Sunday, April 21, 2013

Project Completed, "Tartlet", the Sam Pram single sheet plywood boat and custom oars!

A bit of chill in the air but otherwise a sunny, beautiful sunday morning.  The dog and I took the little boat and it's newly made oars across the way and down to the pond to give it the official trial and launching.  It works, and even better, it works well.  The oars turned out to be just right.  My "thole pins"  work to, though not as well as I would like, but I have ideas of how to make them even better.

I am surprised by how well the little boat tracks with such a short water line.  My fiberglass dinghy that has been the tender for the Bristol has always made me very happy and comfortable with it's rowing characteristics, even when going out in 30 knot plus, 5 foot short cycle waves, when all the inflatables were left tied to the dock.  It tracked well but was agile.  This little boat feels similar, but to a lesser degree.  That makes it comfortable to me and a boat that comforts me is a good boat.

The elevated floors and seating proved itself today when I picked up some wet trash from the pond (why do litterbugs always have such bad taste in beer?).  The bottom of the boat ended up with about 3/4 of an inch of water but I stayed very dry.  I gotta remember to keep a sponge on board.

I was also surprised at how easy it is to carry this boat.  The oars tie down to the floors and the whole thing is carried like a turtle shell, using the braces for handles and the oars rest pleasantly against my back.  I was worried that they might be a bit heavy but they were no problem.

While sitting and looking at the boat I had the epiphany I had been waiting for about the updated and "yacht tender" version of this boat.  It would be a simple thing to come up with if I were to give up my "one sheet of plywood" requirement, but where is the fun in that?  Lots of boats have been drawn that will serve as a small tender, but not many are made so conservatively.  Anyway, I think I know what to draw for the next version, though it may not be a pram as much as a pointy bowed skiff. I do like the utility of a pram bow over the pointy end which has less useable interior space.  At this scale, every inch counts, literally.

Now is the time to set aside the boat building and get on with the boat using.  So much the better because for me building boats is a necessary evil, first to get me thru the winter, secondly to get me a boat that I might not otherwise be able to afford, and thirdly, it gets me messing about in boats, but the best thing is just to be out on the water in boats.

"Tartlet", the Sam Pram, one sheet plywood boat with custom oars.
Project completed April 21, 2013. (begun Jan. 10, 2013)

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