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Hello, on the way here, inter-net cafe, I decided to send this.

Had been working on the houseboat for a week and a half, no sail, so yesterday it was time to sail. Took my little twelve footer out, very light wind. It was a half sail, half paddle.

Nice though, real nice, sunny, not hot, quite. Leaving the dock the tugs were active, this is a commercial/recreational harbor, more on the commercial end.

The tug was shifting barges, and I waited while he spun one around and took it to the I.C.W.

Side of the harbor, (interstate canal waterway), very slow getting out. Actually the tug took the barge, unhooked it and was coming for another one.

Looking up to the pilot house I could see the tug captian waving at me, they know me by now.

Well, we been having a north wind blowing for several days and that moves water. So locally, we are a few inches higher, sometimes it's as much as a foot. That meant the flats around the corner would have enough water for the 12 footer, away I went. Cool, very shallow, lots of fish, angry birds, the herons really squak when they have to move for a boat.

This flat area connects to the ICW a couple hundreds yards further on so my plan was to go that-a-way. It actually worked. What happened was not in the plans.

Getting onto the ICW, it's very narrow, across the way is a sand island with shore grass I like to sail next to. So I was going along, standing up, pfd in the aft hatch, not on me.

Well, standing while sailing, the dag gum sail was blocking my vision. I figured I head in now, I knew where I was, so mid channel I decide to take a look see under the sail.

I see a barge, huh! I thought, I got there faster than I thought. Wait a minute! Sometimes not right, that was too quick I'm thinking. I take another look see around the back and not just one barge but three, stacked end on end and there only bout twenty feet off my beam, there a guy on the first barge with a walkie-talkie talking with the Cap'tn.

Now I'm paddling, telling the fellow, yes we're not even having to yell, how sorry I am. He's says it's all right, Bill(the captian), he's a good guy he don't mind.

I wave to Bill. They know me.


Paul Helbert

Paul Helbert passed away from cancer this summer, a cancer he did not know he had when he told me "Goodbye and I will see you in October for Sail OK 2013."  He would have been here and he was.

Paul's family returned for Sail OK 2013, his wife Sharon, his son Eli, his daughters Edith and  Valerie and her partner David Prins.  They brought Paul's ashes with them and a request for our paddlers and boaters, sailors and friends to take a tiny bit of Paul with them to waters across America and the world and scatter them in far flung waters. Dale Lily conducted a lovely service during Sail OK 2013.

It was Paul's wish I think and his life long goal, to travel all the waters of the world and of America.  He certainly did for the years that I knew him and I would like to continue his wish.  While Mike and I plan to take the ash packets with us personally, Sharon left some extras with me.  These I will be happy to mail to anyone who would like to honor Paul's hopes and wishes. 

These packets are small, like tiny tea bags, and easily put into waters.  Sharon has more, should we need more.  Paul donated his body to scientific research and now we would like to honor his memory and his wishes.

Please, lets do this.

Sharon Helbert and family left me with some extra ash packages but she will do more for us.  I will mail them out to anyone wanting to help with this.  They can e-mail me at Jackie and Mike Monies or through Sail Oklahoma.

My mail address for snail mail is 37 Lakeaire Drive, Eufaula, OK 74432

Love, Jackie and Mike Monies  Sail Oklahoma


On November 20, 2013 from 12:00 – 1:30 I will be presenting “Building Your First Wooden Boat – A Primer” at the Northwest Maritime Center (Port Townsend, WA), and on March 21, 2014 from 7:00 to 8:30PM at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, WA I will be giving the same presentation.

I am super excited to be giving these classes!  I really enjoy encouraging and educating people on how to build their first boat.   I have built props to pass around during the class that you can hold in your hand – they are examples of 6 different boat building methods (from my book, of course).  If you can make one of the classes, please introduce yourself and say hi.

Keep the sunny side up and the barnacled side down!  
Wooden Boat Dan over and out - God bless!

Inks Lake Messabout

We had a good messabout last Saturday.  We had six boats there.  We had good sailing conditions.  Thank you Steve Lansdowne for arranging the event. 

This came from Al Meyer:

Photos from Inks Lake Fall Messabout last weekend.  Hope you enjoy.  Really had a good time, and enjoyed seeing everybody again.  Weather was pleasant on Sunday morning, so I went for a nice sail before going home.  I had to dry out the sail anyway from Saturday night's shower.  Other than Houston and Austin traffic, the only down side of the trip is that my cell phone now belongs to a fish.   *:( sad

What I need is a boat that is as easy to build as the Pelican, looks as good as the Herreschoff 12.5, likes thin water like the Melonseed, and sails as good as all three.


Frank Coletta

Lost my Swing

Hi Chuck,
boy I tell you the worst thing for boat building, is to take a large break in the build. Sail OK has ruined my build schedule and my ambition. I was reminded this morning when I saw Mike John's notice of the latest newsletter posted of Nov Splash of just how much I have slacked off on ver 2.0 aka Fat Fly (thanks Pat Johnson). I have done very little on Fat Fly since I got home from SOK, winterization chores around the house have kept me out of the shop to a great degree. I am getting ready to go on my annual Halloween camp at the lake. I was going to take Fat Fly and do a splash and shake down sail. the only way it is going to make it now is if I steal some components from V Fly and fly a makeshift rig on her and sail her in her primer!  oh well I have done worse things, you can bet you wont get any pictures if I do! oh yes an on another note Jukebox2 lost out in the mental tug of war to Fat Cat. (at least this week) see you later.   


Merrimack river reflection

The Merrimack river seems to run through my life, I was born almost within sight of it, then grew up in the same city I live in now. Later moved further down river to learn to sail, paddle and row on the harbor and mouth of the Merrimack as a teenager. For a few years I was away from the river, but then got a job at an airport on the bank of the river. Two years ago I moved back to the same city I grew up in.

Some of my earliest memmories are of crossing the Merrimack bridges, one bridge was a metal grate style and it sang to us as we crossed to the cheap gas station just on the other side. Almost every drive home had it's end announced by crossing the river.

Many times I dreamed of rowing my own boat on the stretch of river running through the center of the city I was born in. But back then to fall into the river meant a trip to the emergency room, as it was polluted, we boated on the nearby ponds.

In sixth grade we moved downstream to the mouth of the Merrimack. I learned to sail, and later, to row on the harbor of the Merrimack River.

I got married and moved to Maine, even there we lived on the bank of another river. After 5 years, I ended up getting a job at an airport on the banks of the Merrimack.

Eight years later I live in the same city I grew up in, I have to cross the river to buy cheap gas, and I still love to gaze (ok, glance) at the river every time I cross it.

Today I took a couple of my kids and paddled the strech right through down town, the part I have memories of as far back as I can go, It only took 40 years to do what I dreamed of as a very small child...


(I don't know if this is worth anything. I turned 40 last month. The weather was so nice today, I just had to go paddling after work. Reflecting on it tonight brought this out, bury it in the letters I guess)

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 a  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


Hello Chuck

Just to let everyone know that my new design, 'Trixie' is now on my plans page .

I called her Trixie because she's cute!

The design is a 7'2" dinghy, suitable for rowing, sailing and small outboard.  The original idea was for a useful tender, so there's an option for two wheeled skegs on the hull bottom.

The non-sailing versions are built from just two sheets of 1/4" plywood and the hull sides are parallel which enables easy cutting and minimal wastage.

Best wishes


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