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The Inside Passage

My second trip was a walk in the park with fair winds and sunny skies

When I read Quill Goodman’s account of his Race to Alaska in 2015, I was amazed at how difficult the conditions were. He, Dylan, and Mitch were always working against headwinds and often sitting out storms. I’ve been up the Inside Passage twice, and my two experiences were so different from each other and from . . .

Air lift

I didn't know if the pump handle the air pressure required to lift the boat, but it became evident that the weight, say 200 pounds, would be divided by the contact area, say 20 square inches at the full lift, to bring the pressure down to 10 psi.

I needed to pull the centerboard out of my Whitehall and make it a bit thinner so it would operate more smoothly. I wasn’t looking forward to dragging the boat off the trailer, setting it on the lawn, and rolling it on its side to get at the centerboard. That job really needs one person handling . . .

The Mast and the Music Stand

When I made the spars for my Caledonia yawl in 2005, I decided to lighten the largest of them by making them hollow and give the bird’s-mouth method a try. It was a lot of work milling eight staves for the two masts and the yard and the boom for the lug main spar, but . . .

Joshua Slocum

I trust Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World needs no introduction here. I have three copies of it: the paperback volume I read in seventh grade, my father’s 1950 hardback, and a 1905 edition I received as a gift from my friend Paul Thomas. Every time I pick up that oldest book, I think of the hands that . . .

Galling

Eight stainless-steel 1/4 x 20 bolts, seven nuts seized up by galling

I had to take the Forward-Facing Rowing System apart to make a change before I fit it to my Whitehall, and in the process of removing the 8 stainless-steel nuts and bolts, I found that seven of the nuts  wouldn’t budge, and the only way to remove them was to twist until the bolts sheared. I . . .

A GoPro as a Trailer-hitch Camera

Harris uses an articulated camera mount clipped to the hatch-back handle.

Harris Bucklin, a Small Boats Monthly subscriber, sent me this note after he had read our review of the iBall back-up camera in the January 2016 issue: “You gave me a great idea for using my GoPro with my cell phone.” If you have one of those little waterproof action cameras and a wireless connection . . .

Make way

Ron Frenette of Canadian Canoes emailed me after he’d seen the Dragonfly rowing shell featured as the Reader Built Boat in our January issue. He elaborated on the reasons the Dragonfly wasn’t developed more for home builders: “At one time we thought this would be a great project for many, but I suspected the amount of space required would be a deterrent.” That led to swapping stories about boatbuilders with a will finding a way when space is an issue. Rann Haight, as you may recall reading in the December 2015 issue, designed an oversized garage for his home to allow him to build a 26’ dory. My friend Eugene Arima, a well known authority on Arctic kayaks, didn’t have enough room to build a kayak in his walk-up flat in Ottowa, so he built it in the longest space he had: the stairwell. It’s the only boat I know that was constructed on the diagonal. Sometime the “way” comes unintentionally, late in the game. Ron mentioned that one of his customers “built a 17’ Redbird canoe and it would not come out of the basement where it was built. Several thousand dollars later, he had a whole new basement entrance with a sliding door and one very unhappy wife!” I had a similar experience building a lapstrake decked canoe in the basement of a rental home in Silver Spring, Maryland, when I was working for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. I had carefully measured the window that I’d intended to use to get the canoe out of the basement and the beam and depth listed in the plans would result in a boat just small enough to slip through. When I finished the canoe I tried to move it out of the basement and soon realized that the outwales were not included in the measurement for the beam. The window had a steel frame so it took a hacksaw to it and cut two notches for the outwales. Before moving out of the house I filled the notches with aluminum and Bondo and painted the repair to blend in. That was in 1989 and when I was in the DC area a few years ago, I drove by and checked the window. The patches were still intact. You’d think that was a lesson I’d have learned, but when I built my garvey cruiser HESPERIA on top of the pool table in the family room on the ground floor of my Seattle home, I had a similar problem. The hull should have fit through the door to the garage/shop and then out hulloto the driveway, but it got hung up in the doorway. I had to tear out the top of the doorframe to make room. That was only the first obstacle. The overhead furnace ductwork was at the same height as the doorframe and I had to remove the sheetrock covering it. The hatchet I need for the job was in a cabinet on the far side of the hull. The bottom of the boat was up against a corner that projected into the garage, so to get the hatchet I had to crawl through the small triangular space between the floor and the hull’s flared side. It was a tight fit and I could only advance if I emptied my lungs to shrink my chest. I’d exhale and squirm, then get stuck when I inhaled. It took a few minutes to get through and after I got the hatchet I had to inch back through the gap to get out. I hacked the sheetrock away and squeezed the hull through. While I was building the boat several of my daughter’s friends bet I’d never get the boat out. Alison wasn’t doubtful, telling the skeptics: “You don’t know my Dad. He’ll tear the house apart if he has to.”

Ron Frenette of Canadian Canoes emailed me after he’d seen the Dragonfly rowing shell featured as the Reader Built Boat in our January issue. He elaborated on the reasons the Dragonfly wasn’t developed more for home builders: “At one time we thought this would be a great project for many, but I suspected the amount . . .

The Wagner Education Center

Dick Wagner

I met Dick Wagner in 1976. I was fresh out of college, living in Seattle, and boatless; Dick and his wife Colleen ran a boat livery out of their home on Lake Union. Their home is indeed on Lake Union: It’s a white clapboard-sided houseboat afloat on a raft of western red cedar logs. In their watery “back yard” they kept a half dozen or so rowing skiffs, mostly lapstrake White Bear skiffs.

From the Editor

We’re pleased to have you aboard Small Boats Monthly as we greet the New Year. This issue is number 17 and we’ve been pleased with the response to this recent addition to the line of WoodenBoat publications. Many of you have been surprised to learn that SBM is bicoastal. The crew at the WoodenBoat offices in Brooklin, . . .

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