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by Scott Gosnell – Grand Ridge, Florida - USA

Holidays over and settled back into work, I began dreaming of the warm sailing days, clear blue water, white sugar sand beaches, and the good company of the 2013 FL 120. Only one small problem; no sailboat. After some good discussion with friends, I chose to build a Michalak Normsboat. An easy to build boat with a roomy cabin and shallow draft; this boat fits my needs not just for the FL 120 but for future sailing adventures.


Plans in hand, materials bought, help secured (thanks Huft family), we began on a warmish winter Saturday.

Good friends and equally good help make boatbuilding fast and fun. The first day ended with all of the bulkheads and frames built. Over the next few weeks the boat took shape.

The bottom was glassed, seat and bridge deck framing, gunnels, and cabin rails and tops added.

Several changes from the plans included a 2ft wide bridge deck, mast partner moved to the center of cabin, large motor well omitted (making a larger lazarette), and due to a measurement error, an aft thwart seat (which turned out to be really comfy).

"It didn't look that bright in the store" Well, that was my address to my wife as she came upon the now Green boat. A friend who stopped by on his way home from the everglades noted, "I could see Scott's boat on Google Earth, it guided me in."

Bright green it was. I posted a picture for friends to judge, and to my surprise the response was in favor of not toning down the color. It ain't easy being green, but it is easy to be seen! I ended up loving the color after the topsides were painted. The weather was warming and to keep myself on track with the build, we set a launch date.

Paint still tacky we meet up with our friends John and Amanda Huft (who own my previous boat "Looney Toon") for an Easter weekend of sailing. The new boat rigged and named "Fiddlestix" was launched Saturday, March 30, 2013, at the state park on Cape San Blas in Port St Joe, Fl. She sailed well right away, and required only minor tweaking to get just right. After the test launch, John and I returned to the beach, picked up the families and headed off for an afternoon of sailing.

The boat sailed great, there are, of course, small adjustments that will be made.

Before the FL 120 I will add a cabin top, more weight to the rudder, a 25sqft mizzen, small bunks in the cabin, cockpit floorboards, and touch up the paint. It's true what they say about a boat never really being finished, but it's a labor of love.

Complete photos and videos can be seen at Photobucket.

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