Sunday, July 1, 2012

Transform and Roll Out

The Boat sits in the garage, ready and waiting to be flipped onto her back.  Here it was concieved, here it grew, here it lives contently as it is advanced for towards completion.  It cannot know that a major transformation awaits it and that its world is soon to be turned upsidedown.  The Builder, however, knows, and has been readying The Boat for this day.

Now, the time has come.  The Builder, in preparation, sets about applying liberal peer pressure to his colleagues and is soon able to muster a brave crew.  A date is set, and the clock is ticking.

With the building cradle removed, The Boat sits unfettered.          
The Builder rushes to make everything ready.  The tools, supplies, and scrap wood that had lived in and around The Boat are swept away.  Rubbish is disposed of.  The Builder flits about the boat, sandpaper in hand, knocking down any sharp edges or sundry roughness that had the potential to damage the hands of his pressed crew.  Foam and carboard padding are gathered and staged.  A test run of opening the garage door and deploying the padding is conducted.  In the final gesture of absolute readiness, the sides of the cradle in which The Boat took form are stripped away, leaving her resting on her keel, balancing on a sawhorse strategically placed under her starboard rubrail.  She awaits in readiness.

The day arrives.  Mountaineer, U-Boat Driver, PACSman and The King come out to help.  Some members of the crew have just supped at Restaurant of the The Grouchy Chef, so that they may be strong for the awaiting task. 

The door is flung open and sunlight pours in onto The Boat's bow.  Padding is deployed.  The Plan is laid out for the crew.  It is simple enough: coax the boat out of the garage, roll her, and return her to from whence she came.  The benefits of having gathered over 60 years of engineering experience is clear, and some minor details are quickly ironed out.  The Plan is incrementally improved.

The crew surrounds the vessel and sizes up the task.  The King grips the rubrail and gives it a tug, querying, "is this structural?"  The Builder assures The King that said rubrail is fully capable of supporting the weight of the boat.  The Builder is not as sure as he looks, however, and feels his throat constrict ever-so-slightly as the crew seizes the rubrails and begins to haul.  The rail holds.  The Boat hobbles forward.  A crew of four could have managed, but the task would have been more daunting.  Likewise, a sixth crewman would have lightened the load, but was unnecessary.  With Builder and Mountaineer forward, U-Boat Driver and the King aft, and PACSman at the stern, The Boat sidles into the sunlight.

Mountaineer, U-Boat Driver, and The King contemplate the next step. 
PACSman hides in the shadow of the King.
The Boat is in position.  The Builder worries.  While all rational analysis tells The Builder that his creation is well founded and fully capable of withstanding the loads about to be applied, there nevertheless lurk the phantoms of doubt in his mind.  The dark vision of joints parting and The Boat unzipping midway though the roll cannot be fully dispelled.  His heartrate rises slightly.  The Boat, monolithic in its strength scorns this doubt and in defiance does not emit so much as creak or groan as the roll begins and load transfers from keel to chine.  Soon, the point of crisis has passed, and The Boat is safely balanced on her rubrail.

Halfway there.
U-Boat Driver dives under the keel.  He is neither lifting nor restraining, but merely keeping the boat in equilibrium.  PACSman takes position at the stern and provides longitudinal stability.  Mountaineer and The King position themselves to recieve The Boat's weight as she rolls past 90 degrees.   Mountaineer provides propulsive effort while The King ably controls the roll.  The Builder dashes about from side to side, trying simulateously to help, supervise, and take photos.  His help and supervision are equally unneeded and in the excitement he largely neglects his camera.

U-Boat Driver, PACSman and The King survey the capsized boat.
Swiftly, smoothly, surely, The Boat is inverted.  The Builder takes the opportunity to thoroughly sweep out the garage for the first time in two years.  Padding is re-deployed.  All hands again take hold of the rubrails and the boat is whisked back into position in the garage. 

The Boat returns to its home with a new outlook on life.

The big roll is complete.  Theend is almost anti-climactic.  The Builder breathes a sigh of relief.  Now filling, fairing, fiberglassing, feathering, and a lifetime of sanding await.


  1. Just so you know that someone is still keeping up with your progress. My 15' open runabout is officially started. I purchased my plywood from Martin Lumber and have ordered my epoxy from Devlin Boats in Olympia. His MAS epoxy is half the price I've found anywhere else. Don't think my project will be worthy of a blog but I hope I remember to take some pictures. North Everett Dave.

  2. Hey Dave, great to hear from you! Keep me updated on the progress on your boat. It sounds like it is going to be a great project.