Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Big Update

 I kind of got away from blogging for a while there, didn't I?  Someone told me that deadlines were essential and so I gave myself one:  July 4th.  So I have been going a little crazy getting the boat somewhat "ready" for a launching here in our own pond.  I had planned on a more ambitious launching by now.  I had hoped, anyway, that I would have been able to take the family out on some kind of cruise, albeit sans sailing rig, by the beginning of July.

   Well, it just ain't so.  To get it that ready, that soon, would have required me to be on solid, 10 hour days for the past month and a half, and I just have too much other stuff to do to help run an off-grid home with 2.5 children. So, it's a pond launching.  But first, some details you missed.....


We painted the decks, first with a product called "Restore 10x" which I happened to have laying around.  It is supposed to rejuvenate really old exterior wood.  It has plenty of sand in it, so I thought it would make a good non-skid.  Then, we went over that with a paint that Lowes sells for barns and fences, supposedly.  It's nearly flat and it's cheap, so I tried it.

The interior, we did with two different colors of exterior semi-gloss, blue and green. Lucia was my big painter. 

The topsides paint was a flat exterior yellow from Lowes.   Lucia really enjoyed that.  I didn't clean her up when she got bored and left. She went and hugged Agustina (who cares about her clothes) and I was in deep doo-doo.

So why the garish color combinations?   Well, I feel a boat like this is somewhat liberated from aesthetic considerations.  I mean,  a weird, boxy boat painted tastefully is still weird and boxy, so just be fun, I say:  YOLO!  (I can't believe I used that word)


I just used the extra cloth from the decks and sheathed around the chines and up to the top of the doubler plates.

It was hard getting it to lay smooth with the thickened epoxy and one side is definitely better than the other, but oh well.

 Then I took two 20' joints of 1 1/2" angle steel and put little runners on the chines (runners like santa has, not like Matt Layden's).

Once I ground off all the mill scale, I bedded them in with coal tar epoxy thickened with sanding dust. The kerfs I cut so the steel would take the curves squeezed out the pucky in a most satisfying way and I feel pretty good about the prospects for longevity.

Rails and Wales

With the decks painted, we could get those rails on.

I got Ale to do the tedious hand sanding inside the holes on the rails.

Camila loved popping out the little plugs you make with a plug cutter for the screw holes.


We put the windows on with Big Stretch.


  I had to put in new blocks to give me access to the bottom to paint it with coal tar epoxy. Then I had to drag out the old blocking system with the car.  Good thing I screwed it all together!


Once the bottom paint hardened up, I put some boards on an old pontoon boat trailer I bought for the purpose from the local tractor an equipment dealer.   I hung a 2 ton chain hoist from the ridge beam of the shed and cut a hole in the floor of the loft to let the hook down through.  Then I passed a strap under the boat just aft of where the curve starts and hoisted it up off the front blocks.

 Then my dad helped me back the trailer in under it.  He's an old truck driver and I suck at fancy backing.

  We backed it in until the back of the trailer made contact with the bottom.  Then we unhitched and used the trailer winch to pull the tongue up some and slide the trailer in more.

  Then we set the bow down on the trailer and pushed and winched, winched and pushed, inch by grunting inch, until it was all the way on.

Then we hooked the truck back up and the monster came out of its den.

That floppy, unfinished board you see is just a temporary one I put in there so it wouldn't be like bambi on the ice.

Thanks, Dad, I couldn't have done it without ya!

Launch Day 

We had some folks over for a bit of a party.  We had hot dogs, some champagne, a pound cake, etc.  Some friends came with their grandkids.

I ran my mouth for a minute, gave a votive offering of champagne to Lord Neptune, anointed the boat, thanked friends and family, and backed it in. 

  I had planned to make a triumphant victory lap around the pond with the boat full of whooping kids, filling the adults on the shore with awe and envy.  Instead, I demonstrated an exercise in anticlimax.  The motor, which had run like an honest-to-god sewing machine three weeks earlier in the shop, wouldn't run for more than ten seconds on launch day.   Oh well.  Jeff gave me a mighty push, which just got us in to the middle of the pond where I dropped anchor.  

The Name

 The name I chose for the boat came from a misunderstanding of the lyrics of this song: 

  I understood it to say CORN CAKE, which I found to be a wonderful name for a boat. The song is actually about a steamship called the CORNCRAKE, which is  a type of bird.  Oh well, it's still a good name and even if you do name it CORNCRAKE, everybody will hear CORNCAKE anyway. So, CORNCAKE it is!   

What now?

   I need a vacation from this project.  There is still plenty of work to be done, even to go on a rig-less cruise.  Little details that make life on a boat easy: properly secured potty, dedicated stowage for this and that, steps, etc.  If I were going to do all that, I would do nothing else all summer.  So... I'm going CAMPING!!!