To the Ocean

I’m really excited that in just a few days all three boats will be on the trailer heading to Nags Head. I’ve been doing a bunch of little work on the boat to get ready. I drilled 5 holes in the boat and filled them with epoxy to make waterproof bushings for holes for lines. I removed the cheap plastic cleat from the front of the boat and drilled a large hole to tie a short painter. I drilled two more holes on the dagger board case to attach a piece of shock cord to hold the dagger board down. Finally I drilled two holes in the aft bulkhead wood to tie a line across the back of the boat to keep the tiller from slipping into the water when dropped. While I had the epoxy out, I filled the rudder mortise and then sanded it back to get a tight fit on the rudder arm. It’s not a perfect fit where the mortise and tenon come together, but it’s very tight now. The pin is decorative at this point. It’s not moving on its own.

I finished off the trailer by putting down 2″ of foam on the bed of the trailer and screwing down the outdoor carpet to it. I’m still thinking about the best way to tie down the kayaks on top. Right now I’m just using dock lines and truckers hitches. The good thing about that is that when they are off there’s nothing getting in the way of the skerry, but it’s not the fastest thing. Debating whether to keep one up there all the time for fast access to the water.



Welcome 2017

Last year I made it a goal to get on the water at least once every month of the year. I’m happy to report I kept that New Year’s resolution and hope to hit it again this year. Between kayaking, rowing and sailing it should be an easy goal. I’ve already had the Skerry out this month. It was a beautiful sunny, day with winds blowing 10-15 knots. I had a great sail across Falls Lake, but as I was coming in to shore I let go the tiller stick in order to pull up the dagger board and it slipped over the side. My best guess is that it hit the bottom and the forward momentum of the boat translated that into an upward force and the rudder arm snapped right off. It was made from 2 layers of 1/4″ Okume plywood glued together and then epoxied around the rudder head. It snapped right at the epoxy seam. I’ve decided to replace it with a mortise and tenon solution. My buddy, Matt, gave me a good sized board of white oak 1.25″ thick. I used the old arm as a template and cut out the rough shape on the bandsaw.


By the way, I love the vise. It’s a WoodRiver universal vise. I bought it over a year ago and finally installed it today. I couldn’t have done what I did without it. It operates in either this position or laid over on it’s side. It swivels until you tighten the work piece and that locks it in place. It’s a great feature for re-positioning angles on the fly.

I’ve never really worked hardwoods like white oak before. I was a little worried about working such a hard wood. To get the bandsaw chatter marks out of the white oak I tried a couple of different tools, but ended up with my Shinto saw rasp from Duckworks. The rough side ate through the oak just fine, the smooth side cleaning up the marks before sanding. It worked great.

The vise did a great job holding the rudder while I cleaned up the broken wood and epoxy.


Then I took the rudder over to my old drill press and drilled a series of holes to make the mortise. Then back into the vise to clean up with chisels and files.


The oak arm will head to the table saw next to cut it down from 1.25 to 1″. Then to the bandsaw to taper it from 1″ down to 3/4″ at the end of the arm. Then I’ll probably round over the edges with a router before hand finishing.


I also did some work on the trailer this weekend. A neighbor loaned me his welder and I used it to reinforce the bolted on tongue extension I originally added. I also replace the flimsy punched steel winch stand with welded angle iron. It’s much sturdier now. I need the weather to clear up and dry out so I can paint it. Then I’ll add lights back and get the padding finished. It’ll be in fine shape and ready for a good trip down to the coast in the spring.


(Don’t look too closely at those welds. They are pretty ugly).

boat shop closed in

Today I finished closing in the boat shop with plastic. I then fired up the propane heater and the temperature rose from 35 degrees to 42 degrees in an hour. If I add the kerosene heater I should be able to get the temp up to 50 for painting, etc.

Overlapping front plastic sheeting.

Overlapping front plastic sheeting.

side view

side view

I also inherited a band saw from my father-in-law as they are moving to a new house.

"new" band saw

“new” band saw

It still needs some adjustments, but I was able to cut a piece of red oak cleanly.

test cuts

test cuts