Monday, May 17, 2010

Yup, I'm building an outrigger canoe with my 7 year old daughter.



My daughter is 7, and loves to make stuff.  I figured now was the time to do something ambitious but doable with her while she still wants to hang out with her Dad and play with tools.  So why not build a boat.

We need a boat.  I used to timeshare a boat big enough to tackle the bay, but it was hard to find enough crew with time in their busy schedule.  Plus I also want to go sailing places that are mild and fun--where my daughter can learn to sail.  And capsize!  Boy, it'd be nice to have a boat you could paddle too.  Who makes such a beast?  We do, of course.

I have been following the amazing work of Gary Dierking for over 10 years.  He has done as much as anyone alive to translate pacific canoes into modern materials.  His canoes are human scale--you can drag them into the water yourself.  Not hoists or trailers.  They paddle and sail.  They are swift, not by packing more sail area and righting moment than other boats, but by just being small, narrow and light.  

I bought plans for his Wa'apa design.  For ease of building, storage and transportation, the main hull is built in 8 foot lengths.  Two ends bolted together makes a 16 footer, add a middle section, and you have a 24 foot canoe.  We're building a 16 footer.

As boats go, its pretty easy to build.  But I made it even easier by having all the plywood and foam parts machined.  In a way, I've made it into a kit.

And look how far we got in just two weekends.  And not particularly hard working weekends at that.  The first one, my regular partner in crime, Jon Carver (and his dog Nigel) came to lend a hand.  Last weekend, my brother, Pete, came all the way from Phoenix to play.  Its been fun a blast already.  And we haven't even gotten to the water.

All the plywood parts laid out.

D with two halves of the main ama.  Tusky!


Sawing.
Marking.
Jon in his apron.
Weekend 1's bounty, 4 sides and 4 bulkheads.
Nigel, wondering when we are going to stop hammering!
Pete and D, hamming it up.

Yup, it looks like a boat.

2 comments:

  1. I followed you here from your comment on Proafile. I too will be building a Wa`apa (from the book and without machined parts, alas) and am looking forward to watching your build. Like you, I want to get my boys out on the water easily (twins, age 10) and will be going for the full 24' trimaran version, for extended beach camping and fishing trips. Dierking's designs are incredible- simple, effective, and elegant. Good luck!

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