Skin-on-Frame Expedition Rowboat

For many years I set myself the challenge of riding my age in miles, in one day, on or near my birthday, on my recumbent bike. It has been fun and getting myself into shape for the annual ride has been good for my health. Although I have been very fortunate and never had an accident or even a close call while riding I felt it was time to switch to an adventure with less traffic.

My original plan was to build this boat specifically for a new challenge: Row my age, in miles, in 48 hours. I began building in April of 2019 hoping to be on the water by the end of June however, the project took a bit longer than I planned. At some point I accepted that 'Maybe not this year" and as soon as I did that I began enjoying the project even more. I have left the narrative below as I wrote it during the building process. The boat was launched for the first time September 2, 2019.

The boat is a Skin-on-Frame design with one rowing position, a sliding seat and a cozy cabin large enough to sleep in. This page documents the design and build process which began mid-winter 2018-2019. The menu at left was also my 'To Do' list.

If you'd rather not wade through all the building details you can skip to the end here.

And there's more ... Spring of 2020 Update and a 2021/22 Update.

Your questions and comments are welcome.    Contact

boatshop on April 8, 2019

The trip will probably be along the northern coast of Lake Michigan beginning at a launch site less than 10 miles from home. For this kind of rowing adventure I want a relatively fast, easy rowing boat. A few other features I'd like to include, in order of importance; seaworthy, safe, stable, light weight, room to sleep on board, maybe room to haul a folding bike & trailer. Oh, and easy to build and not too expensive would be nice, too. It will be 18 feet long as that is the longest length that fits nicely in my boat shop.

After a lot of research I found a boat that I'm using for inspiration for this new boat; Colin Angus' Expedition Rowboat. I seriously considered ordering the plans for the boat from him but since I'm not going to build it out of plywood (I'll be using Skin-on-Frame technique like on our three other boats) and after discussing several major modifications with Colin, that didn't seem like the way to go. If I was going to use the stitch & glue plywood construction technique I'd definitely purchase his plans ($139 for PDF plans & manual) since they include full size printable patterns for the hull panels.

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My main tool for creating scale drawings for our previous boats was Adobe Photoshop but for this project I switched to Carlson Design's "Hull Designer". This is an incredible, free program for Windows that seems to run best in Windows XP compatibility mode on my Windows 10 laptop.  The included manual is only 4 pages long and there is a bit of a learning curve, but after a some experimentation it did a great job. After several refinements I now have a good set of offsets for all seven frames. In the process it also helped me create a cutting layout and told me that with a displacement of 250 lbs. (boat + my stuff and me) it will draw 2.56" of water. Pretty cool.

    Frame Cutting Layout    Offsets Table    'Hulls' wireframe

The Hull Designer program also can create VRML files which, with a free plug-in can be loaded into a browser and spun around in 3d as a solid object. I found this option interesting but it didn't seem to show all of my chines so wasn't as useful as I'd hoped for double-checking hull fairness.

You can download the Hulls program, manual and a whole bunch of example files as a .zip file here: Caution: click that link and the download will begin immediately!

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I decided to space the frames and bulkheads 27" apart on the advise of Dave Gentry. As it turns out, if you divide 18' into eight equal parts it comes out to exactly 27" - very handy. I also lucked out in that frame #6, a solid  bulkhead, is in perfect spot for the aft end of the cockpit. I will mount the foot brace unit right to the bulkhead. Here is the frame layout drawing (Photoshop again):

Frame layout @ 27" spacing 
                           ^ Click for larger view

Frame #4, in the middle of the boat is also a solid bulkhead. If the hatches are secured the only water that would enter the boat in a capsize would be in the cockpit. The rest of the hull volume is flotation. All other frames are open; here is the latest, though probably not the final, frame nesting drawing:

Nested Frames     < click to see enlarged images

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Instead of fighting the cold out in the boat shop I decided to work on some of the 'support systems'; sliding seat, foot-brace and electrical system. We had a particularly long and cold winter here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula so I had lots of time for these projects.

The sliding seat unit is made up of a suspended mesh seat; a smaller version of the one that served me well on my Lightning P-38 recumbent bike. The tracks are made from some on-hand 1-1/4” aluminum angle and the custom under-carriage was made from that aluminum angle plus some repurposed (Goodwill) roller blade bearings and a bunch of bolts & locking nuts. The undercarriage was based upon a similar, simpler design from a great article by Ben Fuller and Chris Cunningham in Small Boats Monthly on-line magazine. Thanks, Ben & Chris! The tracks are 22” long and the effective slide is 14-1/2”. This is quite a bit shorter than commercial sliding seats but feels right since I'll probably be using my 8'-4" oars rather than 9-1/2' sculls.

I ran an elevated aluminum bar down the middle that gives my little ‘keeper’ device something to follow and hold the seat on the tracks in the event of a capsize or other unplanned event. That 'keeper' also limits glide length when it hits the rubber stop pins at each end of the bar. The seat can easily be removed from the base by flipping a couple of HDPE latches (inset below, right). The whole sliding seat unit can be removed by rotating a couple of aluminum latches that will hold it to a solid rowing thwart. I plan on taking the seat out of the boat while trailering to keep it from moving around.

Sliding seat     Seat bearings & 'Keeper'

The tracks are lined with 1” x 1/8” high density polyethylene strips to keep the sliding action smooth and quiet. As you can see in the inset above left, the seat is also free to rotate. The rotation feature eliminated any tendency of the rolling carriage wheels to bind on the tracks when turning to see what's ahead and makes that movement comfortable. I have the whole setup mounted on a temporary sub-base and have 'rowed' many miles here in the house. So far it seems smooth, quiet, though not silent; the ‘keeper’ system works well and there doesn't seem to be any noticeable wear on the PE runners.

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FOOT-BRACE:  [Note: see foot-brace update here]

I have designed and built a hybrid foot-board/stretcher for this boat. Over the years I have become comfortable using clipless pedals on my bikes and it seems as though the things I like them best for on the bike would also carry over to this boat. The Shimano SPD pedals I'm using hold your feet securely but allow plenty of rotation laterally. They release instantly with a quick twist of your foot. The only drawbacks I can see are that you do need to wear shoes that can accept SPD cleats and those shoes might not be your first choice for boating footwear.
Clipless foot stetcher
I created my stretcher unit by modifying/butchering a couple of salvaged bike cranks (free from local bike shop) as shown in the photo. Those 7/8" square threaded blocks were epoxied into the ends of a 6-inch piece of 1" x 1/16" square aluminum tube. There is a wood filler block to keep the tube from crushing and to help position the threaded parts. I used what I consider to be the best epoxy for this type of assembly, West System G/flex 650. This is a toughened epoxy that is not brittle when cured and adheres well to just about any material.

In the construction photo you can see some old egg-beater style pedals I used for setup but I am using some well broken in Shimano PD-M535's:

SDP Stretcher< Click either photo for larger view >

This 'stretcher' is currently mounted low on a wall in the house and we have been using it regularly with the sliding seat unit.

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I plan on using a couple of navigation tools on this boat; primarily a chart and compass and as backup and entertainment, two apps on an Android tablet. I'll have purchased a Ritchie Reverse-card rowing compass and am looking forward to having a compass that reads theNavigation tools ... direction the boat is traveling even though you are facing the stern.

My main electronic navigation device is an older Samsung Note 10.1 tablet. I have decided to use two apps; Marine Navigator, for route planning and navigation and LD-Log for course tracking. Both apps are fully integrated with the tablet's GPS capability. My thought is that during a full day or two of rowing I may welcome a bit of useful diversion.

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You wouldn't think that a rowboat would need an electrical system but since I expect that my August trip will include some after dark rowing I will be installing a 360 degree navigation light. And while I'm at it I'll make sure there is enough power to keep a tablet with navigation and tracking apps charged. Training rows will most likely take place on nearby Indian Lake which has OK cell coverage but the area of the north shore of Lake Michigan where I plan on doing the August trip has very limited coverage but I'll want to keep a phone charged anyway.

Electrical Loads analysis:

Load Description Amps Volts Watts Amps @ 40V Hours of Use AmpHours Used
Navigation Light 0.11 12 1.3 0.03 12 0.36
Android Tablet 0.5 5 2.5 0.06 12 0.72
Cell Phone 0.25 5 1.25 0.03 12 0.36
          Total AHrs Used > 1.44
          Battery Reserve: 64%  

The power source is a 40 volt, 4 Amp-Hour lithium Ion battery running through a DC to DC converter down to 12 volts for lights then reduced further to 5 volts for device charging. The versatile and powerful Greenworks batteries power our mower, trimmer and a electric chainsaw as well as our Bose PA system. The battery base, battery and a 15-Amp Drok DC to DC converter will be mounted in the port cockpit flotation/storage compartment. It is connected to a remote power panel that will be mounted in the cockpit. 
power panel  

  • The meter on the left indicates the battery voltage and % full; as you can see, the battery is currently full at 41.6 Volts.

  • Master Switch: Cuts power from the battery to the converter.

  • USB Charging Ports - 2 x 2.1 Amp 5-volt charging ports. 4.2 Amps total capacity. There is a waterproof cover on the port.

  • Panel Voltmeter: Indicates output from the DC/DC converter, available for charging and lights.

  • Light Switch: Turns on/off the wired but removable running/anchoring light.

Navigation/Anchoring Light:
Nav/Anchoring Light

I've put together a lightweight removable light for use when rowing after sundown and night anchoring. My Dad had a really nice Wonder-rod fly fishing rod that was crying out to be reused for something useful. I don't fish and had tried to sell the rod at a garage sale with no success. I used the lower, handle section and a few inches of the middle part as a strong, light shaft for the light.

The light is made up of an 18-LED Landscape Light Bulb that produces 350 lumens in a 360 degree pattern. I used a single one of these LED segments as a power-on indicator for a remote camera and it is easy to see it even in daylight 125 yards away.

The fishing rod is totally hollow so wiring it was easy. I installed a female RCA connector in the bottom end of the handle and it mates to a wired male connector in a 5'8" ID aluminum mounting base. The base is located flush with the starboard side deck forward of the cockpit. There is a black disk just below the LED level to minimize the amount of light that will shine down into the boat.

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It is nearly spring here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with daytime temperatures near 40° F. That makes it possible to heat up the shop and finally get to work on building this boat. 4/2/2019

- Frames:68 Clamps ...
3/29/2019 - The frames are made from two layers of 1/4" Baltic birch plywood; the only good, flat, waterproof plywood available locally. It is heavier than real marine plywood but it has 5 plys and waterproof glue. There are zero voids and as a test I have boiled a scrap of this plywood for days with no delamination.

I transferred the frame layout to the plywood and cut around each piece with a saber-saw then cleaned up the outlines with a fine-tooth blade in my old 1930's 12" Craftsman band saw. Today I epoxied half of the pairs together - ran out of clamps (68), and will laminate the rest of them tomorrow. Doing the epoxy work in the (warmer) house shop.

- Strongback:Strongback setup
4/2/2019 - Today I finished the last of the frame laminating so it was time to put together the strongback on which the boat will be built. I'm reusing the beam I've used for all three of our SOF boats but because this boat has practically no overhang at the bow and stern I needed to make the strongback much longer. I added four feet to each end of the original 10' beam. It is screwed to two sawhorses and two end supports which are in turn screwed to the floor. The top of the beam is flat and level and immovable. I'll measure and mark the frame locations next. I had a fire in the shop's woodstove and it got up to 55° in there today - very comfortable for the kind of work I was doing.

- Stringers/Gunwales:
Long parts sawn ...
4/3/2019 - For months it seems, I have been trying to decide how heavily to build this boat. One of the main considerations is what dimensions should the keel, stringers and gunwales be. Too large and the boat gets heavier than it needs to be; too small and the integrity and shape of the boat can suffer. Today I finalized the dimensions for those long pieces and ripped them from some 10' long, clear New Zealand pine using a thin-kerf blade in a circular saw with its fence.

The sizes:
Keel  1-1/8" x 3/4"
Lower stringers  3/4" x 3/4"
Upper stringers  7/8" x 3/4"
Gunwales  1-3/4" x 3/4"

When these are paired up and scarfed end to end they will be about 19'-6" long and quite unmanageable. A good job for tomorrow.

.- Setting up the frames:Gunwales temporarily on frames
4/9/2019 - It's starting to look a little like a boat. I have the frames clamped in position on the strongback and have temporarily clamped the gunwales in place. This helps with decisions about whether to refine the boat's shape at this point and I could see how much trimming I needed to do of the stringer locations to make sure the boat remains straight.

I like the overall shape and will check a few of the dimensions to be sure that for instance, I can fit in the cockpit comfortably. At that point the boat is about 36" wide but the cockpit is only 20" wide. In theory the smaller the cockpit area the safer the boat will be since in the event of a capsize the cockpit is the only area that would take on water (assuming that the hatches are closed securely).

With the rest of the boat acting as flotation any water that  gets into the cockpit would empty completely when the boat is righted - no bailing, just crawl back in over the side and get back to rowing.

 - More frame work:Frame bottom as seen from the bow
4/14/2019 - The gunwales and stringers are installed with screws (no glue) at this point so that I could remove the frame from the strongback and confirm that the hull has sufficient rocker. A little scary since I suppose it is possible that the whole thing could kind of slide out of shape but it all held together remarkably well and Sue and I could easily flip it over. There is about 1-1/2" of rocker at each end and that looks about right for this hull shape.

The flat bottom looks unusual but according to Colin Angus a long narrow hull, sharp angles at the chines, and moderate rocker will combine to eliminate the need for a drag-inducing outer keel or skeg. To ensure that I don't lose the rocker I'll remove each screw and glue the joints with the boat in this position, supported in the middle with the ends kind of hanging there. I have checked the hull for straightness since it is off the strongback and all is well.

4/27/2019 - Boat building is sharing time with spring homestead chores like brush cutting (before the birds build nests) and firewood cutting. Yesterday we were able to drive in to our house and shop for the first time since December which makes supply transport more convenient.
Aft deck stringers in place
The photo is of the stern of the boat, looking forward.

The frame is upright and I have installed the aft deck stringers and am in the process of designing and building the hatch opening in that deck. I have mounted one of the rigger base plates (where the oar lock extensions will mount) in the frame and will install the other today.

I have been in and out of the boat a few times adjusting the sliding seat position. It looks like I'll fit OK in the cockpit but it will be a different experience rowing in that narrow (20" wide) space. Kind of cozy feeling. The fore and aft location is established but I'll wait until I can fit the riggers and oar locks before deciding on seat height.

- 'On-the-fly' engineering - as usual:
5/9/2019 - I climbed into the 'cabin' the other day just to be sure it would be comfortable and it felt quite a bit too low. Plenty long enough and good elbow room but the original plan didn't allow enough height in the shoulder area to easily roll over. By laying a yardstick across the gunwales and a bit of fiddling around I determined that another 3" height would be nice. So, at the risk of increasing windage, the boat's susceptibility to cross-winds, I designed a solution that involved adding 8' long, skinny  triangular pieces to the tops of the gunwale in the cabin area.
Laminatin gunwale extensions
The additions are made up of two layers of 5/16" thick solid pine paneling boards laminated using some small frame extensions above the gunwales. Hard to explain but here is a photo of yet another clamping extravaganza. I ended up adding about 3-1/2" height at the center frame tapering down to nothing a foot or so from the bow.

On a related subject I'm working on a different hatch design for the cabin. The original plan had a fairly large lift-off hatch for loading stuff into the 'hold' but it was lacking in ease of getting from the cockpit into the cabin while afloat. More on that as the scheme develops...

- The bottom is on:Bottom is on!
5/26/2019 - I managed to get the whole bottom out of one piece of 1/4" Baltic Birch plywood by laying the sheet on the bottom of the framework and tracing the bottom shape. Not much waste, which is good and bad. Bad because I count on scraps for a lot of the smaller bits and pieces. The bottom is screwed down and epoxied in place. I've chosen to do a couple of modified butt joints where the panel sections meet. The mid-boat joint has radically beveled 1/4" plywood butt blocks on the inside and will have recessed fiberglass and epoxy reinforcement on the bottom. The joint at the aft end is only about 6" long so will be only backed up with fiberglass and epoxy top and bottom.

I have flipped the boat upright and am currently working on the cockpit sides. It is a bit of a challenge establishing locations for the side hatches and water bottle/snack cubbies on either side of the rowing position. I'm working on that today and will hopefully have a photo of the final cockpit layout soon.

- Cockpit sides installed:Installing cockpit sides
6/14/2019 - It seems like it has been quite a while since I posted any progress on the boat. I have been working on it most days for a few hours but at this stage progress seems slow. I have done a bunch of little things that were on my boat-to-do list but of course I have added lots of jobs to the list too.

The cockpit sides are fitted and glued into place - finally. I had some logistical decisions to make; like where exactly do I want the storage access hatches and electrical system panel mounted. Not about where do you think they should go but really, where will they work the best. Anyway, that's all done now and it's time to move on the the next things on the list; designing and fitting the cabin and storage area hatches. Next time ...

Closing in on time to skin the hull:
7/6/2019 - Well, I missed my projected 4th of July launch date - by quite a bit, and my to-do list is still pretty long. I have been designing/fabricating covers for the main hatch. Considerations included ease of entrance to the cabin while on the water, increasing cabin height without adding a lot of weight and ensuring that the hatch is reasonably water-tight. I want the cabin dry if IMain hatch open-closed decide to sleep in there or just rest and relax out of the rain but also that enclosed area is a major flotation compartment - as long as it is well sealed. Creating water-tight compartments on a skin-on-frame boat is not as easy as on more conventional designs as the skin flexes between the chines. I came up with some flexible vinyl seals when rebuilding my Mobjack Bay kayak last fall and am using that techniques on this boat as well. Although it would be nice if those seals worked 100% but I'll be happy if they just keep out a flood of water in the event of a capsize.

In the photo you can see how the cabin hatch covers open. They swing up on long piano hinges and will be covered with the same polyester fabric as the rest of the boat to keep them light. Also in the photo is the lift-out companionway panel that will have a pop-out waterproof port that can also be screened to hopefully keep mosquitoes out of the cabin but still allow ventilation.

I have sanded all frame surfaces and am ready to oil the whole thing - today's project. Once the frame is dry I'll mount some of the parts that are easier to do without the skin on then, finally, it will be time to flip the boat and stretch on that skin.

A few more photos ...

Bulkhead/Fabric Seals

Frame as of July 3, 2019  Bow hatch detail

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Skinning the hull:
7/15/2019 - Finally, the hull is covered with the 9 oz. polyester fabric I purchased from George Dyson back when there was still snow on the ground. This is my fourth skin-on-frame boat so the skinning went pretty well. First I stretched the 20' long piece of fabric very tightly lengthwise over the inverted hull using C-clamps, strong rope and a couple of hooks screwed into the walls at either end of the boat. A trucker's hitch at each end allowed me to really tension the fabric.
skin draped  Stretchiing the skin

Once everything was tight and lined up I pulled the fabric tight across the hull and put in a few stainless steel staples about 3" apart. Then, I ducked under the boat, pulled the fabric pretty tight and put in a few on the other side. Over and over, working my way toward the ends about 8" at a time. A lot of knee scuffing since the tensioning ropes prevented walking around the ends of the boat. After this first round of stapling the skin was pretty tight. I removed a few staples where there might be a loose spot and re-stapled while pulling out any wrinkles. When it all looked good I went back and pulled the skin tighter placing a couple more staples between each one - in the end about five hundred staples. It would not have been so much fun without my trusty $30  Surebonder #9600 pneumatic stapler. Not a single jam or misfire!

Hull skinned

7/16/2019 - I applied a coat of Helmsman Spar Varnish to the sides of the hull today. This serves as the first layer of waterproofing and once dry allows me to mask around the edge of the bottom. Masking tape won't stick to the bare fabric at all.First coat of spar varnish on hull Once masked I applied a skim coat of PL Premium to the bottom to improve its abrasion resistance. I let the PL cure for a couple of days then rolled on a couple of coats of 'Blazing Blue' satin 100% Acrylic Latex House & Trim paint. I'd go with semi-gloss next time; it looks almost flat but at least the slight surface irregularities don't show much.

I need to iron out a few wrinkles that have mysteriously appeared in the sides of the hull. My guess is that they were caused by some shrinkage or loosening caused by either the bottom coatings or more likely, by the varnish.

8/4/2019 - Here are a few photos of the boat as of today. I have installed the electrical system and the frames of the pop-out hatches as well as built a four-piece floor for the cabin.

interior-from-aft-qtr 8-1  interior from stern 8-1

interior- cabin-floorThe floor will solve two problems; eliminate my being jabbed in the back by the frame in the middle of the cabin and it will help keep my sleeping gear dry. This at the price of decreasing the effective height in the cabin by a little more than an inch. It had to be done to make the cabin usable.

8/5/2019 - Today I (we) flipped the boat bottom up once again. I decided to put one more coat of paint on the bottom and install three oak rub strips - one full length down the center and two shorter ones on either side. This arrangement works well on the dory and has saved the bottom from wear when on the trailer and when beaching.

8/11/2019 - Flipped again! Finally decided on a color scheme for the boat; Darkish blue for the bottom, light blue for topsides, medium blue for decks and off-white for the cabin hatches. Here's how it looks today.Bottom and topsides painted ...

Most of those squiggles will disappear when I remove the masking tape - I hope. I'm using the same 100% acrylic latex trim paint for the whole boat except that the sides and decks are semi-gloss. I bought the 1-1/4" x 3/8" oak material for the bottom rub strips and will install them tomorrow. I may plane them down to 1/4" thick depending on how they look when laid out on the bottom.

8/17/2019 - Time to install the bottom rub strips. It would be nice if this is the last time the boat has to be bottom up. As time has gone on the boat has become harder to rotate - it is heavier and also, there are fewer easy places to grab onto during the flipping process.

Here are the rub strips installed and a photo ofBottom rub strips installed how they meet the copper stem and stern pieces.

Oh, I forgot to mention those little guys. I bought a piece of 1/2" copper tube and a non-ferrous saw blade for the ShopSmith, made a simple ripping jig and cut the tube roughly in half lengthwise. In the process I also created an incredible amount of gold glitter which covered nearly every horizontal  surface in the shop. Pause for extended vacuuming session ...

Stem & Stern
     STERN                  BOW                BOW Detail

Skinning the decks:Decks with 1st coat of paint
8/20/2019 - Things are moving right along now. Once the boat was upright I covered the decks with the same 9 oz. polyester fabric used on the rest of the boat. Again, lots of stainless steel staples and a fair bit of trimming with the hot knife. This is really the first time I've been able to see how the boat's lines look since the open framework is mostly hidden now. As of this evening I have applied three coats of paint to the decks. Contrary to what it looks like in the photo the  decks are a slightly darker color than the topsides. I'll probably put on at least one more coat to even out the fill of the fabric's weave. Next up is to install the coamings around the hatches and cabin.

Final Fit-out:the shop tonight ...
8/29/2019 - Yes, there is an end to this boat-building project. Over the last few days I have installed all those pieces that have been patiently waiting for their chance to become part of the boat. It is ready for the water and its official emergence to the world outside the boat shop. Saturday, August 31st is the next likely day weather wise for the launching. In the mean time the boat is hanging out in the shop one last time and when I'm not rowing, I'll be out in the woods cutting this winter's firewood or hiking or playing music but not boat building for a while. It has been a fun, creative adventure and although I'll have lots to do around the homestead, I will miss those hours among the shavings and sawdust.

Our storage building (repurposed airplane hangar) is full - of boats. This will make number five. But the shop will feel so empty ...

9/2/2019 - Here are a few photos of the boat as it emerged from the shop onto the grass and on the water at nearby Indian Lake. Click on any of these photos to see a larger view (Use your 'back' button to return).

side view   View from stern

Cockpit side view   Cockpit from stern

On its lines!   Sue rowing ...

Short Rowing Report:
9/2/2019 - The boat sits on its lines - with the help of a 2-gallon water bag in the bow compartment. On a normal trip there would be some gear up forward and the water ballast wouldn't be needed. It draws less than three inches of water and is super stable. The wing riggers necessitate having the boat a foot or so from the dock but stepping down into the boat was no problem at all.

I put the oars in place and pushed off. The first couple of pulls on the oars were one of those 'Oh yes!" moments. The boat quickly got up to speed and tracked straight as an arrow. I got carried away with the feeling of power and control and ended up in a lily-pad bed across the bay before I knew it. I spent the next half hour relearning how to judge distance covered on the water - among more lily pads and reeds than I care to admit. The test run was a fun experience and I look forward to some longer trips yet this fall.

Sue got in and took it for a spin. She just rowed away without working at it at all and tracked straight as you can see here:

  Sue tracking well

I'll get a few more photos as we get some more time on the water.

Potential adjustments:
 1. drill a 1/2" hole in each rigger near the hull to temporarily 'store' the oars.
 2. raise the oarlock sockets about 1/2" to improve knee clearance and help prevent oar 'catches' on the recovery stroke.
 3. modify (again) the looms of my 8'-4" oars to work better in the Gaco oar locks.
 4. make up a rack to allow carrying Sue's Kayak on the trailer.

9/6/2019 - I did number 1 above and also added small aluminum clips that hold the blades of the oars above the gunwale. Photo coming.

9/7/2019 - Finished the kayak rack today. It is made up of two wooden support units that rest on the bottom of the boat; one in the forward end of the cockpit and one that is in the forward hatch. These things have fairly large feet to spread out the load and ensure that they stay in place. Here are a few photos of the units in place but the kayak isn't strapped down yet.

Kayak Rack

Rear unit   Front unit

When we get to the launch site the kayak gets lifted off and the two rack units get tossed in the back of the car.

By the way, the trailer is an inexpensive utility trailer we bought from Northern Tool many years ago. I extended the tongue 8' and recently added a support extension on the rear. I removed the second leaf of the springs to soften the ride. The trailer pulls nicely behind our 2007 Prius and with this load only knocks the mileage down from 50 mpg to around 47 mpg.

8/29/2019 - Done!

The Spring of 2020 Update is here: 2020 Update page



Steve Schmeck

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