A Skiff Wind blows over the water-An account of my winter project to build my first wooden boat, a 13' plywood QT Skiff designed by Jim Michalak. Now that that boat has been launched and is in use, this blog will now also document all of my other boat building and general "MESSING ABOUT IN BOATS"
I love modern technology sometimes. I was playing around with the photo of the rig on the skiff and made a quick visualization of what a reduce rig might look like. So maybe a gaff head, or maybe just a reduced sprit, I don't know yet. I am kind of leaning toward a gaff, but probably only because I haven't tried one yet.
I built a rack for the car the day before yesterday, in order to carry 2 kayaks at once. I had some scrap pieces of steel pipe that worked just fine. I cut them to length and painted them black then attached them to the cargo rack. Yakima or Thule would have charged me a lot to sell me something that would look just the same, but in the end, do little better.
A month or so ago I picked up some pool noodles, those foam floating things that someone had thrown in their garbage bins. Those, split down the middle and cut to length made good and colorful pads for the boats to rest on.
We went out and paddled the perimeter of the lake. As we started out the water's surface was glassy, a reflection of the trees on the waters edge and the sky. We seemed to be stalking a Heron, or so he or she might have thought as we would come up on it, it would fly down the waters edge around a corner into the next cove, and then we'd come up on it again.
We stopped for snacks, pulling up to a fallen tree in the water that was also a resting spot for a turtle who didn't seem to mind our company. A woodpecker, with his bright red head didn't seem to mind us either as he took to the stump of the tree we were resting on.
The breeze came up eventually but not so much as to make the paddling difficult. I generally prefer rowing to paddling but this was a good day to enjoy the effortlessness, the quiet, the proximity to the water that a kayak can offer.
Went out to the lake today with the skiff. My wife was in her kayak. Beautiful day. I took the sailing rig out but didn't step the mast. The wind this time of year is flukey, gusty and it can go to almost calm to a good 10-12 knots in just a moment. The nice thing is that you can read the wind on the water, no tides to worry about, so you can see the wind coming 10 seconds, or more, before it reaches you.
I found an island to shelter behind and stepped the mast. This was the first time sailing since the "Very Bad day sailing" when the venture was knocked down. I did feel a bit tenuous, but I realize that it is not so much more than I was before that VBDS (very bad day sailing). I learned to sail on full keeled boats, not dinghy sailors. My first boat was a Cape Dory Typhoon. Though only 19 feet long, it had a full keep and was a displacement hull, a little ship. This was my formative time and very different from those who grow up spending summers sailing Optimists and Lasers and such. I prefer a boat with the stability of a ballasted keel, I just do.
Maybe in the middle of summer, when the water is warmer and the air hot and when a dunk in the water would be welcomed, maybe then I will try this sailing rig again, but for now, I think I will stick to rowing the skiff. I am continuing work on the Bristol and my goal is to be sailing her again. I will also fix the Venture but I think only to sell her to someone who she might fit better than me.
It was a great day out on the water and after a few tacks and a few gusts that had me scandalizing the sail in order to de-power the boat, I decided to make my way back to the ramp and stow the sailing rig. Going back out with out the rig to create windage or upset the balance of the boat reminded me of how nice a little boat she is.
We found a cove behind an island and I dropped the hook, my wife rafted up and we shared a nice lunch snack in the sun. It was, is, good to be just messin' about.
Worked on the Bristol 27 today, actually worked rather than sitting below and staring and thinking. I spent some time removing the original formica laminate from the various surfaces in the galley. Using an old chisel I was able to get under an edge and slowly work my way around. I was able to peal off each piece whole, which is great because I can use them as templates for the replacement coverings.
New galley arrangement mock up the cutting board on top of the stove is to the left of the sink and down five inches
I hope to do a varnished wood finish on all surfaces, with some tile in the galley so that there is a surface to set hot things on. The stove is on one level, aft of the sink, which is set 5 inches higher. This will make a well where the stove is and insure against pots flying out on a roll. The height of the sink and it's plumbing also allows for the berth below to remain functional.
The vertical white bulkhead in the picture only goes up to the sink but will go all the way forward, with a cut our to make getting in and out of the berth easier, and be varnished wood. Out board of the sink and stove and aft of the stove will be storage space for utensils and galley equipment.
I sat and sketched some ideas for my eating table. I also came up with a possible nav station position for the table top. I could make a separate nav station but that seems a bit much in such a small space.
It was quite wonderful to be working on her again. It has been a while since I did any real work on her, but the spring season has me excited to be at it again.
I built a couple of kayak racks onto the boat shed today. We added a boat to the family. The purple kayak is actually a sister to the yellow one. After many years they are reunited.
New kayak in the family.
My friend, from whom I bought the yellow boat many years ago, just gave us the purple one as he no longer needs it or needs to pay to keep it stored. These fiberglass boats are a mid range recreational model, hard chined and about 17 feet long.
Went out to the lake for a row/sail on Mother's day. I decided that if I am going to be celebrating all of the Mother's that I know and care about Mother Earth should be in the list too.
Got to the lake and it was blowing white caps into the launch ramp again so we left the sailing rig on land and rowed out to the lee of an Island and enjoyed the sun, a cup of coffee and each other. The pine trees on the island were the special treat filling the nose with the scent of pine and the ears with the swishing sound that they make in the breeze. It's against the law to land on these islands but anchoring in the little bites or bays of them is fine and that is what we did. It is almost preferable to stay aboard and just spread out in the bottom of the boat. The waves bob us around and the sun heats our bones. The dog would prefer to explore the island, and chase some of the geese that roam there, but eventually she settles down and lies with us in the boat.
I think that I still have a few residual affects from the April sail lingering around in my head. While rowing out in the skiff the wind would gust up and push on the topsides and our bodies, enough so as to heel the boat slightly. It made me aware of it, and reminded me how much I prefer full displacement boats with all that ballast below the water line to keep the top of the mast above water, and the keel under the water. We had a 17 foot daysailer for a while and I was always concerned about getting it knocked down. I guess this says more about the kind of weather I've tended to go out in. Since I learned to sail and have mostly sailed on ballasted boats I suppose my sensitivities to wind strengths are more appropriate to them. I should think it would not be a bad thing to learn to be more conservative, as would be appropriate with a light weight boat, in my judgement of wind strength.
on the lake
I have gotten a few inquiries about the Venture. I do think it would make a good project boat for somebody willing to put in the work.