Lazy Weekend (Day 1)

Last summer the older Scouts went on a 142 mile bicycle ride (and we floated the Colorado, but we did that as a ward, so it doesn’t count).  This year they want to go down to Lake Powell and go boat camping.  Of course, I am thrilled.  Adventures on the water are my favorite types of adventure.  However, we don’t have any boats, and we don’t have a lot of money to spend on boats or boat rentals. Continue reading “Lazy Weekend (Day 1)”

And it Came to Pass…

It has been pretty quiet on the boat front around here.  It has been too cold to actually go boating, and I have been too busy to build a boat for some time.  I have an article, mostly done, about some leeboard repairs that I have been working on.  I also have a second mouse boat, completely cut out, that is nearly ready for assembly.  I simply ran out of 3/4 inch strips of Douglas Fir that I need to put it together, and I haven’t had time to bug my neighbor into ripping some more for me. Continue reading “And it Came to Pass…”

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”

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”