Rowing Ruth

I contacted Dave Gentry last week about a skin-on-frame pulling boat he designed several years ago named Ruth after his grandmother, mother and now daughter (but at 2 1/2 yrs old you could argue his baby girl is named after the boat. Dave, what were you thinking?). It is a pretty name and fits this no-nonsense well proportioned shell. With a wine glass bum and glowing dress, her sheer is pleasant to gaze at. Weighing a trim 45 pounds, she’d welcome play on any river, lake or even beach.

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Yes, Ruth could offer a little rowing exercise, but maybe better yet, the two of you could chill along a shady river bank where you might fancy a read, savor a picnic or simply doze in the warmth of the day.

Anyway, Dave was gracious enough to invite me to try out Ruth. We met at Walnut Creek Park in Albemarle County, about an hour from home. I loaned him my recently finished F-1 kayak and together we cruised the little lake talking along the way, mostly about … boats.

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I’ll have to say I was impressed with the boat’s glide. Her lightness has many advantages and the fuse frame makes for a quick build (40 hrs?). Dave says he has been leaving the polyester skinned beauty turned over and outside for years. While she showed signs of weathering, there was no deformation of her shape and the varnish sealed skin remained tight and leak-free.

Here’s a quick clip. Slipping without strain. Longer oars could be of benefit.

Did I say I was impressed? Smitten may be more like it.

Old Bay Clubbing

Yeah, not what you thought. Wouldn’t be pretty anyway. However, our TSCA chapter, the Old Bay Club did get a couple days sailing in around Crisfield, MD last week. Base camp was at the now familiar Janes Island State Park, a good place to launch before and after summer’s business. There were no crowds or mosquitos yet, but the no-see-ums were persistent the hour before and after sundown. Our fleet included about 10 boats participating. Winds were light and variable. Water, clear and cool.

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Day 1 was spent sailing and kayaking in front of Crisfield.

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Dinner was an excellent shrimp boil prepared by Barbara, Harris and Peter with lots of armchair cooks.

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On Day 2 we ventured toward Deal Island. When the breeze dropped out 1/2 way there, we beached for a picnic before paddling, rowing or motoring home to cocktail hour and fireside banter.

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Thunder, lightning and lots of rain greeted us later in the evening, breaking up the party.

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Day 3, as predicted, was more rain. A few intrepid souls (Jim, Kevin, Theresa and Dennis) stayed for a sail. This writer and crew packed up wet gear and headed home. We had some sailing, good fellowship and great food. What’s to complain about?

Planning an escape to Cape Lookout next!

 

Herpetological Hookie and Tuckahoe Creek

Escaped the desk for quick paddle today: 30 minutes down the James and 45 back. I may have paused 3 minutes at most the entire time. The F-1 kayak is so easy to keep moving.  All along the way, turtles were soaking up the warm day. All were quick to drop from their perch before we got too close. They’ve a keen sense of hearing (or smell? I did shower this morning). Most had shells the size of dinner plates. Eastern River Cooters I think. Not sure where the little ones were. Maybe at school?

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turtles backed up
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snag and kayak

Here’s last week’s journey up the James and into the western end of Tuckahoe Creek. I had hoped to discover the eastern end today, but time didn’t allow. That will have to be  for another day.

Spring Splash: a kayak video

I’ve built kayaks using cedar strips, stitch and glue plywood,  fuselage framed skin-on-frame, and now, steam bent skin-on-frame. I think this last method is my favorite. The translucent skin highlights the ribs and stringers like a japanese lantern. The beauty of line and construction are displayed so openly. With a new lighter western red cedar paddle, this little boat tracks along almost effortlessly. Brian Schulz designed a nice one here. I can tell I’ll use this one a lot. Kabloona!

Cape Falcon’s F1 Kayak (part IV). Done!

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my buddy

DAY 13: (4 hrs)

  • Began covering. I used these 2 videos to help:
    • Cape Falcon video.
    • Skin Boats video. I ordered their skin and coating.
  • Yanking the cover back over the aft stem was a bear. I used the 2.5″ cloth length recommended in the CF video. This worked once I planed off the coating from the aft stem. The coating caused the cloth to stick.
  • Tightened the after deck with tarred twine and then sewed welting into center with nylon string. Note: the staggered stitching as demo’d in the SK video makes a big difference in appearance. I actually sewed this twice as some puckers remained.

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DAY 14: (4 hrs)

  • Sewed front deck up and set the cockpit ring on.
  • The ballistic nylon is quite tight. Some heat shrinking with an iron on “nylon” cinched the last bit of wrinkles out.

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DAYS 15-16 and eventually 18: (11 hrs)

  • Hooped the bottom (3 coats) and a week later, the deck (also 3 coats). Chasing the runs down was not too successful. Using a kerosene heater raised the temp to 65 degrees, but maybe warmer would have helped. Otherwise, I followed Spiritline’s coating videos to a tee. Somewhat dissappointed, I called to report the results. The owner tells me they no longer use the video’s method or the scraper included with the urethane! Instead  they use “hot dog” rollers. Thanks for nothing! Nonetheless the boat stil passes the 6′ rule. I’d love to hang her with lighting in the house when not used. She’s a Japanese lantern of sorts.
  • I added a teaspoon of rare earth pigment to temper the harsher urethane. UV also tends to yellow the coating, but I wanted to accelerate the appearance. I’m happy with the result there.
  • Screwed a 12″ length of teak on the tail for a skid.
  • Bought some latigo leather belt material and cut it into 1/4″ strips for tie-downs and stem handles. Pulling the strips through a 7/32″ hole in a block of wood eases the edges. Will add tie-downs in middle of boat later. Had to get this one in the water.

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This final post took forever. The cold weather hadn’t encouraged completion. However, my youngest boy and I splashed the boat today. Will post video later. This may be my favorite kayak yet. The translucent shell and visible ribs accent the beautiful lines. Despite all the runs and drips, this little kayak has the wonderful look of craftsmanship, the touch of the hand. I love it. A nice light rowboat build could easily use this construction. Hmmm.

Total build hours: 85+/- hrs.

Final all up weight: 28 lbs 4 oz.

Walks with Huck

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Tomorrow, our pup Huckleberry will be 1 year old. Already he’s added much to life. Still, after almost 20 years without dog, the expected routine by the “baby” took some adjustment. Yes, he can be demanding. He does wrong when you least expect it. The list is long of stuff he has eaten, chewed, torn or scraped. The floors and his favorite window sill are worse for the wear. However, its easy to forgive it all for the walks we take each morning. Most days I rise an hour before he “asks” to leave his bedside crate. Thats enough time for quick emails and a cup of Joe. After his breakfast, we jump in the truck and roll downhill to a park along the river. Neighborhood walks tethered by leash don’t allow him to burn off  steam, but just after sunrise we can ignore the many “dogs must not run free” park signs . Then Huck leaps and bounds through the woods. I marvel at his energy and grace. A thing of beauty, he has forced me to pause, stretch the legs, air the brain and ponder next moves. “Huckadoo” has become my good buddy. Oh, and he likes to go sailing too. We’re a perfect match.

Here’s this morning’s scenery-

 

17-02-08: First Sail

A little warmth, light winds and good company all made up UNA’s first sail today.  We put in at Mathews County’s Town Point Landing (new concrete ramp and pier), beat against the current for a picnic lunch at Poplar Grove’s tide mill. Supposedly John Lennon owned the estate for a short time and planned on making the mill into a studio. Thankfully he didn’t. There is little depth to get behind the mill. Stick close to the rocks.

All but 2 of these photos were taken by my daughter (thus the artistry).

Had to pull out the oars for part of the return. Boat moved well across the glass. The water’s winter clarity is always surprising. do we really still have 6 weeks left? Tomorrow has snow predicted. Weird. Thankful for the break … and the company.