Thursday, June 21, 2018

Boatshop doings

Before, after and in between trips we have still managed to get quite a bit done at the shop. Kelli finished up Seedskadee and has already run her on a few trips on the upper Colorado. She seems pretty ecstatic about it. I can understand that.

Vladimir Kovalik III wandered in one evening. He's a sign painter when he's not a boatman. I worked for the first VK when he owned Wilderness World in the early '80s, and with VKII in Grand Canyon. I asked VKIII if he'd be up for doing letters on Stella. Boom. Done.

To celebrate getting Stella's rigging finished we went out for a little sail. I took my little Hobie Holder 14 to photograph from.

An alert bystander got this shot of me righting my little Hobie Holder 14 after I flipped and dismasted her five minutes into our adventure. John dropped his sails to come to the rescue. Oh--and we managed to crack the boom and the tiller in all the excitement. The Flagstaff Armada went home with our tails between our legs. We'll be back. 

John played with his group a few nights ago at the old Basque handball court (called a frontón). It's one of fourteen frontóns in the country and the only one in Arizona. It's's so cool that the Annex put in the funding to stabilize it. Great acoustics.

After two trips in Bears Ears with its stand-up footwell and bilge pump, I finally decided to do it--remodel time for Cataract.

I really feel plumbing and wiring really have no place in a dory, but, well, my knees told me otherwise.

I'm collaborating with Mike Dehoff at Eddyline Welding up in Moab to design a 13'6" version of the Briggs-style dory. It's fun stuff. This is the sheer line (top edge of the boat). The code name for the design is Chubby Bunny.

Dennis has grown tired of the foam bottom on his dory Lodore, so we lit into it a couple days ago. Here is Dennis drilling a bunch of holes in the floor of his boat. Such fun. 

We measured the depth of the holes, then set the router for precisely that depth. Then came about two hours of truly hateful, hard, noisy work, routing away the bottom wherever it was connected to a bulkhead or side. This system is pure misery but it sure works. It leaves all the connection fillets in place to glue the new floor to.

Three pretty ladies vying for our attention.

A bottomless Lodore with a new wee patch in her side.

Meanwhile Janek scarfed up a new meranti plywood floor and we put a layer of fiberglass on to cure overnight. Next morning, on went the bottom. There are some creative clamping techniques here.

Once the epoxied kicked, it was cut and grind for a while.

And on with the bomber bottom lay-up. 24oz biaxial cloth with mat, and cover layer of 10oz glass. All told, it was eight hours of work for the three of us. Not too bad.

Outside Magazine decided to do a little video of my operation. I think it came out quite nicely. Here is a link to the show:

Running dry

Well, we did our annual Dory Moon Expedition as planned--thirteen days down the San Juan from Four Corners. We were astounded to find out that the whole idea that you need water to go river running--is a myth. This may have been the worst year ever to decide to take dories down the San Juan, and we almost didn't. But at the last minute Andy and I decided we just couldn't leave our dainty wooden boats home. I got all the way to the load-up at the warehouse before Coop pointed out that I'd forgotten to finish the patch I started last fall. Janek and I had ground it down to dry for the winter and then this spring... um... forgot. Fortunately Andy's boatshop is on the way to the put-in.

And off we go.

Sunset at the Citadel. I don't think I've ever seen more cottonwood trees in one place.

Rock art. Stick 'em up.

Rock star art.

Casa del Eco. 17-room ruin. 14-room ruin. Columbine house. It has many names. What a magical place.

We made a lot of rumbly grumbly noises with the dories, but this was the first real obstacle. Gypsum Creek--a newly formed version of the rapid from a big blow-out storm last year. Andy made it through clean but I made a big bump noise.

After a hellacious wind storm at Shotgun camp, we were pretty damned thrilled to spend a night at the San Juan Inn. It sounds kind of cliché, but that was the best, most appreciated warm shower of my life.

Some places just didn't have enough water to float a boat.

Fortunately last year's big flood from Gypsum Creek cleaned out a chute at the new rockpile at Twin Canyons. You can still see the red mud line high on the bank from the Gypsum flood.

Government Rapid was the gnarliest of all, so we elected to line it. We set up a belay station and hooked up the boats at point A. Dropped them through a tight slot at point B. Then two right-angle turns at C and D. Then out. Pretty slick, really. Irish whiskey at point E.

Time to party at my favorite bar.

And bring out the Bradivarius.

Thanks to Todd Brown, Lauren Bloemsma, and John Karon for some of these fine photos.

And thanks to Cataract for putting up with my abuse. These band-aids on her bum will make everything all better.

Bears Ears proves herself

Bears Ears goes to a new owner tomorrow, but the sale was contingent on me getting to take her out for a couple runs. I just finished the second trip and I kind of fell in love with her. *sigh* I mean... I mean... She's such a pretty thing to start with, but she handles really well and carries a heavy load with ease. Which is really nice because that's what I designed her to do. And so nice to work out of. I may have to build a sister ship.

Just to see if I could, I accepted the challenge of carrying all 120 bottles of wine in my right side hatch. A few bottles tucked in under the boatman's footwell. Then the hatch is filled and the shelves piled high.

Then a layer of cardboard and the remaining bottles nested in on their sides.

It threw the balance off for a while but after a few evenings of aggressive wine drinking she leveled out. And yes, we drank it all.

Here is a sad shot of Vasey's Paradise--a normally gushing waterfall along the shore. This year it is down to a mere dribble--far lower than I have ever seen it. We need water. We need snowpack.

I think the twins will win the gold at the Olympic 2-woman crocodile paddling race.

I ran into my barber at Stone Creek Falls in the middle of the night. Tequila, flashlight, and kitchen shears make for a fine hair salon.

I think we interrupted the girls' lunch party.

Such a beautiful place.

Passenger Michael Reidy was able to get some marvelous shots of Bears Ears and myself in Lava Falls. Woohoo!