HMS Sharktypus

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HMS Sharktypus on the high seas.

The HMS Sharktypus is a stitch-and-glue flat-bottom dinghy with a Sharktypus paint job. It serves as the lifeboat for HMS Solitaire, and is the principle research dinghy of the Bacliff Exploration Society. It is planned to be fully equipped with an inboard weed-eater motor, ham radio, flounder lights, glass bottom, and oar locks shaped like shark fins.

Original Requirements

HMS Sharktypus design schematics.
Original Sharktypus model with simulated passengers.

Top Level

  • Must be cheap
  • Must fit on Solitaire's foredeck
  • Must be launch-able by a single adult
  • Must handle 5 hp outboard
  • Must take 2 adults and gear/kids/dog
  • Must float when swamped with 5 hp attached


  • Solitaire's hatches must be open-able when dinghy is in place
  • Must not obstruct anchor locker
  • Must not obstruct side decks
  • Dinghy floor window must line up with Solitaire's main hatch for light below
  • Must be securable to deck by access through Solitaire's hatches
  • Must have integrated running lights
  • Must have long grab handles on bottom to facilitate going forward on deck
  • Must have towing bridle
  • Must be able to be rowed
  • Must be able to be sailed


The Sharktypus was constructed in the ESOB Shipyards using the cheapest door skin plywood that money can buy, as well as scrap hurricane plywood, and tomato stakes. The builders have embraced a design philosophy which ignores such things are measurements and common sense, in favor of "listening to the wood". This process has already led to many innovations which will be studied by naval architects for decades to come.


  • 1/4 inch door skin plywood (main structure)
  • 3/4 inch hurricane plywood (transom)
  • PVC pipe (rub rails and drainage hole)
  • Wooden tomato stakes (misc structure)
  • Cable ties
  • Staples
  • Fiberglass and epoxy
  • Rustoleum oil-based enamel paint (black, white, green, yellow, red)

Paint job

The distinctive Sharktypus paint job serves four purposes: first, to terrify anyone who encounters it, second, to prevent the non-waterproof plywood from encountering water, third, to cover up various mistakes, and finally, as a key component of the vessel's structural integrity system. Also, it is hoped to dramatically improve its resale value.


Artist's rendition of the Sharktypus shakedown cruise.
  • Shakedown Cruise. The shakedown cruise of the (unpainted) HMS Sharktypus took place on June 24, 2011. After being christened with Bud Lite, it was deployed into the Watergate Marina in League City, Texas, and tethered to Solitaire. It was then taken on a Ham Radio Ranger training expedition.
  • Crossing the Gulf. In 2012, HMS Sharktypus provided shore-based moral support for the Bacliff Expeditionary Fleet on an epic voyage across the Gulf of Mexico [1].
  • Refreshment Receptacle. Sharkypus has served on numerous occasions as a cooler and food/drink tray at various ESOB events.

Current status


Under construction in the Bacliff Exploration Society Shipyards.
The designers stopped listening the wood in order to create the landing craft style bow.
It's starting to look like a real boat.
Almost finished.
IMG 0871.JPG
Transporting the Sharktypus.
First encounter with water.
Sharktypus shakedown.jpg
Shakedown Cruise.
Sharktypus and Solitaire: the Bacliff Expeditionary Fleet.
Primed and ready to paint.
Painting has begun.
The gaping maw of Sharktypus.
Finished painting.
The backside of Sharktypus.
The undisputed master of the sea!
110923 1.jpg
Sharktypus fully loaded with refreshments.
110923 2.jpg
Another terrifying view of Sharktypus.
110923 3.jpg
Putting Sharktypus to bed.
In the water (with outboard motor).
In drydock.
AutoSharktypus pieces.

See also

External links