I Cut the Bottom Panels and Realize Just How Small This Boat Really Is

At this point, I should assemble the keel parts with glue and screws. But I’m thwarted by cold weather. My garage is unheated and the plastic resin glue needs temperatures above 70 to dry properly. Lower temperatures may compromise the bond, which is a risk I am not willing to take. It’s early April and we have some pleasant days in the low and mid 60’s but, the thermometer refuses to go higher, and the long range forecast gives me no encouragement.

While waiting, I decide to skip ahead and cut the hull bottom. I make use of my newly acquired lofting skills to draw the long gentle curve of the boat’s port side (notice my easy use of a nautical term here). The circular saw cuts easily through the half-inch boards and the prescribed 17 degrees. To cut the starboard side (there, I did it again!), I simply lay the port pieces on top and trace. Four individual pieces are now lying on the garage floor, offering an unmistakably boat-like shape.

Bottom panels. Not likely to be mistaken as the Queen Mary.

Bottom panels. Not likely to be mistaken for the Queen Mary.

But how small it suddenly seems. In the abstract, a fourteen-foot boat seems large, especially when I pace out the dimensions on the living room floor. My, it reaches all the way from the couch to the stairs! But laying flat on the garage floor, it looks tiny. I squat near the stern, imagining that I am sitting in the cockpit. Not much legroom, I think. Next, I lie down near the bow and imagine a cabin around me. Is there really room for two? Technically, yes. Hilary and I comfortably slept in smaller tents, but  fantasies of paneled staterooms and well stocked galleys are now revealed to be as silly as they sound. This cabin is built for a sleeping bag and—maybe—a few small shelves. It will offer shelter, nothing more.

I know from experience that structures are always smaller in two dimensions. At construction sites, even MacMansions are unimpressive before walls are erected and rooms framed. So I imagine that the boat will also become larger, more imposing, and more commodious when the sides and cabin are added. But I know why it’s called a pocket cruiser.

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One Response to I Cut the Bottom Panels and Realize Just How Small This Boat Really Is

  1. Jim Keenan says:

    I built the Weekender about nine years ago. My only advice is to enjoy the process and beware. This can de addictive. I have since built a couple of kayaks a canoe and the latest project a Redwing 18. Good luck and enjoy.

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