Well, we finally got some warm
weather so in the course of a couple of days:
-- I got all epoxy surfaces sanded
-- Primed the boats outside and
in (lavender-tinted primer!), with the help of Isabel (5) and
-- Cut out decks and hatches,
glued on 3/4" X 3/4" coamings to the decks and 3/4"
X 3/4" rims to the hatch-tops
-- Got the undersides of the
decks coated with urethane
-- Put on two topcoats of exterior
housepaint on both boats -- with much help from the girls, who
are now mostly covered in purple and blue splatters. (Isabel
got a blue boat with a purple interior. Rose got a purple boat
with a blue interior.)
-- Attached the decking with
galvanized sheetrock screws, first sealing them down with (brown)
silicone acrylic caulking
-- Put in screw-eyes to hold
the shock cords over the hatches
-- Put in big screw-eyes on the
bow transom to tie on a painter
-- Lots of urethane on the decking
The girls were pleased as Punch
at their role in creating these beauties. Ask them about it
and they'll pretty much tell you that they built the boats and
I helped out now and then.
And today, before the last coat
of urethane had even dried, we LAUNCHED! It was perfect -- wonderful
-- joyful. I tied Isabel's painter to the back of my boat, and
got Rosie into her boat with me. We set out across the vasty
deeps of our 50' cow-pond. We did a few laps. These boats feel
like leaves floating across the water -- so little resistance.
They turn on a dime too -- maybe I need to deepen the skegs.
So I towed Isabel gently, letting her practice paddling with
a little guidance first. Then, after about 10 minutes, she requested
to be cut loose. She did just fine, and was able to propel herself
from one side of the pond to the other. She even made some turns.
She was immensely proud of herself, and her Mom and Dad were
wearing cheek-busting smiles. When Rosie saw Isabel mastering
the art of paddling, she insisted on taking over paddling duties
in our boat. We didn't go very far, but I admire her initiative.
Eventually, I got out and Mom
got in; she paddled Rosie around in sunny bliss for a while.
Isabel continued her solo adventuring. Then all three of them
got out and I took a solo paddle. I even tried standing up --
and, though it was a slightly dicey business, I didn't go for
a swim. These boats are much more stable than, say, my Toto
or Piragua. Then I lay down, with my legs on the foredeck and
my upper body comfortably nestled in the cockpit. One could
pass a whole afternoon this way, drifting around and watching
the clouds go by.
I will create a more extensive
page on my own website soon, with lots of construction images
and more launch photos.
Anyway -- thanks again, Gavin,
for a great little boat that has already brought much happiness
to my two girls (and to their parents, too!).
Editor's note: Garth Battista
builds mouse boats in New York State. You can visit his