MicroShantyboat: Launch 2… and then retreat.

After yesterday’s launching of the Micro-Shantyboat I was a bit concerned whether or not I was building a pig-in-a-poke.  Another calm and cold morning seemed a perfect chance to spend a bit more time in the water, to settle in, to see if the boat would be OK once I had a bit more time in “her”.

The first order of business became the electric trolling motor that had fallen into the water at the head of the ramp.  My haste bore it’s natural fruit, the usual outcome.  Luckily, upon taking the head of the motor apart I found very little water had gotten in, and the coltrol unit seems rather basic.  No electronics here.  It was fine.  I also experimented with the placement of the motor.  Since my back seat along the transom wouldn’t work, I mounted the motor in the center, then built a temporary throttle extension from a piece of wood and a bungee.  Then, I moved a surplus deck chair inside, a new seat that would allow me to sit in the center of the boat, thereby improving the feeling of tenderness.  You can see the roof hatches behind the seat in the image below.


I then mounted the electric trolling battery in a small well in the back of the boat.   In the long run I”d like the battery up front or amidships, but this place would work for now.  I’d designed it as a storage place for a small gas tank.  In this case it would be an electric storage “tank”.  The fit was about perfect, but I didn’t tie it down, as this would be temporary.

On my way to the ramp I was following a car just a bit too closely, so was suddenly presented with a small log or large branch, it was right on the edge of either one, sitting in the right hand half of the road.  WIth my boat out back I didn’t want to swerve, but was able to miss it with my car by inches.  The trailer.. not so much.  Suddenly the trailer was in the air, followed by a just as sudden reuniting of trailer, boat and pavement.   Shit.  A glance in the mirror showed all to be in place.  I seemed to of dodged a bullet.

As I backed into the water at the boat ramp I wasn’t sure what I had in mind.  I thought it likely that I would leave the car at the ramp, and simply move a few dozen feet offshore to get a better sense of the boats dynamics.  With a thud and a splash the rear gate dropped into the water… but the boat did not float.  A quick glance in the stern showed the rear of the boat filled with water.  The boat had only been in the water for about 60 seconds or so, yet there was a good three or four inches of water in the boat.  Was it rain that had leaked in from the night before, only making it’s presence known as the boat tilted back?

A few seconds of observation showed it was much more than that, as the water in the back of the boat was sloshing with the waves.  There was a hole, and it had to be big… and a quick glance at the transome showed the problem.  I had not dodged a bullet. I’d been hit.  My design called for a small panel set in at a 45 degree angle to the transom, a design element that was more an afterthought, simply done on a whim not as a design “feature”.  A vague notion of less swirling water and greater efficiency… or some such thing.   The battery had been resting on it, and my tree/branch accident had clearly taken a toll.  The 80 plus pound battery had busted out a seam leaving a crack half the width of the boat of up to a half inch width.  A close look at the picture above shows a small piece of lumber floating in the swirling water in back.   I’d epoxied most seams, but two sides of this one were set in with gorilla glue.  I was going to epoxy them in later with the next batch of epoxy, as I’d run out.   Then…. in the intervening year or so… I forgot.

The damage is clear on the back of the boat.

I pulled the boat out, glad once again for no audience.   Upon my return to my driveway I pulled off the cabin, flipped the boat hull, and ripped out the offending, or should I say offended, panel. A new project for another day.

I’d hoped to get a bit of reassurance about this design, but that will have to wait.  I honestly think it should be ok.

Constructive thoughts welcomed below.

Originally posted 2012-07-01 07:22:25.

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