Nimble Nomad Project - Tiny House Blog

Nimble Nomad Project


by Captain Mike Schiller

After completing a stationary small space project last December, “My small space made from recycled materials,” I had been looking at small 20 foot or less RV’S and teardrop trailers. I didn’t want to spend more than five thousand dollars.

I am always looking at boats, but did not want to take on a large expense. Being a professional Captain, I know what a commitment it can be to dock, haul, store, and maintain a vessel – especially one that can be lived aboard along with all the systems that go with it!

I have a 21 foot diesel launch that I have trailered to Florida twice from Massachusetts. I had a lot of great times, even doing an 8 day cruise to Key West, but had been looking around for a small boat with an enclosed pilothouse that would be trailerable.

At my marina, I saw a Nimble Nomad and have seen one before in Fort Lauderdale. I was intrigued at the efficient design and small size of this outboard powered, trailerable, 3,500 pound pocket trawler. I started researching them and found them selling in the 20 to 30 thousand dollar range and was thinking about selling the Launch and looking for one.

In a late night Internet surfing session I found one online in Maryland that needed work for $5,000. I called early the next morning talked to the original owner who had the boat built in 1996 and explained that due to health reasons the boat had not been used for the last six years and the interior was water damaged.

I sent a deposit sight unseen that day and three weeks later borrowed a trailer drove down to southern Maryland and brought the boat back to Boston for an intense 3 week restoration. I am fortunate to have the time, skills, and support of friends to get the boat up and running quickly.

Nomad before restoration

The original Honda 40 hp fourstroke looked good in the pictures, but not having run in 6 years was an unknown after some wrench turning it now runs great and is very economical.

The restoration costs have been minimal, mostly my labor and around fifteen hundred in supplies even with the scratch and dent, small portable AC unit, and portable Ice maker.

Nomad after restoration

“NOMAD” is now in the water at a slip in East Boston and I have been enjoying cruising around Boston harbor doing some November boating nice and toasty while enclosed with a propane heater even doing some snowboating the other day.

I plan to trailer the boat to southern Florida this winter and cruise from Fort Lauderdale to the Keys.

Nomad interior

Nomad sleeping area


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Dean - November 26, 2013 Reply

Put this on airbnb, and rent it out nightly, to help with slip fees. I’d love to spend a weekend on the boat, at the slip, using it as a base of operations for touring the Boston area.

Khadija - November 26, 2013 Reply

That looks so cool.

curt - November 26, 2013 Reply

thats a fine looking vessel,sir

Najja Foluke - November 26, 2013 Reply

I want one! Nice!

Zackem - November 26, 2013 Reply

I love your little Nomad, I think it’s awesome that you where able to pick it up for only $5.K…!It’s not every day you come across a buy like that. Being a former boat owner and a live aboard well, I miss the life on my 43ft. Seafarer sailboat…! Tell me one thing does it have a head I didn’t see one in your pic’s…?
Thanks… Zackem Ft. Pierce FL.

Zackem - November 26, 2013 Reply

My apologies, I just noticed a bulk head door on one of your pic’s, so I am assuming that would be your head compartment, behind the helm station…!

Lace - November 26, 2013 Reply

So gorgeous! Do you need a deckhand? “There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats.” Kenneth Grahame

Darrell - November 26, 2013 Reply

Fantastic job in finding and restoring this little gem. Enjoy the balmy waters of Florida!

Nancy - November 26, 2013 Reply

What a lovely boat! We live aboard our Sabre sailboat during the summer, in the Great Lakes, and “high five” your wonderful restoration. Enjoy your Florida trip!

Wendy - November 26, 2013 Reply

I would like to see how the berth is- does the table come down and then the bench convert to a larger sleeping space? And where do you store your clothes, blankets, etc. We had a 42 foot trawler and spent many happy times on it. Nothing like Marina life! Have fun!

Yojimbo - November 26, 2013 Reply

Beautiful work. That bright, high-ceilinged pilothouse must be a pleasure to occupy underway.

Yojimbo - November 26, 2013 Reply

Quick question: is the exterior housing wood, fiberglass, or…?

Aric - November 26, 2013 Reply

Gorgeous little boat. Your passion shows through in the finishes. Have fun in Florida!

70marlin - November 26, 2013 Reply

very nice!

Ryan - November 26, 2013 Reply

My friend lived full time in a nimble nomad in Maryland (not this one, it was in much better shape). They are nice boats!

Lynne H - November 26, 2013 Reply

What a great find, and the transformation is super nice! Awesome job!

TomLeeM - November 26, 2013 Reply

I think that is really nice.

Paulette - November 26, 2013 Reply

Nothing stirs the imagination like living on the water. What a lovely boat and the finish is just gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

Kenneth Patchen - November 26, 2013 Reply

Man, I looovvvee this! Very cool!

Mike - November 27, 2013 Reply

Thanks for all the positive comments it has been a labor of love and I still have a lot of finishing touches and look forward to exploring in Nomad

If you want to know more about Nomads there is a facebook page Nimble Nomad owners that has more pictures and lots of information.

Capt. Mike

JohnBoston - November 27, 2013 Reply

Are you giving tours ??? That thing is way cool, nice work.

Marvin - November 29, 2013 Reply

Looks delightful

Andre - November 30, 2013 Reply

Great little boat. I envy you. The future belongs to the intrepid ones with vision and a will to put in some elbow grease. Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring story!

Lori - December 3, 2013 Reply

wow…beautiful job….I would love to see it if/when you make it to Ft lauderdale….if you posted the time and place for a tour I would surely come…you are living my DREAM11 Yay for YOU!

Jamie Wallhauser - December 3, 2013 Reply

The restoration looks terrific, she’s beautiful, cozy and so well laid out. I’d love to see the head and what motor have you got? And you be careful out there in Boston Harbor Captain, you know her limitations in a chop!

Scott Harris - December 5, 2013 Reply

Sweet little boat! I have an Albin 25 pocket trawler. It was a great compromise between my green living ways and love for the sea. 1/2 gallon of diesel an hour. Keep the inspiration coming!

Marcia Bonk - December 7, 2013 Reply

I would just camp out in it while getting it to Florida!

Ken - December 16, 2013 Reply

I have always wanted to live on a boat, now reading your story I’m feeling a bit more like it could become a possibility. Nice restoration job!

Bay side Joe - January 28, 2014 Reply

Very nice Mike,
I have been looking for a couple of years now for the same type of deal, with no luck. I live near the Erie canal system and have seen the (Cruise USA) rental nimble on the canal. I guess I will have to keep looking for that special deal. Again a great job, enjoy, and calm seas….


John - January 30, 2014 Reply

Excellent work. We have just purchased a Nomad Tropical with a very tired interior. Would love to know details about [1] type of paint used, [2] method of application – brush, spray, etc. – [3] any other hints/tips about spiffing up the cabin. Looks like there was a lot of sanding, but the results speak for themselves.

    Mike - January 30, 2014 Reply

    Hi John

    you can send me an email and I will reply.

    all wood is finished with Minwax teak oil brushed on at least 3 coats it looks like varnish but a lot easier to work with and repair.

    I attacked the wood with a 5 inch random orbit sander and 100 grit being careful not to sand through the thin veneer.

    Good luck with your Nomad I am writing this reply from my bunk on the Nomad anchored in a small harbor at Taviner Key .

    Check out the Nimble Nomad owners page on Facebook.

    Capt. Mike

Daniel - March 3, 2014 Reply

Looks pretty good for such a little boat. Nice work on it.

Mike - March 7, 2014 Reply

Just returned from a 2 month adventure with the Nomad explored the St. Johns river then splashed in Pompano Beach traveled down the east coast of southern Florida down to the Keys with an extended stay in Fort Lauderdale the boat performed flawlessly it has been awesome and to go from an idea to reality has been very satisfying.I look forward to many more great times aboard the Nomad it will be docked at Marina Bay in Quincy this summer and I plan on another adventure next winter.

    Alan - April 26, 2014 Reply

    I am interested in how you finished the woodwork and your method. It sounds great.

Katie - June 26, 2014 Reply

What an amazing transformation! Thanks for sharing your story. Enjoy your Nimble Nomad adventures! Katie.

Chris - February 26, 2015 Reply

Are interested in selling your nomad or are you aware of any for sale.

Chuck - April 2, 2015 Reply

Beautiful restoration. I had a 95 Nomad, the SeaBell, which I cruised for 7 years on Lake Geneva, WI. I called it my “gin ‘n tonic” boat, because it was so slow one couldn’t get in much trouble. Loved that sweet little pocket trawler, which had everything a fine little craft could offer, with little maintenance. Many fond memories. The boat is now on the Illinois river with a loving new owner.

Ed Hodges - July 4, 2015 Reply

I’ve owned and loved two Nomads on the Chesapeake Bay. A terrific boat for “camping” solo, with a few reservations: it’s tight for more than one overnight; it’s terrible in rough water, and “rough” starts early in the flat-bottomed Nomad; 5-6 knots can get old after a while, but I kept telling myself the sailboaters would love to average that speed; it’s a lovely boat for cruising rivers and small bays, and for dropping the hook in a shallow cove.

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