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by Dave Gray – Port St. Lucie, Florida - USA

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

Scows #14 and #15 were actually two “kit” PDRacers built for the 2010 Wooden Boat Show in Mystic, CT. Encouraged by Shorty Routh, designer of the PDRacer, and Carl Cramer, editor of Wooden Boat magazine, I signed up to offer two kits for the Family Boatbuilding portion of this huge event. Preparing the kits actually required the building of two complete PDRacers and all their parts, disassembling the hulls, then taking the boats to the show to be reassembled by the two families who had purchased them. Both these boats were very similar to the Z-PDR, but this time I used marine plywood throughout the hulls.

Although it was a tremendous amount of work and a 2600 mile round trip, it was very satisfying to see these boats assembled and launched within the two and one-half day window of the show; and, at the same time, introduce PDRacer to many of the 30,000 people who attended the show. There is more information about the construction and launching of these two boats near the end of this article:

Two nearly completed PDRacer Z-Duck Kits await loading for the trip to Mystic, CT for the Wooden Boat Show.

Our work site at the Wooden Boat Show.  Carol Roffly and her friend Arlene built the boat in the foreground while Dean and Susan Herring completed the duck in the background. My friend Nate Carey offered invaluable assistance to the boatbuilders.
Carol takes her finished PDRacer for a sail on the Mystic River. The PDRacers were the only craft among the family boatbuilders to be finished in time to sail on Sunday. I don’t think Carol ever registered her completed PDRacer.

Scow #16 and also Hot Tub #6 was a kid’s version of the PDRacer that I built to take with me to the 2011 Worlds at Sail Oklahoma to entice some of the youngsters to try sailing. This scow was shorter and narrower than a PDR and featured an offset mast and rudder so that the boat could be sailed, rowed, or powered by a souped up trolling motor. With a little less rocker in her stern half and built with all lightweight marine plywood, Wedgie handled very well under both power and sail in her few trials. Equipped with a high-powered water gun that would shoot 50 feet, a beach chair, and a number of other kid-friendly accessories, I’m sure this little scow would have been a hit with the kids. Unfortunately, Wedgie was also a victim of the turnpike fire that consumed Wild Duck. Read more details about Wedgie’s unique construction and sail rigging near the end of this article:

Wedgie was small enough to seem right at home for a float test in my son’s pool.
Note the big watergun/bilge pump up under the forward decking. The decking widened toward the stern to make hiking out easier.
The offset bungee cord and snotter control line kept the small sail from having a “bad tack.”  This little scow might have run away and hid  from the ducks.

I moped around for a couple of months after the demise of Wild Duck and Wedgie like I had just lost two good friends. My students at Indian River State College wondered why I had returned as such a grumpy old man from a few days off. You can imagine some of their whispered speculations. I was without a boat of my own for the first time since 1996. Brad Hickman’s news that he had won the 2011 Worlds with one of my PolySail lugs lifted my spirits a little, but I was still disheartened. Finally, my wife got sick of my whining and did the unthinkable. She proposed that I build another boat. Shortly thereafter, I was back at the drawing board, and Dangerous Duck was born.

I wanted to make a big splash with Dangerous Duck, so I posted some drawings and wrote a couple of articles for Shorty’s PDRacer newsletter about the build. I also posted updates on my PolySail International Facebook Page and in the 60 Sailing forum at Unfortunately, the sail business got extremely busy just as I was trying to finish her up, and I’ve been fortunate just to get her in the water just once for a test sail with a single big sail up. In reality, Dangerous was intended to carry on Wild Duck’s legacy as the only biplane-rigged PDRacer on the planet, but she will carry Lame Duck’s hull number #100. Hopefully, I can finish her up before the 2012 Worlds in August.

Dangerous Duck is intended to be an all-out PDRacer. Built with foam flotation, cedar framing, lightweight okoume, and Europly, she weighs in at just over 70 lb. Note the three mast partner holes.
Preparing for launch. I had to borrow the rudder from the Z-PDR to test sail Dangerous Duck. The duck leeboard worked surprisingly well, but it’s mostly for show.  She might have some surprises.
I’m not exactly sure what to call this sail. It looks like a batwing up top but it has a sprit boom below. It needs tweaking, but I think it will make a good light air sail.

My next PDRacer project, PDRacer #12 and scow # 18 for me, was a joint project with the Roger Jewell family. Roger is a missionary with a home in the DR (Dominican Republic) and hoped that he and his sons could learn a little about sailing and boat building before they returned home. His plan was to complete one boat with his sons under my mentorship, then return to the DR and build three more PDRacers—one for each of his sons. Last fall I had volunteered to assist them with this worthy project, and this spring, they took me up on my offer. In about a week’s time, we completed DR Duck, just it time for Roger and the boys to load themselves and their boat on an old DC-6 that flies relief missions to the Caribbean out of nearby Ft. Pierce, FL.

My son Ryan dropped over just in time to help nail the bottom on. Here he congratulates Roger and the boys-- David, Samuel, and Jessie--on their progress.
To keep costs down, we constructed this boat mostly from materials I had lying around the shop. In this case the sides and transoms had a 2mm PVC covering over a foam and wood framework.
The Jewells pose with me and their finished hull shortly before returning to their home in the DR. They were wonderful apprentices, and I was proud to be their mentor.

I am currently engaged in trying to construct a PDRacer kit that can be mailed to a father/son building team in eastern PA. The kit construction leans heavily upon what I have learned about composites, glues, and small scow construction techniques over the past sixteen years. Very soon, perhaps, this photo essay will have a new title as I add one more scow to my lessons learned.

The End

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