Boat Musings

What is it about water and boats that’s so enchanting?  What is it about exploring and seeing new sights that attracts us?  What is it about the dream of a new adventure that’s so alluring?

Boats allow us adventure.  They afford us new experiences.  They take us places we could not otherwise go.  They slow down our busy life styles.  They allow us to see the natural world in a way we otherwise would not.

I’m really excited to take out my Skiff America and begin these adventures.  I want to see local lakes, regional lakes and even far away places in Northern Cross.

And, even before I’ve launched Northern Cross, I still dream of another boat to build.  Can it be that I’m addicted to boat building?  Possibly, but I think the real answer lies in a desire to augment Northern Cross with a small non motorized sailboat.  There’s something about sailboats that I find hard to shake.  There not as practical as Skiff America, and because of this,  I don’t think I’ll ever sell my Skiff America.  I have a large family and Northern Cross hits this target head on —bulls eyed.  Yet, the lure of a small motorless sailboat I could row or sail continues to tug at my heart.  Moving about as mariners did thousands of years ago, by wind or oar.  Plotting a course to circumnavigate a large mountain lake, expedition style, with compass and map, anchors, sails, wind and rain totally captivates me.

I sold my Scamp sailboat thinking this feeling would leave me once I built Skiff America…it hasn’t.  I have consulted my best friend, Jennifer (my wife) regarding these feelings.  Here’s her advise, and what Jennifer says, you can take to the bank:  Use Skiff America for 1-2 years before deciding to build any other type of boat.  See if the feeling persists or wains.  After 1-2 years of boating, I’ll know whether I’m just crazy or if I really do indeed want to build a second boat.

Until then, I plan to use my Skiff America, read, study and learn from others.  My second boat would be small, simple and yet robust and seaworthy.  It would be an expedition micro cruiser.  It would take two sailers to far away places and be designed to the hilt.  It would either be another Scamp (highly modified like Howard Rice’s) or Long Steps, both by the designer John Welsford.

Are any of you afflicted by similar dreams, thoughts and ambitions or am I the only one?  Please don’t leave me hanging!



Where Have I Been?

It’s been exactly 2 weeks since my last posted progress for Skiff America.  Where Have I been?  Well, I’ll tell you:

  1. Building a kayak rack in my garage to organize 6 recreational kayaks.
  2. Dejunking my garage.
  3. Cleaning up my wood shop.
  4. Vacationing with my family.
  5. And, recovering from a hip injury I incurred while working on Skiff America.

First, the philosophy:  

My wife and I believe in the value of teaching kids about their natural world.  We feel strongly about the benefits of outdoor recreation while attempting to raise children.  With this in mind, we settled on the idea of buying 6 recreational kayaks for family paddling trips.  Nothing too serious, just day trips where everyone paddles their own boat.

We’ve also learned that kids grow fast, so your window of opportunity is very short.  Life gets busy and we often just “flop on the bank”, my way of describing ones confused state of being, due to modern day overabundance and consumerism.

So, we have been striving to do Saturday adventures with the 4 children remaining at home (My oldest daughter is in Japan serving a Mormon mission while my second oldest daughter is at college).

With this decision came the need to buy and store 6 kayaks in my garage.  Here’s what I came up with:

DSC00511.jpgThis is a simple kayak rack built into my existing garage framing material.  It holds 6 boats along the back wall of my garage.  I have room to slip the boats out one at a time for easy loading.

DSC00513The paddles all get strapped together into one bundle and hung on the wall.

DSC005152 inflatable paddle boards complete the package and will work nicely with my Skiff America.

Now for the hip injury:

I was climbing into my boat with epoxy all over my hands trying not to touch anything, while epoxying the cabin’s lower chine panels.  The maneuver required a one legged stand, rotation and lowering.  This same maneuver was preformed over and over, as I struggled to get the job done, prior to the epoxy cooking off.  I felt the strain, but ignored it due to the task at hand.  The next day, it felt bad, but continued to get worse over the next week, leaving me hardly able to walk.  After taking it really easy for nearly 2 weeks, I can today declare I believe things are starting to heal.  I will be much more careful in the future. Believe me, that was not fun.


And, here is our first kayaking adventure, with mom acting as photographer.  It’s all worth it once the kayaks hit the water and the current begins to sweep your boat down river.  I’m now ready to get back to Skiff America.