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by Paul Austin - Dallas, Texas - USA

April Love - Part One

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

Well, I have moved to a new apartment. God, I hate moving. It's like trying to tickle King Kong - you just know something's going to go wrong. And it did; one of my model ships didn't make it to the new berth. The good news is, I'm very close to White Rock Lake where I'll be rowing and sailing.

So for this second floor 'Death March Up The Stairs' apartment, my friend Ken Simpson designed me an 8 footer I can carry. As the mentor to the ancient sages, Ken liked the challenge. The challenge of designing at a desk, not the Death March Up The Stairs. He didn't volunteer for that, don't know why. I asked him to cut it in half, stem to stern, which he did. Then he went to click on SAVE and accidentally hit COPY. Suddenly two long sections became four short ones. There is no accounting for genius.

I named it after my daughter April. She is something else. When she was in high school, she had 3 to 6 boyfriends at one time. I asked her how she kept them straight. She gave me a 3 word answer I've never forgotten - 'I schedule them.' You should have seen her first cell phone bill - no, you probably shouldn't have. It was so big it came in a box, collect.

Anyway, Ken is working on a very worthy project over the holidays, so that gives me some time. I cut the three sheets of plywood in smaller pieces so I could carry them into the apartment. This place has a closet big enough to put a Pee Wee football team in, so I'll have no trouble storing the boat. The question which plagued the old boys was, how to build two-part boats that don't weight too much. Ken has solved it. He had to keep the design as near to square as possible for strength while providing enough curvature for the boat to move through water. And he had to make the boat easy on the eyes, an attractive ship. I really like what he's done.

One of the unexpected riches from thinking in terms of a boat with more than one part is new thoughts. Ken is very good at laying out sections of the boat on the plywood so I don't buy waste. With the takeapart boats, he gets to design parts shaped differently than other designers. So he can think about panel layout from a different perspective.

And the takeapart boats enabled him to design a daggerboard which is not limited to the shape of the trunk. There is some thinking involved here. You don't want a trunk with such an odd shape it isn't strong. You don't want the trunk so big you have to sit on the sheer strake while catfish bite your butt. You don't want to have to explain why the trunk is where it is when teenagers giggle. And with the inside sections down the middle and side to side, the interior panels support a seat thwart easily. They also provides a place to secure the mast without having to put in a mast thwart across the boat. Any part you put across the width of the boat is in the way when you move around. It's like running the hurdles in a track meet bent over. Fortunately Ken's removable seat is a back-saver.

Now the big problem in moving is that my relatives expect me to just 'get moved in,' like it happens all at once. Well, at my age the only thing I do all at once is fall asleep. This moving thing takes time. And it takes decisions. The point from which the ancient Greeks began their civilization was - pou apolusai ploion - where to put the boat? The Vikings never solved this cosmic dilemma until they discovered America - they kept their boats in Maine. That way Mrs. Viking wasn't always complaining about how dusty the living room was with that ship on the sofa. The Greeks put theirs in a berth at Troy - there was some discussion there about that but not among the women. But here for me, I've got this perfect 10 foot by 5 foot patio right over my car's parking space so if the boat falls over the patio, it's already on the car, ready to go.

So by now, most of the moving is over except waiting for mail. Getting your mail forwarded is about like telling your son to grow up before he grows up. Not gonna happen until it happens. And then when the mail finally comes, it's all bills. Anyway, Ken's design for me is all about tape and glue. As glue is illegal in an apartment, when they come to arrest me I'll just tell them my name is Chuck.