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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Mast Varnish and Running Light

Steve's giving Chelsea a complete overhaul and took these pictures of her bottom to show why the Whitehalls were such great boats. Once you get them moving they don't want to stop. I've told you about how much trouble we had getting her to slow down, this is why.

This one is the Howard Chappelle 16 that ended up being 17 feet long. They don't make very good sail boats, probably because of the narrow bottom profile that makes them such good row boats.

Here's how you get a hundred coats of varnish on a spar fast and easy. I can't claim credit for this, Simon showed us how to hook a drill to the end of a spar, turn it real slow and gob a whole lot of epoxy on it without having it run. I was refinishing my boom and gaff and decided to give it a try. I put a screw in one end for the drill and just looped a small line around about a foot from the jaw end. I couldn't put a screw in that end because of the wide jaws.

I just tied the cordless drill down and put a zip tie around the trigger and slowly clicked it tight till the drill was just barely turning, the slower the better. I wasn't sure it would do it but it turned about one turn every four seconds. Going faster didn't work as well.

Steve had his gloves on and is always up to trying something new. It takes about three ounces of epoxy to coat this 13 foot boom, he kept brushing it on till we had 15 ounces on this slowly turning spar. It dried hard with no runs, looks like it's an eight inch thick.

Texas Jim Rester standing beside the Sandpiper he stole from some poor widder lady. After seeing how much these things go for I was impressed at the deal he got, although it did need a "little" work, just like all used boats do.

Jim Rester

No, this is not any of us but one of you sent this to me and it does seem like something we'd do; in fact is seems like something we need to do for these horrible hot Florida summer days.

Picnic Boat

This one I will take credit for because I've never seen anything about this from any of the rest of you. It's probably the most brilliant idea to come along in years, maybe ever. Everyone knows that running lights are a pain in the butt. The front red and green ones sometimes work but the white one never does. For our size boats it has to be higher and behind the front ones and visible through 360 degrees. We end up with a light on a stick that goes in a hole with power that never works or one with batteries. Well, check this out. A solar power yard light. I looked around and found one that was extra bright and stays lit for 13 hours.

I stuck it in the back of my stack and just leave it there. It charges up all day and comes on at night weather I'm using the boat or not. It will unscrew from it's pipe if I want it off or to change it and I never have to worry about power to it. It's my running light and my anchor light all in one. Being here up top it also lights up the area around the boat but doesn't shine into the windows. I got this one for $8 at Lowes.

Running Light

Here's Paul's tug boat with the cabin mock up and stack on. He's really doing some detail work on this one.

This stack really does look like a grubby old tug boat.

You all should know by now that Crazy Steve is a useless slug, all he does is sit in front of his fan and drink vodka all day. Well, the super fine launch that he stole from Howard and me finally needed some work and he was shamed into doing something about it. He ended up doing a full rebuild on Chelsea and bitched about it the whole time; something about what happened to the lifetime guarantee we promised him when he bought the thing. Being in the company of insurance and used car salesmen he didn't stand a chance with that one. Our advice was to get off his butt and grab a sander.

This is a good shot of the outboard motor lower unit that drives the boat. I can't believe that none of you have done this, it's so simple. You use the gear shift, thrust bearing and gears in the unit and all you need to do is couple a motor to the impute shaft that's sticking out the top. Don't ask about that through hull hole you see here, it's a failed attempt to get rid of the exhaust heat.

I told him that I'm going to build one of these but longer, maybe 22 feet or so to get more room and added hull speed.

Here's Chelsea out of his shop. I'm thinking about adding an extra five feet and putting the air cooled lawn mower engine in the middle with all of the heat and noise going up a stack so it'll look like a steam engine. I'm sure some of the engineer type guys around here can figure out how to get the power back to the lower unit in the back. (I can see the gears going around in some of your heads right now.)

Here's John Weiss with his new bride just last year and notice what he's wearing. And on top of that the guy is a pilot; good thing he don't know much about boats. OK, maybe he does but me and Whalen have to give him some rubbish anyway.

Here something from another friend of mine (hard to believe isn't it) wrote. Jose knows all there is to know about everything to do with South and Central America. I didn't know anything about Chile, nothing and still don't. Jose assured me that it's not just mountains and snow and llamas and people with funny hats. He tells me that it has real cities and real people doing the same kind of things we all do. Don't laugh, what do you know about the country? Along with all the other things he's done he's written this 300 page book about these boats. I think it would be really interesting if I could read it. It has lots of pictures and descriptions and really neat details that I can't understand at all cause it's written in a language that I can't read. Like most Americans, I took Spanish in high school and had to take two semesters in college and actually passed but can't comprehend a dam thing. Sound familiar? Hell, if I didn't have spell check I couldn't write this. Jose really researched the subject because I can tell from just flipping through the pages with the pictures and drawings that the details are impressive.

This is the label from the solar light I put on my stack for a running/ anchor light. It really is bright and does last all night.

Milton sent this picture that he got from a friend, Roy. It's a model of a fantail steam boat. I know that half of you out there just like me have a thing for steam launches. Go on to Net Flicks and watch African Queen again and you'll get over it. They're hot and dangerous and take a long time to crank up.

Judy Blue Eyes from Charleston bought Sweet Pea from Howard and is making it her own. She's sanding and varnishing the bright work, had the wheel replaced with a tiller and a lot of other things. She's going to end up with the prettiest boat in the marina that's full of big expensive plastic power boats. Sweet Pea is a Fenwick Williams 18 catboat that Howard modified a little by raising the cabin six inches so it would have sitting headroom. Judy got a perfect spot to keep her, right in a corner with fenders on both sides so she can crash in when the strong current is running. Look closely at what's way up in front of her, it's an aircraft carrier.

We also increased her sail area with a high gaff sail so she would go in a light breeze and could be easily reefed in a blow. Just the sight of her here makes me sigh. Sweet Pea was on the cove of Messing About In Boats once.

Paul is getting close to finishing his scale tug boat. This boat has a big motor and battery to run it and pull a big heavy barge.

It's really heavy, about forty pounds so he needs a trailer to move it. He still has the interior cabin detail to do but it'll be fun to see in the water.

Dave Lucas

Lucas Boatworks and Happy Hour Club


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