Saturday, August 17, 2013

Kayak Hoist

Thought I'd pass this along. I have been simply hanging these light weight boats from eye hooks anchored in the ceiling at joist locations. It was a very awkward one man operation and really needed 2 because I had to get boat so close to the ceiling to clear the overhead door when up. Luckily I happened to find a bicycle hoist at Harbor Freight Tools that I readily modified for kayak use.
Host's box.

The weight limit states 40#.  I suspect this can be significantly extended by replacing the very cheap nylon "line" (term used lightly). I switched to some 1/4" braided nylon. And, if you really had a load, I'd recommend drilling out the riveted axles and replacing them with a small steel carriage bolt.
The hooks won't go to waste. They can make good wall hooks for tool storage. Take them apart and you have 3. There are 2 per box = 6 total.

Removed hooks from pulleys.

I added a PVC strut to the lower pulleys for more control of hoist strap locations. I use nylon webbing for the straps, but still run that through the hollow in the pulley to bear the load. Also, the tubular webbing variety is softer on the boats. I'm using both at the moment.

1" ID PVC added in lieu of "hooks"

Boat #2 raised.

The upper pulleys are mounted to a 1x4x8' board which is screwed into above floor joists (24" OC). I further hooked the tail end with orange strapping to help assure the overhead door clears. Now the system is truly a one man operation. Very satisfactory. $9 hoist + $5 line + $1.50 board + $2.50 PVC =  $18. No complaints. Made three.

Boats #1 & 3

Monday, August 12, 2013

Simplicity Afloat

 The building of this little boat brought forth many books. One I particularly enjoyed was "The Compleat Cruiser" by L. Francis Herreshoff. In it he notes that "simplicity afloat is the surest guarantee of happiness." This past week was just that. I took perhaps a dozen solo and accompanied paddles in the new boat. All were anywhere from an hour to three. Perhaps the most memorable trip was one rainy scudded sky afternoon. Gliding through marshes, hearing the drizzle on the water, and the dipping of the paddle was delightful. I wish I had taken some pictures, but alas you really can't. Yet, the simplicity was there and we were afloat. A wonderful end to that day.

There is certainly pride in having made a thing. Several Greenland paddles and flat bows we've made hang prominently from the rafters in our sunroom. There is a certain elegance to these objects with their sweet curves and soft hollows. What is it about them that transcends the thing itself? We've a lot of machine manufactured paddles and a couple bows, but none are appreciated or displayed. I treasure this little boat more than any piece of furniture in the house. I'm tempted to hang her somewhere, but not all battles are worth fighting and she doesn't have that furniture grade finish ... but, she is mine. The whole experience has made me appreciate craft on a new level. I sometimes wonder if we as a society have forgotten or even recognize it anymore. And all the conveniences of technology seem to have taken the time supposedly saved with it. Have we also allowed it to rob us of finer, simpler, things in life? The now 7 month journey of this little boat has really changed my perspective of boating.

Early morning hitch hiker.

Fine day.

In the marsh.

I do have a few items to fix/ adjust:

  • add hip pads to the braces so I can learn to roll the boat.
  • weld/epoxy/glue a nut under the hatch to aid in removing the lid. I must say they kept the interior bone dry through rain and a clumsy capsize while exiting the boat.
  • may add some thin minicell under the heels and above the knee areas.
  • secure the seat with velcro to the cockpit floor so I can adjust later, though I think I've found the sweet spot. I may lower it by 1/4" too. Every bit helps.
Otherwise the only scratch she suffered was from the mast of the Moth as I removed the trailer. That's another rite of passage. It hurt and the bay was too shallow for dagger board sailing. All other scratches will be equal.

So here are 2 video clips of my daughter in an SOF and one of my boys in the new boat.

And last for now: one of my great, great grandfathers was a Danish navy captain who brought his family to America as the age of sail was no doubt dying out. Two ships he commanded are pictured here:

the "Flying Dutchman"

the "Otto"

Perhaps some of that blood lingers in my love of the water? Don't know, but in searching to learn more about faerings and other danish boats I came upon a verse I recalled reading in high school (not much stuck and I couldn't have quoted it). I must read the whole again (for real and not for the quiz). What adventure is evoked here.

"Then the keel plunged
and shook in the sea; and they sailed from Denmark.

Right away the mast was rigged with its sea-shawl;
sail-ropes were tightened, timbers drummed
and stiff winds kept the wave-crosser
skimming ahead; as she heaved forward,
her foamy neck was fleet and buoyant,
a lapped prow loping over currents,
until finally the Geats caught sight of coastline
and familiar cliffs. The keel reared up,
wind lifted it home, it hit on the land.

-- Beowulf, c. 800 AD

Monday, August 5, 2013

FINISHED: 237.5 Hours and $757.50, but wait ... there is so much more.

Was it an eon ago when snow covered the ground? On this 82 degree day it is a strain to recall the frozen fingers that pushed another board through a makeshift outdoor mill. How many times did this shop's tent decide to talk a walk across the back yard when the wind howled? Well, now the long days of summer are coasting down. July was a beater, but the daylight has been shortening for over a month now. It is now August, the dog days are here, if only for a short spell. Without a name, the dear kayak is complete, tested, and proven. She is worthy of name. Maybe it is superstition, perhaps some respect needed to pay a craft that has delivered so much joy. It began with that first saw cut and now complete, she offers many a paddle and no doubt many water travelled adventures.

I confess my kayak experiences have been limited to just a few craft, all mine, but this boat excels beyond any of the others. So, it took 237.5 hours and $757.50 in cost. You could add 5-10% in either direction for the time spent, but fastidious records were kept by spreadsheet and tasks noted. This is generally contrary to my nature, except I wanted to know. Cost includes  plans ($95). All of this is clinical and perhaps too obsessive. Neither does the boat or process justice. Would I do it again? Oh, yeah. I'm hooked ... and it started as a wee babe. What is it? As Louis Armstrong said, "Man, if you gotta ask, you'll never know". The ripples, the waves, the wind have always enchanted me. Add to that the satisfaction of going forth in a vessel I built by hand, no kit, just some plans, boards, glue and glass. Can I call it sublime? (I may need to look that up, but seems apropos. Got to use those words sometime).

There are a few details left to catch up on. I've not much more to add there. However, I can't leave a hole in the process, but I didn't want post without the true splash. Here ya' go:

Seized paddle keepers. Deleted the stem toggles as a result.

Glued strips for hip braces.

Starboard hip brace. Slot for back brace webbing.

Brace epoxied and held in place by weight.

Strapped kayak to 2x and leveled.

SS footmans loops. West marine $6 each. eBay 10 for $10.

Back brace webbed to hip brace. I 'll add foam to hip later.

Decided against carbon or glass loops. Was ready to paddle.

Loop added to shaped cedar block for back brace aft. Note breathing hole in bulkhead.

Bearers made for 2 kayaks. Heavy webbing is clothed in flat PVC hose.

Missing wheel cover. 1 kayak loaded.

U bolts w/ plastic hose to protect rails.
And here are the true maiden voyage photos. I took a paddle across Knotts Island Bay. You could likely walk across in all honestly, but that would be a different adventure. Boat tracks wonderfully, has good reserve buoyancy, and save for some minor seat adjustments, the 2.5 hr cruise was fantastic. What a reward after the build. Such a perfect day with such a lovely boat. I'm guessing on the cruising speed, but I think 3.5 - 4 kts can be readily maintained. Winds were at 5 kts, humidity was low, and sky was only clouded enough for majesty.
early morning guest
long view
shore edge

ready to ride

1/2 way across Knotts Island Bay

grasses mid bay

waited. looked both ways.

duck blind

blind eye view

local yacht club

nice collection of buildings I thought.