Terry Everman grew up in a Columbia River tugboat family, and after a 30-year career in the shipbuilding industry, he built a tug for himself. It wasn’t big, like the tugs that he’d seen as a boy, but it was the biggest tug he could build in a one-car garage. He had gathered experience building other small wooden boats: 8′ MiniMax hydroplane, Phil Bolger’s Cartopper, Warren Jordan’s Baby Tender (a cradle boat), Mac McCarthy’s Wee Lassie, and a traditional Melonseed skiff.
The mini-tug started with measuring the garage that would be Terry’s workshop. A length of 16′ would leave him some room to get around the ends, and the 7′4″ beam left just 1″ of clearance on either side to get through the garage door. He began working up the design on a basic computer program. His friend Harry Schoenauer lent a hand fine-tuning the design before building began.
After a year devoted to designing the tug, the first project was to build an 8′ x 16′ rolling platform so the hull could be moved outside when it came time to roll it upright. Shaped panels of marine-grade plywood—½″ on the bottom, two layers of ¼″ below the side rail, and ¼″ for the bulwarks and house— gave the tug its shape. The rounded stern was essential for the classic look but a challenge to build. Thickened epoxy fillets strengthened the joints, and sheathing of 7-oz fiberglass cloth with epoxy reinforced and protected the hull. Empty spaces below the deck were filled with a poured-in foam mix for flotation. When the hull was finished, Terry and friends pulled it outside and rolled it over, and then pushed it back into the garage. The tug’s house was built in a separate garage and later set on the hull.
Back in the garage, the tug was given its power plant, a brushless electric motor (72V, 350A) from Electric Motorsport. Powered by six 12-volt deep-cell marine batteries, the motor would produce the equivalent of 31 hp. A 14 pitch x 10″ propeller is driven through a 2:1 double V-belt reduction. The keel added to the V hull to protect the shaft and prop brought the tug’s draft to 24″.
Terry built DOCKHOUSE QUEEN in south Florida and completed construction in two years. He and his wife Sandy then towed the tug to their homeport in Cathlamet, Washington. The cross-country trip drew lots of compliments: people enjoyed the unique cartoon character of the boat. DOCKHOUSE QUEEN performs as Terry expected for a vessel with a sheer plan shaped like a watermelon and a one-ton displacement. At a minimal effort of 30 amps, she makes 4 knots. Top speed with a 150-amp draw is 7 knots. At a casual cruising speed of 3 to 4 knots, the batteries will provide power for several hours. “A quick charging session,” says Terry, “and she is good to go. No fueling fumes, messy bilges, or fuel-dock credit cards.” Terry entered DOCKHOUSE QUEEN in Cathlamet’s yearly Wooden Boat Festival, and she was awarded First in Class.
Terry Everman passed away unexpectedly just two months after this issue was published, and now DOCKHOUSE QUEEN is need of new owners. Please email me if you’re interested.
Christopher Cunningham, Editor
In the comments below, Ed was interested in hearing more about the rolling platform. Terry replied with photos and details: