Sailing in Maine

Sailing in Buzzards Bay

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Second Yakaboo II Hits the Water

When I was down in Cedar Key a couple of years ago, my son and I met a very nice gentleman named Jim Farrelly who had brought a handsome Melonseed skiff that he had built. Having a backgound in canoing and kayaking, he took a serious interest in my canoe as he thought it would be perfect for exploring the coastal marshlands and rivers near where he lived. After leaving Cedar Key, I received an email from him asking whether plans were available so that he could build one for his own use. I told him I could create a set. So, to make a long story short, he "commissioned" me to do up a set of plans for him.

He went right to work, building as I was providing the drawings, and I had to work at it to stay ahead of him. He used several local woods such as cypress, and opted for a painted hull, in a light color to best show off the lines. I think he took a little over a month to complete it, and immediately left for Key West to try it out. Reviews were very positive, and he brought it to Cedar Key last year where I helped him fine-tune the beautiful sails Todd Bradshaw made for him. Here are some pictures of his "Betaboo"  build and the final result:

Jim's fast and furious build.

The yellow telltales are a nice touch.

Writes Jim: "Driveway shot of your beautiful design. This boat makes me truly happy and I thank you."

This year the Cedar Key, Florida, small boat meet will take place the week-end of May 4th-6th. Please plan to drop by if you can, there are may great small craft to see and most of the owners would be glad to take you for a spin or let you try them out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Travels with Yakaboo, Part 3 - Cedar Key

Click on any picture to enlarge it. Blog starts with the September 23rd 2008 post.

Every year during the first full week-end in May, a stalwart group of small boat enthusiasts, primarily members of the West Coast Trailer Sailors, gathers at Cedar Key, FL, for an informal messabout. In past years, the list of small boat builders, designers, and sailors that attend has included Meade and Jan Gougeon, Matt Layden, Sven Yrvind, Hugh Horton, Russell Brown, Howard Rice, and Andy Zimmerman. Weather and sailing conditions are almost always excellent on the Gulf in early May. Last year I decided to take Hugh Horton up on his invitation to come down for the meet. I invited my oldest son, who lives about 5 hours away, to come along as well.

Cedar Key lies west of Gainesville, FL, where a broad expanse of coastal ranch land meets the Gulf of Mexico. Driving there is like going back in time, to some extent. The typical Florida development push has passed it by, and the town is largely unchanged since the last wood mill and pencil factory closed down decades ago. Strip malls and fast food places are not to be found, in their place are bed-and-breakfast stops, fishing and bait supply places, and a few older hotels and apartment houses.

Boating facilities include several public boat ramps and a terrific beach for launching canoes and kayaks. Most of the small boaters rig their boats on the beach then head a mile off shore to Atsena Otie Key, a small island with a long beach where the boaters congregate during the day. It was there that I met Jim Farrelly, who had just completed a melonseed skiff and was looking for another design to build. Having an extensive background in kayaks, he took an immediate liking to my sailing canoe. He later found my blog, sent me some emails asking for plans, and after some deliberation I made him a set. The build of Yakaboo II #2 (or Betaboo as Jim calls it) will be covered in a future post.

I'm attaching my pictures of the small boat "action" at the Key, I'll let the beauty and craftsmanship of these fine craft speak for themselves.

A Goat Island Skiff newly built by Simon Lewandowski.

Melonseeds are very popular in this part of Florida. This is Rex and Kathy Paine's beautiful example.

The two Yakaboo II's on the beach on Atsena Otie Key. The sand is a welcome change from the rocky coast of Maine.

A well preserved Old Town canoe with sail rig. It belongs to Bill Whalen.
A Bolger designed Folding Schooner, all 31' of it!

Did I mention, this thing is loooong?

Getting ready to shove off.

Helping Jim with the rig adjustments.

Harry "Goke" Tomlinson's sailing canoe.

What a beautiful launch! It belongs to Dave Lucas.

Bob Treat's cold molded catboat.

A John's Sharpie with excellent detailing.

Noel Davis brought his Woobootoo.

A Swampscott dory skiff from Maine, I think it is a design from Gardener's The Dory Book.

My first home was in Swampscott, so I am partial to these dories.

Tom Busenlener's Phoenix (left).

Doug Cameron's  Norseboat set up for cruising.

A couple of composite sailing canoes with strip planked decks. Harry "Goke" Tomlinson's white bufflehead type next to Ron Sell's Aurora.

The Gougeon brothers brought the Hot Canary, an i550 Sport Boat, which they entered in the Everglades Challenge.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Travels with Yakaboo, Part 2

Click on any picture to enlarge it. Blog starts with the September 23rd post.

In the fall, boatbuilder Clint Chase host an informal get-together at his shop in Portland where small boat enthusiasts can gather to hear a talk given by a well known builder or designer.

The first of these talks featured Michael Storer of Australia, designer of the Beth sailing canoe and the Goat Island Skiff, among others.

Clint Chase introduces Michael Storer in his Portland, Maine shop.

Mik's talk centered on getting the most performance out of the two foils on the boat; the rudder and daggerboard below the waterline, and the sail above it. Even simple, traditional rigs like the sprit sail and the lug sail can give excellent performance if attention is paid to tuning the sails to control draft and twist.

Mik showed how to tune these sails for best performance, and how to design rudder and daggerboard shapes for improved lift-to-drag ratios, which is critical for best boat performance, especially to windward. Compared to a flat plate, a good foil shaped rudder or daggerboard can work at twice the angle of attack without stalling.

The following summary is taken from Clint Chase's blog,
On November 1st I was pleased and honored to introduce Michael Storer, an Australian Boat Designer reputed for his simple, elegant, and approachable boats, to a group of 21 members from the wooden boat community in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Some knew of Storer's work, others have built his boats, and many knew him as an important name and wanted to learn more about the man and his message. His message was simple: that we can vastly improve our boats by paying a great deal more attention to three areas: the centerboard and rudder foils, the spars and sail, and the hull itself. With regards to the foils, Michael convinced his audience that it is the way they are made -- with care towards fair, accurate foil shape and towards a smooth surface -- that most matters. Michael has taken research in optimal foil design and applied these foils to boats that, without them, would not sail nearly as well upwind and would be much trickier to handle. These foils are flat in the middle, thin for reducing weight and wood use, and closely approximate the hydrodynamics of a true NACA shape, without the expense and fuss and awkwardness of a wing-shaped foil in a square centerboard box or rocking around on a flat work bench during shaping.With regards to spars and sails, Michael's point was clear that the most important aspect of spars is that they flex and bend in the right way, the right amount. Spar bend is critical to the ability of a sail rig to absorb a gust, reducing heeling and putting the energy into forward momentum. The sail need not be a 600-dollar racing sail, but a simple polytarp will do cut with round to create the draft necessary to create power in the sail. His PDR Oz boats are a case in point. They all sail with polytarp sails, about a $30 dollar investment. And because they all use the same cloth, they can race against each other without the "upping the ante" attitude that has cause racing to be more expensive and less accessible to more and more people around the world.(MIK: The polysail is not as good as a sail made from proper cloth but it is cheap allowing for experimentation and cutting the cost of something like a PDRacer substantially. But nice boats deserve nice sails. However the flexibility aspect is important for all sails.(MIK: Additionally I think a lot of the discussion about best performing sails is misguided because the lessons of the last 100 years or so of competitive racing have not been applied equally when sails meet. The single most important is controlling twist. A gaff or lug rig where twist is controlled correctly will outsail a bermudan rig where the twist is not controlled. The two traditional rigs that control twist to some degree are the triangular sprit boomed sail and the balance lug. The lug tends to be favoured in storerboats because of the reefing ability, but the sprit is liked for its simplicity and incredibly rapid setup)Interestingly, Michael left the hull out for last. He says the hull is less important because of the way quality foils and spars can make a good boat go faster than it should. The PD racer is a square hull and wide flat bottom. As evidenced by the messabout after the talk, it does go beautifully. Why? Because of the foils and spars, but also because the hull is light. Michael discussed the keys to making a hull light, using light plywood in a hull that is reinforced the right way, using stringers, fillets, butt joints, and interior compartments that create a light, stiff structure with nothing more than 6mm plywood. Fiberglass is heavy and Michael stressed that fiberglassing adds weight with little gain in structural integrity or even abrasion resistance. Most boats being glassed with 6oz cloth do not need it for structure and are not being used in such a way they it is needed to protect the boat from abrasion. Cloth as light as 2-oz cloth will be enough. He said that builders have also succumbed to the "upping the ante" mentality, trying to do things better and better and better than anyone else, ending up with heavier boats and poorer performance.Australia saw another 25-plus years of wooden boat development that America and Europe did not see because of the way that market forces drove us to Fiberglass boats much sooner than they did in Oz. The result is much further refinement of glued-plywood construction and testing in the small boat racing circuits around the country. We are just now learning here in the States, thanks to Michael's generous knowledge sharing and this trip he has made to the USA.(MIK: Australia and New Zealand had a huge amount of rivalry that helped things move forward too with at least half the work being done by the Kiwis. South Africa also did a similar thing with some of its indigenous classes)Afterwards we enjoyed some great rowing and sailing off Portland's East End. We had a PDR, an MSD Rowboat hull #1, my Drake Rowboat hull #1, a mini-bagger, a sailing canoe, a Nutshell Pram. Pictures of the messabout can be seen at the WoodenBoat Forum and at Michael Storer's own Oz Forum: will see many of Michael's philosophies played out at Clint Chase Boatbuilder in the Spruce-Composite oars, Birdsmouth masts, and soon foils, tillers, and other components made to improve the performance of customers' existing dories, skiffs, dinghies, and utility boats.

After Mik's talk, we all headed to Portland Harbor for an informal messabout and the chance to sample each other's boats. In the beautiful fall weather I had the chance to take a sail in the Yakaboo 2 against a backdrop of stunning foliage. The wind conditions were just about perfect.

Michael Storer took a spin in my canoe also. Getting the best performance out of sailing craft is second nature to him, as he immediately sat on the deck rather than sit inside, to keep the canoe level. "It sails beautifully" said Mik, who showed off by sailing the boat backwards into the dock by backwinding the mizzen.

Clint Chase gave the Yakaboo 2 a spin. It was "delightful to sail" he said.

This is a beautifully built example of Michael Storer's version of the Puddle Duck Racer.

Dan Noyes brought his 12' mini sandbagger that he designed and built as a teenager.

Eric Risch's Echo Bay Dory Skiff, still looks like new after a quarter century.

Michael Storer's rowing skiff design, hull #1 built by the Compass Project in Portland.

Clint Chase's beautiful Drake faering that he designed and built.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Travels with Yakaboo

Click on any picture to enlarge it. Blog starts with the September 23rd post.

Every year during the second week of September, John Hupfield of Lost in the Woods Boatworks hosts the Paddle Rendezvous at Killbear Provincial Park near Parry Sound, Ontario, on beautiful Lake Huron. The Paddle Rendezvous is an informal get-together for people that enjoy canoeing, kayaking, and canoe sailing. Its a chance to camp out, meet new people, show what you've been working on, and see what others are doing. Nancy and I decided we would check it out.

From where we live, it's at least a 12 hour drive. If you don't get lost. The park is a few hundred miles north of Toronto, past the Muskoka Lakes region. We managed to take the "scenic route" through the lakes region and added more than an hour, but we saw some beautiful lakes and boats.

Arriving on a Friday evening just as it was getting dark, we checked in and picked out a campsite by the lake. Early the next morning, John Hupfield came by to welcome us, followed by Hugh Horton, who graciously offered to help me unload the canoe and take it down to the shore. We also met Eric Cloutier, who brought his speedy 16-30 racing canoe, Pam Wedd of Bearwood Canoe Co., who built the beautiful canvas covered canoe shown, and Skip Izon, an Olympic gold medal winning racing shell designer who built the Bufflehead for Hugh Horton.

Nancy checks out Pam Wedd's 10 year old canvas covered canoe that still looks like new. The workmanship is amazing. Pam teaches canoe building in the area.

Nancy tries out a sailing canoe for the first time.

Kicking back in light winds, Nancy shows how relaxing sailing can be.

The good thing about canoes is that they have, well, canoe sterns, so there is never any transom drag.

The lug yawl rig is easy to handle since the mizzen is self-tacking and the main sheet has a light touch. I highly recommend it.

Yakaboo II and Bufflehead at the beach. As you can see, there wasn't a lot of wind, maybe 8 mph. tops.

The amazing, multi-adjustable seat from Bufflehead. It has triangular "feet" which allow the seat to be set at 3 different heights, and adjustable back rake.

This view shows a good view of Bufflehead's leeboard, steering rods, and the width of the cockpit.

The underside has several layers of fiberglass so that it can take the ground over rocks or even coral without damage. The inside is lined with Kevlar to protect against impacts.

The park itself is stunningly beautiful, set on a wooded peninsula just north of Parry Sound. The park closes after Labor Day but they reopen it for John since this was the 12th year for the Paddle Rendezvous, so we had it all to ourselves. The weather was in the 60's and the water was still warm, but the insects were all gone. And the wildlife.... While driving down the Trans Canada Highway, I looked up on a large rock outcropping and saw a black bear, sitting there watching the cars go by like it was no big deal. A deer came right into the campsites. And the chipmunks were so tame they would come right up on your lap and eat peanuts out of your hand.

Paddle Rendezvous organizer John Hupfield is second from the left. There was a very diverse and interesting collection of paddling craft, brought together at a very remote but stunningly beautiful part of the Great Lakes. Some day I'd like to come back in a larger boat and sail the lake for a few weeks.

We had a memorable time, the highlight of the year. The people we met were all a lot of fun, and enjoyed the whole canoe sailing atmosphere. Highly recommended if you like canoe sailing.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Launch Day

Click on any picture to enlarge it. Blog starts with the September 23rd post.

Filled with anticipation, my son Andrew and I carried the boat to the shore just before sunset on a beautiful sunny day. The long weeks of work are about to pay off.

I had left one of the leeboard mounts at home so only the right hand one was in place. Should be good enough for a test run.

The sail rig is simple but still allows lots of opportunity for tuning. I'm learning as I go along.

Time to get the boat wet. We donned our PFD's and put it in the water.

As a precaution, I lashed the rudder mount in place so that it wouldn't pop out of the mounting eyes. I also added a restraining line to the tiller extension so that it wouldn't get out of reach if I let go of it.

Off we go. The canoe is very light and easy to handle.

Winds were light and steady out of the west as we set sail.

The first sail ended early with a broken leeboard mount, but it left us looking forward to another sail the following day.

I drove home to pick up the missing leeboard mount, then reinforced both mounts with screws to back up the glue joints.

The next day, we were down at the beach bright and early, eager to start out.

The sails have a few wrinkles in them but they should work just fine.

Returning from the first run, we pronounced the venture a success.

I later improved the set of the sails by tightening the luff (front edge) to eliminate the twist in the upper spar. I also moved the leeboard bracket back so that the passenger could sit in front of it and use it as a backrest.

Back at the dock, daughter Jane climbed aboard.

The canoe heels a little when the wind hits the sails, then it stiffens up. The stability is impressive. I later stood up in the cockpit and it didn't feel tipsy under foot at all.

The canoe was an eye-catcher in the harbor, garnering many thumbs up and favorable comments.

I set a goal of completing the boat in three months, and I made it, just barely. Remaining items to complete are; install the access hatches in the bulkheads, and replace the pine masts and spars with lighter weight Sitka spruce.