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by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four

OK.  The gloves are coming off.  It’s time to start getting serious.  Winter is just around the corner.  Today, we changed the formula, and the focus.  Sure, it’ll be a good idea to stop that infernal leak.  Yep, I still think a dip in the bath tub now and then to check trim and stuff like that will be a good idea.  But, it’s time to pull this little girl into the shop, close the doors around her, and get to Frankenbuilding.  As I often lament, there is only so much Winter Building Season to go around.  And.

I have every intention of taking a finished and seaworthy “Miss Kathleen” to her first dance in early March.  That would be the second annual Drizzle Cruise over Puget Sound way.  At minimum, that will require sea trials of some sort around here, in February.  It’s the middle of September right now.  Assuming some shop down time for making stuff for Christmas; that doesn’t even require all the fingers on one hand to count the months until my planned launch time.

At this morning’s staff meeting, the Planning Department guys insisted that it shouldn’t take me more than a couple hours to get a building cart together.  And I suppose they were right.  It really SHOULDN’T have.  But, by the time I made it into town and to the lumber yard and back and started; half the day shift was over already.  It was literally dinner time before we had the trailer parked, and ready to take off to storage.  Things looked about like this.

All I gotta say, is that is one really big hull to expect to manhandle around by myself.  But, somehow, we balance, and roll, and sit pretty level.  Next, came the shell game I play every Building Season - often many times.

All the stuff that is inside the shop and in the way has to go someplace else while I put the hull inside and make sure there is ample space to walk all around and not trip on stuff.  The first refugees were shuffled hither and yon during the night shift.  Somehow, there is about half-dozen outboard motors of varying size, age, and value still hanging along the side wall.  There is also about a ton of spare parts, a complete GM in-line six and a complete Mercruiser outdrive on rolling pallets, two band saws, and a really heavy bench to find “alternate accommodation” before she can roll the whole way inside the shop.  At quittin’ time tonight, we looked a lot like this, with some rather largish pieces parked where my car would rather spend the night.

There’s more, way more, where that came from.  I did manage to get the hull and building cart pushed and shoved most of the way inside the service bay.

Still a lot of stuff to move around.  She’s such a BIG girl!  Soon, to be a pretty one.

We build-it-on-the-fly types have one thing in common.  We do a lot of daydreaming.  And, I think the real reason we don’t have a plan, is that there really isn’t a plan.  That’s both the curse and the joy of this kind of work.  This is new stuff we’re making.  Even if maybe somewhere else in the world, somebody else has tried to do/build/fix/invent whatever it is; IT’S STILL NEW TO US.  So, I guess the best way to get to that destination - without a plan - is to already to have been there.  A few times.

There I was.  Out in the shop.  I think I had come out to dump the kitchen trash barrel, into the cans I try to remember to take out to the road on Sunday nights so the guy who backs that big compactor truck down the hill on Monday mornings will have something to put in his rig and something to put in his little ledger sheet so the nice lady in the trash company office will have something to send a bill for.  I think that is why I was out there.  At least that’s probably what I told Kate I was going out there for.

Truth be told, all through dinner I had been unsuccessfully trying to get several curves, a couple flat planes on slight slopes, and a couple ovals to come together in some sort of satisfying combination.  By the time I was clearing the table and loading the dishwasher, this mental projection had morphed from something by Matisse to something by Jackson Pollack.  Things were sliding out of scale and proportion.  Time to put the image back onto the original canvas so to speak.

So, there I was.  Standing off the starboard side of the hull that will one day bear those curves and planes and ovals.  Miss Kathleen will need to not only be beautiful and curvy; she will need to be built in only a couple-three months from the starting point of a somewhat damaged hull with really good bones.  It would be good, indeed, to get it right the first time.  This is a boat that will, hopefully, be plying waters at and north of 48 degrees north latitude.  This is also a boat that will be expected to provide on-the-water comfort and security after Thanksgiving, and before Memorial Day.  And, judging by how much resistance I’ve been getting from my hands and wrists and fingers over the idea of holding sanders and grinders and pushing complaining sticks of hardwood wood through whining saw blades of late; this could be my “last big one.”  Granted, the makers of Motrin and Ace Wraps are still cheering me on. 

Anyhow, I’m trying to get this one right.  And, as close to right the first time as I can. 

In order to convey what the basic problem is, I’ve discovered a picture of a boat I’ve never seen, to match up with a boat nobody else will ever see.

On a foundation that looks just like this.  Today, at least.

See?  All them curves and planes and ovals just fall into place.  Time to get to making sawdust, noise, and a few usable parts.

And, then, suddenly a totally vital piece of this pie just sorta’ dropped in my lap.  Just this minute. 

No thunder claps.  No voices from upstairs, like, “Dan!  This is God!!  Build me a commuter launch!!!”  Nothing like that at all.  But, ever since this project popped onto the screen, I’ve been trying to figure out how I was going to get the cabin sides “right.”  There’s a lot of curving and sloping going on.  Without the skills of a real boatbuilder anyplace on my crew.  Without the relative advantage of a real boat designer who can figure out real angles and real curves and get them to agree with the waterline and the arcane practice of making things “fair;  I was in a real stew.  Until, just this minute.  Zappppp….

So, here’s the epiphany.  I’ll mount the stanchions on pivot bolts.  Those bolts will be mounted to the angled and slopping and cambered deck at appropriate intervals.  That way, when the stanchions are all in place I can “fair” them with a batten, top to bottom, side to side, corner to corner until my eyes bug out.  And, when one side is finally “right,” I should be able to set the other one up by measuring from a centerline reference.  Now ain’t that cool?!?

Then, I’ll make the two sections of coach roof “to order.”  And that, my friends, will likely be done with the Lucas-Foam-and-Glass method.   

Lightweight, strong, modifiable, and probably waterproof.  Wow.

I can hardly wait until that boring, already-figured out cabin sole is in.  It’s almost enough, to put on a third shift and just keep on keeping on.   Well, almost.

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