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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

Lots of New Boats

Over the years you've seen all the weird stuff my guys have come up with and there's Washington Dan who knows exactly what he wants and has to make it himself because no one else in their right mind would. I'll add another name to that list of really way out there guys. This is my friend Roy and he makes the rest of us look like real pikers when it comes to building exactly what he wants. Roy is a champion archer, a retired marine patrol cop, a fisherman and a high diver; back in the old days he was one of those guys we've all heard about who would dive off of a 100 foot platform into six feet of water. What you're looking at here is an eleven foot long airboat hull with a platform up high so he can shoot fish with an arrow. Besides the outboard motor it has two electric trolling motor on the transom that can be controlled from anywhere on the boat. He has more switches and doodads than you ever saw to control all sorts of things. He's going to bring it by here when it's all finished to show me how it works.

Jim is mostly finished with his Ninigret and it's a real beauty, better than he hoped for. He wanted max cockpit space so he shortened the cabin by two feet, it's only there to hide out of the weather and store gear anyway. He'll add some kind of a top, either folding bimini or a fixed hard top, he's still thinking on that one. He took his son Chris out for the maiden trial. We can't wait till he's all done so we can "borrow" it when he's not looking.

Fland took his honey Brenda for a trip up to British Colombia last month and found this nice fixer upper for me, looks just like my Helen Marie. A little paint and she'll be good as new. Fland is the one who bought Jim's Cortez Melonseed #8 that the rest of you passed up and is having a ball with it. I ask him if he'd turned it over yet to see how easy it is to get back up and he said he had and Brenda will never let him forget. Evidently they were sailing in strong winds out of St Augustine, Fl last weekend when he wasn't paying attention, got hit by a gust, didn't pop the mainsheet loose fast enough and went for a swim. It was probably the girl's fault, it always is. He says that getting back up was a non issue just like I said, just grab the high side, pull down, slide right back in and you're on your way with no water in the boat. I still say that this one ranks right up there with the best melonseeds ever made.

Looks like Crazy Steve finally found someone who'd give him full attention. I wonder where Steve put the little plastic cup full of clear liquid he always seems to have in his hand. Have tool box Will travel. Isn't this the most beautiful thing you ever saw, see which one of you can come up with one of these to show us.

Mike Wick, left, and Richard Honan were at the same place at the same time, Cap Cod and went for a sail in Mikes Melonseed "Pepita", which means "Laylah kicked my ass" in boater language. All I can say is that I hope I'm better looking than these two when I get to be an old bloke.

Richard did say that he was mildly impressed with the cottage that Mike's building on the bay. He's going to invite all of us Boatnuts over for a house warming when it's finished.

Here's Richard in an earlier life with the original Proud Mary, did we ever look this young. I suppose they'd take um at all ages back in Vietnam in '70. He told me that the first "Proud Mary" sailboat is a 24 ft Raven centerboarder that he usually sails by himself. Sailing this boat through these other boats alone is worthy of some note. This was a popular one design class in New England in the 50's and 60's.

Here's another proud boat builder going out for his first sail on a boat he built himself, Steve Brookman aka "pain in the ass boat builder" for all the good questions he ask while making this beauty. He built his boat at the same time that Richard Honan did, both modified Barto 16 melonseeds; one big change Steve made is the huge sail, it's 120 sq ft of raw power as opposed to the 90 or so shown on the plan. I honestly don't see why anyone would want more brute power and acceleration and speed and flat out in your face "eat my dust" kind of thinking. Just look at this guy, I bet he drives a Corvette and flies a jet airplane. Not me, I like to just take it easy and enjoy the tranquility of my surroundings and not be concerned by the other boats passing me by. Oh sorry I lost my head, that's what some of the other melonheads have been known to say.

And what does this show off hot rodder do on his first time out in his new boat? He takes it down to the Delaware river and crashes their big festival and boat race and comes away with the grand prize; some people have a lot of nerve. Good job Steve. (And he is a jet pilot.)

Simon Lew is a popular blogger, film maker, boat builder (he made the prettiest Goat Island Skiff you ever saw) and airplane and helicopter engineer of a sort. But mainly he's a big kid. He was down to Happy Hour with his friend Luke and ask about the Possum which was parked next to us. The thing is cool looking and after a few beers and Crazy Steve telling them how it was made and what it could do they had to try it out. It's not as easy as your common golf cart. Phil designed the Possum to be indestructible, it has an engine driving a hydraulic pump powering hydraulic motors mounted on each back wheel. A foot pedal controls it all, push forward to go forward, push back to go back and somewhere in the middle it stops. What that means is that you can get it going backwards real fast and push it forward and it'll pop a wheelie, lift the front wheels right off the ground. That's all it took to get these two big kids out of the hut to see who could do it the highest. The best floor show we've had in a long time.

I'll end with this picture that Texas Jim Rester sent. Life may be too short to own an ugly boat but I'd jump on this one in a heart beat. Who could pass up a bat boat?

For those skeptics of the three masted schooner paddle board, check it out here. I just love crazy people.


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