Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Gas-Hopper, Lightning and skiff action

Busy, busy, busy in the boatshop these days which is pretty neat really. Work has been proceeding with making up 3 skiff kits for our Boats 4 Folks events this spring. We are racing to be ready for the first one here in the boatshop on the weekend of May 4/5, the next one on the Big Daddy Festival (Father's Day) Weekend also here in the boatshop and a third under discussion in Hamilton Harbour.

Scarphing the panels up so we have long enough material for the sides and bottoms is one of the biggest jobs and George has been at it since the material arrived. He is creating a 12:1 tapered joint between the sheets of plywood so we get two long sheets out of 3 short (8') sheets. One sheet is cut so that part is added to each full one. When the glue lines on the plywood are all straight and equal, the ramp is flat and the joint should work.

George and Ray measuring and cutting
stacking the long and short sheets

and the ramp is soon visible

not done but looking good!

Anton is meanwhile going at the repair to the front deck of Gas-Hopper. It is fixed, faired, filled and on the way to being feathered out into the old deck. The rest of the green portion of the deck is being sanded out so it can all be painted at once. While the deck is fairly wayvy in spots - it is in good condition with only a few minor spots to fill.

Chase begins the deck sanding
Anton fills the repaired area and flattens

followed by the fairing out process

Lightning waits for varnish to harden, Skiff panels are shaping up
and Gas-Hopper is getting ready for new deck paint.

More soon - stay tuned, better yet click on the "Follow" button over there on the right.

We also have a new presence on Facebook thanks to some new volunteers. One is a separate page on my Facebook site (Malcolm) but the other will be a virtual museum on line with a panel for each of our boats. I haven't figured out how to put those links on the blog yet but ...

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Despina on the St John River Cruise

Monday Mar 17th was our departure from the Florida YC in Jacksonville, about 25 antique boats of all sizes headed up the river toward our lunch stop.

Guy Marvin of ACBS at Cap'ns meeting
Bosche runabout from Switzerland

lots of bridges - this is I 295

MB and Ron with our new Gatsby crew,
Tom and Brian from New Orleans

Despina at the Crab Shack lunch stop

After an incredible sea food lunch of lobster, crayfish, shrimp and more, we were off again up the wide St. John on our way to Palatka where we will stay 2 nights.

frightning fuel stop!
amazing tress around here (Palatka)

one of Palatka's many murals

The view from our room out to fleet!

Day two was a side trip up Dunn's Creek to Crescent City on - what else - Crescent lake. It was a nice day and this cruise is always interesting - both for the wildlife and the river side life...

entering Dunn's Creek off the St John
elegant surroundings

Oops, better snug up the lines.

one of many fish hunters along the creek

There are also many really beautifull sights and this run is one of the high points of the trip.

Ibis, Egrets, Herons of many colours everywhere.
one of the biggest we ever saw, 18'?

didn't see any waterskiiers up the creek

just a little one

Once at Crescent City we got docked and wandered up to the Victorian Inn where a fantastic BBQ lunch was laid on. Sit on the porch and munch.

great food over and over!
nice run down Crescent Lake

More monsters and wildfowel on the run back to Palatka, a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant and next morning we continue up the river. Gretchen has been wanting to get some pictures of the ospreys that roost on many of the channel markers on this section of the river so even though we are among the first boats away, by the time we have "Ospreyed" we are almost last. It doesn't really matter, just get Despina up to her happiest cruising speed at 3000 rpm which is - like most Shepherds - 30 mph and she tends to march through the fleet pretty well on a long run. (not the this matters)

MB shows a few ACBS members the ropes!
one of many nesting Ospreys

he finally lands his sticks..

we clear antideluvian bridge by a good 12"!

Lunch today is at Welaka, a sleepy little town along the river which seems to be swathed in Spanish Moss. Here there is a little boat museum which was jumping two years ago but this year is up for auction two days after we visit. The creator passed away and his many home-made classic steam and gas launches will move on. Huge shrimp buffet lunch - wonderful again, then back to the boats and out onto Lake George, Florida's second largest lake.

Welaka town dock - jammed!
Shrimp buffet being laid out for us..

museum all tagged for auction

neat active boatshop with observation door!

Welaka is full of these trees

Fort Gates Victorian - I could live here!

Lake George is channel marked up the middle because the left side is an active bombing range, and the whole thing is very shallow! At a certain marker we bear off to the right on a heading that takes us to Florida's lovely Blue Springs. We boat right in to the spring itself. Unfortunately it is not warm enough to frolic in the water, as it was two years ago but it is lovely in here! We tow our friends off the sand and head out to Blair's Jungle Den across the lake.

Anhinga drys its wings above crystal clear spring water
We couldn't read it either...

gettin ready to tow the Bosche off the sand

the fleet at the Jungle Den

Dinner across the river, another very nice outing but our very slow waitress left us stranded without a ride home! Some very nice ladies took care us us! Next morning is our last day on the river and they have cut out the lunch stop so the boats can get over to Tavares for launching into the boat show docks. We will take our time as we are staying at the Lakeside Inn in Mt Dora and will self launch there.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Fast and Slow of it...

The Lightning is almost complete now, it seems certain it will get wet this year!

George and Ray fashioning the rear gunnel
Making clearance for the rudder

Trimming the whales at the bow
Great skill here...

The Gas-Hopper team is no slouch either! Cleaning and repainting the inside of the hull with aluminum paint seems to take forever but it is amazing how it changes the project.

There is not much room to manouver inder the bow deck!

Jim and Eric get at the skiff kit fashioning project as well and by the end of the session they have completed 4 new stem pieces - one of the fussier parts of the project. If the angles are not correct at the stem and transom, the boat will not assemble.

The Rhino Team!

critical moments in stem (cell?) production.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Glen Williams to Jacksonville with Despina

6 in the morning on March 11th is...dark! But we were off (with a brief halt at the end of Ron's street for him to join us). The drive unfolds as it should, Ft Erie, Erie, Pittsburgh and Beckley, W VA the first night. Next morning we lose a few hours because the rear right tire on the trailer is toast - but onward and by mid day we are just ahead of a major winter storm coming in from the west - we can see the edge of the cloud cover and the sun beyond! Second night at Walterboro SC - the locals think it is cool but we think this is warm! Real Mexican food dinner and next morning - the final run to FLORIDA!

but we find a must-buy prize...
Silly hats were tested...

and NOT purchased...

Ron handles the run into Florida...
While the passengers act their ages...

The ACBS arranges for us to launch the boat at the Florida Yacht Club on Thursday morning so we have 4 days of boating before the cruise - well not really. Left the boat to soak up on Thursday which is did quite nicely. Then Friday cruised over through downtown JAX to scope out a Saturday lunch outing.

Ron highlighted the St John River course
The lovely Florida Yacht Club...

Saturday we meet up with the Saxe`s from Georgetown and cruise over to Jacksonville for lunch - it is a lovely day and we are impressed by the many bridges over the St John!

Throw off the lines there! Yes Captain!
Beats Ontario boating in March....

Sunday the trucks and trailers head down to Sanford and the club busses us back to Jacksonville for the big party at the Yacht Club...

Guy bids us all welcome
and lets us know where the rocks and gas are...

And this takes us to Maonday morning departure on the St John River Cruise proper...stay tuned.