 kg with the boat's own weight of 500 kg. With the maximum outboard motor power of 65 hp allowed for installation on the Commander, the boat can tow a water skier.
The advantage of pontoon boats, in addition to a large useful area, is the safety of use. They have good stability, their survivability, due to the division of the hulls into waterproof compartments, is quite high. The shallow draft allows you to approach any unequipped shore. The «Commander» can be transported on a trailer behind a passenger car, like an ordinary boat.
In the USA, BIA standards have been established for the carrying capacity and engine power allowed on pontoon boats. The load capacity is determined by the formula:
where V·f is the buoyancy of the hulls (in kg), defined as the product of the volume of the floating material V (m³) or the volume of the sealed parts of the pontoon, if it is hollow (welded construction), on the supporting force of the material in the water f (the difference between 1 t/m and the density of the floating material); and D — the boat's own weight, t. The permissible motor power is determined by the formula:
where L is the length of the pontoon, m; d is the diameter of the pontoon, m. If the cross section of the pontoon is not round, the maximum diameter of the circle is substituted into the formula, which can be inscribed in this section.
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