The day was November 3rd, 2012 which was a day I thought would never arrive. With the boat loaded on my vehicle, I met Skip Johnson at his house at 10:30am. Suzie came out to say hello and look over my creation, and then we headed out. I have access to property with water on it near to where Skip and I live, making it the perfect choice to test the boat for reasons that I'll comment on next.
When it came time to locate the seating for the proper trim, I placed the boat in my pool and had pictures taken with me in the boat at different seating positions to determine the best spot for the seat. It is a sliding seat so the position can be changed, but I wanted to determine the optimum position to start. Without a paddle in my hand and stationary, the boat felt extremely tippy. I was worried that I was going to swim a time or two the first time I took it out and that's why I chose where the first paddle would be. The pond is about 6-7 acres and secluded. There would be no need to worry about other people on the water and it's small enough that if I did end up in the water, I wouldn't have to go far to get to the bank.
Once we arrived, we were greeted by about 10 people with guns that were out there shooting. I stopped to ask which direction they would be shooting and made it clear that we wouldn't be on the water for very long. It was the boat's first outing and we wanted to test it out. A plan was agreed upon and they were setup to be shooting away from where we would be. We drove to the back side of the pond and quickly removed the boat from the vehicle.
I carried the 34 pound boat down to the water, prepared to get wet once I started paddling. Not only was this the first time I would take my boat out, I would also be testing out a wing paddle I picked up. I hopped in and started paddling. I stayed close to shore at first since I was convinced I would flip it. The first few strokes were very tentative, but I started getting into a rhythm. It wasn't long before I turned and cut straight out into the water.
There would be no staying near the shore for me as I quickly felt good in this boat. After paddling around some, I came in and asked Skip to hand me the single blade. No issues with the single blade so I came in so Skip could have a go.
Skip started off with the single blade and stayed close to shore as I had done.
After paddling around some Skip came in and asked for the wing double blade. As soon as he got going he took off out in the middle of the water. I'm glad to say that neither of us got wet that day.
This is my favorite shot from the day.
I call it "Happy Designer".
I think Skip designed this boat for me in 2006 and I didn't start building it until this time last year (2011). I don't know what name I'll give my boat, but it could easily be something like "Finally".
I look forward to spending a lot more time in the boat because I know I'll get the feel for it and can just paddle without thought of trim, balance, or performance. I'm extremely pleased with how it turned out. I give it the thumbs up of approval as we loaded up to head home.
The next step for me is to remove all hardware from the hull. I'll be doing some final sanding and cleanup on the boat and then I'll start masking off and painting the boat. The below the water line area will remain carbon epoxy, but I'll be doing a 3 color paint job on the rest of the boat. Images of the final product to follow once completed. I can't wait to see how it turns out, and I think it will definitely turn heads once painted and on the water.
Once I'm done painting, I'll let Skip have it for a day or two so he can go play in another of his designs, or we'll just plan an outing for a day and I can paddle one of his boats while he paddles mine.