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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Chuck the Duck, Pop-I's Scow

I'll call this one "Chuck in a Duck". A dozen or so guys went on the Texas 200 this year in Puddle Ducks. I can't imagine going on this race in anything other than my air conditioned Helen Marie and these guys were in tiny little 8 foot boxes for 200 miles in two million degree heat and hurricane winds and six inches of water. There were a lot of other kinds of boats there also and they were only slightly less crazy than the "duckers". According to reports all of the Ducks broke everything that could break and all of them finished. And you thought the Everglades Challenge was hard. I think the boat festival Chuck's organizing in Port Aransas in October will be more civilized for those of us who like accommodations above the cave man living in a volcano state.

Here's that little boat Pop-I was building, not quit as small as advertised but still pretty small knots for an old man to be tying. He's advised me several times that this is the only kind of boat any rational person would even think about owning. The maintenance and upkeep is minimal. And almost anyone can afford the cost of material to build one.

Someone was finally smart enough to buy the best 16 foot Melonseed ever built. This is the one with the foam hull that is indestructible. Here you see me and Laylah trying to sink it. It's mast was a little to fat so Fland's taking it down to the proper size, three inches at the bottom and two at the top. He's going to have so much fun with this one; I can see him surfing it in on Jacksonville Beach.

This is advice given by a world famous best selling author about how to write a book. Don't yell at me for the bad words, she said it. I thought this was real good advice for getting most things accomplished, especially appropriate for building a boat. Don't think about it too much and go out and do something every day. This is one of the last things I saw on Facebook before I canceled my account. I figure that if you really want me to see something you'll send me an email and I'm really not interested in what your kids had for dinner last night.

Lenna came by the shop and caught some of us working on our boats. Pop-I is really starting to make sense. Stan's going great guns on his Junk.

I'm climbing down for the thousandth time from making repairs on my back hatches that some dumb ass did a crappy job sealing the edges. How is it that water can find it's way into a hole that you couldn't squeeze an atom through and then go back and invite all it's friends to come in and rot it out from the inside. I almost forgot, I think I've finally gotten enough cooling in Helen Marie to beat the Florida summer heat. The third and largest Air Conditioner to go in, 8000 btu seems to do the trick and it doesn't require much more power from my generator than the original 5000 did, these things get more efficient every year.

Some more things you don't see every day. Marian says that her three masted schooner stand up paddle board kayak thing works really well. Whoever figured out how to sheet all three while not turning over is someone I'd like to meet. However, I want to see a picture of her actually going in some wind before I get too excited.

The old picture is of my brother and I sailing a twelve square meter sharpie back in 1961. These boats were in the Olympics back in the day as the two man non spinnaker dinghy class. Talk about a thrill, 20 feet long, 4.5 feet wide, flat bottom with 140 sq feet of sail. Notice the wishbone tiller and the unusual mainsheet block arrangement.

Another simple boat, if you don't count the hydraulic pumps and such; the Mega yacht's still coming along. We should be able to drag it out with about two inches to spare. We can't finish the roof till it's outside. Howard made a major effort and cleaned out the decades of built up stuff down in the cabin.

Crazy Steve's trying out one of the seats while giving some of his rarely informative and always useless bits of information about a distant Canadian relative. Or maybe he's talking about the slug who's supposed to be finishing this ocean racing canoe. I did make some cool looking hatch covers and it only took six months; maybe I should go back and read that bit of advice on how to finish a project.

This is another picture of Richard Honan's "Proud Mary 2" sail. This is the 16 foot Melonseed he built.

In case you're wondering, here's the first "Proud Mary"; a big over canvassed centerboarder. This is right up there with the best of them as far a being a beautiful boat. I'll tell you what it is as soon as he tells me. Richard must really know what he's doing to drive this beauty rail down through a fleet of moored boats. Either that or his main sheet got jammed and he's hanging on for dear life hoping not to luff up into anyone.

Here's Lenna n the grasp of this old lecher. She thinks that it's cute getting hugged by a 90 year old but I know better. He's just like the rest of us around here, still thinks he's 25 and can knock um back with the best of us.

Washington Dan or maybe I should call him Repurpose Dan is shown here with two of the boats he "rescued" from a timely death. The little one seems to have a running motor but the big one doesn't seem to have a motor at all so it got towed. He seems to have this particular design down pretty good but has trouble letting go of a dollar to get a new motor to push the things and no Dan, a "new" 1976 Johnson isn't what I mean. You and Howard are just alike, "it just needs a little more work and it'll be good as new".

If you go to the Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival in Oct you may see Tom Shephard there. This is him in a boat called a Tuckup that's known for it's complete lack of stability. The thing is a long skinny boat with about 4 inches of freeboard and a big sail. He offered me a ride in it once and said I couldn't get it till we were ready to go because it would sink unless we were moving. I got the impression that we'd capsize and sink if we were moving. If you see this one start to go out Barry get a video of it turning over or better yet, go out in it with him.

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