2023 Pitt Lake Paddle and Row, March 20th, 21st & 22nd.

2023 Pitt Lake Paddle and Row Trip.

Loaded up and ready to leave home for Grant Narrows. The weather prediction is for rain today, sun on Tuesday and Wednesday and then rain again on Thursday and Friday.

Matthew is taking the two new Greenland Paddles to check out. Which paddle will be the most comfortable to paddle a long trip with? He will find out.

Matthew and I leave home around 9a.m. for the trip to Grant Narrows. When we arrive, the Canoe Rentals and Launch fee building is gone. The last time I was here in May of 2019, there were canoe rentals and a $15.00 launch fee and a $20.00 fee for parking. Now there is no one to take your money. The canoes and the building is gone.

Route for day one.

Mast is up, I just have to take off the tie-downs to the trailer and in she will go. You never know, there may be some wind and I will be able to sail. I launch Gwragedd Annwn, tie her to the dock and go park the FJ. I help Matthew launch off of the beach.

Matthew launches from the beach. He is using the West Greenland Paddle that I made for him. The paddle is made from yellow cedar. It is 85½” long, the blade is 3¼” wide at the tip, 2″ at the shoulder. As Matthew leaves, I see that his aft carrying handle is dragging. In future, I will make sure that the aft carrying handle is on the deck and not dragging in the water.

There is a light rain and Matthew puts his rain jacket on. It will “mist” all day long.

Matthew paddles Anemone and I row Gwragedd Annwn up Grant Channel in the drizzle. When we pass the channel markers we see that there is an outgoing current…must be the start of the tide going out, as there was no real current at the launching ramp.

A flight of Trumpeter Swans flies down Lake towards us, honking loudly.

The dyke for the game sanctuary is in the background. Progress is slow as we are going against the tide, costing us a knot or two in speed. As you can tell, it is still raining, my swag tent cover is getting soaked through.

About three and a half hours after launching, we arrive at Raven Creek Campground. We paddle to the campground sign scouting out the beach.

Scouting along the beach.

Boats on the shore, checking out the campsite and setting up. No blisters and no sore shoulders, a successful day.

We are going to camp on the beach, well South of the Raven Creek Campsite sign.

Gwragedd Annwn on the shore. The tide is now coming in.

Matthew does some exploring along the beach. It never really stops raining.

Matthew sets up camp. It is almost dry under the trees. We found that the rain was light enough that we were not wet while paddling or rowing. I guess that we were drying off as quickly as we were getting wet. My jeans stayed dry, however, all of the varnished surfaces on Gwragedd Annwn were covered with beaded water, Anemone’s decks were wet. Everything not under a tree was wet or damp at the campsite.

Dusk. We have pulled Gwragedd Annwn up the beach well above the high tide line with her beach rollers. It is still raining lightly. With the North up-lake exposure of this beach, I have decided to camp ashore. My swag tent enters from the top so I have a tarp over the entrance to keep the interior of the swag tent dry. If I was sleeping on the boat, I have a boom tent to keep the swag tent out of the rain.

We put the cockpit cover on Anemone to keep the rain out and hang our food bags up in the tree. We do not have a fire tonight.

Route day two.

As predicted, Tuesday dawns bright and clear. No Rain! It was a cold night. No wind fortunately. Here we are beginning to pack-up in the shade (East side of the lake) for the paddle & row to the Dark Creek Campground.

Getting organized and having a breakfast of oatmeal. You can see Gwragedd Annwn on her beach rollers. Unfortunately, one of the rollers got punctured rolling her down the beach. Too bad, the rollers really made moving her up the beach easier.

The sunshine finally hits our campsite and we are stowing stuff in Anemone and Gwragedd Annwn for the trip over to Dark Creek.

Matthew is orientating himself to Dark Creek. We use the chart to pick a landmark on the West shore. We will paddle/row across and then follow the coast uplake. I hope that the beach at Dark Creek is not covered with drift logs and we can land there. The tide is coming in.

Matthew sets off first. Today he is using the smaller of the two Greenland Paddles that I made for him. This “storm” paddle is 84″ long, the blade is 3″ wide at the tip and tapers to 1¼” wide at the shoulder. The storm paddle is 10.4 ounces lighter than the regular paddle. Which will he prefer? Paddling conditions are GREAT! No wind and no swell. Only the occasional boat wake to deal with.

Looking back (East) towards Raven Creek. As there is no wind while I am rowing across, I am making 2 ½ to 3 knots.

At Dark Creek Campground (Dark Creek Provincial Marine Park). There is too much driftwood on the beach to land. We will sightsee, going uplake along the shore looking for a place to camp. If we do not find a campsite that we can land on, we will return to Raven Creek for tonight.

The mouth of Dark Creek. There is a mooring buoy anchored off of the mouth.

Paddling along the shore. Anemone looks well balanced…She suits Matthew. Matthew says that the storm paddle moves the kayak slower than the West Greenland paddle with the same effort. I guess that now he has a normal paddle and a storm paddle. The paddles are very light, 30.7 ounces (1 pound 14.7 ounces) for the West Greenland and 20.3 ounces (1 pound 4.3ounces) for the storm.

Matthew finds a crack in the shore to explore. Does it go anywhere?

The crack is not too deep and he does not get very far.

There are some Petrographs along the shore.

Usually you look for an orangey colour on the rock. Petrograph? I am not sure.

A few more figures.

Are the orangey dots pictographs too?

We keep following the West shore of Pitt Lake.

Defrauder Creek.

Defrauder Creek has a large beach area with almost no driftwood on it.

On the beach. Defrauder Falls are quite loud. They are marked on the chart (Pitt Lake #3062). 9.92km of paddling/rowing in the sun.

We walk up the creek to the falls

Lower falls.

Anemone and Gwragedd Annwn on the beach at Defrauder Falls. Unlike the lower part of Pitt lake, the water in the upper part of the lake is quite clear.

A butterfly lands on our food bag. It looks like a Painted Lady. The only other bugs we saw were a few Bumble Bees. No mosquitos or flies.

Evening falls and we are in the shadow of Gloomy Peak. The tide is going out.

Our camp at Defrauder Creek. No need for a tarp for the Swag Tent.

Having a bit of a relax and getting the fire ready to go. The orange and black object on the table is a solar-charged battery pack to recharge our phones and my camera. Matthew used it to charge up his phone and the solar panels recharged the unit over the day. It has two charging ports so can recharge two devices at one. Actually worked well!

On the East side of lake, sunshine in the evening, West side, sun early in the morning.

Raven in the trees.

Golden Ears in the late afternoon.

Baked potatoes in the fire. We made up four of them, a potato, some butter and Onion, wrapped in tin foil.

Probably the best meal of the trip.

We sat near the fire as the sunset. When the fire had died down, Matthew put it out with several buckets of water.

Just about dark, time to hit the sack. I later woke up at 11:25pm. Gwragedd Annwn was rocking in the swell. I pulled her further up the beach. The night sky was incredible…inky, inky black and the stars were so bright. Sadly, my camera does not take very good night photos.

2023 Pitt Lake Paddle and Row trip

Route day three.

As predicted, we wake up to sunny and clear skies. Morning in the sun. It was a cold night, I slept in my mummy bag which I had inside my summer bag. I wore wooly socks, long underwear bottoms and top and a toque. I was warm enough. Matthew brought a winter bag. He did say that he will bring warmer shoes for around the camp next time, not Crocs.

Morning in the sun. the tide is coming in. The nice part about morning sun is that it makes your tent warm for getting out of your sleeping bag and putting on your clothes.

After breakfast, we pack up our camp and leave for Osprey Creek Campground (Osprey Provincial Marine Park) on the East side of the lake.

We leave Defrauder Creek behind. Again, the paddling/rowing conditions are perfect. No wind and flat water.

About half-way across, we pause for a snack and decide to go directly to Raven Creek. We can see that the beach at Osprey Creed is covered with driftwood. We have cell phone reception and I call my wife for the weather forecast. She says that it will be heavy rain starting overnight and continuing through Friday. Sigh, I guess the good weather will not last for us.

Perfect paddling conditions. Silky flat and no wind. Nearing Goose Island, Raven Creek is behind the island.

We are going around the East side of Goose Island. No easy landing here.

Big deadhead near Goose Island. No hazard for us.

Heading for Raven Creek

Landing at Raven Creek for a rest stop.

We talk about setting up camp early to get ahead of the upcoming rain. I call my wife for the latest weather report. It is not looking good, with heavy rain expected overnight and for all day Thursday. This means that we will be packing up camp in the rain and paddling/rowing home in the heavy rain as well.

The rest/decision stop at Raven Creek. Goose Island in the background. If only it was going to be like this tomorrow!

While we are at Raven Creek, a Bumble Bee crawls into my mug, looking for the Cranberry Juice I was drinking. While rowing, I always have a mug of something to drink. Today it is water mixed with cranberry juice. I usually go through two litres or so of fluids a day while rowing.

We decide to paddle/row back in the sunshine. The tide is also a factor. For an outgoing tide, we would have to wait in a rainy camp tomorrow until about 1pm for the tide to start going out. This will be wet waiting. Right now, at about noon, the tide is starting to go out…It will be an easy paddle/row home as opposed to the paddle/row that we had on the first day. Matthew and I decide to paddle/row back to the Grant’s Landing boat launch in the sun, making this a fair weather trip. About 2½ hours later, we arrive at the Grant Narrows boat launch, load up Gwragedd Annwn and Anemone and head home in the evening sun. 16.54km paddled/rowed on the last leg.

True to the weather prediction, the heavy rain starts overnight and continues through Friday. It would have been a soaker.

Total tip length: 36.23km or 19.56 nautical miles or 22.51 statute miles.

Paddling/rowing time: approx. 3½ hours day one, 3 hours day two and 5½ hours day three.

No blisters and no sore shoulders. Success!

Posted in Under the Keel.... | Tagged | Leave a comment

A rain cover for Myst

As you might imagine, we get a lot of rain in North Vancouver. We usually average two metres of rain per year at the house. I have not put a drain plug into Myst, so a cover is essential.

The finished cover doing its job…Keeping the rain out and the dry in.

To make the cover, I purchased ten plus metres of Sunbrella fabric. It was on sale at Fanny’s Fabrics. I bought what was left on the roll, about thirty five feet. The roll was four feet wide.

Before I used the “good” fabric, I made a temporary cover using some left-over Tyvek from my garage build. Tyvek is easy to cut, does not fray and can be easily taped up using the tac-tape. No Sewing required.

The temporary Tyvek cover. I am going to use this as the pattern for the Sunbrella one.

A piece of webbing, with “D” rings sewed in both ends, goes from bow to stern, held in place by a bow and stern “cap” that fits over the bow and stern stems. By using the webbing, I will not need to rely on a mast to keep the cover “up”. The sailing rig can be stored in my garage for the winter if I am not going to use it.

Using some left over plywood, I made up some wooden clips to hold the cover in place. The drawstring will hold the cover tight.

Detail of the clips that will hold the cover on. By using the left over plywood, they will not be noticeable.

The overall width I needed was about six feet, so I sewed the two pieces together to get the needed width. I am using my trusty Elna Supermatic sewing machine. I did a number of trials with some scrap pieces to get the tension right.

Sewing the two pieces together.

I stitched the two pieces together, running along the frayed edge. I then turned the seam over one-half inch and sewed it again (going through four layers of fabric). I turned this seam over and sewed it again (going through five layers of fabric). This hid the unhemmed edge inside a hem…My Elna struggled a bit going through the layers. To run the fabric through, I had to roll up both sides so one side would fit under the arm, between the needle and the upright arm. This put the seam on the inside of the cover and sewed the bow to stern strap over it.

The Stern part of the cover, with the ends ironed and hemmed, ready for the webbing to be sewn in.
Ready to sew the webbing to the cover. I am using bull-dog clips to hold the webbing in place for sewing.

The webbing will cover the seam so there will be no abrasion to the seam from the mast when the cover is on.

The cover, with the webbing sewn in, on Myst to get the edge measurements.

Here I am marking where to cut the cover, using the gunnel as a guide. I used a scrap piece of wood (6″) to measure the overlap from the gunnel. One of the problems I have had in the past is that there is not enough overlap so I am insuring that this cover will go over the gunnels and down the sides of Myst. I am also making sure that the webbing that runs from bow to stern will fit properly on the stem caps.

Sewing the hems. First turn over.

With the cover cut to shape, I make the hems. I sew the bow and stern hems first. Again, I turn over the edge about one-half inch and sew. I turn the edge over again, this time about one inch. I found that ironing the seams flat before sewing works the best. I set the iron to “Rayon” and flattened the hems.

Sewing in the drawstrings.

I used up four bobbins of thread with this cover. Each edge is over sixteen feet long, probably over forty feet each time around.

Another test fit. I have sewn in wear patches over the oarlock sockets. Chalk marks where the straps will go.

I have run into a real problem. I cannot make the clips work with the cover. I had intended to use the button hole function on the Elna to make the holes for the drawstring to go through to engage the hooks. The problem is the unfinished button hole edge. It will fray unless I can hem it. The Elna will not make a button hole (thereby hemming the hole for the clip) in the sunbrella fabric. In my test pieces, it keeps jamming up, the thread balling up under the needle plate of the machine. Making button holes is a no-go. I tried making “pockets” that the clips would fit into, but the fabric is not stretchy enough for that idea to work. I have sewn paracord onto sunbrella before, so I tried to sew some shock cord loops onto the sunbrella for the clips to hook onto, but, the Elna would not sew through the shock cord. I decided to just use webbing straps to hold the cover down and tight. The clips will stay on the boat and the pockets on the cover…I will just not use them.

Webbing sewn onto the cover. It extends six inches up from the hemline.

Quick trip to MEC to buy twenty feet of one inch webbing (green) and three male and female clips. All of the female clips go onto the Port side. The male clips are on straps that come from the Starboard side. I have three straps, After, Midships and Forward. The Forward and Midships straps will go around the dolly and help keep Myst on her dolly.

Port side of the cover showing the clips. Note the strap going under the dolly tongue.

I am going to sew a “flap” that will go around the bow and stern. Velcro will secure the flaps.

Bow end flap on the cover. Velcro keeps the flap secure.

This photo shows all of the details. The end cap that holds the webbing in place. The end caps have a notch cut into them for the “D” rings. You can see the draw cord and the cord lock. Amazingly I managed to get the pattern to “line-up” on this end of the cover.

Myst at HSC.

Myst with her cover at the sailing club. The forward two straps go under the tongue of the launching dolly and hold Myst to the dolly. After a week of rain and snow, she is dry on the inside.

Myst in her storage spot at the club

The cover is finished. Seems to be working well. On to the next project.

Posted in Under the Keel.... | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Urban Oarsman sails, rows and tows on the 2022 Barefoot Raid

The 2022 Barefoot Raid started at Rebecca Spit, went around Cortes Island and returned.

Gwragedd Annwn on the 2022 Barefoot Raid.
“Myst” on the beach at the Hollyburn Sailing Club. Myst is a 15′ by 4’5″ Iain Oughtred design. Canadian flag, Hollyburn Sailing Club pennant and Wooden Boat Society pennant.

Myst is an Iain Oughtred designed “Elf” faering that I built for the raid. I started the raid in Myst and finished it in Gwragedd Annwn.

A Barefoot Raid is a small boat sailing adventure. Most of the raid skippers race, so sailing “bare”, (not having any extra weight in the boat) is an advantage. Meals are provided and you can put your stuff onto one of the mother ships, sailing your boat “bare”. Your stuff consists of your own plates, cutlery and camping gear. There are three meals a day. Breakfast, Lunch and Supper. This was the 2022 Barefoot Raid. I am sailing with Dan and Heather because they have been on the raid and sailed the coast before. Going with an experienced crew is always a good idea.

Sailing Day One:

Thursday June 23rd, 2022.         HSC to Plumber Cove.  I Left Hollyburn Sailing Club, aiming for Plumber Cove, ending up at Snug Cove.  10:30am, I left HSC in Myst.  Ian Magrath launched his Wayfarer, “Waif” from the club ramp.  Ian has the oldest wooden Wayfarer in Canada.  Ian, a professional boatbuilder (Great Northern Craft), has rebuilt the boat. 

Ian sailing his Wayfarer.

He took the Wayfarer on a shake-down cruise, joining us for the sail to Plumber Cove and then returning to HSC on Friday.  Dan, Heather and I planned to continue up to Secret Cove on route to the Barefoot Raid. They launched their Mirror 16 “Mirror Mirror” from the public ramp where it is more sheltered and less wavy.  Winds were light but the seas were very rough and unsettled.  The current was against us.  Myst is not sailing as fast as I hoped. I have not kept pace with the other two boas. Dan, Heather and Ian had to wait for me quite a lot on the sail to Plumper Cove. 

Porpoise in Caulfeild Cove (upper left in photo).

They waited two maybe two and a half hours overall for me.  I rowed to meet them outside of Caulfeild Cove.  Because of the light wind conditions, we decided to go for Sung Cove instead of Plumper Cove.  Winds are light from West and the waves keep knocking Myst’s speed down. 

Atkinson in the distance, headed for Snug Cove.

Rounded Point Atkinson. Winds were light, seas have calmed. I made for Whyte Cliff, mostly by oar. I sailed when the winds allowed.  A West to North-West drift started up half way across.  I updated Pat, my emergency contact, with the change in plans. I will update her with any change in my  itinerary.

Snug Cove in the distance. No wind, my sail is down to reduce windage, I am rowing.

Dan and Heather waited for me off of Whyte Islet and then sailed for Snug Cove. I had the realization that a row-sailing boat is not as fast as a pure sailboat.  Heather booked spots at the marina for all of us.  I arrived at Snug Cove and tied-up, took down my sailing rig that evening. 

Snug Cove, on the dock. (Myst, Waif and Mirror-Mirror.)

  We got some supper ashore.  Doc Morgan’s full, Bowen Island Pub full, every place full.  “The Crew” ended up at Barcelona Tapas & Wine Bar and ate there. 

Myst at the dock, unloaded.

We returned to boats nineish.  I set up my tent on the dock, as Myst is too small for the tent to fit into. I could sleep on the floor boards, but there is a chance of rain for tonight. 

Sailing Day Two:

Friday June 24th, 2022.      Sung Cove back to HSC.  I have come to the conclusion that Myst is too slow compared to Mirror-Mirror (Dan and Heather’s boat).  It is not fair to them that they have to wait so often and for so long for me.  Gwragedd Annwn is a faster sailor. I will return in Myst to HSC, change boats and trailer Gwragedd Annwn up to Lund and meet Dan and Heather there. 

No wind in Snug Cove this morning.

Plans made, Dan and Heather row out of Snug Cove and head up coast. They actually motored most of the way up to Secret Cove, the next stop on our cruise.

Ian heads out, I will be right behind him.

Ian and I set sail for HSC.  Today the sailing is better, as there is some breeze in Howe Sound.

Heading for Atkinson, sailing the tide line with a quiet inflow wind.

Myst was on a close reach to Atkinson and then downwind to HSC.  Myst is much happier going downwind.  Ian was only thirty minutes or so ahead of me when we arrived at HSC.  I trailered Myst home and got Gwragedd Annwn ready for the raid.

Preparing Gwragedd Annwn. She is on her launching dolly.

Preparations Day One:

Saturday June 25th, 2022.  Prepare Gwragedd Annwn. Dan and Heather have insisted that I have a motor, so, I install a motor mount onto Gwragedd Annwn’s transom for my little Seagull.

Preparing Gwragedd Annwn. She is on her road trailer.

Preparations Day Two:

Sunday June 26th, 2022.    Continued to prepare Gwragedd Annwn.

On the Langdale ferryboat.

Trailering on Day Three:

Monday June 27th, 2022.   Trailered up to Lund.  Gwragedd Annwn is ready to go.  I have put up and taken down her sailing rig several times in the backyard and everything is set.  I am all packed and headed out to Horseshoe Bay for the ferry to Langdale.  I cannot get a reservation and will have to chance it.  Horseshoe Bay at 6:50am.  7:12am buy ticket.  7:19am, parked on the upper deck.  10:00am, board the ferry to Langdale.  10:12am, the ferry left for Langdale.

Everything is strapped in for the trip. A shame that the motor mount covers part of her name.

  I drove up the Sunshine Coast to Earl’s Cove. 

Arrive at Earl’s Cove.

12:23pm, arrived at Earl’s Cove.  My Starboard leeboard has come loose and dragged on the road, taking off about 3/4” from the tip.  Sigh! Repairs for the Errata sheet. 

An on-the-road modification of the Starboard leeboard.

The stopper knot securing the line in the leeboard has slipped out of the retaining hole in the leeboard.  I retied and resecured the leeboards.  1:00pm, boarded the ferry, 1:10pm, the ferry sailed.  There is not much wind on the sailing. 

Saltery Bay.

The ferry docked on the other side. I drove to Lund, buying gas on the way. 

The Still Water water tower, marked on chart 4 of 5, #3311, Pender Harbour to Grief Point, from the land side.

I arrived in Lund around 3pm.  Dan and Heather have arrived maybe ten minutes before me…great timing. 

Rigging Gwragedd Annwn for launch. I step the mast and get the oars ready.

I rigged and launched Gwragedd Annwn.  Four dollars in and four dollars out. 

Launching bargoon. I pay the Harbour Master in shower Loonies.

Best launching bargoon on the coast.  Parking, however, is another story.  $200.00 for two weeks. There is no overnight street parking in Lund.

Getting Gwragedd Annwn organized. Hoist the sail, attach the lazy jacks and stow the main. You can see my forward storage box. It is open to the area under the forward deck. Everything in it will stay dry. My swag tent is in the big white roll. The red and green bags hold my “supplies for the day”…Water, snack bars, Phone, binoculars, camera, sunglasses, etc.

Heather rowed her to my spot on the dock while I drove the FJ and trailer to Lund Parking, the parking lot up the hill. 

Gwragedd Annwn in her spot. Lots to do as the sun sets.

Dan, Heather and I went to the Lund Hotel to have supper.  The hotel is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.  Rats!  So are all of the restaurants.  We grabed a bite to eat (I get a premade sandwich) at the Stock Pile, the market in Lund.  I started getting ready for bed by nine.  Should be more wind tomorrow, predicted to be SE 10 to 20 knots.

For night one, I did not rig the tarp or the sail. ran out of time in the dark. I pitched the tent on the deck boards.

Sitting Day:

Tuesday June 28th, 2022.  Lund to Gorge Harbour. Sunny morning. Rocky night.  Must have been windy in Thulin Passage off of Lund.  Mooring lines creaked all night.  Swag tent worked great!  The neck pillow that I brought is not quite enough.  I am missing my pillow. I put my toiletries bag under the foam mattress as a substitute pillow.  I was warm enough with the sleeping bag as a duvet.  Woke up early then cat-napped until 8:30am.  Winds picked up around 9:30am/10:00am, so we are waiting out the winds in Lund. We are staying in Lund today.  The wind is much stronger than predicted. Better safe than sorry. 

Dining at the Stock Pile.

Almost nothing is open in Lund on Mondays and Tuesdays except the Stock Pile store, open 7am to 7pm.  They have a deli with sandwiches. We explored Lund Harbour.

Western Tanager? Almost as colourful as Dan was/is.

We are sitting at Nancy’s having coffee, (that we brought with us as Nancy’s is closed) looking at the wind on the water.  There is a colourful orangy bird. Hard to get a photo of.

Wind and whitecaps beginning off of Lund.

I rigged a tarp on Gwragedd Annwn.  The tarp covers the main deck area from the mast to the transom.  It creates an ten foot by five foot dry area on the deck to pitch my tent.

Tarp rigged before the rain.

Beginning at 6pm, there are spits of rain then RAIN!

Early evening rain.

With the tarp, I am dry making my bed and no rain is falling onto the tent.  The tarp is a little noisy in the rain but it is doing what it should, keeping the rain off of me while I pitch the tent and the tent itself. The swag tent entrance is from the top of the tent.

The tarp is up and I am not getting rained on.

The only problem with the tarp is that it does not go over the gunnels, so all of the rain that lands on the tarp still ends up in the bilge. I will have to pump it out from time to time. For supper, I tried the tuna can salad stuff from TV (Rio Mare “Insalatissime”).  Surprisingly good…could have eaten two of them.  I am going to store my spare oars on the Starboard side so I can get the floor/deck boards in and out more easily.  When the rain stops I am going to double tie the fenders so they lie horizontal and not vertically.

Sailing Day Three:

Wednesday June 29th, 2022.        Lund to Gorge Harbour.  Had a good sleep, rain a little noisy on the tarp, but the tent stayed dry.  I did too.

Coffee and cinnamon buns at Nancy’s.

Up early for coffee and cinnamon buns at Nancy’s.  I have brought my New York mug.

Pretty flat as we leave.

Left Lund under light wind conditions around 9:00am.  Set course for Gorge Harbour. 

Gorge Harbour bound.

The winds strengthened as we left, so Gwragedd Annwn sailed along up to 5.7 knots at times, easily keeping up to Dan and Heather.

Nice sail!

By 11:30am, the winds are dying and we are ghosting onwards towards Gorge Harbour. 

Wind fading fast.

By 1:00pm, the wind has died completely.  Dan, Heather and I started our Seagulls and motored along Hernando Island until the wind picked up.

Seagulling through the doldrums.

Around 2pm, the wind picked up, so, we stop motoring and ghost on.

Passing the marker buoy Q20 under sail.

I sailed past the marker buoy on the South-West tip of Cortes Island on route to Gorge Harbour.

Dan and Heather on a spinnaker run.

Winds are light and fading as we ghosted along until the wind finally died.

A tow is kindly offered and taken.

This time, my Seagull will not run so Dan and Heather give me a tow into Gorge Harbour.  We arrived a little after 5:00pm. 

Getting the boats ready for the night. I have discovered a problem, the wind vane at the top of my mast hits my lug spar on certain points of sail, rendering it useless for wind direction…another one for the errata list.

We are set-up for the night. 

Gwragedd Annwn with Swag Tent. I have put reflective tape on the tent poles. The flags on the stern will be my best wind direction indicators for the rest of the trip.

The moorage is expensive. $40.00. This is a very pretty resort.  I started the Seagull at the dock, she ran well.  I do not know why she ran now and would not run earlier. I left it on the mount for the row out tomorrow.  There is a great restaurant here, and we got reservations for 8:00pm.  I had probably the best lamb shank ever. 

We clean-up pretty good.

Dan and Heather had shrimp Caesar salads. I had the lamb shank. 

Sailing Day Four:

Thursday June 30th, 2022. Gorge Harbour to Heriot Bay.  Get up and have coffee and a breakfast sandwich at the food truck at the resort. 

We paddle/row away from the dock.

We left the dock around 9:00am, rowing (riding?) the tide out of Gorge Harbour. 

Human (?) figure petroglyph

As we leave, I see and photograph petroglyphs at the harbour entrance (West side). 

Four groups of petrographs on the cliff face…The orange marks.

Leaving the harbour, it turned out to be enough wind to sail.  I rigged a “tiller-tamer”, a rope going across the aft cockpit, twice around the tiller.  Worked Great!!!  I can now take my hands off of the tiller for minutes at a time.  I also re-orientated the deck/floor boards for more comfortable seating. 

Sailing through Uganda Passage. Around Shark Spit.

Slow sail through Uganda Passage.  Shark Spit is the sand bar ahead of me.

Sailing through Uganda.

Took the Seagull off of the motor mount and put it onto the transom, now completely out of the water.  Sailed, my speed 1 to 1½ knots or so. 

Ferry from Heriot Bay to Cortes Island.

Slow sail to Rebecca Spit, I did not motor. 

The Tachek passes me going back to Heriot Bay.

I alternate between sailing and row-sailing. Row-sailing is where you leave your sails up because there is a slight wind pushing you in the right direction. Wind resistance can be quite a factor when you are rowing. If the slight wind is not in your favor, you take all of you sail(s) down, mast too, to reduce your windage. 

Best of my whale photos.

I see humpback whales and take photos of them without much success.  Sailed past Rebecca Spit on route to Heriot Bay, arriving at the Heriot Bay Inn Marina around quarter to five. 

On the dock at the Heriot Bay Inn.

Tied up to the dock.  Ate supper in the Heriot Bay Inn, had a mushroom burger with Caesar salad.  Met fourteen or so Barefoot Raiders at the Inn.  Got to know them. Great people.

Local wildlife.

We will all gather at Rebecca Spit tomorrow. 

No need for the tarp tonight.

Made up my bed at 9:00pm. 

Sailing Day Five:

July 1st, 2022.         Heriot Bay to Rebecca Spit…“The Gathering”.  RABBITS!  Calm night, slept pretty well.  Cold, used the bag liner, but, stupidly, left my blue fleece & toque outside of the tent, in the forward storage box.  At least they are dry. Had oatmeal for breakfast.  We are going to Rebecca Spit after lunch.  We will camp/anchor at the Spit tonight. 

Tied up at Rebecca Spit. (Mirror-Mirror, Southwester, Gwragedd Annwn and Poor Man’s Rock in the right distance.)

Arrived at Rebecca Spit, near boat launch at 3:30pm. 

Ellie Mae arrives at the boat launch, with Matthew and Rowland.

Ellie Mae Launches.

Francois with his Chesapeake Light Craft Southwester Dory. He also has two beach rollers, using them for floatation in the same way as I was in Myst.
Eric in Stimpy, a Bolger Chebacco.

Eight raid boats plus Dan & Heather and me, equal ten boats on the water plus two support boats. 

Poor Man’s Rock, Julie May and Dick Smiley. The Hobie and Crazy Janey are in the right background.

“Poor Man’s Rock”, a landing craft style and “Julie May”, an ex-fishboat.  This is “The Gathering . There are still boats on the hard, there for the night, that will launch in the morning.

Kitchen on the beach. The nice thing about the Trangia stove is that it simmers really well. No scorching.

Cooked supper on the beach using Pat’s Trangia stove. Chicken and noodles. Not bad!

Anchoring for the night.

Rowed into the sunset and set anchor for the night.

Sailing Day Six:

July 2nd, 2022.         Rebecca Spit to Lake Bay on Read Island. 

From left to right, Stimpy, Julie May, Poor Man’s Rock, Dick Smiley, Nissie and Ellie Mae leave for Lake Bay.

Sailed away from Rebecca Spit and headed towards Read Island.  Light winds again. 

Ellie Mae sails away from Rebecca Spit.

Ellie Mae sailing in light airs.

What will be come familiar, getting a tow and the stern of Julie May.

Had to be towed half of the way or so…Seagull quit.  I will have to figure out why it is not running.  Mothership “Julie May” towed me to Lake Bay on Read Island (at the Read Island Provincial Park).  They came back for me when I dropped my sail and started rowing.  (the dropped sail was a sure sign!) 

The wind picks up for the sail from Lake Bay on Read Island to Carrington Bay on Cortes Island.

On the sail from Lake Bay to Carrington Bay, I arrived only fifteen minutes behind Dan and Heather, just behind “Nisse” and ahead of “Katie Mae”, a yawl owned by Matthew, a friend (client) of Ian Magrath’s. 

Nisse (blue sails) catches up and Katie Mae falls behind.

Katie Mae is a classic canoe yawl, 21’, built in 1995 at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, with lines inspired by the Drascombe Peters-boat. I was well ahead of four boats, putting Gwragedd Annwn in the middle of the single-hull fleet.  Well ahead of the Bolger Chebacco, the Wave Runner Trimaran, the Southwester from Chesapeake Light Craft and the pretty Gartside clinker.  Wow!  Very Happy and a leeboard sail. 

The entrance to the tidal lagoon at Carrington Bay.

The tide is not high enough for me to row into the lagoon.

The fleet gathers around Poor Man’s Rock. Nesse, Dick Smiley, McDuff, a Hobie 18, Ellie Mae, Julie May and the Gartside boat.

We are all anchoring for the night, some of the raiders will “bush camp” on shore.

Some raiders go visiting by swimming!

Settled in for the night.

Deck boards in place, ready to pitch the tent. No tarp tonight.

The plan for tomorrow is: Von Donop Inlet (Háthayim) for lunch and them Penn Islands for the night.  I have always wanted to explore the tidal area of Von Donop, located in the South East part of the top of the inlet.

Sailing Day Seven:

July 3rd, 2022                Carrington Bay to Penn Island, ending up at Squirrel Cove.

Fleet getting ready for the race to Penn Island. (Mirror-Mirror, Southwester, Crazy Janey, Nesse, Nacra.)

 Change of plans, we sailed a nice broad reach to Penn Island. 

Dick Smiley under sail and oars, with the oars doing most of the work.

Not much wind heading out of Carrington.

Best whale picture of the lot.

Sailed up the middle channel to top of Cortes.  Saw humpback whales.  Tried to take photos.

As we approach Read Island, the wind drops and we start getting a little rain. Ellie Mae and Stimpy ahead.

Poor Man’s Rock is the lunch stop, anchored near Bullock Bluff. 

Sigh! towed again.

At least it is not raining!

Dan and Heather have their oars out to catch ALL of the wind, what little there is. Spoke too soon about the rain.

Dan and Heather refuse the tow…they are “racing”.

Julie May towed me about half of the way up the channel to where Poor Man’s Rock was anchored. 

Kilian and Megan in Sylvia are racing too. No tow for them.

Of course, at the lunch stop the wind picked up, so, I decided to skip lunch and sailed on. 

Too good to last, as the wind dies in Lewis Channel, the rain really picks up.

Sailed SE down Lewis Channel in the rain, making at times 4+ knots. 

She’s a look’n pretty wet down channel.

Picked up by the “Grim Sweeper” Julie May about three-quarters of the way to Squirrel Cove. The wind died and the heavens opened up.  Dan and Heather, Kilian and Megan, who are “racing” preferred rowing to a towing.

Julie May is towing a fleet of soggy raiders.

Glad that I had the waterproof pants on. 

Six of us getting towed in the rain to Squirrel Cove. Andy is doing a “thank you for the tow” dance on his deck. Kilian and Megan in Sylvia, are in the distance rowing. (Nesse, Southwester, Katie Mae, Crazy Janey, McDuff and Gwragedd Annwn.)

Ate supper on Poor Man’s Rock and then moored to the Squirrel Cove Gov’t dock.  $12.00!  Put the tarp up in the rain-It works!  I have a 10’ by 5’ dry area on deck to pitch the tent!  Pitched the tent on deck, put my wet clothes on top of the swag tent to dry.  Worked!  I slept warm and dry while Gwragedd Annwn is rafted up to Stimpy, a Bolger Chebacco.  A nice boat originally built in Vernon.  I was a little damp, but, dried out in the tent. Developed a real appreciation for boats with cabins. 

Sailing Day Eight:

July 4th, 2022           Squirrel Cove Rain Day. Wake up @6:30am.  Broke down tent under the tarp.  It worked again!  Rolled up the tent in the dry. 

Under the tarp, dry.

Probably three inches of water in the bilge.  This is the problem with not having the edges of the tarp go out over the gunnels.  Pumped Gwragedd Annwn out.  Went to breakfast and lunch on Poor Man’s Rock, anchored at the head of the cove, ferried there by Julie May.  Poor Man’s Rock has rigged a tarp that covers the foredeck of the landing craft.  We stayed in Squirrel Cove because it rained hard all day. There is a tidal lagoon at the head of the cove.  In the early afternoon, I got Quill to take Alan (Wave Runner trimaran Crazy Janey) Eric (Chebacco Stimpy) and me back to the Squirrel Cove Gov’t dock.  Pumped out Gwragedd Annwn again…probably six inches of water in her this time.  It has really rained all day.  Went up the dock to the store and looked around. I am going to anchor further up Squirrel Cove tonight.  Closer to Poor Man’s Rock and Julie May, when the rain stops!  Chatting with Alan and Eric on Stimpy as I write.  Rain stoped about sixish.

The entrance to the tidal lagoon at Squirrel Cove at a lower tide.

I pulled up my rudder and then I rowed up to the head of the cove and then into the tidal lagoon. I rowed backwards so I could see the rocks in the channel into the tidal lagoon. 

Rain has stopped, tide is high. Entering the lagoon.

Gwragedd Annwn is not the only boat going into the lagoon.

I row around the lagoon counter-clockwise.

I rowed around the lagoon for fun. 

Have cell service so I phoned and updated Pat. 

Himmmm, how to get out against the inflow current? I could just wait…

Rowing out is a little difficult as the tide is coming into the lagoon faster than I can row.  The incoming current is so strong that I had to have help to get out. 

Getting out with a little help from the raiders.

The barefoot raiders long-line me out by taking my bow line and pulling me out of the lagoon. 

The R2AK steak knife.

While aboard Poor Man’s Rock, I get to see the infamous “R2AK steak knife”.

Dan and Heather in the Mirror 16 and Alan in his wave runner trimaran “Crazy Janey”.

After supper on Poor Man’s Rock, I anchored near Dan & Heather and Andy on the NE side of the upper cove.  There will be a drop of 7.2′ tonight. Need to anchor in at least 8′ of water.

Always a convenient out-house near by.

I am a little cold, so I put my Viking toque on. 

Great anchoring job.

Anchored in about 10′ of water last night.

Sailing Day Nine:

July 5th, 2022          Squirrel Cove to Mary Point to Spilsbury Point to Manson’s Landing.  Poor Man’s Rock was now anchored near the Gov’t dock. 

Breakfast on Poor Man’s Rock. (Sylvia, Julie May’s dinghy, Southwester, Mirror-Mirror.)

Rowed back to (forty-five minutes) Squirrel Cove Gov’t dock for breakfast after breakfast there was a rowing race to Mary Point. 

The start, they are off in no-wind conditions. (Crazy Janey, Mirror-Mirror, Dick Smiley, Sylvia, Nesse, Hobie 18.)

I am a “cruiser” and not a “racer” on this raid, so I left a little early and took photos of the racers as they passed. 

The oarsmen in Dick Smiley pull ahead of the paddlers in the Hobie.

Rowing Gwragedd Annwn, I was able to beat Dan & Heather and one of the cats. 

Edging out the Nacara.

Gwragedd Annwn rowed quite well, even with all of my gear aboard. 

Lunch at Mary Point.

We ate lunch at Mary Point (Cortes Island).  I lent my spare pair of oars and oarlocks to Francois in the Chesapeake Light Craft Southwester Dory. 

Relaxing at Mary Point.

His oars do not work so well.  No leathers or collars, so his oars were very hard for him to control.  His captive oarlocks are fixed in their sockets, so, to remove his oars, he must slide them out of the oarlocks. That is why his oars do not have collars. My oarlocks fitted his sockets. My spares were almost the right length, and although a little heavier than his, really worked for him. We all sailed for Spilsbury Point on Hernando.  FUTILE!  Incoming current canceled most of my efforts. Tacked a dozen times and make little headway.  Light and variable winds made sailing pretty useless. 

Another tow this time to Spilsbury Point on Hernando. The stern of Julie May is becoming a familiar sight.

Finally get towed by Julie May with two others to Spilsbury Point.  Landed at Spilsbury Point.  The beach is public, the foreshore is private. 

Barefoot fleet on the sand at Spilsbury Point. (Gwragedd Annwn, Crazy Janey, Stimpy, Poor Man’s Rock, Mirror-Mirror, The Nacra, the Hobie 18, the Southwester, Dick Smiley, and McDuff.)

After we arrived, the adults on the shore would not let their kids play on the beach near us or our boats…I guess we were a little scary. 

Looking “scary” with Leegion.

The decision is made to go for Manson’s Landing.  No camping at Spilsbury Point. 

Eric and Francois leave ahead of us.

Francois is getting towed by Eric in Stimpy.

Andy being towed. He rowed all the way from Mary Point to Spilsbury and deserves a break.

Andy and I are getting towed by Matthew in Katie May. 

Almost nice to get a tow from someone new.

I got to see a different stern view this tow.

Heading towards Manson’s Landing. I really need to do something about stowing my sail neater.

Had cell service so I updated Pat. 

Those “depth sounder” oars look good on the Southwester.

Nice sandy beach at Manson’s Landing.

Thanks, Katie Mae.

Arrived at Manson’s Landing around eightish. 

Supper on Poor Man’s Rock

Ate supper, then went on a walk-about looking for the outhouse.  Not well marked, but, I found it. Francois had to leave, family emergency.  He has returned my oars and oarlocks.  I will stow them tomorrow.  Anchored for the night at the lagoon entrance.  Set up the tarp in the rain, starting about nine forty-five.  Got the tarp and tent set up OK, then noticed how strong the current was going into the lagoon.  Put out a little more rode to be sure.  Took my water pants, long johns, and socks into the tent with me.  Put my electronic stuff into the tent as well.  Draped jacket over tent…all under the tarp. 

Sailing Day Ten:

July 6th, 2022          Manson’s Landing to Shark Spit.  Slept OK. Start out sleeping on the sleeping bag liner, gradually cooling off and then getting into my sleeping bag.  Woke up around four and put on fleece.  Woke up six thirtyish and cat napped until eight.  Packed everything up.  I rolled my phone up in the swag tent.  Dumb.  Have to unroll and search for the phone.  Find it.  Repack the tent.  I could not find my camera.  I used it to take photos last night.  I did not see it in the tent when looking for my phone.  RATS!  The camera must be in the tent, in Gwragedd Annwn or overboard.  Matthew’s phone has gotten water in the charging port so it is non-functional.  I lent him my paper charts of Cortes.  We are going to Shark Spit, about two hours away by oar.  I rowed one-quarter of the way and sailed three-quarters of the way.  Did not put the leeboards down. 

Gwragedd Annwn going to windward without her leeboards.

Gwragedd Annwn makes distance to windward without them.  Dan and Heather went into Gorge Harbour.  Gwragedd Annwn is the second boat to arrive at Shark Spit. 

Wild flowers at Shark Spit.

I am miffed about the camera and used my cell phone to take some pictures. 

Shark Spit/Marina Island welcome. There is even an outhouse.

The water between Shark Spit (on Marina Island) and Cortes Island is Uganda Passage.

The light marking Uganda Passage.

View from the end of the spit.

View back along the spit. Poor Man’s Rock in the background.

Gwragedd Annwn, on the hard, at the Spit. 

On the hard.

I thought that I would anchor off with a stern/shore line.  Over night the tide rose 8.2′ and dropped 8.5′ for a net drop of .3′ (about eight inches).  I could anchor in pretty shallow water.  Dan and Heather arrived.  I got my anchor lines organized for the evening. 

Anchored for the night. Decided against a shore line…too shallow too close to shore.

Rigged the tarp just in case of rain…those cabin boats have it easy. 


The clouds broke for sunset.  I pitched my tent and FOUND MY CAMERA!!!  It was in my pants pocket and the pants were under the sleeping bag. 

Sailing Day Eleven:

July 7th, 2022          Shark Spit to Manson’s Landing and return (racing/sailing).  Good night, no rain.  Start packing things up at seven fifteen. 

Packed up for breakfast.

Ready for eight.  The morning leg is a race from Shark Spit to Manson’s Landing and back.

Breakfast aboard Poor Man’s Rock. No rain, no tarp.

I am not a racer, so, I “cruised” to Manson’s Landing and back. 

The racing fleet prepares. It is an “off the beach” start.

Dan and Heather have a had time at the start, their centreboard is jammed in the case in the up position by sand from sitting on the beach.

The start:

I stay out of the way of the serious racers.

Dan and Heather are frantically trying to un-jamb their centreboard.

Dan and Heather spinnaker run.

Issues resolved, they go for a spinnaker run to Manson’s Landing.

The Nacra. In the distance is McDuff, a cold-molded Albacore owned by Suz. Very pretty boat…and fast.

The turn around at Manson’s Landing:

We sail to Manson’s Landing and then back to Shark Spit. (Nacra, Mirror 16, Nisse and Sylvia.)

Downwind I kept up to Dan and Heather.  Upwind not so good.  Overall, I had a great sail.  I have a little shore/rock crap stowaway.  He/she is my second one…I bailed out the first one and will bail this one out too.  Charging my phone…this battery pack/charger seems to have lost some of its charge.  Good thing that it is sunny. 

Relaxing on the Spit between races.

I will have a deckhand for the next leg of the Spit to Landing series…Kiala.  I will have to see how this (having crew) works out.  Having Kiala is great, the wind is quite strong, requiring a bit of hiking out.  This is the fastest sailing on the raid or ever!  Gwragedd Annwn had a gear failure…the Port leeboard mount failed.  There was a big “crack” and the mount separated away from the hull.  Still have the starboard Leeboard.  I will put the repairs onto the “errata list”.  We just sailed a little more conservatively back to the spit. 

The racing fleet at the spit as the thunder cloud approaches.

A big thunder storm approaching us. 

The Thunderhead will not miss us.

It may still miss us, but, it is not looking likely. 

The rain arrives Yes, there is a rainbow over Alan’s Wave Runner.

I had cell service and updated Pat.  She checked the weather for me and said that no rain tonight, a forty percent chance overnight until 10am tomorrow then good weather.  Charging phone with the new toy (the battery pack/charger).  Eighty-eight percent currently. My cell phone battery lasted the entire trip. I turned it off when not in use. 

Enjoying the afternoon sun after the thunder storm. The solar charger charges. Dan is wearing his “muscle” shirt.

I was hoping that the thunder head would miss us.  It did not. 

Afternoon campfire. We are watching the Thunderhead approach.

We have lost Matthew and his son Rowen.  They have left for home.  They are going to Rebecca Spit where their car and trailer is. 

Dramatic sunset.

I put up the tarp, just in case Pat’s weather report does not pan out. 

Sailing Day Twelve:

July 8th, 2022          Shark Spit to Lund.  Good-bye.  Rained last night, the tarp noisy in the NW wind.  Anchor held, I did not move in the night.  Said my good-byes to the raiders.  They are a great bunch of people.  Dan and Heather stayed a little longer, for their good-byes.  I sailed Gwragedd Annwn downwind (no leeboard) at 2½ to 3 knots. 

Busy place, a seaplane lands and heads for the spit.

The wind died.  I began to row/sail, the drift was going my way so I left the sail hoisted.  Dan and Heather were catching up.  Just off of Marina Island they caught up and I accept a tow. 

Towed again.

My Seagull will not run because the motor mount puts it too deep into the water for the exhaust to work.  The lacing on the lug sail worked loose.  I dropped the sail and retied it while being towed.  I have rolled my Tilly hat up in the tent. It is sunny and hot so I am wearing my bandana as a gumby hat now.

Towed with a gumby hat around Q20.

Ghosting the other way…

I think that he is motoring…check out the flag on the mizzen.

The wind picked up for the final sail into Lund. 

Enough wind to sail.

We arrived around three-thirty.  The dock was full, rafting three or more deep.  No room for Gwragedd Annwn. It seemed as if I could make the ferries going home if I leave now. 

Micah from Lund Parking brings the FJ and trailer down to load Gwragedd Annwn onto her trailer.

I loaded up and de-rigged Gwragedd Annwn and made a “Midnight” run for the ferry.  I am lucky,

On the Egmont ferry.

I made the Egmont ferry and ran down the coast and caught the last ferry from Langdale to Horseshoe Bay.  Ian Magrath is also on the ferry.  We had a nice chat about the Raid. We make plans for the next trip.

Great Trip, hope to see you on the 2023 Barefoot Raid!

Planned Schedule:

June 23rd      Thursday      Leave Hollyburn Sailing Club@ 10am, to Plumper Cove.

June 24th      Friday           Plumber Cove to Secret Cove.

June 25th      Saturday       Secret Cove to Pender Harbour.

June 26th      Sunday         Pender Harbour to Powell River.

June 27th      Monday        Powell River to Lund.

June 28th      Tuesday       Lund to Gorge Harbour.

June 29th      Wednesday   Gorge Harbour to Drew Harbour.

June 30th      Thursday      Drew Harbour to Rebeca Spit.

July 1st          Friday           Rebecca Spit “Gathering Day”.

July 2nd         Saturday       Rebecca Spit to Lake Bay to Carrington Bay.

July 3rd         Sunday         Carrington Bay to Von Donop Inlet to Penn Island.

July 4th          Monday        Penn Island to Teakarne Arm to Squirrel Cove.

July 5th          Tuesday       Squirrel Cove to Kinghorn Island to Cortes Bay.

July 6th          Wednesday   Cortes Bay to Herando Island (North) to Manson’s Landing.

July 7th          Thursday      Manson’s Landing to Gorge Harbour to Shark Spit.

July 8th          Friday           Shark Spit to Open Bay.  Ceremonies in PM.

July 9th          Saturday       Open Bay to Gorge Harbour.

July 10th        Sunday         Gorge Harbour to Lund.

July 11th        Monday        Lund to Powell River.

July 12th        Tuesday       Powell River to Pender Harbour.

July 13th        Wednesday   Pender Harbour to Secret Cove.

July 14th        Thursday      Secret Cove to Plumber Cove.

July 15th        Friday           Plumber Cove to Hollyburn Sailing Club.

Twenty-three days at sea.


June 23rd     Thursday      (Myst) Leave Hollyburn Sailing Club@ 10am, to Snug Cove.

June 24th     Friday           (Myst) Snug Cove to Hollyburn Sailing Club (return).

June 25th     Saturday       Prepare Gwragedd Annwn for raid.

June 26th     Sunday         Prepare Gwragedd Annwn for raid.

June 27th     Monday        Trailer Day. Take ferry to Lund, launch Gwragedd Annwn in Lund.

June 28th     Tuesday       Too windy to leave, overnight in Lund.

June 29th     Wednesday   Lund to Gorge Harbour.

June 30th     Thursday      Gorge Harbour to Drew Harbour (Heriot Bay Marina).

July 1st         Friday           Heriot Bay to Rebecca Spit…Gathering day.

July 2nd        Saturday       Rebecca Spit to Lake Bay to Carrington Bay.

July 3rd        Sunday         Carrington Bay to Squirrel Cove Gov’t dock (rainy).

July 4th         Monday        Rainy all day, overnight in Squirrel Cove).

July 5th         Tuesday       Squirrel Cove to Spilsbury Point (Hernando) to Manson’s Landing.

July 6th         Wednesday   Manson’s Landing to Shark Spit.

July 7th         Thursday      Shark Spit to Manson’s Landing and back to Shark Spit.

July 8th         Friday           Shark Spit to Lund take ferry home (last ferry sailing).

Fourteen days at sea.

Errata List:

  • Oars stored in pairs, one pair each side
  • Halyard sheet sheave – got jammed once.
  • Buoyancy tanks – Rationalize, make bigger and make central footwell narrower.
  • Put leeboards inboard, either a daggerboard or a centreboard.
  • Bring six (three each side) fenders
  • Modify outboard bracket so Seagull runs.
  • Fix Rudder – Make sure that it can be fully retracted out of water for rowing.
  • Boom tent – Make one that has good headroom and can close up.
  • Forward storage box – Maybe make into a forward storage area by bringing up the deck to gunnel level.
  • Rationalize forward anchor and towing.
  • Tiller tamer – Trim lines to fit.
  • Port and Starboard Gear bags (lunch bags) – replace with ones that can have the tops closed for rain and a drain hole.
  • Mast wind vane – move so it does not get interfered with by lug spar.
  • Traveler horse – move so sheet does not tangle onto oars.
  • Maybe more belaying pins?
  • Forward chocks for anchoring or towing.
  • Move GPS base two inches away from side of boat so GPS can be seen from any tack.
  • come up with a dedicated tow line system.

Charts: Approaches to Toba Inlet #3541, Desolation Sound and Sutil Channel #3838 and Sunshine Coast Vancouver Harbour to Desolation Sound #3311. I have painted all of my charts with Thompson’s Water Seal. According to the internet, the old stuff works and the new stuff does not. My can of Thompson’s Water Seal dates from the early 90’s. The treatment seems to work.

Food for five days:

Instant oatmeal

Pasta & sauce

Nut bars


Tuna salad

Hot Apple cider

Mixed nuts

Tide predictions for locations on the raid:

Posted in Under the Keel.... | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Urban Oarsman builds Iain Oughtred’s “Elf” Faering

Iain Oughtred’s “Elf”, plans from the Woodenboat store.

Building the Herreshoff Pram was fun…but it was not the rowboat for me. Gwragedd Annwn is a little too big for everyday rowing and cruising. At 225lbs stripped weight, she was getting a little hard for me to handle launching by myself. A lighter boat is in order.

I am going on the 2022 Barefoot Raid around Cortes Island, In British Columbia’s  Discovery Islands archipelago. I would like a “camp beach cruiser” that is lighter than Gwragedd Annwn. Iain Oughtred’s elf was featured in an article by Mats Vuorenjuuri in the October 2019 issue of Small Boats Magazine about a cruise in the Archipelago Sea on Finland’s coast. there is also a video on line of the an English Raid in 2012 showing an Iain Oughtred elf with an inboard rudder sailing quite well.

January 8th, 2021, I order the plans from the WoodenBoat store.

“Elf” is lighter than Gwragedd Annwn, will row faster and is designed to sail well. Elf will be able to take me and my gear on extended cruising trips.

Of course there are a few changes that I would like to make. I intend to sleep aboard, so no daggerboard. Instead I will add 3″ to her keel. The centre thwart will be removable to make room for sleeping aboard. I find the designed rudder to be problematic…very hard to raise for beaching. As you move towards the stern, the stern sinks. An inboard rudder in a cassette will help keep the balance when raising the rudder to beach. I found a video about an English Raid with an Elf with an inboard rudder (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxrBQnkQ0vU ). I really like balanced lug rigs over the sprit rig (What Elfyn has). The Tanbark 9’6″ Nutshell pram sail, at 55 sq’ looks good to me and almost the same size as the sprit rig.

June 21st, 2021, “I lay down the keel”

I have some well-seasoned fir leftover from the mast builds. I rip it into strips for the inner keel, I am going to laminate the keel from stem to stern. The strips will need to be 19′ long. I will have to scarf them.

The cheapest plywood at the lumber yard is ¾” Baltic Birch at $64 dollars a sheet. I get three to make the forms out of. ¾” plywood is a bit of an overkill, but, it is the cheapest plywood they have. I spend a couple of hours marking out the forms. I cut them out with a jig saw.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, I seem to always be wearing a mask!

I am re-using parts of the Herreshoff pram build strongback.

The steel angle iron is still straight. I am screwing them into the strongback.

“Elf” is going to be 15′ long. I trim the strongback a little to get a good fit for the bow and stern stem pieces.

I mark where the station molds will go. I will use two by four blocks to attach the mold stations to the strongback.

Typical attachment method.

I have marked all of the station mold station spots. I drill holes into the angle iron for the attachment screws. I use my square to insure that the station molds will be square to the strongback.

Test fit of the station molds. I will cut-out the centre pieces to make them lighter. I am going to re-use the futon frame parts to put the strongback on.

The futon frame is assembled.

I put the frame on caster wheels so I can move it into and out of the shop.

The strong back is completed, I am glueing up the ribbands from left-over strip planking stock from Paul’s Canoe build.

Taking the bead and cove off of the ribbands with the Shopsmith table saw.

The ribbands are ready to go.

Using the ribband to measure and cut the notches in the frames.

The frames cut out, with the lightening holes and ribband notches cut out.

Assembling the frames onto the strongback. I clamp them onto the station blocks and them “level” them all out.

With all of the frames “leveled” and “plumbed”, I screw them onto the station blocks. I then screw on the bow and stern stem forms.

All of the bracing pieces are in…just have to insure that nothing will stick to them. Wax time!

A pot of wax, melted on the plant-pot heater. I will brush the wax onto the forms.

The waxing process is carefully watched.

With everything waxed, I can start laminating the inner keel.

Cutting the laminations for the inner keel from the left-over mast stock.

The first lamination goes on.

My scarfing jig. A 10″ sanding disk with the table set at 10°.

This gives me a 3¼” taper, or 13 to 1.

August 21st, I start scarfing the inner keel. Not a bad looking scarf. I am using Titebond II for the gluing.

Gluing the scarf on the building jig. I will have to wait for an hour or two until I can do the next one.

A combination of F and bulldog clamps.

Next lamination goes on…The nice thing about using Titebond II is that the wait time between laminations is shorter than using epoxy.

As the inner keel gets thicker, I can no longer use the bulldog clamps. No probs, I have a lot of clamps.

The inner keel is laminated and cleaned up, I put on the ribbands.

This is the time to insure that the forms are fair. Still some tweaking to be done.

The ribbands are looking quite fair. These will form the plank edges when I cut-out the planks.

Side view.

I drill in some drain holes that also serve to hold the inner keel to the frames.

Shaping the bevel on the inner keel. For the rough work, I use a power planer. As I get closer to the correct bevel, I switch to a hand plane for the finer work.

With the bevels cut, I am using some floor protector cardboard to make the plank templates.

The blue painter’s tape is helping me get a smooth curve and reinforcing the edge of the template.

The second plank template.

Third plank template done.

A change is a good as a break. I am going to work on the oars. They are a “skinny” blade design. The fiberglass rod is being used to put a slight curve into the blades.

they are an unusual design…a right angle where the oars fit to the kabes. I am going to make regular oars and my usual oarlocks.

Cutting the blades out on the bandsaw.

Using the blue painter’s tape as a cutting line.

With the blades cut out, I am doing the handles.

Gluing a spline onto the shafts. Using Titebond II again.

Time for the amazing Bud Mackintosh spar shaper!

Shaped on right, not shaped on left. Still have the handles to do as well.

Tips get a coating of epoxy and cloth.

Setting up for the plank scarfing. 2″ over ¼ ” gives 8 to 1.

Using my belt sander, I smooth out the edges. They actually look pretty good to me!

The dry fit. the scarf seems pretty tight.

I am using epoxy for these scarfs. I am scarfing all three planks at the same time, one on top of another. I let the epoxy soak into the plywood ends for 20 minutes before I put the two pieces together.

Railroad track piece used as a clamping weight.

Not a bad looking scarf, even if I so say so myself.

The planks for the other side get the same scarfing treatment. They turn out well too.

Using one of the templates to cut out a plank.

Plank laid out and ready to cut. A few Halloween decorations are also on the bench.

Plank laid out for final trimming.

Trying to insure that I get a good bond, I use epoxy and cloth to glue the plank to the keel.

A combination of clamps, bulldog clamps, screws and blocks hold the plank tight to the inner keel and to the ribband. Packing tape keeps things that should not stick from sticking.

The first plank glued on and removed to fill any gaps between the inner keel and the planks.

Any gaps are filled. Note the slings on the sawhorses…left over from the canoe build.

Hull back on the forms, beveling the plank laps.

Rough fitting the second plank.

To get a nice, smooth and fair curve to the plank edge, I am using a longboard to sand the edges.

Nice looking curve(s) on both plank edges!

Fitting the second planks. I am very happy with the fit of the plank laps…probably one of my better jobs.

One of the gains.

Gluing on the second planks. A combination of Brenne (long-reach) clamps, bulldog clamps and screws.

With the clamps removed, the edges are beveled for the last plank.

Third plank fitted.

Gluing up the gunnels. I let the epoxy soak into the end-grain for a while so I do not get starved joints.

Epoxying up the gunnel (inside and outside) pieces.

One of the planks has turned out to be a little shy of where it should be, so I scarf on a little extra. It is now October, so the epoxy needs some extra heat to set.

Cleaning up the inner keel/planking joint for laminating on the outer keel.

Time to get the scarfing jig going again.

I am using epoxy to glue on the outer keel. The screw holes will be filled in by the next layer.

Second layer epoxied on.

As I said, I am going to replace the daggerboard with a shallow keel. The keel area is the same as the daggerboard area.

The strips are epoxied on, The gunnels are glueing. Shaping the outer keel is next.

Bow curve marked on. and outer gunnels epoxied on.

Keel roughly shaped, with the outer gunnels glued on to help keep the shape, it is time to take the boat off of the molds. She came off easily.

With the faering off of the molds, I dissemble the strong back. She has done her job very well.

Epoxying on the inner gunnels. There was a lot of wiping up of epoxy from the planks.

The faering has two frames in the midsection of the boat, at stations with the centre (station 5) and forward (station 3) two rowing thwarts. I took the two station molds and used them as forms to laminate up the two frames.

Using the two mold stations as forms for the laminated frames.

The two frames did not fit…The hull shape changed too much when removed from the strongback that I could not use them.

I ended up using some scrap to make a new form for the frames. The two forms are in this photo with the resulting frames.

The new form. It consists of blocks, covered with tape on a 3/4″ plywood frame.

My steam-box in action. The “steamer” is from Lee Valley.

Patterns for the rangs (forward and after diagonal frames).

Making the form to laminate up the rangs…there are two forms, the rangs are different at each end.

Test fitting the rangs.

Epoxying in the rowing thwart frames.

Rangs epoxied in, using cardboard to make a template for the forward (and after) breasthooks.

Forward breasthook.

After breasthook.

On her side for shaping the keel.

I have had this plane for 50+ years. It was a gift to me by My Big Brother (Big Brother Organization) Brian.

I leave a flat spot to attach the brass keel band to.

A bit of fairing is needed…but not too much.

I am going to have an inboard rudder. At the Hollyburn Sailing Club, where I will keep her, we do beach landings. I believe that having a stern hung runner according to the plans will be too awkward to bring up (and let down when leaving) when beaching. there is not a lot of buoyancy in Elf’s shapely ends.

The rudder blank.

Rudder shaft dry-fit.

The glue-up.

Letting the epoxy cure.

Rudder frame (Left) and rudder (right).

Building up the rudder cassette.

The rudder cassette.

Test fitting the rudder. Next step will be to cut the hole for the rudder cassette.

Test fitting the rudder cassette. I used my oscillating tool to cut the slot.

I have some salvaged 2 by 10’s from Dan’s old carport to make the thwarts out of.

Rough fit of the thwarts and rudder cassette. Note that the rudder cassette protrudes above the rear thwart.

Leveling everything out. Note the “legs” to keep the faering level. Rudder cassette cut flush and sides attached. I made them out of salvaged walnut flooring.

The rubbing strip and brass half-round.

The flaws in the thwarts are dealt with.

Brass half-round being installed.

The rub strip. I have not yet screwed in all of the screws on the keel strip. I had to pre-drill every screw.

A little epoxy will seal the deal.

The entire outside of the hull gets a coat of epoxy resin.

Checking the rudder fit into the cassette.

The rudder frame in the rudder cassette. The top of the frame has a handle. When the frame is out of the cassette, the rudder is high enough in the cassette to beach the faering without it hitting. It will be a push-pull tiller, similar as designed.

Making the rudder arm.

Rudder arm on the rudder shaft. There is a drilled and tapped hole through the arm and rudder shaft.

Gunnel cap going on. Due to the bend, it will be a three piece lamination. The pegs hold the first strip in place while the epoxy cures.

The gunnel cap rail epoxied into place. Note that two of the thwarts are not installed yet. Only the after one with the cassette rudder case.

Rudder & frame in. A tiller extension will fit into the arm (on the right in this photo)

Matt cut me these “D” rings.

Thwart supports epoxied in.

Stern seat supports epoxied in. Tiller extension on. Top of rudder shaft still needs work.

Top of rudder shaft is threaded to take an acorn nut.

Inside gets a coat of resin. I am using pool noodles to cushion gunnels (etc.) when handling the faering.

Rudder frame and rudder get an epoxy coat, as do the thwarts.

Starting on the flooring.

After floor.

Forward and midships flooring.

Looking really good. Flooring in, Thwarts in (Centre thwart is removable for sleeping in the faering), and ready for sanding.

Cassette rudder in the beaching position.

Fitting the oarlock pads.

Oarlock dry-fit.

Oarlock pads epoxied in.

Cutting the recesses for the oarlock sockets.

Since this will be a row/sail/camp cruiser, cargo tie-down are needed.

The tie-downs are maple blocks with 2″ brass “D” rings.

The sanding starts.

Varnishing is right behind…eight coats.

The floor boards get varnished too, with non-slip (ground walnuts) on the topsides. The floor boards are held in by stainless steel wingnuts.

Because the faering is a Norse design, and I am making the boat for the 2022 Barefoot Raid, a frightening figure head (and tail) is required.

My dragon head is made up of laminated pieces of plywood.

The figurehead gets copper scales.

The dragon head, tail and template.

The figure head and the tail fit onto the bow and stem of the faering…they are removable so as not to scare the friendly land spirits when you come home.

The faering’s tail piece.

Side view of the “Elf” faering.

The interior is sanded and the cargo tie-downs are in. You can see the bolts that hold the floors in place.

The interior varnishing begins…Eight coats later…

I am cutting up some spruce to make a bird’s mouth mast for her sailing rig.

All boats deserve a name, and my faering is named “MYST”. Her name is oak veneer epoxied onto her hull. This is the test fitting using packing tape.

Glue Myst’s name on.

Glueing up spruce strips for the bird’s mouth mast.

The scarfs in the mast strips.

Cutting the birds mouths.

Mast dry-fit.

Strips ready for epoxy

Bird’s mouth mast assembled and clamped up. It is important to keep the mast level.

I decided that I am not happy with the oars I had made, so I am making up another two pairs.

Oar blanks with the pattern.

Marking the curve for the blades.

Cutting out the oars.

Rounding out the hollow mast.

And what does every Norse inspired boat require? Why a bearded axe of course!

Axe head shaped on the pattern that I will etch into it.

My etching equipment…a battery charger, salt solution, pliers, cotton balls and the axe head with a coating where I do not want it etched.

This is how I did it. attach the negative wire to the pliers. Attach the positive wire to the axe head. Pick up a cotton ball with the pliers. Dip the cotton ball into the salt solution. Turn on the battery charger. Rub the axe head with the cotton ball.

Under the cotton ball, the axe head is etched. I went through quite a few cotton balls.

Side one of the axe head when cleaned up.

Side two.

The top of the bearded axe says “MYST” in runes.

Fitting the handle.

Every axe needs a sheath.

Mast gets the final shaping.

Gluing up the boom and the lug spar.

Myst with the new oars, mast, boom and lug spar.

Final shaping of the oars…handles, blades, shaft, etc.

Leathering the oars.

Test fitting the sail.

Making up the top of the mast section. It will have a dumb sheave for the halyard.

Mast top on the fireplace mantle to cure the epoxy.

Top fitted, shaped and epoxied into place. I stood the mast upside down while the epoxy cured so all of the epoxy would stay at the joint.

More test fitting…the mast seems a little high.

I shortened the mast for a better fit.

Making up the mast step.

I wrapped the base of the mast with epoxy and cloth where it will be stepped.

I threaded the mast partner so it will hold better when it is epoxied into the forward seat.

Mast partner epoxied into the forward thwart.

I decided to paint the hull white below the waterline. You can see the brass pipe that makes the forward painter tie point has not been shaped yet.

Rudder too.

I think that she looks great (Three coats)

Myst gets her custom launching dolly. Two beach rollers (Myst’s floatation) are in the background.

Myst on her launching dolly.

Myst, side view, with mast, spars and oars. You cannot see them, but, the beach rollers are inflated and under the thwarts for floatation.

Myst with her sail raised.

Myst’s rain cover.

Racks to hold her mast, spars and oars. Note the “dragon’s eye” symbol on the oar tips.

On the road trailer, ready to go down to Hollyburn Sailing Club.

May 26th, 2022. Delivering Myst to the Sailing Club. Her official launch will be at the 2022 HSC Sailpast.

Myst on her dolly, with her rain cover, in her spot at the Hollyburn Sailing Club, ready for her launching at the Club Sailpast.

There will be more posts about Myst…Her launching on Sailpast day and her sailing to the 2022 Barefoot Raid around Cortes Island.


Posted in Under the Keel.... | Leave a comment

The launching of “Crwban”

The Launching of Crwban and her maiden voyage, the 2020 Solstice Row.

The Hollyburn Sailing Club has seen the launch of many member built boats…Nothing Social Distances you better that building a boat!!!

As the ceremony begins, in respect, the Scotch Mist clears and the clouds begin to break up.

Crwban (pronounced ” Crew-ben”) is the Welsh name for a turtle. Land turtles are not found in Wales, but Leatherback Sea turtles frequent their shores. The backs of Leatherback turtles look a lot like the clinker planking on the pram.

Photos courtesy of Steve Britten & Rueben Schulz. Thanks Steve & Rueben!

Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Sailing Club has many new regulations in place to make the use of the Club and it’s facilities safe for members and guests. Social distancing is one. Commodore Jennifer and boat builder Mike stay an oar-length apart.

We actually say at the club, stay an oar-length apart for the rowers, a boat width apart for the sailors and a paddle distance apart for the Kayakers and Paddle Boarders. (All of which are a little over two metres)

For Crwban’s launch, we have a bottle of “SEE YA LATER” bubbly, as I hope that Crwban and I will return to the land.
The Cork is popped and Crwban is christened.

For the rest of the Ceremony, all attendees are poured some bubbly for toasts at appropriate times.

Crwban builder Mike gets his bubbly to toast his boat with.
The roll-out to the water begins.

Builder Mike is playing bagpipe music, “Scotland the Brave” as he rolls Crwban down the ramp.Click to play launching music!

There are two parts to the ceremony…Where Crwban is given to the sea and where she is asked to return safely to the land.

To remind Crwban to return to the land safely, she is brushed with tree boughs, a symbol of where she came from.
At the water’s edge, at the transition point between earth and sea, Our Commodore reads the launching ceremony.

Madame Commodore:  For Fifty-seven years, the Hollyburn Sailing Club has seen the launching of many boats.  From Sabots built in the clubhouse to vessels built in member’s homes and first set to sea here.

These boats have nurtured our members over the years and so we affectionately call them “she.”  With the blessing of the Gods of the sea and the waters of the earth, they will continue to nurture and care for our sailors, paddlers and rowers in the waters of English Bay and beyond.

To our home-built boats we toast, and ask to celebrate “Crwban.”  (Then everybody raises their glass filled with champagne or your favorite beverage and shouts: “TO THE ROWERS OF OLD…TO: “Crwban!”  (Everybody takes a sip.)

At the water’s edge, at the transition point between earth and sea, Our Commodore reads the launching ceremony.

The moods of the bay are many, from quiet and tranquil to angry and violent. We ask that the waters upon which she rows treat her kindly and that Crwban be given the strength to carry on.  Her Hull is strong and she keeps out the waters of the sea.”  (Again the glasses are raised, and the assemblage shouts: “TO THE SEA…To Mike Bretner and Crwban….TO THE SEA!” Everybody takes another sip.)

Toasts during the ceremony

Today we come to name this lady, Crwban, crafted with love and care by Mike, and send her to sea to be cared for, and to care for Mike and all who row in her from the Hollyburn Sailing Club.  We ask the spirits of the sailors of old and the moods of Gods of the sea and the mighty sea herself to accept Crwban as her name, to help her through her passages, and allow her to return with her crew safely.  (Again, with the raising of the glasses)  “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS BEFORE US…TO CRWBAN”   (The glasses are drained by a last, long sip by all.)

The final toast to the Sea, the Land and Crwban.

Now pour champagne over the bow to appease the gods of the sea. And brush her with cedar bows to encourage Crwban to remember the land and return from the sea with her crew, safely.

Mike, you may now launch your boat Crwban.

The first Row. Note the essential equipment…a seat cushion. I will not need the bailer!
This will be a short row in front of the Club in preparation for the Solstice Row.

Crwban is sitting right on her waterlines. Just about perfect!

Crwban is a delight to row…I am sure that her maiden voyage at the Solstice Row will be a successful one. She tracks well yet will turn “on a dime”.

The top pennant is the Hollyburn Sailing Club pennant, the lower one is for the Vancouver Wooden Boat Society.

Waving to the launching ceremony guests.

I would like to thank our Commodore, Jennifer, for her good humor in officiating at the ceremony. I would also like to thank the club members who attended and participated in the launch.

Crwban on the beach with the Solstice Paddle Kayak flotilla.
Crwban gets christened again by the Solstice Flotilla leader, Kayak Captain Maciej.
Crwban rowing into the Sunshine during the Solstice Row.
With the Solstice flotilla, South-West of the Dundarave Pier.
Crwban amongst the paddlers.

Crwban’s maiden voyage of the Solstice Row was a great success. Leaving the doom and gloom of a cloudy Ambleside and rowing into the Solstice summer sunshine was a great adventure.

GPS track of the Solstice Row.

I trust that Crwban will work out. Light enough to car-top easily and big enough for two.


Posted in Under the Keel.... | Leave a comment

The building and launch of “Crwban” a 10′ Herreshoff Pram.

With the Covid-19 pandemic breaking out, it seemed as if “Social Distancing” by building a boat would be a good idea. I have always admired the Herreshoff Pram design in John Gardner’s “Building Classic Small Craft” book. I thought I could build her light enough to car-top and she would be big enough for two . I began to build “Crwban” a 10′ Herreshoff Pram on March 29th, 2020.

I will build her using the Glued-Lap method. I will use light ribbands to determine the plank lines. In the book, the plans have suggested plank widths at three of the stations.

Herreshoff Pram build

My first step was to build a building frame for the station molds. I picked through a lot of 2 by 4s to get two relatively straight ones.

A crosspiece for each station mold. Trying to keep the base as “square” as possible.

Herreshoff Pram build

The legs for the base are repurposed pieces from a futon frame.

Herreshoff Pram build

The building frame is complete and as “square” as I can make it.

Laying out the station molds

I have gotten a deal on some chipboard. I am laying the molds out on them. I am cutting the chipboards down to the mold size.

White shows the pencil lines better

Laying out the molds onto the chipboard is hard, so I paint the boards white so the lines will show better and it is also a better surface to draw on.

Drawing the lines

Here I am drawing the lines for the mold. I am using a flexible piece of oak strip to draw the outside mold line. I will be building the boat upside down and have adjusted all of the measurements for this.

Bow transom glue-up

I recently acquired some walnut flooring. I mill the flooring pieces and glue them together getting a 1/2″+ bow and stern transom.

Stern transom glue-up

I am using Titebond II to glue-up the transoms.

Cutting out the station molds

I cut all of the station molds out using my jig saw.

Rough cut on the molds

With the molds rough-cut out, I will use my disk sander to fair the curves.

Fairing the curve on the bow transom template

I sand the molds and the bow and stern templates to get a fair and even curve.

Setting up the station mold and the bow and stern transom templates.

This is the most finically part of the process. The pieces are held in by screws to the cross members. I can adjust the height and sideways placement until all the marks line up. I then clamp everything up. Double check the alignments, then, screw it all together.

Stern transom

I am fitting the stern transom for a rough cut to shape…Final shaping will be when the planks are laid.

Bow transom rough shaping

Getting everything roughed out and aligned.

Cutting out the transoms

I use my 14″ bandsaw to cut out the transoms.

Bow transom
Stern transom

With the transoms roughed out, I begin to put the ribbands on.

Yellow cedar ribbands.

I am going to use the ribbands to determine the plank shapes.

Fitting the ribbands.

The plans have plank widths for station #8, station #3 and the stern transom. I cut notches in stations #8 & #3 for the ribbands.

Eyeballing the planks

This is another finically operation. Put the ribband onto the molds, have a look and see if the plank outlines look good…maybe adjust one which makes you adjust another…and so on.

Half done

When I am satisfied, I duplicate the measurements to the other side.

All the ribbands fitted and faired. Time to “lock them down”. A dab of epoxy will keep them from moving. I have to remove all of the finishing nail to lay the planks.

I decide to take the ribbands to the transoms. I will trim off all of these ends.

Epoxy holding the ribbands to the bow transom form.

I lock all of the ribbands down with epoxy and remove all of the finishing nails.

Ends trimmed

I have trimmed off all of the ribband ends and the bow transom will be rough cut and have its final shaping when the planking goes on.

Bow transom roughed out and ready for planking

The bow transom is ready to start planking. The wide notch is for the garboard plank…I decided to do a plank keel instead of two planks with a keel piece.

Stern transom ready for planking

It was my intention to use that stiff floor protector construction cardboard (Ramboard) stuff to get a pattern for the planks. Place a strip along the ribbands, draw to the outside of the ribbands. Presto! a plank pattern.

Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my supplier of floor protector is closed and Ramboard is out of my budget. After a lot of thought, trial and error I develop an alternate plan.

Bevelling jig on the 12″ disk sander.

I am going to cut all of my plywood into strips, splice them together to get planks and then lay the planks onto the form to get the plank shapes. To quote John Gardner: “Fortunately, our pram has an easy shape to plank. Strakes can be lined out nearly straight, for the greater part, and go on without twist or sny.” “Building Classic Small Craft, pg 27)

6mm Garboard plank keel and what will be two planks.

The bevel for the scarf joint cut with the sanding disk jig. 8 to 1.

Epoxy glue

I am using epoxy glue for the scarfs.

A little weight while the epoxy cures.

I just have to insure that the epoxy does not soak into the wood and starve the joint.

probably the best scarf joint I have ever made.

In trying to make the pram light, I am using 6mm marine plywood for the first three planks, 4mm marine plywood for plank 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, & 9. Back to 6mm fo the sheer plank.

Modifying the block plane

To cut the plank bevels, I am using an idea I saw in Tom Hill’s book, “Ultralight Boatbuilding”, where you take a block plane and attach a guide to it.

Tapping the hole for the guide rod.

I drill a hole in the side of my block plane for a guide and tap it.

Such a good idea, I do it to the other side of the plane as well.
The other side as well.
Edges marked for the plank edges for the “garboard plank/ plank keel.

So the procedure is as follows: place plank onto form. Insure that plank covers appropriate ribbands. Mark plan with pencil. Edge nearer to the keel is the overlap mark. Edge closer to the sheer strake is the edge of the plank. This garboard/keel plank has two plank edge marks.

Garboard plank/plank keel cut and fitted.

Now I attach the plank to the bow and stern transoms.

Cellophane tape keeps the epoxy from sticking where it should not stick.

I use a barrier of cellophane tape to keep the plank from sticking to the forms and the ribbands.


Lots of room for the clamps. I am using the ribbands to clamp to.

Insuring that there is not a starved joint.

I am trying not to use any nails/screws in the construction, so, one plank a day.

Time to cure

It is still quite cold, so I leave little heat on under the hull.

Plank edges beveled. You can see the pencil mark for the overlap.

The block plane with the guide works great! Mark the overlap and then plane the plank edge down using the next ribband as a guide. If I was going to use this method again, I would not notch any of the station molds. The plane hits the molds at the notches.

Plank edges beveled and cellophane tape on. Still have to tape up the ribbands.

The first three planks are 6mm.

Fitting plank #2

I lay the plank along the ribbands and insure that the plank covers them.

Marking/fitting the planks

The planks are almost 16′ long so I can stagger the scarf joints well.

Gluing plank two on.

If I have fitted the planks well, I can use bulldog clips to clamp the planks together.

Plank three.

I am putting on a plank a day. So, ten days to plank.

Plank four. Over to 4mm planking

I cut a notch in each transom for each plank. The better the fit, the tighter the seam between the planks.

Plank five.
Plank six.

I have to be careful fitting the planks. Some of the planks are not identical to their sibling on the other side.

Plank seven.
Plank eight.
Plank nine

Plank nine is the last of the 4mm planks. Plank ten, the sheer strake, will be 6mm.

Plank ten, the sheer strake. I finally get to use some of those Brenne Clamps I made.
Clamps off. All planked up.

With the hull planked, time to set the sheer line.

sheerline setting

Using the measurements from the plans and a lot of eyeballing, I mark the sheerline.

Marked and ready to cut…almost.

With the sheerline marked, the next step is to cut it out. I will have to remove the boat from the forms to cut the sheerline.

She just “popped” off of the form.

Now I disassemble the form to make space for the boat while I finish her.

Sheerline marked for cutting.

To cushion the hull, I use a big dropcloth.

Gluing on the walnut veneer

To tie the colour scheme together, I am gluing a walnut veneer to the sheer strake.

Lots of clamps and pads.

I am using Titebond II to glue the walnut veneer on with.

“Walnut” sheer strake.

I am going to use maple for the gunnels and along the bottom of the sheer strake to highlight the walnut,

Cutting the scarfs for the maple sheer strakes

My pieces of maple are not quite long enough…Time for another scarf joint.

Epoxy gluing the gunnels.

I made two sawhorses using Tom Devries’s ideas from Small Boats e-Magazine. (April 2020)

A Spanish windlass pulls the gunnels in.

Lots of clamps help, as I have to pull the gunnel strips in for a tight fit.

Maple accent strip.

To highlight the walnut sheer strake, I am epoxying a maple accent strip to the bottom the the plank. It will look good and protect the bottom edge of the strake.

Laid up

Get to use the Brenne clamps again. They actually work really well.

Time to sand

There will be a lot of sanding to do. I am aiming for a bright finish.

Gluing up the keel

I am making it out of 3/4″ maple.

Maple strips on the boil

I am going to laminate all of my knees. I rip up the rest of my maple stock and boil them up for bending.

Strips in form

I make up a form for each type of knee. Keel to Stern, Keel to Bow, two Stern to Gunnel and two Bow to Gunnel. I will make up the 12 thwart knees (Each seat will have two knees) when I do the thwarts.


I only have one form for each type of knee. The epoxy cures overnight.

Stern transom knee base epoxied in.
Stern, Bow and quarter knees in.
Bow knee and bow transom knees.
Stern knee and stern transom knees in. Brass mallet holds the knee in position.
Planks trimmed flush

With all of the hull knees in, I trim the planks flush with the bow transom.

Keel build

The keel is going on in two laminations. I glue on the first piece. There is enough plank left to clamp to.

Planks trimmed flush

When the epoxy has cured, I trim the planks flush. Ready for the next piece.

The rest of the keel glued on.

More sanding occurs now

Coat of epoxy

A coat of epoxy seals the marine plywood and insures that all of the plank laps are glued together.

Seat fitting

Some of the drips visible on the inside are from gaps in the planks. The tape is marking where the centre thwart will go.

Tape marks seat edges.

I am doing this to determine how much material I need to make the seats. I have not yet decided how I am going to make the seats.

Rub strips

In the meantime, I make and epoxy on the rub strips.

Hull sanded

The hull is prepped for another epoxy coat. Lotsa sanding.

Another coat.

With the outside of the hull more or less finished, I work on the seat knees.

Thwart knee forms

More ripping of maple stock.

Maple strips soaking

While the maple strips soak, I work on the seat risers…maple strips

Brenne clamps to the rescue!

I mark the hull where the seat risers should go…6″ below the gunnel.

Marking the floors.

The floors will be fitted to the first three planks, with limber holes.


I am going to weigh the boat. I had predicted a hull weigh (planking only) of 60 lbs. What will she weigh with the knees, gunnels, seat riser and keel?


The hull weight is good. I am hopeful for a light boat

Bent strips and forms.

The knee strips are bent and ready to be glued up. Titebond II and lots of clamps.


Each strip is coated on both sides with Titebond II. The form has been waxed to prevent sticking.

Overnight dry

While I am making the seat knees, I begin work on the floors.


The floors are scribed and then cut. I use the 12″ disk sander to fine fit them.

Still fitting

I use a pencil on a block to mark the cuts, then the disk sander to fine fit.

Cutting the limber holes

I cut limber holes for drainage.


I use my drill press to cut the limber holes. I used a 1″ hole saw, clamped the floor in place to make the cut. I sand the limber holes smooth with a drum sander.

‘poxy time.

I have leveled the hull and level the floors as I epoxy them in.

Test fitting the walkway

After the floors have been epoxied in, I begin to fit the walkway. I am using leftover 6mm marine plywood. The gaps between the panels are for bailing access. They will be under the thwarts.

Test fitting the thwarts

With the walkways more or less fitted, time to do the seats. I got a deal on “White Maple”. I decide to use the nearly 1″ thick material for the thwarts. They will not need a centre support. I decide to add a walnut trim to the seat edges.

Walnut trim.

I have to laminate up a piece for the stern thwart.

Stern thwart

Using Titebond II for the thwarts

Thwarts laid out.

With the thwarts all glued up and sanded, I fit them into the boat.


Fitting the knees. I mark them out and use the 12″ disk sander to shape.

I will be epoxying them in using a low clamping pressure method.

Thwart knees and walkways fitted

With the thwart knees fitted and ready to go, I finish up the walkways. They need a way to keep them in place.

Maple clips

I make up some maple catches to hold one side of the walkways…Six in total.

Maple latch

I design a maple latch for the other edge of the walkway. Twist to lock, twist the other way to unlock and remove the walkways.

Making the latches

I cut a guide hole about half way into the block for the base of the latch.

First cut
Using the bandsaw

The second cut is done on the bandsaw. The latch is cut to shape.

Work in progress

The third cut makes the sloped section that goes over the walkway.

A block keeps my fingers safe.
Mock up on the bench.

The walkways have a half-circle cut into them for the latch.

Test fit in the boat.

I dry-fit the walkways in the boat. Seems OK.

To glue in the clips, I drill a screw hole, epoxy the clip to the floors and when the epoxy has cured, I remove the screw and replace it with a bamboo dowel.

Clips epoxied in.

With the walkways fitted, I am varnishing them. Time to sand the inside of the hull.

Ten coats. You can see the non-slip texture.

After the second coat of varnish, I sprinkle some ground up walnut shells for non-slip.

Two coats of epoxy and the thwarts fitted and epoxied in.

After the epoxy cures, the inside and outside of the hull gets a through sanding in preparation for varnishing.

Oarlock socket blocks fitted. Both sets of clips are in. When the epoxy cures I install the Gaco two position oarlock sockets. I only bought one pair, I order another pair from John Murray.

Flip her over and install the brass half-rounds and we are ready for Varnish, Varnish, Varnish….I drill the bow transom painter hole before varnishing so I can varnish the hole too.

Two coats a day

I put two coats a day on the outside of the hull. Rolled and tipped. One in the morning and one in the evening. Eight coats in total on the outside.

Last coat

I then flip the hull over and brush on eight coats on the inside, Thwarts and all.

Eight coats of varnish later. Bow painter hole visible.
Note the hawsehole on the quarter

Crwban will have only one line…The painter. I will use the hawseholes to run lines through.

Forward hawsehole

The hawseholes are more hand grips for carrying than hawseholes for hawsers.

After hawsehole.

I flip her right side up and paint on her name using the Papyrus font in white paint.

Crwban ready to go down to the Hollyburn Sailing Club for her launching, June 20th, 2020.

Crwban (pronounced ” Crew-ben”) is the Welsh name for a turtle. Land turtles are not found in Wales, but Leatherback Sea turtles frequent their shores. The backs of Leatherback turtles look a lot like the clinker planking on the pram.

Crwban is flying the Hollyburn Sailing Club burgee and the Vancouver Wooden Boat Society burgee. She has a Port (red) and Starboard (green) clip-on bag for stuff. Her 1/4″ bow painter runs through a painter hole in the bow transom.

Bare hull weight: 90lbs. Rowing weight: 105lbs (floor boards, bailer, bowline & oars)

Good rowing to you.


Posted in Under the Keel.... | Leave a comment

Captive oarlock anti-clunk method.

While refinishing my “Bolgerized” oars, I decided to use Captive Oarlocks. Captive oarlocks go on the oars and are kept on the oarshaft by the button on the oar leathers.

Two “Captive” oarlocks.

I use the Bolgerized oars with my “Trug” skiffs. One pair has Bronze round oarlocks. (like the picture above)

Scotty Strongbacks

One set has a pair of Scotty Strong-backs oarlocks.

What I do not like about captive oarlocks is that when the oar is out of the boat and being carried, the oarlock inevitably slides down the oarshaft and clunks against the shoulder of the oar blade. CLUNK! I also do not like the mark the oarlocks make in the varnish at the oar blade shoulder.

So I thought to myself, if a button can keep the oarlock from coming off of the oar, another one can keep the oarlock from sliding down the shaft and hitting the shoulder of the oar.

Cork strip

I do not have any leather and with the Covid-19 “do not travel unless you have to” directive, I will not be going out to some. I do have some cork left over from the Brenne Clamp Build. I will use that.

I cut the cork into 3/4″ wide strips. I will use two strips per oar.

I have the two strips of cork glued onto the oar leather. I could have placed the cork strips onto the shaft of the oar as well. A hose clamp applies the necessary clamping pressure.

I do not know how “tough” the cork will be, so, I decide to wrap the cork with sailing twine to keep it from coming undone.

Whipping the cork with sailing twine.
Trim the ends and I will be ready for varnishing.
I am refinishing all of my oars. Every morning they get another coat.

Thirteen coats for Gwragedd Annwn’s oars and Twelve for the Bolgerized oars with the captive anti-clunk cork buttons.

…a wee bit of oar maintenance keeps the oarsman rowing…


Posted in Under the Keel.... | Leave a comment

Bolgerizing Oars

In his book, “Small Boats”, Phil Bolger, in his essay on rowing, describes how to modify an ordinary mass production oar to make it more pleasant to use.

Modifying mass production oars in the Bolger method

With the current Covid-19 situation, maintaining one’s equipment may be the best way to self-isolate.

Twenty-five years or so ago, I built a glued-lap Defender design from Phil Bolger’s “Small Boats” book. My good friend, Chris, bought the oars for the boat. i still have them, even though the boat is long gone. (retired to Half Moon Bay, Sunshine Coast, oarless!)

The oar blades:

Blade shape of the mass-produced oar.
Edge view of the oar blade.
Another look at the blade shape.

What I am going to do is to flatten the “power” side of the blade using my grinder and a sanding disk.

Grinder and sanding disk.

The sanding disk will slightly cup the power face of the oar.

Using the sanding disk, I start running the disk down the spine of the blade.
Right through the Logo!
The sanding disk leaves a slight depression on the power side of the blade.

I continue to remove material using the sanding disk until I have sanded to the edges of the blade.

Just about done…I will use a Random Orbit sander to finish the power face.

As I am slightly cupping the blades, I will not remove any material from the passive face of the oar.

When I am happy with the smoothness of the power face, I give the entire oar a light sanding with the Random Orbit sander…It helps keep a slight cup to the power face.
Sanded, ready to have a wash with paint thinner…. vacuum and then wipe with thinner.

This is the passive face of the oar…untouched except for a little sanding.

If I get a little drop or run of varnish, I cut if off with a sharp utility knife.
Varnish lump gone. ..a quick pass with the sandpaper seals the job.
Ad-Hoc varnish drying rack…this is similar to my usual drying method using two sawhorses.

To put the logos on the oar blades, I print them onto Onionskin paper and then varnish them on.

The handles (unvarnished) rest on one of the steps and the leathers (also unvarnished) rest on another. There is actually some sun today.

Many coats of varnish and many coats to go.

The rains have begun…I will put ten or more coats of varnish on the oars, one coat a day. Usually I put on more coats until I run out of varnish. (It always seems to harden up in the can, might as well use it) This time I have bought a big can of varnish, so only ten coats.

When the Pandemic is over I will take the oars out for a spin…may be a while.

My next project is to build the Herreshoff Pram from John Gardner’s book, “Building Classic Small Craft”, pages 18 to 31.

Good Rowing to you and stay safe,


Posted in Under the Keel.... | 4 Comments

The Urban Oarsman builds Brenne Clamps.

A long, long time ago I built Phil Bolger’s 11′ Defender design in glued lapstrake planking.  I made some long-reach clamps for the build.  They were pretty crude but they did the job.

My old clinker planking clamps. The jaws are basically parallel. Made them from 2 by 4’s. The handscrew tightens the clamp, the threaded rod to the right controls the amount of jaw opening.

I used threaded rod and tried to imitate a Wooden Handscrew Clamp with the adjustable jaws. 

The clamps are pretty rough.
The nut in the lower jaw allows the threaded rod to tighten the clamp. The threaded rod hole in the upper jaw is loose, allowing the upper jaw to flex a little.

I cut up some 2 by 4’s and used some cherry firewood for the handles.  Bolts are set into the jaws. I made up thirteen clamps for the 11′ Defender build.

I was imitating the classic “Jorgensen” handscrew clamp design that has hardwood jaws that can be offset and/or angled to keep parts from shifting.

In the thirty years since the last build, I am now older and wiser, maybe a little more skilled and I am going to again build a glued-lap clinker boat. 

In reading the November 2019 and June 2015 issues of Small Boats Monthly, I found the plans for Brenne Clamps by Christopher Cunningham.  I decided to build some. 

By the way, Small Boats Monthly is a great resource…you should subscribe!

The Brenne clamp was designed by Harald P.  Brenne, a teacher at the boatbuilding section of Saltdal Videregående Skole at Rognan in Northern Norway.  The clamp is referenced in the book Planking and Fastening by Peter H. Spectre, in an article by Bjørn Skauge.

There is also an article by Bjørn Skauge in WoodenBoat magazine, issue 29, page 67.

I had a look at Christopher’s plans and then drew up some of my own.

 My clinker planking will be about ¼” and 1/8” thick, making a total thickness of ½”, 3/8” and ¼” at the lap.  This clamp will work for planking lap thickness of up to maybe 1”.  I decided to have a 10” reach, making the clamp 16” long.  I was fortunate enough to be able to buy a number of recycled ¾” oak-faced plywood shelves from the local Urban Repurpose store for 25¢ each. 

Three dollars worth of ¾” oak-faced plywood and a dollar’s worth of aluminum bar. The piece of polished aluminum bar was 1″ by 1/8″ by 8′ long!

Each shelf gave me enough material for two clamps.  For the Pins, I used some 3” common nails. 

I did not have any luck in making springs work. I could not source compression springs long enough not to pop out of the clamp when fully open. My son suggested using extension springs attached at the cheek end of the clamp…Instead of a springs, I used some surgical tubing at the cheek end to open the clamps, secured by ½” (could go to ¾”) screws & washers.  For the steel strap connecting the cam to the bottom jaw, I used left over scrap metal, some aluminum bar, some left-over half-round from Gwragedd Annwn’s build and some left-over concrete form ties (cut to size) from my garage/boathouse project. 

The tools I used were:  Bandsaw with a 3/8” blade, Shopsmith with the 12’ sanding disk, Drill Press with a 2½” hole saw, and a 5/32” drill bit, Hacksaw, 1” Belt sander with a metal sanding belt, Cordless drill, Hammer, Metal files, Scissors, Varnish brush and a Random-orbit sander. 

Some of the stuff I used in the build…Centre punch, 5/32″ and 1/16″ drill bits, small hole punch, 3″ nail, 1/4″ thick cork, 2 ½” hole saw, surgical tubing, ½” screws and washers.

I suggest that you build one clamp, using screws so you can disassemble the clamp and make it into a pattern…when you know that your interpretation will work for your build, you can then make as many as you want.

Tracing the patterns out on a piece of left-over ¾” oak-faced plywood shelving.

To make the clamps, I traced the patterns onto one of the ¾” oak-faced plywood shelves. 

Tracing complete…two clamps less the cheek pieces.

I cut out the pieces with the bandsaw using a 3/8″ blade. 

Cutting out the cam levers.
Jaws cut out…ready for sanding. I will cut out the half-round after sanding.

I then sanded the pieces to the line using the Shopsmith 12” sanding disk. 

Sanding to the line.

A little extra sanding on the hinge end of the upper jaw insures that the upper jaw will move freely between the cheek pieces when assembled. 

I used the Drill Press, clamping the upper jaw blank and cutting out the cam semi-circle with the 2½” hole saw. 

I line up the hole saw with my drawn line. The upper jaw is clamped in place. Because the centre drill of the hole saw does not cut into the jaw, I can get the hole saw right to the line.

After cutting out the half-rounds, I sand the cam lever pieces. Be careful when sanding the cam lever pieces. I now match the cam lever piece to a particular Upper Jaw piece and sand the cam lever to fit the Upper Jaw piece.

Next, use the drill press with the 5/32” inch drill bit to drill two of the remaining pilot holes…One in the cam, off centre.

Brenne Clamp Build

  The two lower jaw holes are for two bamboo pins that reinforce the fixed joint between the lower jaw and the cheek pieces.  I will drill and pin the Lower Jaw after the glueing the cheek pieces to the Lower Jaw and the glue has dried.  The third lower jaw hole is for the pin that holds the cam to the lower jaw.  It is below and slightly offset to the cam hole when the clamp is assembled.  I dry assemble the clamp and use the cam strap to determine where the third Lower Jaw hole should be.  There is one hole in the upper jaw.  The hole is at the pivot point.  The pivot hole is on the midline of the Upper Jaw and the same distance from the end of the jaw. 

  I drill one hole at the top of the strap.

I use the punch so the drill bit will not skate on the cam strap.

With everything cut, I dry-assemble the clamp in the closed/locked position. 

Dry fitting the pieces. I have drilled the Upper Jaw pivot holes in the cheek pieces. Just like the plans, the Lower Jaw restes on the base, same as the cheek pieces.

There should be about 1½” between the jaws at the cheek pieces.  I usually make sure that the jaws are parallel at the tip. 

Dry fit done. The jaws are parallel at the tip and the tips are even.

This is when I glue the cheek pieces to the lower jaw. If you are making a pattern, you now have one, just use screws instead of glue for the next parts…

Back cheek piece and Lower Jaw glued up.
Upper cheek piece glued up. Time to “straighten” up the clamp.
Might as well glue on the cork faces for the jaws. Cam straps are in the background. I have no idea who the cartoon characters are.

I get the clamp “squared” up and make the jaws parallel when the clamp is closed, then clamp it up.

Clamp “squared” up, cork jaw faces in…Time to clamp it up!
Two “F” clamps hold the cheek pieces and the jaws together.

I ballpark the length of the cam straps, insuring that there is enough length to go from the cam to the middle of the Lower Jaw. 

The top hole drilled in the cam strap. Rounding the top and bottom of the strap and taking off any rough spots.

This is when I cut the cam straps to length…The distance from the middle of the lower jaw up to the cam lever hole. It is personal preference as to which way the cam operates. Mine the cam moves forward to lock. Thought it looked better. 

I mark where the hole is. When I drill the actual hole, I will drill it 1/8″ lower than my mark, to insure that the clamp locks tight.

When the glue dries, mark your two remaining pilot holes.  These are the for the two bamboo reinforcing pins. Glue them in. I usually give all of the pieces a coat of varnish after sanding and before final assembly. I tried using bee’s wax but it did not work.


I take the reassembled clamp over to the disk sander and round off the edges and shape the cheek pieces. Make sure that your Upper Jaw pivots freely.

Time to attach your jaw-opening device to the clamp. I did not have any luck with springs, although, I did order a lot of Pruning Shear or Secateur springs from China…should get her sometime before summer… I will give them a go when I get them, but for now….

Snippering the Surgical tubing to make a jaw-opening device.
Punching a hole in the Surgical tubing…I was unable to drill or screw through the tubing. If your screw tip does not go through the hole and catches on the tubing, you will be unable to screw it into the jaw pieces.
Screw (with washer) all the way through the Surgical tubing.

A small amount of spit makes the screw turn easier in the Surgical tubing.

Pilot hole in both Jaws for the Surgical tubing screws.
Surgical tubing attached.

I usually do not attach the cam and cam straps until after I attach the the Surgical tubing…Having the Upper Jaw able to swing freely makes the job easier.

Reassemble your clamp…ensure that the clamp works to your satisfaction. 

The reassembled clamp. Now to cut off the nails for preening. Only one bamboo reinforcing pin goes into this one.

If the clamp jaws are not meeting tightly enough when the clamp is in the closed/locked position or are too tight in the closed/locked position, you can fix this.  Two ways, re-drilling the hole in your Lower Jaw or replacing the cam straps or re-drilling the pivot hole in the strap.  You could also add another layer of cork or leather to the jaws of you could sand off some of the cork if too tight.. Fill any “unused” holes with bamboo pins glued-in.

Nails preened, clamp ready to clamp.

If the Surgical tubing device will not open your jaws fully, you have several fixes. One: shorten the length of the tubing, Two: double up the tubing, Three: take the Upper Jaw off and sand down the pivot end of the jaw.

The Surgical tubing device open the jaws fully.

If your clamp works to your satisfaction, dissemble and use the pieces as templates to make as many as you need…One for every foot of boat length for each side of the boat..?

I made the jaws wide enough at the front to hang the Brenne clamps from a pipe rack.

All in, I spent less than Ten dollars for the twenty-two clamps I made…Each clamp cost less than 25¢ in materials!!! and I have enough left-over material for another ten!

My take on the Brenne clamp as described in the Long-Reach Clamps article by Christopher Cunningham in the November 2019 issue of Small Boats Monthly. By using string instead of straps for the cam, the clamps are more adjustable. Downside is that the cam can fall off of the Upper Jaw when you are trying to clamp something up. The half-round cut-out in the Upper Jaw is much bigger than needed. I had a spare jamb-cleat…a hardwood one would work just as well.

Hope to see you out on the water in a glued-lap clinker boat soon,


Posted in Under the Keel.... | 2 Comments

The Urban Oarsman rows (and sails!) to the top of Pitt Lake with the Hollyburn Sailing Club 2019 May Long Weekend Paddle.

The Urban Oarsman rows (and sails!) to the top of Pitt Lake with the Hollyburn Sailing Club 2019 May Long Weekend Paddle.Pitt Lake Trip, May long weekend 2019

The Urban Oarsman, and three paddlers leave the rain of Vancouver and paddle & row into the sunshine of Pitt Lake

Leaving the rain behind.

Heather and I arrive at the Grant Narrows boat launch. It is $15 for me to launch Gwragedd Annwn and free for car-topped kayaks. Paddlers get all the breaks. I also pay $20 for parking until Monday. The rain is just easing up.

Gwragedd Annwn at the dock, ready to depart. I have made a sailing rig for her. The mast is stepped and I am ready for any wind. There is none, so I row.

We will paddle on the East side of the lake for the trip up, West side for the trip down.

Departing the dock.

I am packed and ready to go. After stepping the mast, I row Gwragedd Annwn up river to Pitt Lake. Heather is still packing her Coop Kayak.

As Heather in her Coop Kayak is much faster than I, I head out while she is still packing. She will catch up with me and pass me soon.

The rain has stopped. The clouds are getting lighter to the South. Maciej and Sharron arrive as Heather departs Grant Narrows.

The clouds still look pretty dark up the lake.

Raven Creek campground is about 10km uplake from Grant Narrows.

There are pilings along the South End of the lake. Old log booming grounds.

The South shore of the lake has a number of old log boom pilings. Three of them have been put to good use by Ospreys. Several of the pilings have nesting platforms on top of them.

Osprey on the nest with chicks. Note the landing bar.

The South end of Pitt Lake has the largest negatively accreting delta in the world, and Pitt Lake is the second largest fresh water tidal lake in the world. We will have to make sure to bring the kayaks above the high tide line. There is a dredged channel leading along the South shore and then up into the lake. With the high water and our shallow draft, we can Row & Paddle anywhere.

Cruising along, between the pilings and the dyke, leaving the dark and damp behind.

The rain has stopped completely. There is no wind. Ideal conditions for paddling.

Heather passes another Osprey nest…and me.

Whenever you begin a paddle, things always get better….

Sunshine breaking through.

Good weather is on the way!

The beginning of a sunny long weekend!

Heather and I make it to the Raven Creek campground…Meanwhile…

HSC Kayak Captain Maciej and SKABC member, Sharron paddle along the dyke after leaving from Grant Narrows.

Heather and I do not see Maciej and Sharron. The Raven Creek delta blocks our view of the South shore of the lake.

Maciej and Sharron arrive at Raven Creek. We are happy to see them.

Maciej arrives at Raven Creek.
Sharron arrives at Raven Creek.
Happy to be here.
We do not pull Gwragedd Annwn up the beach, she is anchored at the shore.

We are all secure for the night. The kayaks pulled up and Gwragedd Annwn moored securely.

Supper time on the beach. Maciej is making “dessert”, a mulled wine digestif.
You can see the high tide line behind us.

We make camp and make supper. The sun has dried everything out.

Interesting Polypores (Bracket fungi) at the campsite.

We have a modest campfire on the beach below the high tide line.

When the rising tide puts out the campfire, it is time for happy, tired paddlers to go to sleep.

The tide does rise quite high. The evening tide is the “low” high and the morning tide is the “high” high. We have about 12″ or so to go before our camp floods.

Impromptu bear cache.

The full moon tomorrow night will be the “Blue” moon and the tide will be at its highest then.

Saturday morning launch. We are going to Vickers Creek campground.

The tide is higher in the morning than it was last night.

The plan for Saturday is to paddle to Vickers Creek Campground, another 17km or so uplake (27km from the Grant Narrows launch).

Looks like some pictographs. This may be the pictograph shown on a map by Chris Arnett, Department of Anthropology, UBC, in his work “Rock Art of the Lower Fraser River Region”.
Pictograph of the Giant Black Salamanders of Pitt Lake!?!

For a moment, I think that I see a clue to the Giant Salamander mystery.

A seal checks us out

Perhaps another clue to the Giant Black Salamanders of Pitt Lake mystery…a miss-identified seal sighting.

With the recent rain, the Pitt Lake waterfalls are flowing.

As afternoon arrives, a slight breeze picks up. I decide to try sailing.

This is the idea…too windy to row, Sail. Not enough wind to sail, Row.

Gwragedd Annwn running under sail.

I put my rudder on, drop the leeboards and hoist my 104 square foot balanced lug sail for a downwind run.


We meet mid-lake. Heather, Maciej and Sharron are much faster in the kayaks and have checked out the Vickers Creek campsite. They say the beach is too jammed with drift logs for a landing.

Making plans to check out Pitt River delta for a campsite

They have also checked out Ashby Creek and have come to the same conclusion. We decide to check out the north end of Pitt Lake for a campsite.

Sailing to the North end of Pitt Lake, where the Pitt River enters.

The kayakers are so quick that they can check out the sites and have a break and meet me before I arrive at the North end of the lake.

Pitt River delta in the distance.

Even under sail, the kayaks are still faster than Gwragedd Annwn. They will paddle up and scout for a campsite. If they do not find anything, they will return and we will try Vickers or Ashby…..

Going up Pitt River, looking for a campsite.

In his book “The Vancouver Paddler”, Glen Stedham says that there are sandy beaches near the mouth of Red Slough, on the Eastern shore suitable for camping. With Pitt Lake water level so high, will the beaches are under water?

The kayakers arrive at a gravel bar upriver.

Maciej decides to explore the Pitt River delta area for a campsite.

This is as far up as I can get…The current is too strong and the water too shallow to row up any further. I beach Gwragedd Annwn, tie her up and on my way upriver to tell the kayakers, I discover a good, high and sandy campsite on the bank behind the willows.

The camp is sandy, with willows sprouting. The tops of the willows have been eaten by Moose…In the sand, we see their hoof prints and their scat.

Maciej at the Pitt River camp. Even he is tired from paddling against the river current.

We hope that we do not get stepped on by browsing moose in the night.

Suppertime at the Pitt River willow camp.

I am using my wife’s Trangia stove, still going strong after all these years. This methyl alcohol stove burns silently, boils AND simmers well. Great stove. Lightweight…quiet as the wilderness itself.

We have solved the Giant Black Salamanders of Pitt Lake mystery. There are not giant salamanders, but giant toads!

There were hundreds of Western Toad (Bufo boreas) toadlets hopping around at the campsite.

This one seems to be eyeing up Maciej.

Evening falls on our camp.

Tonight is the night of the Blue Moon. Heather wakes up to see it.

Gwragedd Annwn tied up for the night with Golden Ears in the background.

The moon is scenic through the clouds. Sadly, no photos turned out.

In the morning, Heather and Sharron break camp.

We have discussed where to spend our last night. With both Vickers and Ashby Creek campsites being log-jammed, we decide to return to Raven Creek.

Rowing, this time with the current, down Pitt River for Raven Creek campsite.

The kayakers paddle down river too.

Departing the Pitt River Delta for Raven Creek.
Yet, again, the kayakers pass me. Maciej’s picture.

The kayakers will go to Ashby Creek and try to intercept our one night campers. We do not have any cell phone or internet service here to communicate with them.

My picture of Maciej.

Kayakers having a rest stop.

Kayaker rest stop.
Some beaches are very difficult, even for kayaks, to land at.

For Gwragedd Annwn and I, the wind picks up and I try sailing again. With inflow wind speeds of up to and sometimes over 8 kts, I get over 5.5 kts, most of the time in the right direction. I hope the wind holds!!!

I sail right past Ashby Creek and do not see any kayakers.

Coming up to Cozen Point. Note the lack of movement of the smoke on the far shore. (sigh!) Barely a ripple in the water…wind is fading fast.

No wind.

At Cozen Point, the wind drops to no wind and Pitt Lake is a flat as glass. Goose Island is to the right of centre in this photo.

I furl the sail and begin to row. Perfect rowing (or paddling) conditions. However, with no air movement whatsoever, brilliant sunshine, I am cooking. I have about an 8km row to Raven Creek beach. 3+hrs at the thwart?

In this heat, I row for about ten minutes, stop, wipe my forehead and neck with a wet bandanna, have a drink of water and row on…then repeat…and row on…repeat…and row on…and repeat and row on.

Back at Raven Creek campsite.

After three and a quarter hours of rowing and three litres of water later, I am at Raven Creek.

Gwragedd Annwn on the beach, with Goose Island to the left and Little Goose Island to the right. Cozen point just left of centre.

Maciej receives an email sent to him this morning that the two Sunday kayakers have left the Grant Narrows launch…We have missed them. We hope that they will have a good paddle and a good night.

Campfire on the beach again.

In the photo above, you can see the high tide line behind Sharron and Maciej, at the bow of Maciej’s kayak.

Many great stories are told.

Sunday evening sunset. It will be warmer tonight with the cloud cover.

As night falls, the clouds move in. Rain is predicted for Monday…

We are all prepared for a rainy Monday morning….

Early Monday morning…actually TOO early Monday morning…no rain yet. I get going while the going is good!

At 5:30 in the morning there is no rain and no wind. Because Gwragedd Annwn is so slow, I decide to leave earlier than planned. Do not want to row in the rain.

No stowaways allowed!!!

Expecting a wet morning, I prepacked and I am almost ready. I pack up my swag tent and remaining gear and leave. (I do, however, make enough noise, like a boy scout troop apparently, to wake everyone else up!)

No rain, no wind, high clouds…we may be lucky on the paddle home.

Being a true leader without knowing it, I have inspired the kayakers to leave too.

The kayakers pack-up before the rain too.

Hummmm…Seems as if we are paddling back to the rain we left on Friday!

As Maciej passes me, it begins to spit.

The rain eases up and hopefully we will be on the hard, packed up and away before it begins to rain hard.

Almost at Grant Narrows and the rain has stopped.

We all arrive at Grant Narrows and load up the kayaks and I put Gwragedd Annwn on her trailer. We pack-up all of our gear.

We go for breakfast.

A good end to a great trip!!!
My GPS track of the trip on Google Earth. The squiggly bit at the top is where I was sailing.

Distances, with a little sightseeing:

Day one, to Raven Creek campground 9.12km.

Day two, Raven Creek to Pitt River delta, 22.34km.

Day three, Pitt River delta to Raven Creek 21.17km

Day four, Raven Creek campground to Grant Narrows 10.14km.

Total: 62.77km.

There is no water level gauge on Pitt Lake that I know of. The nearest one is the Fenton Gauge.

Water Levels at the Fenton Gauge, May long weekend 2019.
This is the closest gauge to Pitt Lake. The tides going up the river to the lake arrive later, depending on how far up the lake you are.

May 17th, 5am. 1.0568m Low Low

May 18th, 8pm. 1.4628m Low High

May 18th, 3am. 1.36m High Low

May 18th, 8am. 1.75m High High

May 18th, 5pm. 0.94m Low Low

May 18th, 11pm. 1.66m Low High

May 19th, 3am. 1.59m High Low

May 19th, 9am. 1.79m High High

May 19th, 5pm. 0.96m Low Low

May 20th, Midnight. 1.69m Low High

May 20th, 5am. 1.68m High Low

May 20th, 8am. 1.7874m High High

The gauge is located on the river near Sheridan Hill, South of Addington Point.

We sighted Ospreys, Canada Geese, Eagles, Mergansers, Humming Birds, Ducks, Seals, Beavers, Western Spotted Toads, Loons, Ravens, Downy Woodpeckers, Crows and saw Moose sign.

Sharron has forgotten her keens at the Pitt River willow camp.

I found a great (well after it is cleaned) camping spoon.

Pitt Lake is a great row…Enjoy!

Good Rowing to you,


Posted in Under the Keel.... | 1 Comment