Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Doryman's Melonseed

It's been a bit chaotic around here, something that is not suppose to happen for two more months. The malignant winter weather has turned unpredictable. What is worse, knowing the weather is against you, or wondering if it is?

Progress has been made on the Doryman Melonseed, however. The boat is now turned upside down to install a fixed keel.

You heard right, a fixed keel.

The plans still call for a centerboard, but when I looked at the open interior of this gunkholer, it was too pristine to spoil. We'll see how this works, and if it does, so much better. Imagine a nine foot long unobstructed cockpit in a sixteen foot boat. A melonseed should draw about 4-5 inches and is meant to traverse very shallow water in a river delta. This boat will draft close to one foot, so floating in marsh grass is not on the agenda, but most days, one foot of draft is good, in fact, very good.

I am willing to compromise on this.

More melonseed photos on Doryman's Flickr.


EyeInHand said...

You are both daring and unpredictable. Admirable qualities in and explorer.

Pablo said...

Looking good. How will you put the boat on a trailer?

doryman said...

A trailer will require fore and aft bunks, but that would have been the case at any rate.
But it's true, the fixed keel makes this more difficult.
Another problem is running up on a beach - the one consideration that held me back. To disembark without getting wet will require specific conditions.

Brandon Ford said...

I think I recognize the wood in the keel! Looks good Michael. I love not having a centerboard in Ravn.

doryman said...

I took a cue from Ravn. Ever since I tacked the line drawings for the Valgerda on the wall of my office, everything I do is informed by that design.
And yes, the wood is familiar. In fact this entire boat is built from leftovers from other projects, couldn't afford it otherwise.

Aside from bits and pieces from the wood bin, I like to acknowledge gifts from friends:

Brandon has donated a mast, sail and sprit, as well as a very nice solid mahogany board for a rudder.
Jim B. has donated the bronze hardware for the rudder and some bronze oarlocks.

Without generous help from good friends, this winter would have been bleak indeed.

Thank you all!

robert.ditterich said...

Had a look at your Flickr shots, and the hull shape is lovely. I don't think beaching will be an issue, maybe wet calves instead of wet ankles at a beach if it is calm...
I'm looking forward to seeing how stable she is under sail with those slick bilges, and I'd be happy to buy a set of plans if you ever produce them. The stem and resolution of the garboards up front is very pretty indeed!

doryman said...

I'd be interested in seeing someone else reproduce this boat before I offered the plans for sale. Maybe that could be you, in which case the plans would be free.

I'd like to wet test it first, which brings us back to the trailer question.

Anders Eliasson said...

You´re not going to get much grip in the water when beating especially in light weather... Isn´t that bothering you?

doryman said...

Welcome, Anders - Ah, yes, you mean it will bob like a cork. No doubt this boat will require ballast, or better yet, crew weight (movable ballast - I don't know anyone who likes to be called movable ballast.)

Compared other Melonseed designs you will note, though the rise of the garboard plank is sharp, as Rob says, the overall flare of the hull and it's extreme beam is wider. So while it will likely be initially tender, I expect to find a "hard spot" at about 16 degrees of heel.
The boat will plane in 10 knots of wind and head for home if it gets over 15 knots. It should row like a rocket, in calm water.

Bilge keels would possibly be a perfect match for this design, set perpendicular to the garboard, amidships. Then the boat would have a strong bite on the water at it's most efficient angle of attack.

Anders Eliasson said...

What I was trying to say in my rudimentary english was that with the very small fixed keel, she´ll drift sideways when going to winward. Especially in light winds. There´s a reason the deep narrow high lift keel or centeboard was invented

doryman said...

You are right about that, which is why the design still calls for a centerboard.
This is a departure from the plans, a tactic I am famous for.

Historically the Melonseed, as developed for duck hunting, had no keel or centerboard. The prudent hunter / mariner would no doubt row out in the morning in a direction that would allow them to drift home on the tide or sail downwind.

The Melonseed just happened to be a dinghy racer too and the centerboard came in as a modern design addition.

I expect that if the wind is light and on my bow, I will row.

Michael said...

Just in case you come to really dislike grounding early,and often, the late 18th century touring canoes had fan fold CBs to deal with the interior space issue. Some of them had the CB off to the side of the cockpit space. This might work for ya, leaving the desireable reclining space. There's not much finer than snoozing and cruising on fine days.

Looking good with the finish work. What is the coating on the bottom?


doryman said...

Nothing special for bottom paint. I usually use a "soft" inexpensive ablative paint because most of the time I have my boats moored at a local marina (which is also why I feel confident about the fixed keel).

I've always wanted to try two centerboards mounted as bilge keels. The trunks would be in the front of a seat on each side, which would render them invisible.

Michael said...

I keep forgetting to mention that the proportions of the boat look fantastic. It looks like a very fun boat to use, a multi-task utility skiff.

The deck arrangement reminds me of the first boat I sailed, on a lake at a Wisconsin summer camp. I remember sitting on a wide side deck and figuring out how to get her to giddyup.

Your design should be a great child's boat. Safe in a friendly environment and able in an inclement one. That's how I see's it. :)