LilJon Pups: Add-ons to turn a boat into a fleet!
A LilJon Pup can be added to any LilJon with a plumb rear transom. You can build one to transform an 8’ LilJon into a rowboat, a simple sailboat or even a longer powerboat. The idea is to build an additional section of boat that will bolt easily to the rear of the original boat and give the desired hull characteristics. If you are building your boat with the intention of building a Pup to go along with it, it will be very easy to set up the rear transom to mate properly to the Pup. If you are retrofitting the Pup, some reinforcement of the rear transom may be needed, depending upon what material you used for the transom in the first place.
A Pup can be either another LilJon (from 2’ to 8’ long), giving a hull with front and rear rocker for rowing or sailing (mirrored LilJons), or simply a 2-8 ft box, extending the already square shape of the hull further, allowing more carrying capacity. Connecting the sections is done by simply bolting the two sections together above the anticipated waterline and by using a door hinge on each side. To put the boat together, simply insert the hinge pin into the hinges on each side and screw the bolts together inside. An additional clamp would probably be prudent, if you are going to use the planning addition and a more powerful motor, just to be safe. This clamp can simply be 2-4 pieces of ¾” ply with a slot cut in it that slips over the joined transoms. A Pup can be used on boats with either plumb sides or flared sides, but may be difficult to fit to a boat with an inclined rear transom, although it is possible.
To build your boat to accept a Pup, all you need to do is make sure that you build the rear transom out of ¾” ply, and build the Pup with ¾” ply on the front transom. If you are building an extension that is designed to plane, make sure that you build the rear transom of the Pup out of 2 layers of ¾” laminated together, as you are probably going to use a larger motor to propel the boat and will need a beefier transom. If you are retrofitting an existing boat and you didn’t use ¾” for your rear transom, you may need to laminate some additional material to get the needed thickness.
What makes a Pup so nice is that you can carry up to a 16 ft boat in the back of a pickup truck and quickly bolt it together when you get to the water. It also makes single handing it easy, as both ends can be made to be handled by one person. Another benefit is that you can build more ends to suit your needs, giving you the option of a row/sail boat as well as a bigger planning Johnboat. You can really turn your LilJon into a BigJon, literally within a couple of minutes. Perfect for when the relative shows up and asks to go fishing.
If you only want to add rowing capability to your LilJon, then you will really only need to add some rocker to the rear, and a 2-3 foot section, curving from the joint to the rear transom with a lift of 6-7” will be sufficient. This will allow the water to flow more naturally around the hull, instead of dragging the transom through the water and creating a lot of suction.
Some examples showing what is possible with a Pup.