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by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four

The Boss is a man of few words.  But he does seem to get his point across.  We were out on our morning Inspection Tour, and I was rambling on about how I was going to have to make a bunch of things happen in short order to get Miss Kathleen back into the water to see if she was still leaking through the bottom of my big ol’ patch where I cut the former keel off and started the process of turning her into a motor launch.  The Boss looked at me with something between disdain and pitty, and then demonstrated a bit a marksmanship on the flower bed.

Ahhhhh, you mean?

So, that’s what I did.  Just took a coffee can of water and pored the whole thing into the bottom of the bilge sump. After a few hours, there wasn’t a puddle on the shop floor.  And, in the best scientific manner I could think of, I sponged out the water and just about re-filled the can to its original level.  I do think I have finally failed a leak test.  ‘Bout time.

And, in the half-day that I was testing for leaks, there was simply nothing I could think of to be working on down in the bilge.  So, I hooked little Punkin’ Seed up and we went down to the launch ramp.

It was a sunny morning.  About seventy degrees.  Light wind outa’ the north-east-west-south as happens in light conditions on a hill-surrounded lake.  But there was absolutely NOBODY on the ramp, in the parking lot, or on the lake, for that matter.  We just had the whole place to ourselves.  I suppose that’s why God made Labor Day.

Labor Day is that great dividing line.  The day before LD was a scene of chaos and crowding.  Trucks and trailers lined up to launch and recover.  People swimming off the beach, fishing from the dock.  The day after, a scene of quiet contemplation and refinement.  Now, at the end of September, a scene of complete solitude.  And, if it wasn’t for The Boss’ timely remarks; I’d be working away back in the shop.  Instead, there I was, out sailing.

Across a quite-empty lake.  But, I wasn’t just loafing around, on a work day.  Nosirree.  I actually had some “builder’s trials” to conduct.  The last time Punkin’ Seed was in the water was when I sailed her from the Toledo boat show display docks to the launch ramp and started for home.  Way back in July. 

The wind was up a bit on that slog, and my then-latest “improvement” included a sloop rig.  A sloop rig that had never been tested in anything above 5 knots of wind.  Suddenly, I had the definite feeling that the rig could come toppling down on my head without much further discussion.  I was going to need spreaders and a back stay if I ever expected that jib to do its part effectively.  Kind of a big disappointment.  Anyhow.

Once home, the mast step migrated back to the original spot.  Shrouds moved forward to the original chainplates.  Cleats and sheet leads came flying off.  And, presto!  She was a cat boat, again.  Just like Mr. “L” designer her, in obvious point of fact.  I guess ol’ Glen actually knew what he was drawing about, afterall.  Well, sorta.

We don’t point quite so well, and speed & acceleration in the light stuff is less good.  But it certainly is another case of where simplication and adding lightness have probably trumped over complexity and not-lighter.  And, I will admit that it was pretty nice to just sit back by the tiller and zone out.  No jib to trim.  No tangle of sheets to leap out and grab me by the ankle. 

I also got to check out one of my other too-cool-for-school mods to that little trailer.  The one that raises the front, so the rear can dip under water without making the water any deeper or the trailer any longer.  That seemed to work just fine.

Just a nice day on the water.  By myself.

Meanwhile, the day crew got Miss Kathleen’s bilge painted.  They added another half-rib up forward, and went to the lumber yard and brought home some ¾” MDO and cut it up for the base layer of cabin sole.  (There will likely be a layer of something prettier laid over the top sooner or later.)  When I got home, The Boss took me out to the shop to show me what those guys got done, while I was out playing.

It seemed like they had it pretty well in hand, so I took the rest of the day off, and even took Kate out for dinner.



It’s been a whopper of a morning staff meeting, here at the Frankenpalace.  I think we got started at about zero-five.  It’s now about ten-thirty.  I guess it’s because I took a few hours off yesterday to go sailing.  Seems like everybody had something to add or subtract or change or wonder about.  We’ve all been to meetings like that.  But, now that the “leaking thing” is sort of put to bed; it’s all about the NEXT PHASE.  If only we could agree on what and how and when that is all supposed to take place.

Now that the guys got a floor laid in what will soon be a wheel house or head compartment or galley or berthing area - you begin to see how this is devolving - it’s obviously time to start inventing some sort of roof.  Or, roofs.  And windows.  And skylights.  And doors.  And, stuff we ain’t even thought of yet.

Last night, I sort of took it easy.  Kate and I were off at our regular Wednesday night dine-out with a gang of Diamond Lake and Newport locals.  We actually do this every week, at a different emporium of epicurean delights.  Usually, someplace in about a 10-mile circle of home.  I managed to get a seat at the long table across from my friend, Sam, the structural genius.

I was telling Sam about how this Frankenbuild project was coming along, and how the next step was to start inventing a roof.  I told him about how The Lucas makes just about everything from tooth brush racks to hockey rinks out of foam and ‘glass.  I went on to complain about how much this was gonna’ cost to make a whole cabin out of ‘pox.  Even at the bargain basement prices Miss Cindy assures me that I get from her people at the World Headquarters of Duckworks Boat Building Supply; it’s gonna’ be one big glop of gooeyness.  Of course Sam had “an idea.”

About an hour later, my dinner was still getting cold(er) in front of me.  But, I was some kinda’ jazzed.

All Sam said, was, “Whatif?  Whatif you used PAPER?”  Paper, huh?  So, we talked about sheer strength, glue bonds, grain boundaries, and moduli of just about everything you can think about.  And, I guess that’s pretty much why my morning meeting has gone on, and on, and on.

We all crowded around the table.  It was so intense, the coffee pot went ignored for about the first hour.  Heck, I was still in my bathrobe until about ten.  Scribbles on a napkin.  Lots and lots of hand waving in the air, with confident grins.  Followed by lots and lots of “huhuhdon’tgonnawork’s”.  About five trips out to the shop - in slippers and robe.  Tape measures scattered all around, with pencils set down and lost.  Framing squares and straight edges propped up and clamped helter-skelter.  Intense, I tell you!

Of course the ergonomic guys wanted to know how much headroom this contraption was going to afford.  The seamanship consultants wanted to know where the helm station was supposed to fit, along with whether the Captain would have his cushy helm seat.  The style guys were all over the map with curves and flats and questions about how this thing was going to work with the deck contours and whether it would complement the sheerline.  Sooooooo many questions.

Now, it’s going on lunch time, and there hasn’t been a lick of real work out in that shop, so far, today.  Not yet, anyway.  But, maybe we can let the recording secretary get the minutes brought up to speed.  Maybe we can take a break for a while, call Sam and see what he has to say.

And, I gotta’ read up on adhesives and foam and, of course, PAPER.  I’ll let you know what I figure out.  Er, um, what WE figure out, that is…



So, now that it’s about time to knock off the night shift, I’m reminded of a couple basic truths.  One comes from my days as a leadership and management training guru.  “You must know the difference between urgent and important.”  This, seen through the lens of a paramount veracity:  “Boats - and boatbuilding by logical extension— - not a matter of life or death.”  Certainly not.  They are much more important than that!

And, as luck would have it, today has been consumed by the “urgent” things on my list.  Appointments, commitments, obligations; and mostly, overdue tasks.  And, as everybody knows, tasks can take up a great deal more time than allocated.  So it goes.  For example, this is the load of boat parts that had started to accumulate in a spot not exactly “authorized” for such an accumulation.  Sure, I immediately thought of a good use for each and every chunk just as soon as I delivered them to the transfer station.

I did manage to make a few test specimens with foam and paper and glue.

As far as holding things together until they are glassed, this looks like a jumping off point.  As a paintable shell, not so much. 

And, I did, of course, spend several hours making and rejecting mockups.  We visual types do need our mockups.  So, the next step is to start converting mental images into stuff that gets glued, shaped, glassed and painted.  Hopefully, tomorrow.

Hey.  This is gonna’ be sooooooo cool…

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