Hey, It’s 2016!

Wow – Time shift and now I am back on this blog. Much has happened since my last post in 2013. Manchester even has an excellent Whitewater park, with 6 gates and lots of activity. Last summer we saw many kayaks flip over going through gates, which required a short walk off to the side to dump the water. People with proper equipment and some experience were doing great. Lots of kids with inflatable tubes or similar floats were having a blast. A few intrepid souls just strapped on a PFD and went through the course sitting down in the water!

We usually have some pretty low water levels during the late summer. That makes it tough as the gates get narrow and many rocks are exposed in the river bed. But it has been a boon to the town. Hard to drive through Manchester in the summer without seeing many vehicles carrying kayaks!

Our emphasis has been on sailing. We thoroughly enjoy our Potter 15, though it’s difficult to get out on the water as much as we’d like.The kayaks are all still in the shed, waiting to be used. It would be great to get out on the river and renew that part of our recreation. This year!

Here’s a link to some information about the Whitewater Park:

Manchester Whitewater Park

Have a white and safe winter! See ya on the other side!


We Have Water

Well, last fall when I wrote the previous post, I wished that Iowa would get more water in her rivers and streams. This came on the heels of a nasty drought across the state during 2012. Now, in the spring and summer of 2013, we are being washed away with heavy rains, incessant rains, swollen rivers, and incredible flooding in our state. The toll on crops is enormous, the toll on our homes and livelihoods even worse.

We have not been able to kayak, as the rivers are very high, with much debris and hidden danger. Every time the flows drop to near a normal rate, we get hit with heavy rains and everything swells up and leaves its banks again. The forecast for the next few days is for dry and cooler weather, but rain chances return after that.

We are sailing on the lakes, but even that is difficult with all the rain and wind. Stay tuned and wish us luck!


So Long for Now

I have been absent here for quite awhile. Many things, including my Potter 15 sailboat purchase and the change of seasons, have conspired to keep me off the blog. Winter is on the way and all the boats are safely stowed till spring.

I now have a separate blog for sailing. Check out My Potter site. That will chronicle all our adventures with the Potter. This blog will once again be pure with our kayaking trips. Hopefully, Iowa gets some water back into the rivers and streams to make kayaking possible again!

Have a great winter and we’ll see you on the other side!


Splash Time!

Finally! Today I attached the rudder – no small task, for reasons which remain unclear. But it is now functional and has a rudder hold-down to avoid any tendency to float up out of the gudgeons. Then I tackled the rigging of the sprit boom sail. I have never rigged a sprit. It took quite a while to get tension right so there were no big folds in the sail when it was raised. As often happens in life, it all came down to the snotter. This little pulley and rope combination controls the boom and tensions the peak of the sail. Properly balanced, the sail has no floppy mid-section and fills with air beautifully.

I have but to affix the oar locks and do some touch-up, and away (aweigh?) we go! Oh, there is also a photo of the cool handles I rigged up, too. Enjoy!


Time to Trade Paint

I have finally reached the paint stage on the Dory 12! I have the hull done, the boat is upright, and I am priming and sanding for final paint. The picture below shows the green hull and some white primer topside. It is only primer, so doesn’t shine – but it will!

This photo shows how I made an airbox for floatation under the midseat. This should add much-needed buoyancy to the boat. It is an open design otherwise. When the epoxy cures, it will all be primed and painted.The airbox is behind the centerboard trunk.

This could be the week the boat gets finished!


Out in the Light

Just a quick post here to show you a better view of the Dory 12 – out of the shop. The boat is built – some trim and sanding work to do, then painting. Enjoy the pics below – the mast does have a slight rake to it by design. Hope to get this wet before too long!


Push to the Finish

After a few days of doing small tasks and waiting for epoxy to dry, I think I am poised to really close in on the Dory 12 project. Today I finished up gluing the three layers of rubrails. I also got the skeg mounted under the aft end of the boat. This is an important feature if the boat is to be rowed. You can see it in the close-up shot below.

I also made up the mast partner, drilled the 2-inch hole in it for the mast, got the aft thwart made and locations marked for both of these. I drilled and am gluing the mast step to attach to the floor of the boat. I finished fashioning the tiller and fine-tuned its attachment to the rudder. I varnished the tiller and put another coat of varnish on the rudder and the mast.

The pic below shows the bow after I trimmed and shaped the ends of the rubrails. It’s kind of hard to see, but I am pleased with how that came out. Sorry about the mess on the floor!


Clamp those rubrails

Today I got started on making and epoxying the rubrails along the sheers. As you can see in the photo below, the rails are made of 1/4-inch plywood, 1.5 inches wide. What you don’t see is that the rails will consist of 3 layers of wood for a total thickness of 3/4-inch. This will make the boat very sturdy and prevent flexing, or “oil-canning” as it is known. If you don’t understand that reference, you are too young!

I will epoxy each layer, then add another on top, being careful to stagger the joints along the way. I have found this is a quick way to saw up all those plywood scraps lying around. Oh – and there really is no such thing as having too many clamps! Onward!


Steady Progress

August 2, 2012 – Today I cut the final slot involved in the daggerboard trunk installation. This was the carefully marked slot in the midseat top. It came out very well – defined as: it fits over the trunk properly and I don’t have to make a new seat! In the photos below you can see the daggerboard doing its thing keeping the boat on course, and my hand illustrating how the board can be raised or lowered in the slot.

I also began varnishing the mast, continued varnishing the daggerboard and rudder, and put a second coat of epoxy on the removable floor. Tomorrow – rubrails!

Stay tuned for more pics!


Musings of an itinerant builder

I spend my evenings enjoying the cool of my basement ham shack/computer station. I peruse several boat building and sailing sites and forums. One site I enjoy is Duckworks Magazine. Their articles and forum are a wealth of information for such as I.

Tonight someone had posted about providing positive flotation in a plywood rowboat. Since that is essentially what I am building, and since it is essentially an open boat, this caught my eye. Most people agree that a plywood boat such as this will float even when full of water. The problem is, the top of the boat will probably be floating level with the water – no room for a crew member to get in and bail the water out. I need to build in some enclosed air space that cannot give way to the invading water. This will lift the boat above the water and allow effective bailing and re-entry.I will do some measuring, but I believe I can enclose the stern in a triangular ‘box’ and do the same at the bow, from the mast partner forward.

The midseat could also be enclosed with the use of one more plywood rectangle under the rear edge of the seat itself. With only a little plywood and some epoxy, I can create three separate air chambers without covering any usable interior living space. Stay tuned for photos and commentary on how this works!


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