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”

Mouse Boat One — Details

This last summer, while picnicking (and sailing) at Lake Cleveland we met a really nice family that let my children paddle some of their Lifetime “Wave Junior” kayaks. The kids had so much fun with these boats that I realized that I had to get one. Not only would this give the opportunity for the kids to captain their own vessels, but it would bolster support for more family outings to the lake. However, these plastic kayaks, cost upwards of $100 and they only hold one child apiece. With 5 children (and one on the way) getting Wave Juniors for everyone that was interested was going to cost way more than KaeLynn lets me spend on boating.

Besides, I sort of like building boats. Continue reading “Mouse Boat One — Details”

Michalak Oars

I had always planned on a set of oars for Nephi’s Courage.  I drew oar locks into the plans, and I purchased an inexpensive set of nylon oarlocks from Duckworks when I made my big order from them, and I even installed the oar locks when I built the boat.  It turned out to be a good thing too.  When I first launched the boat I didn’t have the clam cleats yet for the jib (I forgot them in my order to Duckworks), and so I used the oar locks as a fairlead for the jib as they are mounted in approximately the right place. Continue reading “Michalak Oars”

Puddle Duck Refit — Rudder

I built my puddle duck racer with a Michalak-style kick up rudder, and I still think that was a pretty good choice.  However, the place where I typically launch is shallow for a good distance, and I did not take the time to install a lanyard that would allow me to pull the rudder blade up manually.  So my rudder dragged the bottom a lot.  I didn’t care last summer, because sailing is more fun than fixing rudders.  I hoped that I could make the rudder last the season, and with a bit of emergency repair it just made it.  I definitely needed to fix the rudder before I could take the boat sailing again though. Continue reading “Puddle Duck Refit — Rudder”

Nephi’s Courage

Launch of Nephi's Courage

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. Continue reading “Nephi’s Courage”

Preparing for Winter Campout

I’ve got the big van ready to take scouts camping.

dscn0688To give you an idea as to the size of the van and the scout trailer the scout in the picture is 6 foot 3 inches tall.  There is no way that I am even going to think about backing this rig up.  It only goes forward.

Jason’s Monster Van

Grand Tour

This sticker is my absolute favorite thing about the new van.

dscn0625Here it is close up so that you can read it.


Once I put a rack on top we are going to need 8 feet of clearance with an empty rack, and 12 feet of clearance when fully loaded.

My Civic is so afraid of the new van that it is hiding.

This is what the driver seat looks like from the front passenger’s seat. Perfectly respectable. The van is clean enough that I think that even KaeLynn will approve.


Here are a few shots of the 12V (with AC adaptor) cooler/heater that comes with the van and that fits between the front seats. I am totally going to be able to live in this thing.

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Here’s a picture of the crew quarters. Those seats go on forever. We are going to need a stewardess. The seats all look amazing. The ceiling sags a bit though. I am trying to decide whether I believe that is on purpose or not. When they put in all of the lights and air vents (each seat has a light and air vent just like on a commercial passenger jet) I think that they may have just left too much slack. Either way, it’s plenty clean.


Mats like these go everywhere. Taking a picture of all of them would be too much work. You probably get the idea with these two pictures.

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The front is a little rough. There’s no denying that this van and I have a lot in common. With are both big and ugly. She’s bigger, I’m uglier.

On the bright side, I imagine that when people see that grill bearing down on them they are likely to get out of the way. I could run over my Civic without even noticing, and it probably wouldn’t even make the paint look any worse.


It is impossible to get a feel for how big this vehicle is without seeing it in person. It is ridiculously imposing. I tried to give you a sense of how large the van is with this shot. I am actually in the picture, to help give it some perspective. Unfortunately, I am too small to be easily seen. I am the dark spot right under the driver side door.