Deer Creek Reservoir

Yesterday (July 1, 2015) we took the young men and young women of our ward to Deer Creek Reservoir to goof around in the lake there.  We borrowed a three small plastic kayaks from Brother Barsdorf and I took my mouse boat and PDRacer.  We threw all of this gear in the back of the scout trailer, and hooked it up to my big Dodge Van.  We then loaded the van up to the gills (12 passengers plus me driving) and headed for the dam.  We took two other mini vans as well.  Since you have to pay $10 per vehicle it was critical that we take as few vehicles as possible. Continue reading “Deer Creek Reservoir”

About Time — Sail Report June 23 2015

I had mentioned before (in passing) that my wife was pregnant.  Well, now she isn’t pregnant.  Samuel Hyrum Earl was born just before midnight on May 20th.  It was a pretty exciting day.  KaeLynn had an emergency C-section and everything.  On the bright side Sam is here now, and everyone is safe, and I have an even deeper respect for modern medicine.  That particular hospital stay was worth every penny. Continue reading “About Time — Sail Report June 23 2015”

Nephi’s Courage — Design Notes

Like most small boat builders I spent a fair amount of time agonizing over which boat I would build.  In fact, I came very close to building a Rebel Cat, and I still think that a multihull would be pretty fun to build.  In the end I decided on a Puddle Duck Racer, mostly because I thought that the boat would be dead simple to build.  However, I also work with Free Software and there is no question that the fact that Puddle Duck Racer plans have to be made available for free also appealed to me.  I like the idea of a community of sail boat builders collaborating on design.  The fact that these designs (at least potentially) compete against each other in actual races sounds like a huge added bonus. Continue reading “Nephi’s Courage — Design Notes”

Bird Island

Even before I started building my first boat my girls were fascinated about the stories I told about visiting the various islands of Moses Lake, Washington, where I grew up.  Some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around paddling, rowing, or sailing to Goat Herd Island or Marsh Island, and my girls were intrigued by the idea of following in my footsteps and visiting an island of their own. Continue reading “Bird Island”

Utah Lake State Park

For the second weekend in a row I was able to get my boats out on the lake.  Like last week all three of my littlest girls came along.  This time my son Zachary was able to come with us as well.  It was a lot of people for two small boats, but we made it work, and everyone had a good time.  In fact, I am not sure that taking my family boating in my small boats is not a perfect prescription for learning to get along with one another.  The kids were good to take turns on the mouse boat, and were all helpful with Stella.  We spent just over 4 hours out on the water, and everyone got along great. Continue reading “Utah Lake State Park”

Puddle Duck Racer Refit — Leeboard

I am not a naval architect, but designing boats is sort of fun.  My pdracer is inexpensive enough that I am more than happy to experiment, and at some point I am hoping that experimentation includes some racing.  To me, that’s the beauty of the Puddle Duck Racer.  They are easy and inexpensive to build, but there is nothing stopping you from treating them like a real sailboat. Continue reading “Puddle Duck Racer Refit — Leeboard”

First Boat Outing 2015

The stars finally aligned, and I got my boats out on the water for the first time this year. The day got off to an inauspicious start. Eliza had a bad cough, Abby wasn’t feeling well, and Stella, well Stella is always a little difficult.

However, Eliza and Abby have been dying to try the mouse boat, and I really wanted to see how the pdracer rowed.  So I figured that we could probably sneak down to the lake for just a bit.  I wouldn’t take the time to rig the pdracer for sailing. I would just throw the boats in the water and paddle around a bit. Continue reading “First Boat Outing 2015”

Puddle Duck Racer Refit — Gunter Rig

Nephi’s Courage sports a nifty gunter rig, and I really like it.  The rig allows me to sport a ridiculous amount of sail area on spars made from 12 foot 2×6 boards.  Yes, 12 foot spars don’t fit in the boat, but they do fit well on top of my minivan.

Of all of the design decisions I made when building Nephi’s Courage the decision to use a gunter rig was by far the most nerve racking.  I’d never sailed a gunter-rigged boat before.  Heck, I had never even seen a gunter-rigged boat before.  I had no idea how the rig would work in real life.  Fortunately, I live in an age and time where I do not have to rely on just my own knowledge and the knowledge of the boat owners in my area.  Once I started thinking about a standard sloop rig with spars that were less than 12 feet the gunter rig started to look like the right solution.  However, it wasn’t until I started watching videos of Mirror Dinghies that I started to believe that a gunter rig might actually work in real life.  Now that I have sailed one for a season I am sold. Continue reading “Puddle Duck Racer Refit — Gunter Rig”