Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Product testing

We loaded up a stack of boats in the rain and headed up to Utah for recess. We also wanted to see what Peekaboo would do.

We headed down the old San Juan that afternoon. There were just four of us, so we could only row four boats.

Peekaboo and Bernie were so light we dragged them up into camp for furniture.

Turns out Peekaboo makes a swell bed for one or two people.

There sure are a lot of traces of our Puebloan forebears up there.

Oops. Hungry trees tried to eat the Juan.

Such beauty.

Eight-foot Rapid was easy but fun.

Peekaboo is so quick, stable, and seaworthy that she really doesn't make very exciting photos. But I guess that's a good thing.

Brr. Chilly willy mornings.

Encouraged, we drove up to Westwater to try some more vigorous whitewater. But we were so busy we got few photos. Again, Peekaboo was so comfortable in turbulence that she made few exciting moves. Justin rowed her through with great poise. Cricket took Juan, our open McKenzie through and due to the length and lightness of the boat, was a lot more exciting to watch. What a badass.

Andy Hutchinson joined us for this stretch.

As usual, the camping was as much fun as the boating. Juan disassembled into camp chairs, cocktail table, kitchen tables, and a lean-to to camp out of the dew.

In all, we were thrilled with Peekaboo's performance and hope to start Doryak 2.0 in a week or so. A few tweaks here and there, but it's a winner.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Peekaboo finale

Note to frustrated blog followers who tell me I should post a bit more often--I do put up somewhat more regular snippets on Instagram. If you're into that sort of stuff, you can follow them at: fretwaterboatworks
Or just do a google search for #fretwaterboatworks


Upon returning from our Glen Canyon outing, my shop crew all went on holiday for a few weeks. I spent the time puttering about the house and working on Peekaboo.We kicked off our winter house concert series with the return of one-man blues band Nathan James. As expected, he put on a fabulous show for a full house. 

I'm not quite sure what size oars Peekaboo wants. Probably eight-footers, but I went ahead and built some eight-and-a-halfs. I figure I can cut them down a bit if they seem too long. It occurred to me that rather than carry a hundred clamps to the oar bench pen the far side of the shop, I cou.d just glue them up on top of the clamp rack table. 

And then the fun part--carving the shafts and blades. I cannot tell you how much fun it is to use my fancy Lie-Nielsen planes. Such fine tools. Reminds me of a quote.

Among the men who ply the various trades I have observed that the ones who work with boats—designers builders and users—are usually happier than most others and of these the very happiest in my opinion are boatbuilders who use edged tools and work in wood. Such would makes demands on, and seems the therefore to satisfy the whole man—hand, eye, ear, brain, and heart.
Dynamite Payson 

Stitching on her moccasins.

On the other side of the shop I whittled away at decking.

Hatch lids.

Cricket and Justin finally returned and we set to the final touches. Tracing the name onto the bow. 

Trying to remember our sign-painting lessons from Vladimir


Time for a little crew vacation after two days in the shop. Heading up to the San Juan and Westwater to try out Peekaboo and give some of the other boats some exercise. Mere words can to express how excited we are to take adorable little Peekaboo through her paces on some serious whitewater.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Day of the Dead

Grand Canyon River Guides, our nonprofit gang of boatfolk and fans, has two gatherings each year: the multi-day Guide Training Seminar at Marble Canyon, and a fall meet somewhere. This year it was at my boat shop. It was originally going to be on November 1, the Day of the Dead. But schedules forced it ahead a day to Halloween. So we combined the holidays.

Margeaux and I brainstormed on what to do, then threw it all in Lynn Hamilton's lap to manifest. She hooked us up with Deadwood, a great local band, Maggie the face painter, and Nate with his Chili Box Food Truck. Several of us assembled on the 30th and began dragging boats out and building ofrendas (shrines to those who have passed on). It's a little shocking to realize how many boatmen have now run their last rapid, but we conjured their spirits for the party.

Maggie painted faces for five hours nonstop.

Deadwood shredded the whole time.

Mariah and Billie rant a great bar.

The kids' craft table drew more grownups than children, painting skulls and such.

And a huge and wonderful assortment of the river community came together. Maybe something about the beauty of the candles and decorations, or the sentiment of the shrines to our fallen ones, or just being all together--a combination no doubt--made it one of the most delicious gatherings I can remember. I love our community.