Building a Sling Shot
Posted 28 November 2010 - 06:52 AM
Launching Day! I didn't have long but since I live 5 minutes from the water I could not longer resist and had to take the boat to the water. I spent the morning rigging out the deck lines and taking care for a few minor details. I was still waiting on a shipment of cordage so life lines and painters were not finished.
Not a great photo but it shows the lines of the boat really well. As you can see the rear deck is really low at the stern so it might be be a good in really big waves. But of course it wasn't really designed for that either.
Carried down the waters edge and snapped a few photos. I have to say I am extremely happy with the recessed front hatch. I will write up some instructions on how I did that and put it on the web site latter one. Not really crazy about the rear hatch looks. Looks like it was just stuck on there but as low as the lines are on this boat there really wasn't any reason or space to recess it. So it's a form follow function thing so I can live with it.
And so far I am very impressed with the quality of these and may start stocking them in my store.
I was unloading the boat off the car I realized something. I had not installed the backband! How I overlooked that I will never know, but I decided to paddle it anyway. I wasn't going to be out long.
I carried it out in the water being careful since I know the paint is not fully hardened not to scrub the rocky bottom. I got situated and first impression was good. It appeared to track very well but I expected that with the V shaped bottom. It seemed to accelerate really fast. For some reason hard chine boats always 'feel' like they accelerate faster to me. I tried a couple of lean turns and while it didn't turn as fast I expected it responded well.
The breeze was picking up so I pointed it across the wind and seemed to want to weather cock. I turned about 90 degrees and it seemed fine. Back and forth a couple of times and the results were the same. OK, whats going on? The more I paddled it I started to realize that the boat was turning to the right, not weather cocking. So that meant there was something wrong with the hull.
I pulled it out of the water and flipped it over in the grass and there it was. The stern of the boat was bent to one side and acting like a rudder on a sailboat. No wonder it was turning! Needless to say I was sick about this.
To keep this short I went back to the shop and studied the problem. I knew the frame was straight when I took it off the jig. So it had to happen when I shrank the skin and I just didn't notice it. Apparently I shrank one side more than the other and that pulled it to one side.
So, with nothing to loose I did something I don't recommend, actually I did several things I don't recommend. But a little bit... OK a lot of brute force and I was able to 'persuade' the stern back into alignment. Making it slide underneath the skin was not easy but it worked and I didn't have to reskin it. So now the keel line is once again straight and I should be able to take it down to the water today for a longer paddle.
I also need to go back to the plans and make some changes to reinforce the stern so that anyone building this boat doesn't run into the same thing.
Posted 03 December 2010 - 01:58 PM
Posted 03 December 2010 - 02:05 PM
I am finally going to get to take this one to the water in the morning and really paddle it for more than just a few minutes.
Posted 13 December 2010 - 09:25 PM
And before I forget, my new scales came in and the boats weights 34 lbs. Long Shot weights 32 so not as much difference I expected. I think the hatches and the extra wood to install them add at least three pounds. The weight is is rigged out ready to take to the water.
After spending a couple of hours in the boat I am pleased. This is good paddling boat. I am not sure why but it feels like it accelerates like a rocket. I have another skinny hard chinned boat that everyone comments on how fast it accelerates. I think it is something about the hard chines and the way they make it feel. I really don't think it is any quicker than Long Shot but it sure felt it.
Speaking of speed, as I have said I am not a racer and do not have a good smooth stroke in a sprint. But I did manage 6.6 mph but I am sure I looked like a scared chicken flapping his wings. Someone with a good smooth stroke could beat that and it really doesn't mean much either. But it was easy to paddle it at 5 mph and maintain that speed for a while. It's a very easy to paddle boat.
The one little surprise the was the lean turn. With Long shot and Firefly to turn the boat you literally just lean a little and the boat responds very quickly. I knew with the V hull it would track well so I put a good bit of rocker in it. So when I leaned it a little I was disappointed that didn't respond quickly. After a paddling it a while I discovered that if I leaned and just gave it a little nudge so speak with the paddle that made it start to turn and then it turned really well. I tired it repeatedly and it it was almost like you needed just a little nudge to start turning. After getting used to it became second nature and was easy to make small course corrections.
It's hard to see what the back of the boat looks like but Dan was saying it was very low slung and said it was making virtually no wake either. I was concerned since the back band is lower than any of my other boats but it found it very comfortable. A little lower volume than my other designs but it was comfortable for me.
Bottom line, I think it is a good boat. I didn't see any bad manners but of course I want to paddle it more in different conditions. Anxious to spend some more time in it. I am still going to try to get some photo latter on.