Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Rowboats

Mr. Merle Baily came today to pick up his new boats. He drove all the way from Madison Wisconsin to get them and do some other business he had in the area. After overcoming the home stretch obstacle of losing the transmission in his car, and then the dreaded online directions, he arrived safe and sound at the shop. He was very excited to see his new girls for the first time, and seemed very pleased with the job I did, even though I made the bonehead mistake of installing the foot braces on the wrong end on one of the boats. I am pretty bummed to see them go but I am hoping to see them again someday when we cruise the great lakes. If you are ever up to Madison Wisconsin, look him up at Superior Watercraft & Tours. And while you're at it take a ride in one of my boats.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Schooner Rendezvous


I am pleased to say, after working a gruelling schedule for the past three weeks, I was able to finish the two rowboats I have been working on in time for the Schooner Rendezvous in Cambridge MD. It is an event I have been looking forward to, as well as dreading, for several months since Maggie and I were invited to crew on Rosalind. As Maggie said previously, our sailing experience has been limited to a few comic journeys around the Inner Harbor here in Baltimore on a 26' Grampian sloop. This would be our first real sailing trip.The captain of Rosalind, a 106 year old fishing ketch, is the great captain Richard Griffiths who seems to know everything about sailing. I once commented to him on his vast reserve of knowledge and he replied, "The reason I am so good now is because I have f***ed up in every way possible before now". This colorful bit of wisdom is just one of the ways he has set us at ease with our learning process. It is o-Kay to be ignorant if you are learning and it is o-Kay to make mistakes if you learn from them.

It was a cold day on Friday and both Maggie and I had some butterflies. Neither of us knew what to expect. Would Richard yell at us for being stupid? Would we do something that damaged his beautiful boat? Would he ask us to do something terribly dangerous? Would we be completely swallowed up in the "Mighty Choptank river??? As it turned out, Richard is a very patient and understanding captain who has a gift for gently yet strongly stating what needs to be done in a way that even idiots like us can understand. Maggie planted herself in front of the inner jib wench and my primary responsibilities were to handle the outer jib and staysail sheets.

Before long Richard asked me if I would like to take the helm. Of course I did!! She was a lot harder to steer than I imagined. It took a lot of strength at times to hold her on the wind. I was assured that our boat, with her modern steering barrient, would be much easier to handle. In fact, after crewing with four others on this complicated old rig with her six sails, I have much less apprehension about sailing our boat with her modern rig and only three sails. After a few very chilly hours of beating into the wind, we arrived at the port of Cambridge.

Check out the great job Maggie and I did flaking that mainsail!! Now it's back to work on our boat. I can't wait to take her for a sail!!!

You Down with OPB?

Well, we finally did it! Sailed on a "big boat" that is! And after all the speculation of  "what's it gonna feel like?" my final answer is  AWESOME!  It may seem kind of crazy to some that we bought a yacht without ever sailing one, but... we did. And seeing how great this experience is on so many different levels, I wouldn't change a thing, so there! 
Anyway I'm sure Travis will want to write about Rosilyn so I'll leave off here and get back to the work that got done on Me Voy. 
I finished fiberglassing that ugly spot in the hull

and since it rained most of Sat. I began to finish out a beam in the head that 
needed new wood.

Meanwhile Billy slept all weekend, while Chopper played with his boatyard nemesis, Skipper. Here Chopper is guarding the little squeaky while Skipper looks to me for help. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It was a solo work weekend for me as Travis had to work in Baltimore. I was looking forward to it in a way; it made me feel independent and self-sufficient to pack up tools and head for Oxford, just me and Chopper.  My mom warned me not to get into any tight spaces as there would be no one to pull me out in case I got stuck, but not to worry, I had my hands full with the rot previously discovered in the hull. 
I was greeted with the ugliness you see above, and the next step was to fair it and fill it with some epoxy and microfiller, which made it look like this...

This microlight filler is great because it sands soooo much easier then silica, but it has no resistance to sag, which means I spent nearly the whole day first day, chasing the sagging expoxy, until finally it set and looked liked this...

Now I just had to fair it some more and  I was ready for fiberglass. Oh yeah check out the neighboring spot that also needed some TLC.

That was day one. My goal for Sunday was to keep fairing and finish up with fiberglass, however
the day dawned cold and windy. Definetly too windy for fiberglass work. I've already learned that lesson once when I got slapped with saturated cloth right in the mouth due to the wind. So taking the path of least resistance I continued to sand and fill until I got the perfect smooth and shapely surface, that was now ready for fiberglass... next week.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Up To My Elbows in Alligators


I am taking the week-end off from working on MeVoy, once again to, attempt to complete a couple of rowboats I am building before the quickly approaching deadline. The owner is going to be picking them up ten days from now and there is much left to do. fortunately he is doing all of the paint and varnish work himself otherwise there would be no way. MeVoy is not the only one suffering. The whole family is feeling neglected lately, and I am falling way behind on my usual chores. I did find the time, yesterday, to finally cast the devil out of our broke down washing machine. It runs like a scalded dog now. I still have a list of housework that I have yet to get to but after the boats are done I should have plenty of time. I am also taking into consideration the big schooner rendezvous next week-end when Maggie and I are going to crew on a 105 year old fishing ketch named Rosalind under the great Captain Richard Griffiths who has been living aboard Rosalind for nearly 50 years. I can't wait! So for the next few days I will work round the clock to make sure I can deliver the boats on time and still have time for next week-ends fun.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend of FUN

We skipped working on Me Voy this weekend and decided to take the girls out for a ride. By girls I'm referring to our boats that we built this past year: Water Fox , my greenland style kayak and Little Hooch, Travis' solo canoe. 
We only used them twice before, and wanted to get out on the water again before the weather turned nasty. So we loaded up our faithful truck and headed for Middle River.
The day was absolutely gorgeous, and the wakes turned up by the stink potters were awesome to surf.  This is my first kayak, but I can't image a better boat. 

Travis' canoe is no less awesome, with the additional bonus of being able to carry cargo, and by cargo I mostly  mean Chopper. 

We have not yet subjected Billy, who has finally peed out his bladder stones (yippee!), to boat rides, but judging from the time that he fell into the aquarium, and immediately floated like a big poofy air bubble, he won't have any trouble with floatation given his mass of downy fur. And he will, after all  have Chopper to show him the ropes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008



It was a mixed bag on the boat this weekend, the fall weather was absolutely beautiful, but the work of digging rot proved to be more terrible then expected. I made the mistake of thinking that I was nearly done, when with one blow of the mallet, I struck daylight! Even though we're on the hard, and there was no danger of sinking, seeing a hole that goes thru the outer hull of the boat is ugly and frightening! BUT, the good news is that we  found this latest spot and that this is now the last of the rot! We have gone thru her entire length, inch by painful inch and removed all the rotten wood... phew. So while this spot in the stern is an unexpected setback, it is in the stern, and we are almost done dealing with the rot! (Here's what it looks like in the big picture...)

Meanwhile, bringing Billy along with Chopper turned out to be a great idea. Its amazing how well these two get along, despite their personality differences.  Billy, the more timid of the two, seems to become more reassured if Chopper is around, and Chopper, with his boundless energy, seems to mellow out around Billy. You can see them below enjoying a nap, while we're working!