I wanted an efficient, modest, contemporary and quiet running yacht for cruising the Intra coastal waterway, Chesapeake Bay, Bahamas and the Great Lakes in my retirement. The boat would require the ability to safely cross several hundred miles of open sea at a good cruising speed.Continue reading →
On July 15th, 2006, a friend and I took my 1958 Flying Dutchman out for a sail in the Saginaw River. This was only the third time the boat had sailed in 30 years and the first hard sailing since my six-year-long restoration. We set both sails and made several runs in front of the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club before we hit something, maybe an old piling or maybe the freighter rudder that went missing the previous fall.
The Damage The centerboard took the first impact, splitting at the pivot bolt hole. Next the rudder hit, forcing it upward, snapping the tiller and tearing off most of the transom. The board jammed against the back of the centerboard trunk and gouged a triangle out of the trailing edge of the centerboard. Continue reading →
As an outgrowth of my love for woodworking and building stuff for myself, a few years ago I started a small woodworking business out of my garage, which is actually a shop that hasn’t felt the rubber of tires for over a decade. With the exception of my Yamaha V-Star Classic 1100, which lounges in heated comfort all winter.
I helped by brother Nelson with a different, smaller bar he built for a customer who comes from a long line of dairy men. His family has been in the business for decades. He has a little bar area in his garage where he and his buddies hang out and work on cars or watch their hunting blind videos while they have a couple beers.
The bar is on heavy duty wheels so it can be easily moved when necessary. He collected Continue reading →
Boat builders or advanced hobbyists often want to learn more about the characteristics of the fiberglass laminate they’ve just created. But sending samples to a professional testing laboratory can be expensive and impractical. Fortunately, there are some tests you can do in the shop that yield reasonably accurate results.
Before you begin to test laminates in your own shop, it’s important to understand the difference between shop tests and standardized tests. Many organizations such ASTM, ISO, or UL provide established test procedures defining a specific test method. These may specify things like sample preparation methods, equipment and acceptable environmental conditions. These standards allow the test to be repeated by different people at different locations all over the world. Continue reading →
25 years of use (some might say abuse) had taken its toll on the heavy aluminum rip fence on our Delta Rockwell 12″–14″ Tilting Arbor Saw. Deep saw kerf grooves on the face of the fence had become a hazard because wood occasionally got hung up on it when ripping stock.Over a few months, each time I used the saw I thought about how it could be repaired. While the plan was still developing in my head, more than once I clamped a flat piece of plywood to the ripping fence face to temporarily create the smooth surface that I needed. Continue reading →
I fell in love with the North Star baidarka-style kayaks developed by Rob Macks of Laughing Loon Custom Canoes & Kayaks in Maine. But when I tried one out, the cockpit was too roomy for me. So, I bought plans for the smaller Fire Star. When I realized it was going to be smaller than I wanted, I put the Fire Star plans into my CAD program and blew it up proportionately to be halfway between the two models. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Ted Moores ties up SPARKS at the blue line at Kilmarnock Lock n the Rideau Canal.
After three years of painstaking work and many interruptions, Ted Moores of Bear Mountain Boats completed the Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch Sparks on June 22, 2010. The boat is unlike any he had built before.
The Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch is designed for low-speed cruising while using the least amount of fossil fuel possible. It normally runs on batteries charged by solar panels and shore power. When necessary, a diesel generator powers its electric motor and charges its batteries.Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 1 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
Sparks is a science project. A professional builder working for a client has the responsibility of delivering the boat on time and budget with no surprises so we generally stick to what worked last time. But as a science project, questioning the way things are usually done, pushing the limits of the materials and then taking the responsibility becomes the objective. Because failure is anticipated with any experiment, testing is an important part of the project and has been a whole lot of fun with few surprises, mostly pleasant.