Contributed photo above: Sailboat CROW
Roy Schreyer’s parents loved Wasaga Beach. Escaping Toronto on weekends to visit friends merely whet their appetite for life by the bay. By the time Roy was four they had self-built, and moved into, their own A-frame cottage on Mosley Street where Roy would happily grow up.
An industrial woodworker by trade Roy thinks it was his early adventures on the wilder sections of the Nottawasaga River that lit in interest in boats. The young man had realized that boats meant freedom and the ability to explore.
Roy saved enough for his first purchase by age 12, a “fire-sale” aluminum canoe with a decal of a proud Native Chief on the bow. A couple of years later he and a friend found a 14’ cedar strip boat upside-down among trees in an area flooded by the spring run-off. He was able to repair and enjoy that boat. His education in wooden boat construction was underway.
Now somehow in high school Roy had managed to stay busy enough not to notice a young woman named Dianne. Surprising because not long afterwards the couple did meet, and marry. Dianne by the way had been living in an A-frame in Collingwood.
His career as a woodworker meant designing and building beautiful kitchens, some featured in Architectural Digest. It also meant the stress of meeting deadlines and was, as Roy puts it, “hard on the body.”
In 2010, prompted by a bet about whether he could build a boat, Roy’s first project was a dinghy. That boat he eventually traded for a set of sails for his next build, a 15’8’ shoal-draft camp-cruiser sailboat called Crow.
Part way through Crow’s construction Dianne, while willing to sail as well, expressed interest in something more stable and roomy. Crow was put on hold and the work on Roy’s first houseboat began. At 17’ x 8’ with just a 6” draft Dianne’s Rose has allowed the couple to explore Georgian Bay in comfort.
Roy loves to sail, appreciating the silence rather than the sound of a motor so once Dianne’s Rose was completed Roy just had to finish Crow. The boat has weathered strong winds out on Georgian Bay. “It’s very seaworthy” says Roy. It also draws only about 10” so you can pull tightly up to shore.
Meanwhile, demand had started for Roy’s boat plans and steadily increased. In total he knows of over 2 dozen boats that have been built around the world using his plans. Boats that have allowed families – in Canada, USA, Australia, Denmark, Belarus, Poland, England, and Ireland – to find enjoyment on the water in a very affordable way.
Roy’s work has been highlighted in multiple magazines and blogs. All of his boats – dinghy, sailboat, and houseboat – are purposefully designed to be trailer-able. The plans are adaptable so if you need a bit larger, or a bit smaller, those adjustments can easily be made.
For each boat you can purchase Roy’s plans as a PDF or a set of 18” x 24” hard copies. Behind each of those sets of plans come hours of thought, design, and testing on rough waters out on Georgian Bay. Step-by-step instructions, lots of pictures and drawings, and Roy being available for support and to answer questions, make the process that much easier. There’s even a special Facebook group for folks who purchase the plans, a boat-builders community.
Roy’s latest project? Inspired by teardrop trailers he is sketching out a “mini-D”, a 13’ x 6’ feet houseboat with a 5’ ceiling that can pop-up to full height once you get to where you are going.
If your dreams include the exhilarating freedom of time spent on the water enjoying fresh air and sun Roy has made this an affordable idea. You may just want to give him a shout.