Saturday, March 29, 2014

Old Shoe

That would be the Oldshoe by Phil Bolger. One of his "Square Boat" series. My friend Tom Gale is a square boat fan.

Tom sent me these photos of the maiden voyage in his new old shoe. His first impression was that she had a lot of leeway in a breeze. Here he's trying to tack to windward and miss that dock.

My first impression was that's a boat designed for utility and simplicity.
The Oldshoe has been described as a twelve foot cockpit, with the rest of the boat left off. Big, roomy and safe. Just right for Tom and his family who like to cruise Lake Powell every year.

The skipper looks pleased. I've never known Bolger's little square boats fail to bring a smile to the person at the tiller.

Thanks to Heather Gale for the photos.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Early Spring

"A long time ago I concluded that there is enough sorrow in life, some inevitable and much unnecessarily man made, and I would rather be on the side of joy and laughter."

The above quote is from my friend Webb Chiles, who is about to set sail from San Diego for destinations global. I wish him fair winds and good luck.

I have a feeling this is going to be a great year. Not the least because I agree with Webb wholeheartedly in this case. A life spent in the pursuit of joy and laughter is a wonder.

Webb is a profound believer in making lists and recently declared himself listless. Not because he is tired, but since his Moore 24, Gannet, is ready to go. I must admit a bit of jealously, though I have no desire to circumnavigate the globe. Finding yourself at the end of your lists is cause for joy.

The Stone Horse Belle Starr is a fount of list making. Last season, I got her back on the water for the first time since she became part of the Doryman fleet, but that did not mean she was restored to her original glory. Far from it. Her short fall cruise brought out good and not so good details and the winter months have been spent in the pursuit of joy. Early this summer we will embark on a cruise into Canadian waters and I want her to be a happy ship. I won't bore you with details, suffice to say, the entire boat has been repainted and much of the running rigging has been revamped. To ensure the comfort and good humor of her skipper, there is a new set of cushions in the fore-peak. Nothing like a good nights sleep aboard to improve ones outlook.

The list is far from finished. But when Webb sets sail in May, I hope to be on my way as well. His diligence in preparing for a fresh voyage has been an inspiration to me. Thank you, Webb. Happy voyage to you and all good friends who find peace and contentment on the water.

The photo of Webb on Gannet's deck, by Ronnie Simpson.
Photos of Belle Starr under sail, courtesy of John Kohnen. 

New cushions, as viewed from the companionway, off the sewing table of a happy Doryman.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sail to Russia with Woods Designs Sailing Catamarans

 A tidbit recently brought to my attention, that I thought you would enjoy. Three 24 foot Strider Club catamarans were sailed  from Plymouth, UK to Tallinn, USSR. Imagine cooking and eating while under sail, without fear of loosing your dinner in the bilge!

Richard Woods, who is an occasional resident of the Salish Sea, offers his multihull designs at Woods Designs

More about Richard can be found here .

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Winter on Beaver Creek with Wild Rose

As promised, photo evidence from the Oregon coast on the first day of 2014.

The group of hardy individuals who brave mid-winter weather to drift quietly on local coastal rivers grows weekly. The last time we did this, temperatures were below freezing, but yesterday the most challenging problem was having worn too many layers.

From some of the shots, you can see the brilliant, low-angle winter sun played havoc with picture exposure.

May all lifes difficulties be so taxing.

Beaver Creek empties directly into the Pacific Ocean just south of Seal Rock, Oregon. The estuary is protected by recent acquisition of property by the State of Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department and is quickly becoming a popular kayak destination.

The creek meanders through a marshy estuary and upstream, soon narrows to a trickle. There is a sandbar across the mouth that prohibits salt water intrusion and limits the current flow. You can see the bar in this photo. Yes, those gulls are standing on the sand. To get this picture, I was in a narrow channel in about a foot of water, with a swift current threatening to wash me up on the sand, or out to sea. Just time for a quick shot, then paddle like mad!

Exploring this creek was the initial motivation for building Wild Rose. A row boat just takes too much width to get very far upstream, as can be seen with Lazy Duck. Wild Rose will open a whole new navigational experience for me. I'm looking forward to it!

As always, more photos can be found on Doryman's Flickr site.

All the best to you and yours for the new year.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Wild Rose

The rose has been the subject of legends, poetry and literature, and often represents love. A prickly wild rose grows prolifically on the Oregon coast, considered a nuisance by many.

Wild roses grow in my front yard and bloom through wind and rain, half the year and more. Tough little beauties. Blooms with thorns pretty much describe my romantic notions.

Wild Rose is the name of my new kayak, in the Doryman tradition of christening his row/paddle boats after local flora. She and I will be visiting a local tide marsh on the first day of the new year, we'll be sure to let you know how it goes. With the solstice behind us and the days growing longer in the Northern Hemisphere, this will be the first of many adventures in 2014.

I hope you will join me as the Voyage Ethereal continues...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Doryman's Kayak on Drift Creek

You've heard me speak of Drift Creek before. The last six miles of this coastal creek are tidal, which this time of year means exploration as high into the forest as a boat can go. The tide yesterday was a whopping twelve foot drop, so a few die-hard mariners ventured up stream at mid-day.

From the start, it was apparent we had missed the incoming tide. Perhaps the winter rain run-off had canceled the incoming current, because we paddled for two hours in what was, to all appearances, still water.

But when the tide turned it was a different story. We were still headed upstream, looking for a beautiful waterfall we had seen earlier in the year, though the rush of water headed out to sea had a different agenda. About five miles up the creek, we turned around and by the time we arrived back at the mouth of Drift Creek, where it empties into the Alsea River, the water level had dropped three feet and was running at two knots.

Despite the freezing weather - or perhaps because of it - the water and the forest had a beckoning beauty and incredible stillness. With no wind, it was completely silent. One could sit still and hear absolutely nothing. Such a feeling of sensory deprivation is both eerie and wonderful.

It was a perfect day to try out the brand new Doryman kayak. I'm no kayaker yet, so will need to practice more to give a full report of her capabilities.
She sure looked pretty.

This kayak could be called a freighter. She is beamy and voluminous. There was little chance she would perform as well as Curt's bright yellow sea kayak. But (sorry Curt) she has more class, more narrative.

Here's a shot of Curt behind me. I must have turned around sooner.

All agreed this was a wonderful winter day on the water, despite the frosty conditions.

Thanks to Shalline for photos of the Doryman Kayak.

Chuck and Shalline's new canoe is a Loon 16. It's built of hand-laid fiberglass with wood inlays inside. A high performance vessel, no doubt.

As always, the most enthusiastic mariner was Lucy the Dog, with Jim in Lazy Duck. I want to show you her most prominent position. Please note the tail. It never stops. I envy her happy enthusiasm.

Lucy the Dog from doryman on Vimeo.

For pictures of the kayak build, please visit Doryman's Flickr site.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Wind and Oar Boat School

It's been a while since we had an update on the activities at the Wind and Oar Boat School in Portland, Oregon. Recently, Peter Crim, founder and executive director set me a note outlining last summer's activities:
"At one point in July, I had four boats under construction at the same time, the Vivier Ebihen 16 and three Bevin Skiffs. I had six instructors and was running between all of the builds almost daily. The final launch was October 5 with the Ebihen and the SEI Bevin, built with sophomores at Jefferson H. S. It was another beautiful day for a launch, although the winds were rather light. The staff (myself and two instructors) took the Ebihen out for another sail on Friday, 11/22, and made up for the lack of wind. It was blowing 28-34 and we really tested the rig, which performed great."
"The class that built the Ebihen turned out to be terrific. It took them thirteen weeks, plus one for fitting out, to have it ready for the show we put on in Pioneer Courthouse Square on Oct. 3. After the launch, we spent another three weeks fine tuning, without the kids. The funding source for the project was Worksystems Inc. and they were really excited about the outcome. Most kids said this project was why they got up in the morning. Here's a video taken at the mid point and at the final events:"

About the same time, Jennifer Anderson of the Portland Tribune wrote an excellent article entitled "Unsinkable Skills" , outlining Wind and Oar's mission.

In July, five of the original "Rosies", builders of the first Wind and Oar boat, traveled to Scotland to participate in the Skiffie Worlds competition with sixty St Ayles Skiffs. By all accounts they had a great time. Who won't?! Wish I'd been there myself.

For your enjoyment, here are a few shots of the  Vivier Ebihen 16 under sail. Thank you, Peter!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Inheritance, Beach Pea Revisited

Almost exactly a year ago we looked at a Doug Hylan designed peapod called the Beach Pea. As fate would have it, Doryman has inherited the plans, building frames and full sized plank patterns for this hardy little tender. It's an honor to be able to continue another man's dream. I'm sure there is an old boatbuilder who would be happy to see the finished product, and possibly he's watching, who knows?

Here's a Beach Pea belonging to the Woodbury family, sitting pretty on the shingle.

Watch these pages for updates in the new year to come....

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Fall Float Down the Yaquina River

Saturday last was the date set for the annual fall Yaquina River float. For Doryman, this been a Halloween tradition for eight years, on this beautiful coastal Oregon river. For others, (all comers welcome) it depends on the weather.
This year, the prognosticators said a big Pacific front was coming in and there would be rain, wind and more rain. Those of us who live on the coast tend to take the forecasts with a grain of salt. The most reliable prediction method is to look out the window.
The crowd was small and dedicated. As you can see in the photos, everyone was dressed for the worst. Which, of course meant that we were over dressed for a delightfully warm and mostly sunny day. Sorry those slackers less dedicated missed it.
This was the first time on the water for the completed Doryman Melonseed. I've christened her Aria. We left the sailing gear at home and loaded up the oars for the trial run. My good friend Jim Ballou dropped by the Doryman boatyard early Saturday with a smart little skiff needing some attention so, for the river run, he didn't have a ride of his own.
It was an excellent opportunity to see how the melonseed performed with a payload. Jim and I shifted our weight around to test for stability and I'm happy to say the melonseed is a wonderful little boat. She rows like a dream, can't wait to set up a sail rig and see how she flies.....
Bob, deep in conversation with Chuck and Shalline:

Jim taking it easy while Michael does all the work. (Just teasing you, Jim.)

Thanks to Shalline for the photos of Aria.

And a short video of Jim R, with Lucy the Dog, in the Lazy Duck skiff. Commentary by Jim B.

Fall 2013 on the Yaquina River from doryman on Vimeo.

If you haven't had enough, here's the rest of the pictures.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Northeaster Dory

Looking back about two years, you might remember a fellow named Erik Mancini was building a Northeaster Dory from a CLC kit. He completed his boat this summer and had a few comments to share with us about his new seventeen foot dory. At the end of Erik's tale, I'll share a video he pointed out to me, about a couple on their honeymoon in a Northeaster Dory.

Here's Erik:

"She has a balanced lug rig as designed by John Harris. I think there are about 12 or so out there with this rig. Most of them have a sloop configuration. If you look up a guy named Neil Calore, you see that he's competed in some amazing Water Tribe challenges in a NE Dory much like mine."

"Personally, I chose the lug rig for its overall simplicity and ability to be rowed while underway. After having had her out on the Mighty Delaware in some moderate breeze, I think I chose well."

"The main difficulty for my sailing area is that it kind of stinks for sailing (maybe even boating in general). Summer winds are either set to "hurricane light " or "humid jungle" and tidal currents can be as high as 4.2 knots depending on the time of year."

"There are nasty obstacles everywhere. Shallows seem to spring up for no good reason! This means that when sailing an engine-less Thistle or Flying Scot with my club ( we have to stick to an area roughly south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge and North of Pea Patch Island. The area is essentially bisected by a rather long and rather nasty underwater jetty designed in the 1920's to limit silt accumulation. Crossing the jetty is bad and will result in a torn out hull. If you didn't know it was there (or how it was marked) you'd probably come close to hitting it. There is another and smaller jetty on the New Jersey side."

"Still, it's probably a good thing to be aware of the jetty since it marks the channel where enormous ocean going cargo and tanker vessels regularly plow through at 20 miles an hour, kicking up two big wakes at a time that can easily swamp a dinghy. Tug boats often steam around in the channel. They are so much faster than they look and I've learned to pay attention to when "their mustaches are up" and there is frothy white water high on their bows. They've snuck up on me more than once. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the crab pots and the potential for really angering a local waterman by fowling one."

"You may wonder why after saying all that, I even bother. The truth is that I LOVE sailing the Delaware precisely because of those things. Don't misunderstand, I'm not in it for some sick "flirting with disaster" thrill. Far from it. I just like that the above hazards keep most other boaters far away in the Chesapeake. Selfish I know, but true. Barely a jet ski has crossed my path in 3+ years of sailing here, much less your average stinkpot."

"We have a huge migrant bird population, and believe it or not, environmental clean up efforts have succeeded in bringing back some fish! I'm told oyster beds are getting quite healthy in the southern bay section. Sunsets are exquisite on the Delaware."

"So the question becomes, "How do I explore more of it without engine?" And the answer is my humble little CLC dory. In light or no air, I've been able to row fairly well against the current with the plan to go with it on my return. I've rowed around small islands and even pulled up to a little beach to stop and stretch my legs. I am surprised at how much a really like to row now. I even take her to a small lake nearer to my house just for the exercise of rowing."

"The sail rig has taken more time to get used to. Having been raised on racing Thistles, I had a hard time finding her sweet spot to windward. I was prepared for the windward performance to be poor compared to a sloop rigged boat, but I didn't count on how much I had come to rely on the weatherly-ness of those boats to actually navigate the river. I'd be lying if I said I don't often get stuck in tacks with my dory. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong but it's not a huge problem and I'm getting the knack of it (I think). The tiller and yoke design is also a bit tricky at first but I understand exactly why it was included in the design."

"The other day I had her on a nice close reach and was surprised at how close I was to burying the rail. My dory calls for attention to be sure. In addition, if I have a criticism it's that there isn't a lot of flotation on this design. There are no enclosed tanks, just foam underneath the thwarts. Neil Calore uses inflated bags for and aft for his adventures. I have not yet capsized her, and I really hope I don't."

"Overall, I'm really pleased my boat. I think she performs more or less exactly as I need her to given the area. I'm looking forward to going on longer trips and hope to get her into the Chesapeake at least once this summer (finally see what everyone is raving about I guess). I plan on making some modifications to her over the winter (no reef points on the sail!) but now is the time for sailing and rowing."

"Thanks for reading!

And thank you too, Erik.
Comparing a dory to a Thistle or Flying Scot is a tall order. But it sounds like Erik's Northeaster is a champion, as advertised.  Yet another member of the growing tribe of sail-and-oar affectionatos. A Thistle may fly around the buoys, but Erik's "humble dory" will take him places a racing dinghy dare not.

And now to the video:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Doryman's Boatyard

Technically, we are talking about the back porch. As inclement weather gears up, so does the annual winter project.

This year, it's a kayak. Or is it a canoe?

Last August, at the Toledo Wooden Boat Show, the family boatbuilding event centered around a kayak designed by Leo Newberg and Rick Johnson. Prior to the show, Rick and Leo set up a prototype to use for making patterns. A test model was roughed out to insure everything would fit.

Ever on the lookout for an interesting challenge, Doryman pounced on the prototype, with the intention of (yes, you guessed it...) improving the design. (I say that tongue-in-cheek. Leo and Rick did a great job. There will be some modifications, however.)

The hull made it back to the shop in one piece, though it was barely tacked together with epoxy. To-date, the watertight bulkheads have been secured and templates made for the decks. The shear has been shaved down, to limit windage. This will be a very burdensome boat, even though it has less freeboard .

One objection I have with traditional kayaks is the small cockpit opening. So now the question is - with a more open cockpit, is it a canoe?

To further complicate matters, this boat will have oarlocks for rowing, in addition to a double paddle, kayak style. The open cockpit is a necessity, or I'd never be able to get in the boat. The rowing station, likewise, is an ergonomic detail - from years of hard work, my old shoulders do not stand up to forward paddling very long.

A friend dropped by the other day to check on progress in the Doryman Boatyard and declared the kayak/canoe almost finished. Those of you who have built boats of your own know better.

Here is a photo of the original kayak from the boatshow, built by Jim Reim and his daughter, Amy. Nice job, you two!

The finished Doryman vessel will be fifteen feet long and sheathed in 4mm Meranti plywood, with a 3mm deck. It has a hard-chined bottom, with a slight "V" shape.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Belle Starr

As was reported earlier, the Stone Horse, Belle Starr has proven to be an exceptional boat. And as documentation, I was recently gifted some photos taken by my good friend, John Kohnen of the Oregon Coots.

Here comes John with a boat-full of Coots now...

On Sunday, the last day of the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, tradition finds the participants on the water for a "sail-by". This year was the first time I've joined the parade in my own boat.

Here she is, all dressed up in tanbark, overtaking the MerrieEllen.

For her first weekend out in several years, Belle Starr looked pretty good. At the helm is Kirk Gresham (AKA Captain Kirk) and his crew is Doryman, shooting photos left and right.

With John's permission, I offer you a sailor's view of the worthy cutter.

People often ask me why I find a strenuous, dangerous and difficult activity like sailing so rewarding. These photos tell it all.

Not looking too bad for an old horse.

After the morning fog lifted, it was another beautiful day on Admiralty Inlet.

Thank you John!

This week will be the last of the season for Belle Starr. The storms that have pummeled the west coast are abating, so hopefully the cutter will get a few more miles under her keel, before she is hauled out for the winter. Please stay tuned!