Thursday, January 6, 2011

Yaquina Guide Boat, Epilogue

My friend Brandon came by today. You may know Brandon from reading about Ravn, the Norse faering he built recently.

I had just finished installing the inwales on the Yaquina River Guide Boat and was explaining to Brandon that I really needed to float the boat to see how it trimmed with weight in it, before completing the oarlock design.

The paint on the bottom was mostly dry, much of the glue had set and the entire boat was base-coated in epoxy. So my buddy says "lets do it!".

We hefted the guide boat out the window of the sewing room one more time and loaded it on top of the car. So far, so good. It's a short drive to the closest launch ramp and before very long we have the boat in the water for the first time.

She is very buoyant.
Well... I expected that.

So I say to Brandon "you sit on the middle thwart and I'll take the aft one".

He says "Ummm, Maybe you should try it first".

So I say "OK, you steady her and when I step in, let go and I'll just push off".

He says "Are you sure?" And I say "It'll work, I know how to do this.".

So I step in and he lets go and I push off. The Yaquina Guide Boat flips over and dumps Doryman in the drink.
Blub, blub.

Lucky for me the water was only three feet deep. But it's COLD!

Now I'm drenched, but determined. Back to the shore.
"This time, Brandon - hold onto the boat!" I say, a bit petulant.

Whew, this is one tender (that means tippy!) boat. Brandon thinks I'm testing just how tender by rocking back and forth, but in truth I am trying desperately to find the balance point before I go swimming again and the boat is rocking itself, I swear!

On the shore, Brandon keeps saying "she floats perfectly on her water line" while I try to figure out how to drive this thing. All I have is a canoe paddle when obviously I need much bigger guns.

I try sitting faced aft as I would when rowing, then paddle back to shore and turn around to try a forward position more favorable to the paddle I'm using. (You didn't think I was going to try standing up and turning around in the boat did you?!!).

We don't have any pictures of Brandon in the boat because he sat in it for one minute (with me holding the gunnel and the stern wedged firmly against a stump) and decided it wasn't his cuppa tea.

So, the verdict is: this is one light, fast boat - if you can keep it upright. There have been many helpful suggestions. Turn her into a catamaran, a proa, a trimaran... which are all very good ideas.
All of them much better than taking another swim in 38 degree water.

It seems Doryman is going back to the drawing board. Any helpful suggestions welcome. Not so helpful suggestions will be tolerated.

Progress will be documented on Doryman's Flickr site.
Pictures will be added daily as work progresses with explanations added at the bottom of the page. Flickr allows comments, so fell free to make suggestions.

Brandon brought with him some stuff for show-and-tell. Mary will tell you about all his fun toys on With Needle and Palm and; yet more fun at The Fiddle Project.



Anonymous said...


Brandon Ford said...

I like the idea of an outriger, but maybe you should explore a full-on, sliding-seat speed machine. It would only be useful for calm water, but you've got Beaver Creek right at your doorstep. It's always like glass. (Very cold glass, as you found out. Sorry.)

Maybe instead of the Yaquina River Guideboat you could rename it the Beaver Creek Rocketship. It couldn't be any less stable than one of those racing shells, could it?

Sure had fun yesterday. Thanks for the mast. She is happily nestled in Ravn and glad to be reunited with her sail.

Brandon Ford said...

Oh! I just looked at your headline! Not epilogue! "Beaver Creek Rocketship: A new begining."

doryman said...

Well, Brandon - if you're curious about it's stability, you'll just have to try it out, eh?
(snicker, snicker)

Bursledon Blogger said...

Sounds like you've already tried water ballast :o)

Brandon Ford said...

I might try it if I'm wearing a wetsuit. I think my quote while sitting in the YGB was "Momma!"

That being said, she sure is pretty. too pretty for major surgery.

robert.ditterich said...

Epilogue/shmepalog. You knew that there was no reserve stability, and that she'd need riggers and oars to stay up-right. You were just testing for WL issues and slipperiness, and to have a nice time with a friend. Even with riggers and oars, nearly all people fall out of a racing scull while getting the feel of it.
Two Silverbacks go down to the water and only one gets wet.....Mary gets a wonderful present of violin molds from the dry one. I'm sure there isn't a pattern there Michael....
How are those riggers from Clint looking? The boat looks great in the water.

doryman said...

Max, you are too kind. I suppose I gained 20 pounds or so, but the boat only took on about a gallon. I think the next trial will include some sand bags, after looking over the photos. There's not a lot of wetted surface right now.

Two crew might be the ticket if they could ever get in at the same time.

Rob, Brandon brought me presents too. Two blocks of very pretty maple, well seasoned - and some old hinges that will work nicely on a door for the head on Mistral.

We brainstormed on how to create a hinged oarlock base similar to Clint's out of some strap hinges Brandon had. I think it will work.

I have my heart set on a fast row boat but it should also be able to take some weather. I live at the ocean, not a mill pond.

I've always wanted to build a trimaran so maybe it's time. It has been all along, but I didn't know it.

EyeInHand said...

Beautiful! She looks great on the water. Honestly, the hull form looks like a nice, big, sturdy sea kayak. Don't imagine it's any more tippy than one of those; though they are far more tippy than the kind of "row" boat you were expecting. As I kayak-ish hull, you might try sitting almost flat on the bottom. Can't tell from the photos if you're sitting on a seat, but lowering your own center of gravity would help. Also, mounting very long oars in their "riggers" will go surprisingly far toward making the boat more stable, like the long pole used by a high wire walker. I bet if you lower the seat (sliding version sounds good) and add the long oars you'll be smokin.


doryman said...

Barry you are correct as usual. The rowing thwart is a sealed box for flotation and the two half bulkheads forming that box are major structural members. Lowering that thwart would be major surgery but not out of the question. I've asked myself the question of weight distribution which comes back to getting the boat lower in the water, which is the same thing, isn't it?
Unfortunately I wear a prosthetic limb which limits the effectiveness of a sliding seat. Being primarily an upper body athlete, the fixed seat is sufficient.

doryman said...

Barry, me again.
I just sketched the thwart in section and it would be fairly easy to cut the seat down and leave enough of the bulkhead(s) for structure. Short of drawing it for you, I'll just have to do it and post a picture. It's worth a try. Thank you, my friend!

EyeInHand said...

Ah, just so. The engineering . . .

You can move some of that floatation to sealed ends in the bow and stern without giving up much, so that's not the big issue. Perhaps add a bulkhead just forward of your seat to replace what you cut down? You could make that into a dry storage compartment, accessible from the seat, for camera, 'nocs, water, and such, which would be pretty handy actually.

Lowering your center of gravity, and lowering the boat, are related of course, or can be, but sounds like you want to keep the boat as light and fast as possible. That means getting your own weight as low as you can without adding more. If you have a lot of muscle mass in your upper body that will be especially challenging.

I've noticed the ladies have an easier time keeping their kayaks upright - and righting them after a dump - then men do generally. It seems they carry more weight in their seat and legs than we do, down low in the boat, and not so much in their shoulders, which makes them far more stable. They are weighted like bowling pins, while we are shaped like inverted bowling pins. Advantage : ladies. (Just don't try to explain that in mixed company within slapping range. Take my word for it.)

A rowing shell is like sitting on a long skinny log, so you have to figure the only reason it works at all is sitting low with very long oars on outriggers - like holding your arms out wide when walking down a fence rail.

Hope you figure it out, cuz it sure is pretty.

doryman said...

I went to sleep last night designing a centerboard trunk. A chunk of lead two feet below the waterline couldn't hurt.
Somebody stop me! I'm a sick man.

robert.ditterich said...

Why would we want to stop you? You're doing the experimenting and we get to watch.
Nothing finer than a restless creative mind asking 'what would happen if?'- and then getting a pair of hands to find out. And sharing it....

doryman said...

If you were here, I'd open a good bottle of wine (not too good, this is boat design we're talking about)and hash this out. I made a pattern for bilge keels today. Always wanted to design a pair of fins on a boat.

After a quick shot of whiskey however, I decided to take two inches off the profile. From the bottom. It'll be great, trust me. I'll get started tomorrow.

Tweezerman said...

For stability, I'd get rid of your wineglass stern. We found in playing with International Canoe shapes that stern shape can add or detract a lot to stability, particularly in V'eed shapes as this "Guide Boat". Ted Van Dusen's recreational shell had a very IC like shape with a much flatter transom than you would find in racing shells.

Laingdon said...

you called it a rowing shell, so get go yerself a rowing rig, y'damn fool. Those things only stay upright because the oars are ten feet long, y'know.

doryman said...

I see what you mean and it would be hard to make that change now. I've considered adding bilge keels, but don't want a boat that looks silly unless it's very effective and there is no way of knowing without trying - a bit of a quandary.
Now you make me wonder if some small "anti-cavitation" plates on the waterline in the stern would help, like a fish's tail fin. That would be easy and unobtrusive.

doryman said...

So it's a damn fool now, are it? Aye, ye may have a point there.

Laingdon said...

Folks writing in were gettin' too dad-blasted practico-technical. Figgered a broader perspective was in order. 'Course if the cussed thing wants to float upside down, maybe you oughta carry it down to the river, chuck it in, flip it over, and THEN hop aboard and start paddlin'!

doryman said...

I've got a plan. And I'll upload pictures as it progresses (digresses?) on the doryman flickr site. Link toward the end of this post.
Stay tuned!

Brandon Ford said...

I knew the urge to turn the boat into a dory would be too much. I just went to your Flickr site. I hate to admit it, but I bet it will work. Let me know when you need help at he Beaver Creek Testing Facility.

Brandon Ford said...

Just a thought: you could keep the off-cut to use as your ama.

doryman said...

Laid in a bottom plank today, so the boat now has a less dramatic fore and aft camber (rocker) and a flat bottom reminiscent of the wherry, about a foot wide amidships. Photos of surgery on Flickr.

doryman said...

Oh, and Brandon - you are so perceptive you amaze me. The cut-off will be stored in the doryman boatyard until further notice. (ama forthwith).

O Docker said...

Sorry I'm so late to the show, Michael, but I do feel you're going about this all wrong.

You don't really need to be changing the boat at all, but simply using it in a more appropriate way.

You say, "this is one light, fast boat - if you can keep it upright."

What you have made, then, is clearly a Laser. Fit the class-legal rig, drop in a dagger board and rudder, find the nearest Laser club and have a go.

In short order, you'll get used to being frequently dumped in the drink. It's all part of the game. Some even come to enjoy it in time, I understand, though I don't know why.

200,000 cold, grim, shivering people can't be wrong.

doryman said...

We've missed you!
Now that's a novel idea. Or maybe not so novel.
I don't know how some people do it... lost my tolerance for cold water thirty years ago. The whole frostbite thing eludes me.
Winter sailing is the greatest, but dressed warm and above all, DRY.