Monday, December 21, 2015

The warm days of Winter

I was out on the pond again yesterday, in Tartlet.
 There was ice at the shady, shallow end of the pond but the rest was wet and ruffled by the breeze.  Tart is becoming more and more pleasing to me as I, more often, easily lift her to my shoulder and hike on down to the pond.
A sense of quiet grows as I get further from the road and closer to the water.  Once in the boat and on the pond the sound of the oars takes over, though they are barely audible and what I do hear of them is very pleasant.
There is something about the rowing position that is conducive to meditative, peaceful, experience.  I believe it has much to do with looking astern.  There is the sense of discovery as the world is slowly revealed to my peripheral vision, and I am allowed to linger on it as it gently gets farther away.  This is such a great contrast to looking so far ahead to where one might be going, and then as the approach and can capture attention they are more understandable until the moment they suddenly pass out of ones vision.
Occasionally I look over my shoulder, usually one and then, the other.  If I don't do this I run the risk of running straight up into something, but, what's ahead is not the focus, rather something to be aware of.
I think this has a lot to do with my preference for rowing over paddling.

I just finished reading "The Rudder Treasury" and "The Compleat Cruiser".  Both were great winter reading.
Happy Solstice!  Happy Winter!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


     Last night I took the basic lines measurements of the WEE PUP and then drew a boat plan that was built like my pram.  The lines drawing looks good, and not so much different from my TARTLET.  The two boats are the same LOA, but the beam of the PUP is a few inches greater,  and on the bottom, a lot fuller.  I am considering building this hybrid, I'd call it TART, just to reference the first boat.  The reason I'd think about building the boat in this style is because it is a nail and glue with a chine log, rather than a stitch and glue as the PUP calls for.  This way I can build it in the cold of winter, if it ever gets cold, because the polyurethane glue I use, GORILLA GLUE, can be used in the cooler temps whereas epoxy needs the 60 degree minimum.  It is sometimes to keep that room above 60 in the really cold times.
I also really like the direct simple building method.  I use both fasteners, screws, and glue to affix the plywood panels to the solid wood chines and frames.  This both glues the surfaces and works as a caulking of a sort, since the GORILLA GLUE, foams and expands.

When Winfield Thompson had his first WEE PUP built the boat builder asked "Where would you like you tub delivered?".  It is kind of tubby, but the lapstrake sides help to let you know it's a boat.  With the version, that I am thinking of, it would just look like a tub.  Well what can I say, after all, TARTLET, looks like a coffin, truly.  If you were going to build a coffin that is what it would look like.
Despite the not exactly elegant look of this boat to be, it should serve very well it's task, if it's predecessor's utility can be used as an indication.  TARTLET is a great boat for the pond.  This boat is to be light and easily portaged, just like TARTLET, but fuller and more seaworthy for use on the river, and capable of carrying a passenger.

I found a forum on the use of Luan plywood for boat building.  The gang on the WoodenBoatForum  didn't think Luan of much use in boatbuilding, or most of them did.  There were one of two who realize it's limitations and use it anyway.  So, I'm not alone in this attitude.
It's been a few seasons now and those boats all seem to be holding up well.  They are treated pretty well, being stored in the barn and dry sailed.  I'm not timid with them though.  A few days ago I rowed the pram full tilt, right onto a log that was just below the surface and covered in barnacles.  The scraping sound along the bottom was a bit sickening, but late when I looked at the bottom the fiberglass armor (3oz. clothe) was barely scratched, in fact I had to look twice to find it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Warm days of December

the strange warm weather that we are having here this season has some benefits.  The pond has not yet frozen over, though there is ice in the shallow shady sections.  We've been getting down there in the pond boats every few days.
Those little boats, though an educational experiment, have been really good for just this use.  They are small and light, so they are easy to portage down the trail to the pond and the small size makes the pond seem bigger, or big enough to be interesting.  The right boat for the right body of water.
While some people are moving up in the size of the boat, I seem to be moving to smaller and smaller, kind of.  Different people get different things from boating, and have different ways of experiencing it.  I have not ever taken my boats so far from home, but I do use them, not as much as some other people, much more than many.
It is now about 2 decades that I have been sailing and keeping boats.  Seems like it all started not so long ago.  I hope that is a good sign.