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High Tech Design Process
Mock up a few seats with buckets, coolers and milk crates. Sit there. Work the oars. Close your eyes and imagine were everything goes.
Think a hundred times. Cut once or twice. Cut a third or fourth time if you have to. There is no mistake that cannot be fixed. Some mistakes can be a bit expensive. But they're still fixable. All of them.
How do you deck a big white water dory? Most builders build a deck 4 to 6" inches down from the gunwale.
I'm going to build it so the deck spans from the top of one side panel over to the top of the other. The gunwale is an inwale only and invisible at that because it will be below the deck. I'll put long low U-shaped grab rails all the way around the edges so tuff can't roll off the boat. But water will. The top of most boats become a 100 gallon scoop that takes up too long to drain in adrenalin situations. A flush deck will drain almost instantly. I want to keep the passenger seating area as small as possible too. I'm hoping there is no need to build those so they can collect another 200 gallons of water for each big wave.
Beyond that everything next is up in the air. Not even squarely in my head just yet. I'm winging this one. From the water up.
The decking will all be removable. So among other things I can remodel everything as time goes by. To start I want three side-by-side passenger slots slightly forward of the middle, with the rower behind that. There will be no fourth passenger. Not unless I build an alternate deck. But that's doable because all of this will bolt down over a thick foam gasket. Permanent nothing is a design goal here. Everything removable, fixable and changeable. Including side panels and gunwales.
Ready for the deck
Gluelam gunwales installed today. Bulkheads and deck come next (this one is a white water boat--not a day trip fishing boat).
Glue Lam Gunwale
Glue laminated gunwale over 18' feet long. As thick and as tall as want. As you like it. Steam? Steam? Why? This is easier and stronger. A lot stronger.
40 gunwale strips 2" inches tall by 1/4" inch thick, stacked in order, labeled in pencil and (almost) ready for glueup. Thus to make glue laminated gunwale, which you can make as thick and as tall as you might want.
The chipboard framework inside the boat is just a pile of scraps cobbled together to keep the boat's shape until the gunwales are installed.
Then bulkheads and then the deck. Seats. Misc this and htat. Oarlocks and water.
I need to buy a rocket box groover and a pair of five gallon water cans, so I can build them right into the boat. My giant Igloo cooler, I'm thinking, will be the front seat (with a Paco pad over top). I want to keep the bulk of the payload as close to the center of the boat as possible.
The Briggs makes a big mistake by placing two passengers up front and two in the rear. You want the payload closer to the center. I'll have three passengers side by side in front of the rower. If you really needed four passengers two rows of two seats, with the rear row right over dead center, with the rower slightly behind that, would do a better job of centering the payload.
Heavy weight, in a dory, spread out to the ends, makes an unstable boat.
A stack of these random-length 2" inch by 1/4" inch ash strips can be (will be) glued together to make an extra-thick extra-stiff extra-stout gunwale. It is so much easier than steaming. And far far stronger too. This is the GOAT gunwale.
I made these strips yesterday. This will be my fourth boat with gluelam gunwales. In the past I've used epoxy as the bonding agent, which is not only expensive it's a sticky mess to work with. Tightbond III is the glue of choice for bonding purposes. Epoxy is for laminating fabric only.
The Whale Rider
After thirty years of making wood/fiberglass stitch and glue and all fiberglass boats I'm gradually moving back to all wood. Or mostly wood. This one has a fiberglass bottom and will have all wood above the bottom shoe. This will be a big decked white water boat. 66" inches wide on the bottom. 8' across the oar locks. 18' foot side panels makes and end-to-end length a tad less than 17' feet long. 30 degree side flare without too much rocker.
I thought about calling it the San Wanderer. But it's a Whale Rider. A boat this wide will float in just a few inches of water, which will make it turn on a dime. As a well-rockered boat with a up-curved transom it will be easy to slow down. And just as easy to jump forward when pushing on the oars.