of On Deck log entries: 22 February 03
you build a boat in the mind
the original, tone-setting
post to this log]
After weeks of bone-chilling weather, unlike anything
that we've had for many winters, there's been a warmup
lately. Although I'm not tricked by this, I do feel the
dim belief that warmer days and things like the building
of backyard boats will again be part of my life.
Somebody say amen.
been thinking a lot for a while now about just what boat
(or boats, plural) that I'm going to build this coming
are the pertinent factors:
need to stay within a reasonable monthly amount --
enough to bankroll a boat of modest size in one season
of building or a boat of more generous size over two
seasons of building.
would like to build a sailboat, either for occasional
use alone or with my wife. That is, either an 8-foot
pram or a garage-length sailboat with cuddy.
planning a trip in late summer to Selkirk Shores State
Park on Lake Ontario where we've spent time in the
past. I want some kind of dink or canoe to play around
have sets of boat plans coming out the aft end, including:
Box 3, a prototype Jim
Michalak sailboat of 15 feet
that follows the spirit of legendary small boat
designer Philip Bolger's Micro
but uses water ballast instead of 400 pounds of
molten lead (okay, okay, okay -- the lead will only
be molten for a while, for an extremely dangerous
13.5-foot boat called Tread
Lightly designed by John
New Zealand, who designs beautiful multi-chine boats
that aren't (somebody say amen) simply stitch-and-glue
but have stringers behind each lapstrake joint for
gluing. Down side? The plans, despite vague assurances
to the contrary, are in metric notation. On balance,
I would like to try using metric measures.
Dink plans that I used last
year to build a boat that I ended up giving to my
brother-in-law. Up side: cheap and fast, and this
time I can put on the gaff rig. And two would be
Shoe, which I love except for
the mere 200 pounds of molten lead (okay, okay,
okay) that I would have to face and endure. I've
toyed with the idea of mixing lead with epoxy or
cement, but I figure that if I ever build an Old
Shoe, I'll do it right or not at all.
IBM, a neat boat
of about 13 feet with a lug rig and birdwatcher
cabin. Down side: stitch and glue construction (which
just doesn't appeal to me).
a canoe-like 15-footer made with stitch-and-glue
Canoe, a boat designed by professors
at Buffalo State University, which is a few minutes
from the house. I have built their Weekend Skiff,
and when I want to cheer myself up, I close my eyes
and remember the joys of building that boat. Down
side: It take much longer than a weekend or a few
hours to build one of these boats, and the canoe,
based on the lines of the skiff and the construction
approach, would be less boat for almost the same
time and money.
Skiff. Down side: I already
have one hanging from the rafters in the garage.
for an International 14
skiff that I attempted to build ages and ages ago,
without success. Down side: been there, done that,
bought the T-shirt.
sets of vintage plan reprints, including a 16-foot
sailboat called Petrel,
a design that I've loved and rejected time and time
again, beginning with the process of elimination
that led to the International 14 project. I think
the line are not quite right; the boat looks like
an adaptation of a power boat or something. Still,
it has spurred countless reveries countless times.
Sailboat, a Bolger designs that
features recycled Sailfish rigs. Supposed to be
a fast, fun boat.
are others, but I can't recall them at the moment.
you can see, there is no lack of options. So, of course,
I'm strongly considering a design that I have yet to purchase.
It's an eight-foot pram -- called Cygnet
-- designed by Richard Ellison. When he moved from the East
Coast to the Tennessee Valley Authority lakes region, he
moved his love of multi-sail rigs but not his cabin sloop,
so he build a pram that has a sloop rig (no kidding) as
the default rig, with options for a spinnaker and a bunch
of jibs, including a genoa. Up side: I have always wanted
a sloop-rigged sailboat and never have had one. Ellison
also has the option of using strips of poplar to make one's
own plywood-style panels. I've been using some poplar in
my boat work lately, and this appeals to me.
you haven't figured it out yet, here it is: I like to fish
it out and play with it, and then put it away again, only
to repeat the process, again and again. Half the fun of
using boats is building boats, and half the fun of the building
is the process of deciding on the one boat to build next.
for, this is what I'm thinking about: making a dink or canoe
for the family vacation on Lake Ontario, then starting a
big sailboat project in the fall, with the idea of taking
a few seasons to finish. After all, I am still hoping to
spend lots of time on the Harmonica with the
Reverend on the canal. The designs that
have the inside track are Ellison's sloop pram and the Tread
Lightly (or the Music
to Our Corner!