Part 7- Lil magic trick

By Perry Burton - Holyrood, Newfoundland - Canada


Part 1 - One of Those
Part 2 - This Small Space
Part 3 - So Where's This Boat of Yours?
Part 4 - Planking Nightmares

Part 5 - It's All Downhill from Here
Part 6 - The Routine
Part 7 - Lil magic trick

I was grabbed by the hair of my head by my brother Dennis. I was fine up until that point. He thought I was drowning because I was under the water too long for his liking. I was trying to get ashore. It was his fault at any rate. He’s the one who flipped my boat by hanging off the back of it. I use the term boat quite loosely.

The “boat” was a converted cement box my dad used for mixing mortar on our house basement. The box was about 4ft long and 3ft wide with a sloped “front”. I caulked the seams dutifully like any shipwright would. At the age of 8 I was a ship builder. To my surprise it didn’t float well and even less when I tried to board. So I added floatation in the form of logs I cut and hydro dynamically made pointy for attaching to the bottom of my said boat. The results were satisfactory. (Basically, it was a raft.) I fashioned a paddle with my trusty axe from a piece of spruce plank and off I went. I kept near to shore on my maiden voyage remembering the famous Titanic disaster. All was going well until my brother, tired of swimming under his own power, decided to hang off the back of my approaching boat. The rest, as they say, is history. My first boat was not exactly my best work, but it was memorable none the less.

The present...

I had the bottom of the hull painted, now I have to roll it over again. The procedure is getting easier and quicker each time I do it.

The boat is now sitting on some pieces of wood on the floor, so it is much easier getting in the boat to do work. After some cleanup, I applied epoxy filler to the screw points and joints in the deck and floor.
While that was curing, I built my mast compression post to go under the deck and my little centerboard haul-up mount as well as the motor mount doubler.
A couple of evenings sanding and the deck/insides were ready for a couple of coats of epoxy to seal it all up nicely.
Since the prime coat needed a well cured base of epoxy I had a few days to kill while it did so. The gaff was taken down and had the jaws installed.
I installed the centerboard pin housing.
I cut and finished my bowsprit.
The epoxy all cured, so I gave the topsides two coats of primer and, at the same time, I also primed the centerboard and rudder case. No need ito waste primer. Every time I needed to open a can of paint or varnish, I made sure I could do most, if not all, of the necessary items at that time in one shot. It’s mostly how I planned my build, so as not to waste time on cleanup or materials. Painting and sanding took time. I had to lay down four coats, but the results were good enough.

I was going to use deck paint with grit in it for the deck area, but, after a small test area was done, I decided against it. It seemed to collect dirt easily and it was difficult to clean without a brush or such. Being a smaller boat, nobody should be up on the side decks gallivanting around, so I decided on adhesive nonslip deck tape. I had seen the same on a Navigator down south and I liked how it looked. Besides, with the nice almost sprayed look to the deck right now, it would be a shame to cover it in a paint that would be grimy in the first week.

The painting now done, I spliced and steamed the gunwales and coaming trim. They were clamped and screwed in place until it dried out for a few days. They were removed and several coats of varnish applied to the back sides before final installation. All were screwed in place with adhesive caulking as a sealer.
The screw holes were plugged with oak plugs as a contrast to the lighter color gunwales.
I added the end trim pieces and decided to keep them the natural wood finish for looks.

Everything including the transom was sanded and given several coats of spar varnish. Remember when I mentioned doing as much as I could in one shot, well I took this to perhaps a dangerous level. You see my wife and daughter were out of town for the week and I used this opportunity to open “site #2”. My living room/dining room was converted into a workshop for varnishing my mast, boom, gaff and rudder blade.

Do not try this at home folks, you may be taking your life in your own hands. All precautions were taken, but I still never told her until after. I was able to do all my varnishing in one go. Many sanding and varnishing sessions ensued.

Not wasting time, I installed a new basement door to replace my old one. It’s significant because it’s where the boat will come through. It’s a 42” door, which is enough to give me ½” of clearance on each side when bringing the boat out.

Moving day... It has arrived. I have completed as much as I dare before taking the boat outside and I know I’ll put a few scratches and dings in her during the move. This move was planned before I cut my first frame many months ago. It involved making a scaled plan of the basement and printing it. I also made a scaled side view of the completed boat and printed that as well. Both got glued to cardboard and the boat shape cut out. I carefully manipulated this proxy boat through the basement and out the new door. Convinced it would work, I started the build.

Any sceptic who showed their face in the shop got a demonstration of my grade three art project and magic show. All I would receive would be raised eyebrows and “we’ll see”. Indeed we would. There was as much discussion about the boat/house situation than the fact that I was building a boat. I eventually gave up showing off my art project and just told them to show up on move day. Nobody would place a bet though; I had hoped someone would to help finance this boat. But I digress, I had chosen frame #3 and #5 to copy the profile and make a reversed template as a cradle for the boat.
I made a sled with plastic runners that will carry the boat outside. Straps were added to keep it all together. My friends came to help with the move, but before that I had to make some space. I had to remove the shop door inside the house and the post next to it. I supported the house above with a steel beam and a rented jacking post.
This was for peace of mind really. I removed the stairwell and all contents of the basement onto my lawn.
; The house looked as if it had vomited its contents - not pretty! The boat was lifted with the strap system for the last time and placed in its sled.
I found some used plastic to place under the sled to make it slide easier on the concrete floor and it worked very well. With everything in place and ready to go, it began to rain, naturally.
If the first push was to be an indication of the labour ahead we were in for a treat.
It was basically a two person job, but, with all the bodies around, moving the pieces, sliding plastic and checking for space meant it took little time to move it.
My friends’ son Nathan was on hand for supervision and safety. He gave me helpful advice as we pulled the boat through the basement.
The only close fit was the 42” door. As expected, ½” of clearance was like a mile. It was done.
One 17ft boat in the yard and time for lunch. The rain came down in sheets as we had a large feed of take out chicken. Why chicken all the time? The restaurant is only a couple hundred feet from the house and I’m not taking time to cook with all this on the go. We sat, ate and watched a Pixar movie as per Nathans contract. In the afternoon we lifted the boat on the trailer by brute force.

Before I got too excited. I remembered my wife was returning in a couple of hours. “Everyone out!” like at a party. I quickly moved all the stuff back inside, put my stairwell back in place, shut down site #2 varnishing shop and was in the middle of a weeks’ worth of dirty laundry and dishes when they returned. She asked if the boat move went well, I said “yeah pretty good, nobody injured”. “That’s good to hear, what’s that smell?” she asked. “Oh just varnish from the shop” I exclaimed in nonchalantly...... What’s left to do? There's major assembly of parts, rigging and such, and then launch.

Roll credits....

Travor Miller - Chief load lifter and idea man. He did much of the pushing and pulling.

Irving Pelley - 2nd load lifter and mobile scaffold. His towering stature let us tie rope out of reach by the rest of us.

Bill Foote - 3rd load lifter safety advisor and main “credited” idea man. All ideas got eventually turned into Bill saying “you know if we”.. <insert already stated idea> Then everyone would enthusiastically agree it was the best idea.

Maxwell Patten - 4th load lifter, clean-up and tent maintenance. (Nathans dad)

Nathan Patten - Site foreman, Juice drinker, & personal assistant to me. (He knows power tools)

Sebastian Miller - Camera man, cradle/sled contractor. (Travor's son).



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