Piccup Pram Trip Report  
By John Guppy - Seattle, Washington - USA

I've been working on my piccup pram since about December and took it on it's maiden voyage last week. It still has finishing work to be done, but structurally it is complete with 99% of the epoxy/fiberglass work done, flotation installed and a Lug rig tarp sail. I have kayaked the Jervis Inlet on the coast of British Columbia many times, and am familiar with the campsites, pullouts and wind/water conditions, so I decided to give that a try last week.

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I had the boat going with oars and a motor about two months before I had the decks, leeboard, rudder and sail put on.

My buddy Mike joined me and we sailed the 35 miles from Egmont, B.C. to the Princess Louisa Inlet and camped there for a couple of days before heading home. The wind blows predominately up the inlet in the summer time, so we were running with the wind the whole time.

We just pushed off the dock, ran up the sail (for a picture) but didn't have any breeze to get us out of the bay. The sail is simply taped together with duct tape and then grommeted. One row of reef points were also added, but never needed on this trip.

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Getting underway with the 2.2 hp motor.


click to enlargeJust out of the bay and into a slight breeze. We were able to sail on a reach across to a nearby island, but the current was flooding and was too strong for us to make headway with such light winds. We started the motor again shortly after this photo was taken.

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Another shot of us after just leaving the bay and sailing with very light wind. Stunning scenery.

We left Egmont B.C. at about 3 pm the first day (Sunday Sept 3rd) and sailed about 10 miles to our first campsite and got there at high tide. We fixed dinner and slept on a pebble beach under clear skies.

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click to enlargeIn the morning we woke up and found the tide quite a bit lower than the night before. We took our time getting ready in the morning because the wind often doesn't pick up until late morning. When we could see what looked like a little breeze out in the middle of the inlet, we hauled our gear down to the water's edge and then carried the boat down to the water. I don't know exactly how much the boat weighs empty, but even with the motor attached we were able to carry it down the beach without much difficulty.

The piccup sailed great down wind, and a few times we had enough breeze to get us going about four knots. I mounted a 2.2 hp outboard to the starboard side of the rudder on the transom, and that pushed us easily at 4.5 knots at about 2/3 throttle. When the wind died down we did some motoring (probably about 12 miles out of the 35).

Mike takes the tiller for a while. When we were just going straight, it worked well to lock the motor in place and use the rudder and tiller to keep the boat going straight. For tight turns, turning the motor itself worked best.

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click to enlargeHere's a little close up of the stern of the boat. I wasn't sure where I wanted the motor to be attached, so I decided to make the rear deck temporary. I shaped a peice of styrofoam to fit snugly in the stern compartment and then covered it with a peice of scrap 1/4" plywood to hold it in securely. So, if we had tipped over we would have had pretty good floatation back there... fortunately we didn't tip! The stern compartment made a pretty good seat when motoring in calm water too. I like the placement of the little 2.2 hp outboard on the starboard side of the rudder, and it didn't seem to throw off the balance of the boat when the boat was well loaded like we had it.


click to enlargeThis shows what I used for a front hatch. Kind of small, but we were able to stow some of our smaller items in there. The deck itself was attached with stainless steel screws all around and a water proof caulking of some kind. I'd like to eventually have a hatch that I can fit a 20L dry bag through, but for now this was quick and easy.

I figure the boat was loaded at about maximum capacity with two men, a weeks worth of food and camping gear and a small outboard with 2 gallons of fuel. My buddy Mike weighs about 160, I weigh 185, and we had about 130 lbs of gear... total about 475 lbs I would guess. I am very pleased withthe boat's ability to carry that load so well.

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The boat was pretty well filled up with Mike, Me and all of our gear.

Just a shot of me enjoying the ride as we motored up the last reach of the Jervis Inlet. Unfortunately we didn't have even a slight breeze on the evening of day two. We entered the Princess Louisa Inlet on day two of our trip at about 7:30 pm as the sun was going down. Day two we probably motored about 3 hours (12 miles, I'd say).

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Anyway, we got more than a few funny looks from boaters motoring down the inlet in their big yachts as we sailed up it in our 11 ft pram with a green tarp for a sail.

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Mike enjoying the ride as we motored the last stretch.

I can't brag too much, though, because we didn't end up sailing it back down the inlet. I just wasn't quite ready to commit to sailing it into the wind since I have so little experience sailing, and tacking takes you a little further from the shore than we had to be when running with the wind. So, we loaded the pram on a larger vessel and caught a ride back down the inlet. After getting a little more experience in the boat and possibly getting a "real" sail I think I'll give the Jervis inlet another try and sail it both ways.

So, there you have it... good times on the water.

John Guppy
Seattle, Wa

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