Well, the boat was launched two weeks ago, today. Since then it's been in the ocean 4 times and the pool twice. Like any new boat, there's been bugs and kinks to work out.
The first showed up after the first run - leaking pad eyes!! Those little friggers!! I ended pulling them out and reseating them in Marine Goop. Took the boat to the pool and I'll be damned but they did not leak again - you could see the air bubbles escaping when the deck was underwater!! Crap!! Time to rethink this pad eye thing!! In a nutshell my problem was a design flaw - on my behalf. I'm not about to explain it here but it meant pulling all the pad eyes out and coming up with a new design! Which was . . .
bungees pulled through plywood backing plates with knots holding them in place. The backing plates were first sealed to the deck via Aquaseal. Once sealed to the deck, I mixed Aquaseal with black printer ink and then filled in the whole thing from the above deck. A pool session (with lots of rolling and general farting around) + a night of surfing and rolling in the salt water and not a drop to be seen inside the hull!! Finally!!
While dealing with the pad eye problem, I was also dealing with the fitting of the cockpit. The back pillar took some time to cut and shape before it's now finally comfortable. I had it too steep and too close to the seat so it was rubbing my lower back - not good on a three hour paddle as I found out - ouch!! I needed to work on my thighbraces and footbraces as well!! I went on a three hour excursion in bouncy conditions and my hips were killing me because I was too loose in the boat. Then my footbraces were too far fwd and my thighbraces were too slack. Glad to get off the water that day!!
The first night rolling in the pool revealed that the cockpit was a little wide and I was losing my leg grip during sculling braces. I decided to tighten up the cockpit by bringing the thigh brace "ears" a little closer. I simply epoxied a piece of plywood place and faired it. This picture shows the unpainted epoxy but a quick shot of black paint and you'll never know the difference.
|Prijon Seayak to the Port beam, Pelican Elite 140 off the Port bow and a Boreal Design Baffin off the starboard bow!|
With the cockpit the shape I wanted, I needed to finally fit the thigh braces. Again, I've decided to go with the minicell foam floor tiles available from your local hardware store. 12.00 for 4 pieces at 24"x24"x1/2" is not a bad price!!
The new braces fit up under the deck and then curl down along the hull to give better support - both vertically and laterally! I built the braces from several pieces of foam and laminated them so that they will retain their curved shape for easier attachment.
|Schedule 40 clamps once again rise to the occasion!!|
The intent is to customize the cockpit so that it will fit like a glove. That's the beauty of a self-built boat - such customization is rather easy!! That plus the fact that I'm more concerned about function over form!!
My wife gave me two sets of Yakima Mako saddles for Christmas. I kept them based on the belief that they'd fit the new boat - HA!! After fitting them to the car and popping the boat on I realized that they are strictly designed for boats with soft chines!! They could, in no way, accommodate the hard chines of the Point Bennett!! Not to be deterred, I decided to make a set of foam carriers just to fit my boat. Again, I used the foam floor tiles and the prototype is looking good. Simply need to glues the layers together and BADDA BOOM BADDA BING - $6.00 carriers!!
|Testing the fit!!|
After two weeks I have some observations to make about the new boat:
Even without a skeg, it tracks remarkably well. I paddled head 'long into 60 km winds with no perceivable weather or lee cocking. The only deviation from course resulted from the bow being blown by the wind as I punched through a wave - quite understandable!
I find the edging quite good to the point that I am trying to make it my main means of steering - even while surfing!!
It's certainly lighter and stiffer than my poly boat!!
While I've managed to shave the back pillar to better accommodate lay back rolls, it is nowhere near my Baffin. The aft cockpit height of the Baffin is a good 2" lower than the Point Bennett. Lay backs in the Baffin are a dream - even for the stiff backs like myself!!
Its a very nice looking craft!! While many endeavor to create a work of art, I like to think that my boat is a workhorse. Something to use, maybe abuse. Strong yet not hard on the eyes. You decide . . .