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The Ragtime Waltz - A SOF Paddle Yacht

The Ragtime Waltz


The proper place to begin this story is the sheer line. When I went to buy a 16' piece of clear cedar to start this build, I found the most beautifully warped piece of lumber I've ever seen. I saw the gunwales to my next boat. And I got it at a great price.

Coincidentally, at the time I started this build I was pouring over lots and lots images of yachts from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. That is where I began to see the possibilities for something... neat. White, mahogany, brass. Mahogany ribs. A classic stem and stern - something different. A mast step built right into the frame of the boat. Yeah!

Well, the mahogany didn't work out too well for the ribs. I couldn't get it to bend well enough. I used ash and stained them mahogany. Most of the rest of the frame, as you can see below, was painted white. (Note to self: Paint those pieces BEFORE assembly).



kayak image

I love how my boats attract attention. Usually. The local game warden came down and told me he thought that this craft didn't look very safe. Too late! I was already done with the saran-wrap test. Better luck next time sucka!



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And now for a few frame pics. I really wish that these boats didn't need skin at all. I like them this way.



kayak image

The combing is a combination of Spanish Cedar (also hard to steam bend) and ash. The dots are not wooden dowels run through the laminations of the combing, but instead are #14 brass screws with the heads and tips cut off. They are not as shiny as I would like, but it's a nice touch nonetheless.



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The mast step is incredibly strong. At least I think it is. The sail will come soon I hope.



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And of course, an inner rib shot.



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At the risk of sounding proud, I think that this is a real classy (and classic) looking frame.



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You will notice the stern with its double S shape. The chine runs into the middle curve, creating a fairly sharp keel out of the material. Later I plan on having a rudder here.



kayak accessories

kayak accessories

Every yacht needs a flag hanging off of the back. I was hoping to find an Ensign flag of the right size, but until then the American flag does well. I underestimated the attention this would get at the launch!

Look close at the middle image and you'll see clear flotation bags. One each in the fore and aft hold, they are made from heavy vinyl. Because of the transluscency of the boat skin I like to keep the flotation clear. BTW, they have not lost any air in over 6 months.

The paddle is made from Cherry and Maple. Usually I make paddles from cedar, but using harder woods means a thinner blade is possible. That gives me a little more flexibility and "snap" at the end of the stroke.

This is not only a fairly hi-performance SOF boat, but has some other options. I also wanted to be able to fish out of it. You can see the folding anchor and line. This goes to a bow roller. The line attaches to the deck line sliders. The other odd looking thing is a crude but effective way of helping to keep your fishing pole from sliding off of the deck when you lay it down. The round peg in the middle fits into the mast hole.



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And here it is. Note the mahogany hand rails on the fore deck and the American flag on the stern. Eventually I will start adding the rest of my yacht, but for now, this is it. More pics as the boat progresses.

Some quick stats: LOA 17', Beam 21", Weight 35lbs, WRC frame with pine deck beams, Ash ribs stained with mahogany stain and coated with spar varnish. All ribs and associated mortises have their numbers stamped into the wood. 12oz. nylon shell. 6 coats of tinted oil based polyurethane floor paint.


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