In October of 2013 I started building an 8 foot sail boat. Or, at least that was when I made the first cut in the wood that I purchased. I had decided to build a boat after spending some time looking at the prices of new sail boats. I now think that if I had been more patient in looking at the used sail boat market that I probably could have found an old sunfish (or something similar) that just needed some love, but now I am glad that I wasn’t more patient, because building a boat was awesome.
The boat I decided to build was a Puddle Duck Racer. This is an 8-foot, home-brew, racing class designed around the idea that everyone has to have the roughly the same size hull, but that the rest of the rigging can be up to the builder. In case you missed the earlier link you should just Click Here and see what these crazy people have done.
The Puddle Duck looked like a great way to get out on the water inexpensively. What’s more, it looked very easy to build. The boat is basically a sandbox with a polytarp sail. So I downloaded some free plans, learned how to use a CAD program, and began drawing up the plans for my very own Puddle Duck.
Even though the pdracer is a relatively easy boat to build, it is still a sail boat, with tons of fiddly sail boat bits that all have to work together or the boat won’t sail. Plus, none of the free plans had exactly the kind of rig that I wanted to build, so I spent quite a bit of time researching and designing my own boat. In fact, I even changed the rig after a trip to California, and a few hours spent with Zachary in a “real” sail boat.
So the build took me considerably longer than I had originally expected. However, Nephi’s Courage was launched at the Earl Family reunion July 25th, 2014 at Bear Lake (on the Idaho and Utah border). Fortunately, most everything worked very well right out of the gate. I was a little concerned that I was going to spend the entire reunion tinkering with my boat trying to get it to sail. Instead I spent several days giving rides to all of the kids. It was amazing. There were a few things that could be improved, but for the most part things worked spectacularly.
Which is good, because I was really concerned that boat was going to fail dramatically in front of my entire family.
This article is mostly an introduction of sorts. I have a whole pile of articles that I want to write about making the mast, leeboard and rudder, and the rigging in general. I have separate articles planned for re-doing the gunter jaws, adding a topping lift (such cool names, right), and building my own oars. Not to mention the fact that I have planned articles on the fleet of smaller boats that I have started to build so that my children will have boats of their own. In fact, the first of these boats just needs to be painted. It seemed like the easiest way to entice my family into boating with me was to make sure that everyone could be their own captain. More on that later.
It didn’t seem right to just jump into these articles without a little backstory, so here it is. A formal introduction to my Puddle Duck Racer, Nephi’s Courage.