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Capsize test

A couple of days ago I decided to capsize the Ladybug and practice righting it again as this is something I have certainly never done with a sailboat before. We capsized it on both sides.

The second time I had Hunter, all 80 pounds of him, right the boat. It came up very easily for him. Not a drop of water in the bulkheads as the hatches were out of the water at all times. It took on quite a bit of water but I was able to get back in over the side without it capsizing again.

It was quite unstable if you did anything to cause the water to flow to one side or the other. It would be interesting in rough water I am sure. The water fills the cockpit to the bottom of the seat supports.



I'll Bet You've Met This Guy, Too

Sometimes I see him at the launch ramp. Sometimes, it’s on the dock right here in the marina. I’ve even run into him out on the road in a rest stop, or RV park. He’s the guy with this almost-new stinkpot. The one with the Chevy 350 plumbed into those really sexy thru-transom straight stacks. Yeah, you know the guy.

He’s the one trying to figure out how to tie that humungous inflatable towing thing into his boat’s drink holder and woofer/tweeter infested, but cleatless, arctic white upholstery. He never seems to consider the notion that that son of a mutant ninja inner tube could be deflated and stowed. He’s usually the guy with at least half dozen wake boards and water skis festooned on a chrome jungle-gym-like apparatus; surmounting a color accent coordinated Sunbrella edifice—neither of which seem to require dismantling or stowage for trailering, either. Now, you remember him, don’t you?

Well anyway, I saw him again today. I was pulling Plum Duff’s sail covers off, and stowing them in the lazarette. Next to the emergency towing lines, standby third anchor and rode, storm jib(s), personal harness’ and tethers, and Mae West’s. I was either folding the main cover into that square shape that lays small and doesn’t foul stuff; or maybe reeving the jib sheets. Something like that. Anyway, he actually stopped talking on his blue tooth, and smiled at me.

He not only smiled; he actually started talking to me. Yeah. I was a bit shocked, and wasn’t sure if I was going to need the address and emergency phone numbers for the nearest Starbucks; or more likely, a professional referral to the people who supply those ropes with the loops already in them. Anyhow, I smiled back at him, and waited for the Big Guy to come to the point.

“My wife says we should have a sailboat. She thinks they’re kinda’ cute. My brother-in-law took me sailing once. It’s a lot ‘a work.” And, with that manifesto, he was gone.

I was still thinking about that a few minutes later, as I two blocked the jib and trimmed it in to port. The leech just kissed the spreader, as the three turns on the coaming winch compressed into tight little coil. Seems like, I should have had something to say back to that guy. Seems like.

As the ‘ol girl took that first puff, rolled her rail a bit closer to the water, and began to accelerate; I was still pondering what the guy said. I know, he says that to all of us. But, do you suppose if he had come along with me and sat there in the forward corner with his back to the bulkhead, there on the port side, he would have let the boat sort of cradle him as he watched the wave train start to build?. Maybe, he might have put a couple fingers on the tiller and sort of toyed with the spot where the laminations are beginning to break the varnish, and felt the counter-thrusts of wind and water meet right there, under his fingers. Maybe if he took a short pull against the mainsheet fiddle block, and checked to see if the little wrinkle had disappeared from above the top batten pocket; he would have also felt the thrum of the taught cordage Maybe he would have braced his foot against the lee seat riser and felt one with the boat as she assumed a transitory, but just about perfect, balance between all those unseen forces of heel, and ballast, and buoyancy.

But, like he said. “Sailboats. They’re a lot of work.”

Dan Rogers

Pandion on Lake Huron

Chuck, I wanted to send you some photos we shot of Pandion. We had a chance to use a GPS to see how she pointed and I was pleased that in light wind she'll point through 100 t0 110 degrees - as the wind picks up she points though a solid 100 degrees. For a beach cruiser that draws only 28 inches with her boards down that's very nice. I've had no trouble beating up the channels here.

The photo taken with two people in the boat was taken when the wind was blowing 20, the water doesn't look like it but we are in a narrow channel and the wind has no fetch. We didn't take a reef (which we would have done normally but I didn't want a reef for the photos).

We were never able to put her rail down and she was manageable while over canvassed but not fun. It was fun but a work out. I've had a chance to sail her quite a bit and there are no bad manners - none - which is always nice. She has an easy helm with the slightest weather helm but well balanced even over canvassed.

I'm ready to get back to work. It was great teaching here at the Great Lakes Boat Building School but I have to finish the book on Pandion and the Sea Eagles and I have some new design I'm ready to get started on. By the way the sail making class went very well and I'm planning to do a video on making traditional sails.

Thanks and I'll see you soon, David Nichols

HMS Belleisle

Hi Chuck,

Here is a picture of an amazing, fully-functioning, sailable 1/13th scale model of the 74-gun ship of the line HMS Belleisle, the second ship in Collingwood's line at Trafalgar. She was built for a re-enactment of the battle in 2005 at the Bursledon Regatta, and was the centrepiece of this year's regatta (the theme was Pirates of the Caribbean). See here for more details - She really is impressive, especially considering she is basically a GP14 dinghy.

All best,
Chris Partridge

6 Metre Whaler Sea Nymph Update

Hi Chuck here are some more pictures of Sea Nymph with all her lockers painted. The decks are on and rolling her over single handed to finish exterior.

Peter Murton

Scarfing Plywood

I scarfed the plywood for the 18' sides yesterday... truing up a scarf cut with an electric plane. I am about half-way there on this scarf. I ended up sanding the scarf with a belt sander on slow speed and 60 grit paper to get it as perfect as possible.

Each scarf took about 30 minutes once I got the hang of it. I used the Gougeon Brothers book "The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction", 2005, ISBN 1-878207-50-4 to lay out and glue up the scarfs and Dynamite Payson's book "Build the New Instant Boats", 1984, appendix 4, ISBN 0-07-155966-3 to cut them.
Pete Leenhouts

News from Bowdidge Marine Designs


We decided to take some time from designing and get our Mushulu 14 finished and on the water. The morning of launched day was hectic to say the least. With the boat trailer hooked up, some last quick photos and my calculations notebook in hand, we were off.

Craig and Ryan (our chase boat driver and talented cameraman), they both caught up with us and time to launch. Climbing in, it not until then that you realize just how BIG this boat really is. Damn...Its HUGE ! Pushing out into deeper water, 2 quick pulls on the outboard and we slipped into gear. Looking at Debbie, I gunned it..... Straight up and off. WOW.

Moving down the river, it was time to compare its performance to my calculations. With the GPS in hand, we gunned it down the straight. With my calculated top speed of 23 kts for a 25 HP, we watched the GPS climb and then to level out at 25.6 kts !!! That's 2.5 kts better than expected.

After a bit of a play, we ripped back ashore, adjusted the outboard trim and then Craig and Ryan clambered aboard. Time to check the Mushulu 14's performance, only this time with 4 people on board. We opened the throttle and the Mushulu 14 leapt. Winding up her throttle to 85%, we thundering along at 19 kts ( GPS calculated speed) It matched exactly my calculated cruise speed., but on opening the throttle, 24 kts !!! Even better than expected!! (I had calculated 23 kts ha ha)

For the next hour, we had a blast putting the Mushulu 14 through her paces, checking her stability (like a rock) and checking her actual planning take off speed (7 kts). Craig and Ryan, after driving around in their lumbering alloy dinosaur, wanted to have a turn After, they asked if we wanted to trade. Get out of it!!

Now, all we have to do is get the Mushulu 14 out on the open water, ripping up the ocean and getting more video footage. For open water use, we already know what it will be like, if the Mushulu 12 is any comparison - it will rocket!

Mark Bowdidge
Bowdidge Marine Design

Radial Outboard


My friend John Howe, a master mechanic in the old sense, was approached a couple years ago by a guy who said his father had built a radial 5 cyl. outboard years before.... he asked John if he could get it running.......

John, no friend of the water or boating in general (he can't swim) said he'd give it a try and did get it going ...... total loss oil system, no mufflers, a disaster all in all..... but it runs!

Bruce Armstrong

Visit to Great Bridge Lock Park.

  My family was having a vacation in Virginia Beach , VA. One point of interest for me, if not for most tourists, was the Intracoastal Waterway. A friend who knows the area suggested that we visit Great Bridge Lock Park .

The park belongs to the City of Chesapeake , just south of Virginia Beach . It’s a nice municipal park with a playground, picnic facilities, and a launching ramp. The interesting feature to me is that it borders the Intracoastal at the site of a lock. Although there is a small rise and fall in the lock, the real reason it is there is to prevent seawater intrusion into the marshes and wetlands to the south. The lock is quite large to permit passage by tugs and barges. I saw a note somewhere that it is large enough to hold 40 pleasure craft at the same time.

We were there on a day of little traffic in the waterway. A fisherman told me there hadn’t been a boat along in several hours, but just as we were finishing our tour of the park, we heard a yacht’s horn signaling a drawbridge just to the south. I was able to get a few pictures of the Nonsuch 30 catboat as it locked through.

Peter Vanderwaart

Scottish Coastal Rowing prototype Progress

We have been making good progress with the prototype of the St Ayles Skiff over the past couple of weeks, and there is much to tell.

Attached are pictures of the prototype with the Sheer strake finally glued up on Thursday evening, letting us see her shape - I will not use any adjectives here, and let the pictures speak for themselves.

Over the past three weeks we have had a stream of interested parties come to view and help with the work of building this hull, so that we can get her on the water in as short a time as possible.  Of these, the contributions made by Shaun Anderson and Chris Perkins really stand out, and without these two, I may have just about had the garboard on by now.

On Friday 11 Sep, the apprentices for the Museum build were interviewed at Adam Smith College in Kirkcaldy.  Six had applied for the four scholarships which have been funded by the Scottish Fisheries Museum to build the first production boat, and five turned up for interview, all with a great deal of enthusiasm, and with different skills and talents that they can bring to the project.  We felt unable to drop any of them, so the money will be split further, and we will have five teenagers learning how to build instead of four.

They will be coming up to the Jordan Boats workshop on Tuesday 15 Sep to see what they will be building, and the work will commence at the SFM the following Tuesday.

It is not only the boat itself that has got people excited - I have had numerous requests for the model kit, and will make these available once I have the full set of plans and know exactly what needs to go into the pack.

We are also getting a lot of interest from the USA, and the Jordan Boats Agent in Australia thinks that there may also be a market there for this design.  Even if this design is not used, the idea of community built rather than professionally built boats for coastal community rowing races seems to be catching on elsewhere.

We are intending having the prototype boat on the water around the end of September, with a Press Launch in early October when the kit design will be complete and the kits can be made available.  The build of the prototype has been documented as we have been going along, and there will be a build manual available online in October.

We have registered a website and I am intending that this starts getting properly updated on a regular basis in the near future.

If you wish to pay a visit to the workshop to see the prototype, or more valuably, lend a hand in its completion, you are more than welcome, but please give me a call on 07983 225517 beforehand to make sure that we will be there - we will look forward to seeing you.

Thank you for your interest and help in this project.

Alec Jordan

Copper Wire

Hi Chuck,

I've been a long time lurker of the Duckworks site.

Recently I agreed to help recycle a quantity of copper wire that had been scavenged out of an old nursing home that was being converted to a Craft center. The copper was obtained legally (as a builder I have heard horror stories that approch urban legend status).

With price fluctations in the scavanged metal market I decided to clean up some of the longer pieces and sell any good clean coils in the 25 to 50 foot range to do-it yourselfers avoiding hardware store prices.

This left lots of shorter and kinked pieces from that sorting and i discovered that striping the outer plastic insulation adds a huge factor of  price difference at the scavange scale.

Anyway I'm down to a growing pile of white, red, and black insulated wire and a nice little pile of uninsulated  number 12 and 14 single strand solid ground wires.

Should I explain that I got into this with fantasies of building a stitch and glue from Bolger's "Boats with an Open Mind"?  I have what I need stashed and would be willing to part with nice coils of copper wire for $2.00 per pound plus shipping.

Nope I'm not even considering selling by the foot and it would take more than $2.00 amount of time to measure the length of a pound. 

I've enjoyed the tales and experiences in Duckworks and will continue to lurk long after the wire has gone to new and needful homes.

Interested builders can contact me at: 

Tom M

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