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by Dan Rogers - Newport, Washington - USA

Probably just one of those Senior Moments that I'm told People of a Certain Age experience from time to time. But, as I was twisting my cranium to wrap it around the hippocampus in a mash of logic, reflection, and outright free-floating emotion; a chorus from a long-ago song popped on the "screen."

That pre-Beetles blare of a sax, and the falsetto bee-bop of the backup singers just blasted their way right down to the front-row-center of my attention. Yeah, I know. There just don't seem to be so many seats facing the stage in that particular auditorium, any more. You probably know somebody like that.

Anyhow. I've been trying to figure out what to do with this suddenly overgrown collection of once-proud floaty things dotting my personal landscape. Somebody just gotta' leave, and make room for somebody else. Like Billy Bland used to wail: "Let the little girl dance."

I was busy composing a "plan" that sounded sort of like:

"The main cabin I have in mind is about a nominal 5 x 8, with round house forward. Both a forward bulwark and rounded-off quarters are on the initial parameter list. However, new this time, is a "plan" to rough in the basic superstructure and then worry about what goes in it and on it.

Anyway, my "golden mean" proportions will be a basic 48" cap added to the hull sides. That puts the belt line at 16" above the deck (about 1/3 of the total upward projection) at the forward end and "tapering up" parallel to the water line (or perhaps paralleling the sheerline if I get braver, as the side decks are sagged below the original line by a fair amount). General scantlings are ¼" ply coach roof and roundhouse roof (with possible Lucasiziation with foam sheets and/or thin ply/foam sandwiches). Vertical supports of ¾" MDO cut to a 2" width; with the below the beltline wall built separately from the "cap." That should aid in single handed installation, as I really need to be able to build this on the floor and put it up in major modules. That only requires the supports to be 30" long and may not need "T" stiffeners. That way solid wood window frames can be added separately and add sectional stiffness too. Shell "walls" should be more ¼" ply/mdo with the "standard" Shenanigan cedar staves glued on top. Depending upon the camber selected, the overhead beams should start at a 6" width, and tapering down to about 1 ½". This time I'll use a lap joint to simplicate things and probably make the joint more durable until everything gets hooked together. I'll also select a camber to dish-up the beams' undersides to avoid that unseamanlike flat run I used on Shenanigan.

I think I'll stick with the 5 degree inward slope of the cabin sides. And, this time I have ambitions of carrying the roundhouse in an arc instead of the easier to build flat face (TBD). That probably means I'll have to put a thick sheet of Styrofoam on top of the sides and simply carve a "reasonable" shape that can be glassed over. This is too many angles and curves for a non-trained, non-experienced "builder" such as myself to visualize into a wooden framed "thing."

I wish the cabin could be wide enough to accommodate a 3-panel windshield. But, I'll probably have to settle for the less seamanlike-appearing shallow "V". Helm station may incorporate the existing motorboat cluster for initial sea trials.

I've considered decking over the whole aft section to cover the motor and give a flat "playing surface." But, the thought of adding life lines and stanchions back there makes my skin crawl a bit (too high, and too playpen-looking.) So, that's another TBD. There IS about 16" of space on both sides of what ever a free-standing motor cover might look like. The remaining interior of the hull that gets designated "cockpit" will be relatively small in keeping the basic interior "design brief." A. Permanent bunk. B. Space for a head or portapot. C. Standing headroom throughout the pilot house. D. A permanent (small) table. E. Minimal "galley" with swing stove and sink with drain and water supply. F. Maximum possible viz from helm station. G. Permanent towing bits well ahead of the screw."

And, all that logical stuff just melted away to the tune of a mental saxophone. Yeah. What if I just let the little girl, well, DANCE. What if?

What if I let the boat show me what she wants to be, become, or even return to? Couldn't be all bad. After all, history is replete with really smart guys doing something really dumb. For somebody else's "best interests." You know. Like, "We had to kill them, to save them for democracy." kind of REALLY DUMB. And, this is just an exercise in figuring out what to do with a few fiberglass creations that just about anybody else would have called somebody else up and hired them to haul away to someplace else. Long ago. Nothing world shaking. Except, when you ask the boats in question. They kinda' have a big stake in the discussion.

You DO talk to your boats, now don't you? Heck, if you can talk to a hammer as it smashes your thumb instead of that 16d galvanized; you can certainly allow for a bit of quality time with your boat, now can't you?

Soooooooo, I'm gonna' let the little girl dance. We're gonna' fix her floor, and remake her motor mounts, and probably spruce things up a bit. (Certainly, we couldn't take her out in public without a new paint job and a proper rub strake, now could we?) Then, about when the rest of the country is thinking about planting perennials, and we denizens of 48N x 117W are starting to see a little dead grass between the snow berms; we'll go launch and just see what she wants to be.

"Let the little girl through. She wants to pass by yooooooooo.."

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