September 29, 2010

Build a Dinghy: Part 32: First Launch

Launched the skiff as a rowboat today--I'm still working on the spars and foils. Here she is rolled out of the shop into the sun on the cart I built. I have clamped the oarlocks in place temporarily to see how the boat trims in the water before committing to their final placement. Brightwork is 3-coats Sikkens Cetol Marine Light. Topsides paint is Kirby Hatteras Off White; Interior Paint is Kirby Red Tint. Despite my efforts at lighting in the shop (ahem, garage), the sunlight revealed some holidays in the varnish I'll have to feather in. Small thing to a giant: I'm still pleased with the way she looks. Here, my Daughter Keira and I rolled her down the street to the beach, under the watch of Bart the Dog. The cart worked fine, and I'm glad I took the advice of fellow Wooden Boat Forum members to use a top-strap in addition to the notched "bunk." Here I am sitting on a milk crate--a removeable seat will be built once I determine the best location for it. Ideally, the stem and transom will just clear the water when my weight is in the right spot. Here, I am a few inches too far aft, and the transom is immersed. No good. Sliding a few inches forward, and the boat trimmed perfectly! With my two kids also aboard--one in the bow and one aft--the stem and transom just "kiss" the water. I marked the spot and will mount seat and oarlocks accordingly, She rows really nice , leaving a small, but purposeful little wake and seems to track ok. The 6mm ply bottom didn't oilcan as much as I thought it would--a pleasant surprise. I rowed around the bulkhead seen here and into the creek to cruise our community docks and met with a few wolf whistles and thumbs-up from some boaters on the dock battening down for the big blow that's due here tomorrow. My freind and neighbor Bill, an avid sailor, really liked her and met me back at the beach to see the boat out of the water. When he saw my cart, and the simple rope tie-down, he said," Wait here," and dashed off on his bike to his house. He returned with a small, ratcheting web trailer tie down to replace the line, saying: " Here, now I've contributed a bit to your beautiful boat." Real nice.Bill and his wife Jane both ended up coming to dinner and talked about rowing, places to row, etc. Now to build the sailing bits!

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