Building a Frolic2 – Part 6


The opening paragraph of this missive should be the words HaHa repeated until a nice paragraph sized and shaped lump is formed. Then, someone should fling that lump directly at my head.

What was I thinking?

I’ll tell you. I was thinking to bash through this build and beat this dumb boat up for a while and then move on. I foolishly neglected to figure life into any equations when I was figuring my figures. Which figures. Of course, I also didn’t figure on falling so hard for the dumb boat and then caring so much about all the little stuff.

Life is strange, y’all.

Anywho, to catch us up to where we at: I started building this boat last year, with hopes for a quick build and some amount of (ab)use before the Texas 200 came around so I could sail her in the 200. I worked furiously and diligently during my free time, and I made huge progress, even for a guy avoiding temperature extremes.

Then life. Mainly other, non work, family related business, but also a spate of work, which is always a double edged sword to a cat like me, who doesn’t really have a real job, and really never has. (Look, the closest I came to having a real job was working in a bicycle shop. Now, I work, mind, I just can’t do the jobby-job.) So, I stayed very busy working, just not on the darn boat.

And, that takes us to the point I was at not long ago. A crossroads.

Dang but if boatbuilding especially, but all building and making, really, ain’t just a series of compromises or hard decisions, a series of crossroads and forks. The answer as to what to do is rarely as clearly delineated as a fork, either. Hehe.

Well, my series of forks led me to a crossroads. I found myself standing at the intersection of not enough time, and too much to do. Ordinarily this is a non issue for me, because life just flows that way, but this predicament perturbed me.

I was going to have to break my word…

Dang, but that seems so trite and foolish when it’s down on the screen, blipping at me, but it’s the truth. Now, lo these many moons ago, when Chuck convinced me I could write an article that wouldn’t read like an idjit wrote it with his toes, and his eyes closed, I, in the fatal throes of hubris, PROMISED Chuck I’d be at the 200.


Oh, folks, I KNOW what a dummy I am. I know.

I just want to be sure YOU are all crystal clear about what you’re working with, here.

The particular fork I came to was whether to rush, rush, rush, and do a terrible job on the rest of the sailboat, or continue to do the best job possible with the materials available? Well, I think scrapping the leeboard last minute and starting over on a new one may be a clue?

Now, I’m under no illusion as to what this Frolic2 is. She’s a quirky camp cruiser. This ain’t no gold plater, and never will be, never tried to be. Still, even the cheapest, crummiest, stashiest stash boats I build still want to look nice. I like people to say (even to themselves, in their head), “Hey, this is neat. Somebody obviously cared.”

That goes for all I do. I don’t mean to say I wish to enthral the world with the power of my amazing craftsmanship. Well, I’d love to, but I am surely and sincerely incapable. I do, however, want every person whoever encounters or uses any thing I’ve ever made to know it was made by a person who cared. And was a person.

And, so, I battled the boat, riding the line of not enough/too much. And, at a certain point, I realized there would not be enough boat done in time. My first thought was to simplify and modify, but that didn’t last long. There is one (more) major modification I decided to make to the boat, solely in the name of safety, and the decision placed me firmly outside the time frame of 200.

No problem, thinks I. What I can do is finish the boat most of the way, then trailer her down to Texas for a launch and some trials. Brilliant! In fact, this plan was 179% more brillianter than the original plan, for some reason. I got to thinking how splendid and poetic it would be to launch the boat with Chuck, whose fault this all is, really. Super fun, right?

I think duckypoxy fumes contain an isomer that allows you to visualize and rationalize truly impossible and idiotic things, and make yourself think they sound like fun. I think it is chemically bonded to the smile inducing vapors. Hehe.

Anywho, I got to the shuffle, again. Hustling and bustling on the boat with a new plan. And then? Life, eh. Oh, yeah. There’s always a new surprise in store for those willing to wait. Actually, even if you’re not all that willing, the delay fish will come a biting. And as the time drew short, the realization that my new plan would also fail began to dawn on me.

Grrr. Never make plans, but if you do, don’t announce them, Dummy. Hehe.

Well. What to do? I was in the garop, literally weeks away from leaving, still carving oars and futzing with the interior painting, prepping the trailer for the flip onto it…

The trailer.

Well, now, see we have this other trailer, upon which “we” are supposed to build a teardrop trailer, so “we” got a nice piece of underlayment ply to form a base for the camper. Well, as I was futzing with removing and reorienting the bunks and rollers and all what you need for a “normal” boat, I realized that piece of ply would screw down flat, right on top of the fully lowered bunks. Hmmm…

Now, see, we got little paddling boats, but I can’t really paddle well anymore, so I’ve decided to transition to rowboats. I bought a plan for a Michalak Robote sometime back because it seemed a cheap, quick path to a rowboat.

Geez, I hope you’ve some of you already figured this out so I don’t have to just flat out admit how foolish I am. You know I built the boat, right?

Yep. How’s that fer dumb? You mean to tell me you have a boat a building, which you’ve already delayed with other boat projects, and you mean to delay it further with other boat projects? No. I have three boats a (re)building, all in various stages of completion/restoration.

Yes. I am dumb. Hehe.

So, 8 (eight) days later, I had a Robote ready to strap on the trailer alongside the trusty, dusty pirogue. Oh, yeah. I made some custom saddles to hold the boats upright, we loaded up all the gear in them, mounted up, and hied down to Texas. Yes, I said 8 days. From panels to painted, including a sheathing of 6 oz cloth on the exterior. Simple, quick to build boat, really. Most of the time spent was waiting for something to dry.

Geez, y’all, if you don’t know, Texas is big, and so’s California. We left 30 hours late for a 27 hour drive. It was epic.

Lots happened, and we arrived at the finish line of the 200 exactly 1 (one) day late, rolling in about 0630. I wrestled with our tent promptly, then got inside to weigh it down, while it beat me mercilessly from the inside as I napped. It’s windy, y’all.

Everyone else partied it up, full of car sleep. The beach and warm salt water were simply too much. Too pleasant for them.

I woke up in the afternoon, to the most perfect weather. Well, it was still a bit breezy, ahem, but glorious. Hot and muggy ain’t the same as hot and dry. I loved it!

But, hey, I came for a purpose, so we untied and unburdened the vessels. Much work to be done, and promises to be kept, even if not according to plan. The kids, my wife, the dog and I all transported our new friend to the salty Gulf waters and laid her gently into her native element, for the first beautiful time. She was clambered in, rolled and hopped out of, tilted, swayed, and generally abused for a short time. Sort of our version of a gang initiation, eh?


And, THAT is the tale of how I went to Texas and had a great time, and launched a Frolic, too. What? Oh, no, the big creamsicle is still on her horses, waiting to get flipped onto the trailer, so she can be sealed up.

See, I like to at least try to keep to my word. I built the Robote in 8 days, and she had never touched water before, and she WAS designed by Jim Michalak.

So, I DID launch a Frolic at this year’s 200.

Sort of.

Never did meet Chuck, though. Guess I gotta go back next year, eh? A week and 30 hours earlier. Hehe.


Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4 – Part 5Part 6


  1. Chuck, the original Pied Piper of Harpertown, has been drawing those who should know better to his salty mudhole for longer than anyone can remember. That we continue to drive from half a continent away, just in the hope of shaking his hand and basking in the glow of his smile is testament enough. The eternal, “…That was good sir! May I have another?…” Pied Piper, indeed. You are in good company, y’all.

    Dan Rogers, Almostcanada

  2. Now, you didn’t tell Chuck WHICH TX 200 your would attend, right? So you’re still good. Robote looks good. I built a Roar2 once (in a couple days, with friends) and it rowed wonderfully. Something about those Michalak boats.

  3. Dan,
    It dawned on me, as I was reading this, I failed to include the best part.

    I never even got to meet Chuck! Haha. We were there for a few days, with limited e-service stuff, and no idea where to find everyone.

    We fell in love with Magnolia Beach And Port Lavaca. Pure love.

    I can’t wait to get back. 🙂


  4. Gary,
    Haha, no, I don’t believe I did.

    I came very close to building a Roar2 as well. Ha. The big boy decided he wanted to help me make a larger rowboat, so I got him some Rb42 plans. That decision made the smaller boat choice for me.
    This is about trying new stuff and having fun, so I chose the different one.:)

    There IS something about Michalak’s boats, and I think it is exactly the thing that there was about Phil’s “Phil” boats. Well, it’s not “exactly” the same, maybe, but it is sure cooked to the same recipe. Hehe. Some of them just seem so perfect for what they are, and others seem to not know what they are, yet somehow still manage to be perfect. 🙂

    My plan is to keep returning to Texas until I get to sail the 200, and meet Chuck. Maybe one year I’ll pull off both.

    Baby steps.


  5. For anyone wondering, that is not sand in the picture, but 1,987,234,764,093,807,128,738,012,345,123 shells in various stages of decomposition and razor sharpness.
    Little son and I are of the barefooted persuasion, and even we put on the shoes.


    Which isn’t to say it isn’t lovely. It’s lovely. 🙂


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