My Backyard Boats:

The Quark

Launch ... lurch ... go home

    03 May 03: The day was beautiful today, clear, cool, and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky, and 58 degrees F. when I launched Quark at Widewater on the Erie Canal in Lockport. It's a short and disappointing story from here, though, because as soon as I sat down in the boat and pushed off, the sideways rocking, paired with freeboard of a scant six inches, shipped enough water to cast me out and turtle the boat. The good news? Only an elderly lady in a big sedan next to the launch saw what happened; I was only in a foot of water; and the water, though wet, was not that cold.

    I didn't cry, but I didn't laugh, either. I liked building this boat, and expected to be able to use it. At this point, though, I don't recommend it for anyone, though I do plan to see how the 50-to-100-pound contingent of my extended family fares with Quark this summer, under careful supervision. Shucks, I plan to try again myself. After all, I was sitting on a safety cushion, and maybe being three inches lower would make enough difference to at least paddle around in warm water. I'm sure it will be fine for little people.

    Time spend so far: Add 11 hours of paddle-making and painting yesterday and today, for a total so far of 64 hours.

    Cost so far: Add $10 for Interlux Brightside paint (I used about a half pint that I had on hand; it costs about $22 per quart) for a total so far of $211.12.

One-person job to get the Quark onto the rack in the pickup truck.

At Widewater on the Erie Canal in Lockport. Ready to launch.

Ready to go home. Taking on water after a second try at making it work for me. At 200 pounds plus, I'm just too big for this fine little boat.

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