Sunday, June 13, 2010

June 13, 2010

Back in early May we had a meeting /dinner at DD’s house just to get together and share some paddling ideas.
It seems like everyone’s lives are getting busier and busier making it harder to develop a regular paddling schedule.
Some people have children that need their time and others just have hectic lives that make it hard to commit.

Superior Provincial Park

Superior Provincial Park
Over the past 25 years friends and I have paddled every foot of the Door’s 250+ miles of shoreline, yakked across Lake Michigan, been to almost every Island in Green Bay and Lake Michigan, taken trips to the Apostles, Superior Provincial Park, the North Shore of Lake Superior, many inland lakes,

Quebec, Bay of St Lawrence
Perfect site...listened to whales blow day and night

Minke Whale... Quebec, Saguenay River
Minke Whale... Quebec, Bay of St Lawrence

Paddled with whales in the Bay of St-Lawrence/Saguenay River, fought 30 mph winds, so now what?

Paddle until we drop, then go sail. Oh yeah,,,I have to paddle in Nova Scotia yet…next year, if all goes well, 3 weeks of wandering, camping and paddling….

Shelburne Harbor, Nova Scotia
been there 5 times with a canoe, but next time I’m bringing the kayak.

Launching in Sand Bay, Norhern Door County, WI
For ten years we had a pretty regular paddling group of various people who would regularly show up for our scheduled paddles, but the past several years have seen the number dwindle to??...few.

Anyway, I like to be on the water and so will just post when I’m going, if someone wants to go, great, if not that’s Ok too, I’ll just go solo.

Have I been On The Water yet? Not since April when I did a few trips down Geisel Creek in my canoe a few days before having surgery to repair a hernia…took 2 mths of doing nothing…well reading books and little physical activity to feel almost normal. I’m still not comfortable paddling yet, probably could, but “my gut” gives me signs it is not healed yet and I guess I would rather just give it time to heal.

Watkins 23XL
Paddling is not an obsession…being on the water and around boats is, so I have been working on modifications to the 23” sailboat I bought last year.
I could sail it exactly the way it is, but I see too many things to change that will make it easier and safer to use.

What am I doing to it?

Found a 9.9 Johnson Sailmaster with a 25” lower unit…perfect for a sailboat.

Purchased a product called Powertiller, which is a kit to remote mount the Start, Stop, Shift and Throttle on the Tiller of a sailboat…giving excellent control of the boat when under power, especially when in tight situations, like docking.

Removed the built-in water tank…to me having a sink and permanent water storage on a 23’ boat, is just a waste of space…I can use the space in a more flexible manner if those are gone, so I’m taking the tank out, built-in a water tight bulkhead where the tank was to get some flotation in the boat and a storage area.

Floatation…Sea kayaks have flotation and wt-bulkheads, my other sailboats have wt bulkheads and floatation. I have read too many stories of small sailboats being sailed hard on the edge, getting a strong gust and having water flood the cockpit and fill the boat through non-tight hatches…most have sunk in less than 5 minutes! Don’t like that idea, so I’m dividing the boat up into sections with wt-bulkheads in-between…maybe it won’t stay afloat if it takes a knockdown that puts the mast in the water, but at least it will sink slower.

Built a mast raising system with a gin-pole and winch…makes it easy to raise or lower the mast in less than a minute. Placing the mast on a tabernacle and mounting the boom on the tabernacle so the sail can stay on the boom and the boom stay mounted to the tabernacle when the mast goes up or down.

New Open Fuel Locker
Cut a hole under the cockpit seat to store the fuel tank…keeps it out of the way in the cockpit and allows me access to a void so I can build one of the wt-bulkheads…it amazes me how much wasted space is in these production fiberglass boats that have hull liners…just inaccessible voids all over, that don’t create floatation, just areas of nothing. When I built a boat every space has a purpose.

I'm just waiting to fall in this hole
By placing the mast on a tabernacle, 20” off the deck, I can create a raised cabin hatch, that will serve as a navigation station, give standing headroom in the cabin, and eliminate the possibility of someone falling into the cabin while walking on the cabin roof when the hatch is open
…a very real possibility when walking forward on deck if that hatch is open and someone isn’t paying attention.

Mounted a radio antennae, solar powered light, anemometer, and wind indicator on the masthead.

From this current setup
Welded some cracks in the trailer…after the boat is launched and before I pull it out this fall, I’ like to remove the keel roller system and replace that with a steel channel and keel guides, which will lower the boat on the trailer by almost 6”, making it easier to launch.

To this with a keel guide
Last but not least, painting to make it pretty, but function first.

So why am I doing all this instead of just buying a boat all set up? Most of it won’t be set up on any boat, few have tabernacles, watertight-bulkheads, tiller controlled outboards, etc. I have the skills to make the changes and like doing a little design work…this boat is large enough, but light enough to pull behind a small truck, sails well, has a good sleeping area…it will be a good boat to haul around and trailer-sail many places around the mid-west and Great Lakes.

See Ya ON-the Water.

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