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Reminder from Mark Steele

Well as we go into the month of June, that means that if you are going to enter the Marine Modelling International/Duckworks Magazine Challenge involving the skill of `weathering’ a ship model (sail or power) you have now only got four months in which to do your stuff and enter by email.

Free year-long subscriptions to Marine Modelling International magazine are their to be won in both sailboat and power boat categories and entries have to be in by email by 30th September, so it is correct to say that time is both moving on and running out.

A trawler built by Tim in Maine pre the weathering  process

Several modelers are working on entries including Tim  of Maine in the US. Remember, the boats (maximum length 18”) don’t have to actually sail but you must have a photograph of it floating on the water among those submitted with the entry form. Photos should be nice and close so that they show your weathering skills applied. So get in close with that digital camera. The judges only have the photos to clearly base their decision on.

Small Craft Advisor needs help

Hi Chuck,

We were surprised to find suddenly that we don't have many Reader Boat articles on the schedule. We never pay for that column, but it's always been a popular one where sailors get a chance to show off their boats-just about any boat is fair game-new or old production boats, restored boats, owner-built boats. Typically the author will talk about their personal history with the boat, its performance, modifications they've made, pros and cons, etc.

We'll begin soliciting Reader Boat submissions again in the next issue, but is there any chance you could mention to your readers that we're actively looking for more of these submissions as well? We generally like 1000 to 1200 words and 3-5 photos.

Thanks for your consideration.

Josh Colvin
Small Craft Advisor
PO Box 1343
Port Townsend, WA 98368

PH 800-979-1930
PH 360-379-1930

A Zen Prospect

Dear Chuck:

Thought you might be interested in my most recent boat make-over project.

She's an old Mercury 15 sloop named "Ms. Zen", which I acquired last Summer from my very good friend Robert to keep on a mooring on the Rideau River in front of my house.   Robert understands my love of small classic boats and I was very touched when he entrusted her care to me.

The Mercury is a well known racing class south of the border, and while my particular iteration is probably more than 40 years old, Mercury 15's are still being built by the Cape Cod Shipbuilding Company (how salty is that!).  These boats come as either keel or centreboard versions.  Mine is the latter.

My experience so far has been that even with her bagged out main she is a very swift boat, and with her deep cockpit & side decks she is a dry boat which can stand up to a breeze.  My little daughter and I have enjoyed many a Saturday morning sail on silvery ruffled waters, coming in for a mid-morning "brunch" before setting off for another days' activity with the rest of the family, having had a proper dose of sailing to tide us over 'til the next time.  These serene moments with my daughter are absolute magic, and for that I shall forever be in debt to the good friend who put this vessel in my path.  Truth be known, she is really Becca's boat - I am just the caretaker.

When I received her she sported a very tired finish (her deck had been painted green - ugh! - with what appears to be latex house paint by a previous owner, and her brightwork sorely needed rejuvenation).  But her worst feature was a fixed deep rudder which kept catching the weeds and high bottom of her Rideau River home waters.  Something had to be done to rectify this problem.  To my mind, it simply does not make sense to fit a fixed rudder on a centreboard boat which is otherwise intended to be beached and
generally manhandled in the shallows.

And so I set about modifying her existing rudder by cutting off the "fixed blade" portion, and shaped a new rudder blade cut from a piece of 3/16th marine grade aluminum sheet, fabricated a set of rudder cheeks and a pivoting mechanism, including provisions for up- and down-hauls.   The resulting rudder blade area is about 15% smaller than the original due to a miscalculation on my part when I ordered the aluminum plate from which it was cut. I have yet to launch her so cannot comment on the effectiveness of this new rudder, but I remain optimistic...

Then I stripped and sanded the teak gunwhales, centrecase cap and washboards, applied four coats of Cetol Marine Light, sanded down the painted decks and transom, and repainted with Brightsides marine paint (making my own custom blend from pots of different coloured paints I had on hand to achieve a nice taupe which is more in keeping with that classic boat aesthetic).  Mi esposa Amalia is working on making a Sunbrella sailcover to protect the main while she languishes in the sun on her mooring.  She's also up to her elbows in fabricating cabin cushions for our Alberg 30, "Mahseer".

I also purchased a pair of 8' oars for auxiliary propulsion.  A bit short, I own,  but I am just too lazy to fabricate a pair from scratch, and 8' is the maximum "standard" length I could obtain through our local chandler's.  Now, I never use oars as they come off-the-shelf.  There are several essentials that need attending, such as fiberglassing the tips with epoxy to prevent them from splitting out - and to support their inevitable use in poling off the bottom - applying at east four coats of spar varnish (hate the factory finish!) and, of course, leathering!

Remaining projects to make "Ms. Zen" that much more "just so":  contrive some sort of removable rowing thwart spanning the cockpit while clearing the awkwardly positioned centreboard case (wonder if a "clip on" flexible seat like on a child's swing set would work?), install newly fabricated oarlock mounts and a jib boom to make the latter self-tacking so I can lazily beat up the narrow confines of my river.

Ah, a zen prospect indeed....

Yours in breezy happiness,

Burton Blais
Kemptville, Ontario

On OMG Moment

Dear Chuck,

This is what happens when you get old and lose your mind.

‘An omg experience’

Being a ‘pepaw’ to six granddaughters and one lonely grandson I have learned that an omg experience is exciting. My omg occurred a few months ago on turning a ripe old 70. A number of relatives and friends suggested I jump out of an airplane in a tandem skydive, others suggested a hot air balloon ride, all this to a sissy sailor who does not wish to get wet. (SAILING BY A NON-SAILOR)

My spouse inquired about my plans for the Saturday before the great day and I informed her that I would run in a 5k race to celebrate ST.PATRICK’S day and drink a cold beer. Upon hearing that this race began at 4p.m. she looked concerned but said nothing. I then received an invitation from my daughter Lynn to go sailing with her husband on that Saturday at noon. My  son-in-law Matt is a true waterman in that he wants to go out every day, surfing, paddle boarding, fishing or sailing, his only problem is work. Matt had recently acquired a tandem HOBIE trimaran sailing kayak. I said okay figuring trimarans are as safe as sailing can get.

Matt towed a trailer 100 miles to my house on Saturday with this big 18-foot kayak, 18-foot mast, 2 long pontoons, wetsuits, and all the set-ups. The wet suit was a squeeze; I am bigger in the belly and smaller elsewhere. The weather was 70 with winds 5 to 15 out of the northeast and possible showers. WE put in about high tide off the side of the PORT ORANGE causeway into the HALIFAX River.

The kayak went in, the pontoons snapped on and the sail was set, this thing had PEDDLE DRIVE, it was awesome. Set up was 5 minutes and we were sailing. This thing was like a motorcycle with training wheels. We were passing powerboats in the MANATEE zones and racing shore to shore. I  know we were planning most of the time. People stopped on the shore to watch the crazies in the bright red boat and the big yellow sail roar up and down the river. We sailed for three hours and it seemed like twenty minutes.

We arrived back at the house to a big surprise birthday party and I kept relating my omg experience. As a wooden boatman I must admit that plastic kayak was about as omg as I could stand.

Now Michael Storer has DROP-IN OUTRIGGERS that might fit.

BOATING is omg cool.

Fred omg Night

RSS Who?


I am a big fan of your website and would love to be able to keep up with it via RSS feeds. I have seen the e-mail function, but I would prefer to have all my reading available in my RSS reader.

Keep up the great work. Thank you.


Proud of his XCR

Nice to share with you that my XCR design has done great things in the recently completed Everglades Challenge. I don't mind saying that I'm pretty proud of this and that the boat was sailed and paddled by the extremely capable husband and wife team of Ben and Emily Algera from Michigan. These two really applied the boat to the type of adventure for which it was intended. Congrats guys, you really did something special.

Here is a News Story about them.

On Ben's blog, there are a collection of videos from the EC, as well as a written account of their journey complete with still photos. About half way down the cover page all of it starts.

Chris Ostlind
Lunada Design

Thanks and a correction

Hi Chuck,

I wanted to thank you for the plug on my book, but wanted to make a clarification. My husband's name is not Michael Petrillo (that would be my father). My name is Renee Petrillo, my husband is Michael Puceta. As you now know from the book, I am not a traditionalist. . Thanks again for the promotion and remind you and your readers to Sail, don't drift! Best,


Contest Results

Hi Chuck,

The 2012 Design Contest on my website ended the first of this month, and 2 of the submitted designs tied for first place in the voting. My "prize" to the winning entry was to complete the design and draw up the plans, and present it the the winner. Well, now I have to complete 2 plan sets. As both designs are of the twin-hull design (catamaran style), my work becomes a little easier, as I can incorporate the details of one into the other.

Anyway, the plans for the first design, the MINI-CAT by Harold Krause of Texas, are now complete, and have been presented to Harold, who is thrilled. I am now sending you the plans for inclusion in my plans section of your website. I have also attached the article that can be used to describe the features and benefits of the design.

Of the many varied designs I received, some of real interest and quality, the catamaran style versions were the ones to get the most votes. My reasoning is probably because they are easy to make, stable, provide good seating room, and make good fishing boats. At less than 8 feet long and 4 feet wide, the MINI-CAT will embody these attributes. My guess is that the twin hulls could become the under pinning's of a variety of functional options. In fact the other winning design, and of similar size, the CAMP CRUISER by James McCabe of Dublin Ireland, employs a fold up cabin for use as a sleep on week ender. But it still remains a true take apart portable.

I appreciate your hosting my plans for sale, and cannot thank you and Sandra enough for all you do.

Best regards,
Ken Simpson

Asbestos in Ships

Dear Friends at Duckworks,

As you may know, asbestos was a very common and valued material used in the process of building ships. Companies could purchase asbestos in large quantities for less money than the other similar materials would cost. This material was good to use to line the boilers, turbines, engines, and other components because it could withstand high temperatures and corrosion. Over time there have been over 4 million workers that built and repaired the ships were exposed to asbestos.

Those who worked in shipyards who may be exposed to asbestos, should be aware of this deadly disease. My name is Sarah Anderson and I am the Communications Director for I noticed on your links page that you have listed other websites. I would be grateful if you would mention our site on this page as well. Please let me know if this is of interest to you. Hopefully we can help raise awareness for Shipyard workers across the country.

Thanks again,
Sarah Anderson
Communications Director

Sail Oklahoma

Someone (Bill maybe or Mike John, Duckworks editor) recently dubbed us a Boating Festival. Mike and I were talking about that at lunch and I agree, Festival does describe us better perhaps than a Messabout. I think we have passed that point somewhere back!

This year our five designers will present or organize ten programs or demonstations- man overboard drill, history of sails and progression of the sail, basics of racing, a skin on frame demo, leeboard program on design, use, positioning, etc-lug sail rigging and reefing, sailing, making your own sails, a fast canoe build with duct tape, self rescue and the popular "Ask the Designers" forum presentation.

We will have three races, plus the popular games, Marshmallow-Peeps Dipping, Pirate Poker Run and a new Poker Run for bigger boats.

The Belle Starr run to the park and back will return, as will the World's Biggest Bar-b-que Smoker and it's little brother.

The Saltiest Salt competition will return, so if you grow a beard over the TX 200 just keep growing until October.

We are working on a possible Beach Concert and Fireworks display( if we don't go into a drought)

Camping around the Boat Palace and eating in the yard will continue.

There will probably be in excess of 100 boats we hope to see and who will enter the "Boat Show" -and lots of fun for the kids and adults.

Mike and I are to work out a preliminary schedule before we leave for Maryland, and I will post it here.

You know when Chuck Leinweber had to stop plans on "The Best Little Boat Show in Texas" he inspired me to begin Sail OK! and I honestly hoped it would evolve into something like this. But it was hope, not something I had a set of plans for, I hoped some of our friends would come and we'd have fun. That has been more than achieved.

So I am delighted to be a Festival! When we started Josh Colvin of Small Craft Advisor Magazine jokingly dubbed us as "Boat Stock." As long as the weather stays good that is OK with Mike and I.

Love, Jackie and Mike Monies

Ryobi Rebuttal

Was searching for a product number on a Ryobi part in google, and your article popped up as one of the results.

Great article.   I’ve been using the one+ system since it came out – and I make no illusions about it – I got the set because it was less than 1/3 the cost of a comparable dewalt or Makita set.

Since then, howe4ver, I’ve expanded to over 30 of the one+ tools, and 12 lithium batteries.  If the original set had a fault – it was those nicad batteries..  they were pretty terrible.   God forbid you don’t use them for a month – dead battery that won’t take a charge.

After embracing the lithiums, and using the multi-charger as a trickle, I’ve had NO problems.  Some of the tools have been duds – like the angle drill…   too heavy to be a one-hander, and too thick to offer much benefit over a 12v compact, for instance..  and the vac (the bigger one) was useless until lithium came along (boy did lithium wake it up) -  but other than that, I have nothing but good to say about ryobi stuff.   My brother and I have done complete gut renovations on 3 houses with my tools, and I’m currently working on a 3 family home (more work than 3 separate houses, it feels like lol) and they just don’t quit.

The only thing I would add is that the included blades/bits tend to be a little short lived/weak.   I’ve replaced the swazall blades with dewalt assortment I found on sale, and replaced the bits with carbide or titanium tipped as needed.   The circular saw all get diablo blades – the best “cheap” blades out there IMO…  and the performance has been even better, each and every time from these ryobis.

I laugh at tool snobs who need to point out their name brands, and simply point to the 4 residences , this last one being tremendous, and ask them what have THEY done with their tools in the past year…  built a deck?  Maybe hung a door or two?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in paying for quality if that’s whats needed to get quality…    but in this case ryobi offers quality without a huge price tag and for that I’m thankful.

Stephen P


Thanks for including us in your latest "Splash" column, Chuck! I'll have a couple more "Splash" column inputs for you as our building season (January - June) draws to a close. Hard to believe summer is almost here, but its about time!

Pete Leenhouts
Interim Director, The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding
42 N Water Street, Port Hadlock WA 98339
360-385-4948 (See us on Facebook at

Welsford Quote


I read the latest Welsford article, very right on target. But he said the pleasure of boating is proportional to the size of the boat, evidently meaning the smaller the boat the smaller the pleasure. Maybe big boat owners feel that way but I think the pleasure is in inverse proportion to the size of the boat--the smaller the boat, the easier it is to go sailing, so the pleasure is greater as the boat is smaller and handier. At least that's my philosophy. Maybe he meant that but in a reverse way.

I think the ideal boat is twice your heigth and half your weight. The sail area should be the same as your IQ (just kidding).

Anyway, I still maintain most designs 'for amateur boatbuilders' are complicated and expensive. The WB Nutshell is $75; for the same amount I could get plans for a 25 foot Atkin schooner and cross the ocean. I'd be more interested in a boat as simple to build as PD racer, only shaped with less wetted surface. But still I like what Welsford said about getting involved with others and learning the skills of a sailing boat.

I wish I had the skill that Welsford has, but I don't, so I keep reading on.

Paul Austin

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