A Modest Proposal – Parts 1.3 and 1.4

by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

“One of the things folks notice right away about Miss Kathleen is that panel of woven pine pieces on each side of the cabin. I have to admit that I don’t know of any other boat with such a thing hung on her.”

Dan’s plan

A Modest Proposal – Part 1.3

First off, I’m dumbfounded to remember that my shop – apparently – has not only been, clean, orderly, and put away; it has on occasion contained more-or-less completed projects. Evidentially, I have a hidden past; with orthographic tendencies. Blatantly, linear, even.

OK. That’s a bit more like normal. Phew! Well, don’t get me wrong. Everybody – even me – has to clean up and start over, now and then. But, I don’t think we should ever give points for “being done.” Because, when you’re done. You’re DONE.

Let me try this from another angle.

One of the things folks notice right away about Miss Kathleen is that panel of woven pine pieces on each side of the cabin. I have to admit that I don’t know of any other boat with such a thing hung on her. I didn’t have any sort of example for a goby. So, in truth, I tend to explain it as what happens when “a cluttered mind has access to sharp tools.”

You probably already guessed. This is a pitch for being a bit less-settled in viewpoint. A bit less-attached to this psychological construct we refer to as a comfort level. This is a pitch for, well, clutter. Yep. What I think we all need to do now and then is to scatter things about and re-assemble them into new and interesting shapes. Nothing hard about that. Pretty cathartic, really.

In this case, I’m going to propose a somewhat new, and kinda’ daring notion. It has all the shopworn memes of hooking up, and heading out. I’m just gonna’ scatter the parts, and reassemble them into a new configuration. Think of it as a mosaic with a customized pattern. Sort of like that.

For several years, I’ve been blessed with an abundance of opportunity to participate in a large number of group cruises. As you can see, we’ve had spectacular weather, water warm enough to swim in, and secluded beaches to pull up on and pitch a tent-with no neighbors.

Just the sort of thing that gets everybody to repeating, “I’ve just gotta’ come and do this again!!” Yep. Sometimes, it’s just flat out perfect.

And sometimes, it ain’t. That’s when the refrain swings to the laconic, “are we having fun? Yet?…” Or, the grateful, “sure glad I DIDN’T go on that one!”

Hey, we’re all entitled to our own share of mood swings. But. We don’t get to control the weather. More to the point. WE DON’T GET TO CONTROL HOW MANY OPPORTUNITIES WE WILL HAVE. That’s the Master Helmsman Upstairs’ job. And, near as I can tell; he don’t share too many of those details. My own response has been to offer a simple toast at campfires, water’s-edge bull sessions, and the like. “We may never pass this way again.” And, on that point, I do believe we all have to say, “yup.”

You are also welcome to your share of “yeahbutts” and a few “sowhat? s” thrown in for good measure. A really-smart guy, that I’ve never actually talked to in person, sums it up with a single word, “ambivalence.” I hate to say it, but he’s probably on to something here. But, we of the more-cluttered-mind perspective will most likely always have another angle of viewing. Sort of isometric.

I suppose, isometric projection is too orderly, for my own scattershot depiction. I’ll call this more of a “Swiss cheese” method of description. Just keep poking holes in a problem, until you begin to “see the light.” Sorta’ like that. Anyhow, here goes.

One of the larger objects currently residing on my shop floor, is a really well preserved old tri-hull runabout. Unfortunately, she’s had a very bad accident. Seems, I didn’t quite manage to purge ALL the water from her engine block last fall. This spring, when I started her up  that beautiful Chevy six simply bled to death before my eyes. There was an ugly crack in the block from fore to aft. After almost 50 years of surviving our frigid winters, I broke the motor beyond repair. Beyond that, just about every piece of plywood in the boat and all the vinyl upholstery attached to all that plywood had turned to sheets of sawdust. Including the floor.

Do you smell another Frankenbuild in the offing?

When I first broached this admittedly sensitive topic, SWMBO-in-chief was rather insistent that my “last one was supposed to be my LAST one.” Maybe you know somebody like that?

And, what has this got to do with you? Maybe quite a bit.

I’ll be right back.


A Modest Proposal – Part 1.4

This little cutie is a real deal actual design by a Real Designer. I’m just borrowing the drawing to illustrate an idea. I’m thinking of putting together a “fleet clubhouse” to accompany at least some of next summer’s events – here in the upper left corner, at least.

What’s a fleet clubhouse? And, why would anybody want one?

Well, for starters. This is an idea that has been gnawing its way into my limited number of brain cells for something like 40 years, now. It usually is associated with a small tug of some stripe. Totally imaginary. Completely without a role model. OK. A fantasy.

I’ve dabbled with this notion over several frankenbuilds.

This was an early iteration.

It went together quick.

The dang thing even floated.

Heck. It even had a tuglet to tow it around. Hey, you gotta’ start someplace. This combo became play houses and other people have both of the hulls, now.

I even tried a bigger frankentug. That little boat followed me all the way to Sail OK and back. We ran up and down Priest Lake and Lake Roosevelt a few times. But, still too small.

Sooooooo, then I tried an even BIGGER frankentug. And, this one had promise. But. The poor thing was pretty top heavy. Hell-for-strong, you could say.

So, finally, this past building Season, I pulled out what was left of the stops. And, the well-travelled Miss Kathleen was born at the Frankenwerke. Ninty-days to get in the water. And most likely, the rest of my days to finish off.

And, she’s turned out to be a pretty capable tug boat. Soooooo, I’m thinking it’s time for the next step. But, I suppose I should at least try to answer my own what and why questions, first.

And, this is my modest proposal.

I’ll use the last cruise of the season that a few of us just completed on Priest Lake, as a case in point. This was at the end of September. For much of the time, our weather had a winter taste to it. Half of our fleet were small boats that were in all respects capable boats for the conditions on the water. But, accommodations for overnighting their crews have some significant limitations. Our first night out followed a rollicking downwind surfing expedition. Even, Miss Kathleen, while towing a partially rain water and spray filled dinghy, and running with 5 knots rung up, was surfing at 7-1/2 to 8 on occasion. Things were getting a bit gnarly. As it worked out, I holed us up in a sheltered nook at a deserted campground dock, and everybody was at least secured out of the wind, when a gawdawful rain and hail squall hit.

This idea has its roots in the idea that one doesn’t always get in, before the fit is in the shan. More roots, in the idea that not everybody who might want to participate in one or more of these events has a boat they can actually spend a night in. And there’s always more roots. But, this is probably an OK preamble.

So, whatif?

Miss Kathleen was towing something that sort of looks like the bargelet above. She was waiting at anchor for you, and the other open-top boats along for the cruise. The teapot was already on. The barge had a rudimentary stand-up galley and a stand-up head with shower-with a door. Up forward was a couple bunks that double as facing couches with a table in between.

Whatif? The fleet rafted up with Miss K and the bargelet and simply came aboard to change into dry clothes, heat up something for a quick snack/dinner, flopped on the couch and told stories, took a nap, or even somebody decided to spend the night and save setting up a tent ashore.


I guess I’ll stop there, and see if anybody answers up. Soooooooo, whatif??


  1. Dan, I can tell you that I have often heard John Bodet’s commercial in my head when I am weary, cold, wet and annoyed. Towing your own Motel 6 around would make you the most popular spot on the water just about every day. Tell your CFO that the savings in REAL motel charges could make the build valuable. What if it gets nasty and you just want to be warm and safe, Dear? JCB

  2. I’ve often looked at the plethora of free or cheap tri hulls and thought cabin for the dockside or somesuch. Seems a tri hull would lend itself best to that.

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