I’ve been watching the videos of Bill Thomas putting together his stitch and glue Fox canoe at the Off Center Harbor site. I had been trying to decide how to attach a line to the front of the boat. Putting a cleat on seemed like overkill. Bill’s solution is to pour an epoxy plug in the nose of the boat and then drill a hole through it. Through this you tie a small circle of line to which you can tie on longer lines as necessary. This is not a handle to pick up the boat (but it doesn’t need one). It’s just a spot to tie on a painter. So today the boat went up against the house and I mixed up some epoxy. Boy does it stir up much thinner in 90+ F then it does when I was building it in the spring.
Yesterday I finally got some good paddling in as well. We took the DS1 and the Toto to Beaver Dam at Falls Lake. Friends took the DS1 out for a long sail (hoping they buy it from us) and while the kids were playing on the beach I paddled the Toto around. It feels good. You can really get it moving easily and by leaning to the side you can really get it to cut a quick circle around. Jim Michalak’s write-up on the Duckworks site for the plans has the following quote:
She has a buoyancy/storage chamber aft. It will keep your shoes and stuff dry while you splash around and I believe it has about 180 pounds of buoyancy volume if the hatch cover stays watertight. (But you can’t “self rescue” in any boat like this without very special training. It’s best to stay within a short swim or wade to shallow water.)
This had me a bit nervous so I decided yesterday was a good day to do a capsize test. I’m 6′ tall and weigh 170 lbs. I decided to go over the side in about 6′ of water so I could easily get to shore if needed. When I went over the side, the boat barely took on any water at all, so I held the side under to partially swamp the boat. I would guess that there were about 3″ of water in the bottom of the boat – a significant number of gallons. Then I swam around the backside of the boat and pulled my chest onto the back. From there I was able to straddle the boat and move forward to regain entrance to the boat. The water was calm – it certainly would have been more difficult in waves, but I’m excited to know that I can regain the boat without having to get to shore even in a partially swamped state. This process was easy enough that I would feel comfortable jumping overboard in the middle of the lake for a swim on a nice summer day. Having a bailer to remove the water before trying to climb back in would have also made it easier as well. I plan to keep a kayak pump handy.
I’m looking forward to doing more paddling soon and some minimalist camping in this little boat is not out of the question.