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by Fred Night - Port Orange, Florida - USA

In Florida We have a miracle bug that does not bite, make noise, eat plants, smell, stink or go to garbage. We call them the lovebugs, they visit from god knows where twice a year, early fall and early spring, fly around for four weeks, mating in the air, and go back to where ever lovebugs go. They collect on the front of vehicles by the thousands, they are attracted to the sound of electric motors. They love the smell of epoxy and paint. They have no sense of direction and enter any small space. They are the size of a large ant with wings, totally black in color with soft bodies.

Some car washes request an additional $5 to remove lovebugs. My caustic father-in-law would tell them ”Hell, just wash the car and put the bugs back on.

Boatbuilders are crazy without lovebugs but even more so when they arise by the thousands at the sound of a drill, saw, or sander. Their little black bodies dot all new surfaces. They sand easy but their little feet seem to stay behind and all surfaces must be refinished. They will enter any building with an open door or window by the hundreds to find the source of vibration or odor then noiselessly descend to coat all surfaces.

This boat did not start out during lovebug season but they sure helped finish the build. The boat started at LOWES when I found 4x8 sheets of doorskin. Doorskin was common in 3x7 sheets and I had used it to build my kayak, ’FLIMZEE’.

Next, I checked HOME DEPOT and sure enough they stocked it in the big sheets.

Well if you had them cut pieces 1x4 off the end four times and split two of the pieces in half on an angle then butted them back together you would end up with two sides of a light weight canoe. And so I did just that and it came just about right.

Now I realize that the bow and stern will show opposite sides for the panel but so what? It is doorskin and I better find ways to stiffen and waterproof  it. At the joints I glued 4 inch backers of Luan. This will keep it light and add some strength. Strips of Luan were glued to the chine and gunnels to add some strength and thickness. I had the store rip some 4” strips from the long side if a Luan panel which I divided into 1” and 2” strips all 8 feet long. A stem for the bow was cut at about 30 degrees and the whole mess came together and looked okay.

Next, we flip it over and set the mid point at 30 inches with a cross member. When we pull the stern in to 12 inches we can dream a little what it may look like when finished.

The transom was from a piece of 3/8 plywood. I set the bottom of the transom at 16” running out to 18” at the gunnels with room at the center for a handle.

The bottom was of Luan and went on in sections clamped and glued. A skeleton frame was added to straighten and strengthen the sides.

At this time the wondrous lovebugs arose, just in time to help me deck the front and back of the boat.

Well I guess you can’t beat, so join them. Meet the lovely”LOVEBUG’.

Allowing for a few lovebug parts the boat weighs in at 34 pounds. From pointy bow to the stern is 102 inches in length. The width of the cockpit is 30 inches and the length is 51 inches. This LOVEBUG, the boat, has a nice shape and shows well, but how will the LOVEBUG fly?

Even an old fat boatbuilder can lift 34 pounds.

The first mate has a lot of room in a 51 inch cockpit.

The 12 inch sides give plenty of freeboard.

The LOVEBUG truly looks lovely being paddled down the river.

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