We are in the depths of our Canadian winter, a good time to hunker down in our workshops and wait until the next rowing season arrives. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen until May in this neck of the woods. Two of our group are keeping busy building a set of regulation wooden oars for Sea Shadow. Sandy spent a lot of time thinking, researching and drawing up a set of plans. The oars will have hollow looms made up of laminated ash and pine strips. The blades will be made of 3/8″ marine plywood and the handles carved from basswood. After sourcing the lumber and machining it to the various dimensions, including tapers, Sandy and Bob got started yesterday gluing up the first oar.
The Quinte Rowing Club and Ontario Adventure Rowing invited us to join them in the “Icicle Chase”, an end-of-season half-marathon on the Otonabee River, from Peterborough to Campbellton. There were seven crews rowing coxed touring quads: one from Belleville, four from Toronto and two from Ottawa plus our crew in Sea Shadow. After unloading boats at the start, cars and trailers were jockeyed to the finish, while crews rigged and launched the boats. Timed starts, in head race fashion, saw Sea Shadow on the course first. After a few kilometers the first of the quads appeared behind us and gradually overtook us followed by the others throughout the race. Despite getting to the finish line last, we completed the 23K course in a respectable 2-1/2 hours, only 20 minutes behind the last of the quads. Congratulations to the winning crew, I understand they set a course record!
During the race we discovered that Sea Shadow had one distinct advantage over the quads, making crew changes on the water. We made five changes, giving everyone a chance to sit back and relax in the cox seat. Not so easy in the quads! It was quite a sight to see a crew member walking the gunnels on all fours over the other crew as they lay back in their seats (sorry I didn’t get a photo).
We thoroughly enjoyed the outing and were most impressed with how well the event was organized. From start to finish nothing was overlooked. A BBQ at the end was a great opportunity to meet some of the other crews before we headed home to nurse our aching muscles.
On behalf of the Sea Shadow crew I would very much like to thank Arnold Vandermeer and Maxine Walker of the Quinte Rowing Club and also Ontario Adventure Rowing for including us in this event.
The St Ayles Skiff Kit including shipping, handling and HST sales tax
LUMBER (please see SCR website for material dimensions and quantity)
The building frame was constructed of 2 sheets of 5/8” spuce plywood, cut into strips and laminated
The hog was one piece of Douglas fir
Stems, keel, cox seat, breasthooks and tiller handle were white oak
Ash wood was used for the inside and outside gunnels plus the spacer blocks
Floorboards were made of Western red cedar planned to 5/8” thick
Note: U.S. kit includes rudder and thwarts
Two gallons of West System epoxy
Additives included 403 Microfibers Adhesive Filler and 410 Microlight Fairing Filler
Other supplies: pumps, acetone, mixing pots, disposable brushes, gloves, masks
PAINT & VARNISH
One gallon Interlux Brightside Primer (not quite enough for two coats, inside and out)
Two quarts of Brightside One-Part Polyurethane (two coats outside)
One quart Brightside One-Part Polyurethane and one quart flattening agent (two coats inside)
Two quarts Sikkens Cetol Marine Natural Finish (lots left over for next year’s touch-up)
Other supplies: sanding disks, sandpaper, brushes, thinners, tape
FITTINGS and FASTENERS
Permanent silicon bronze screws were used at each plank end, cox seat slats, floorboards and along the removable outer gunnel. A few stainless bolts were used to attach rudder fittings, tiller, footstretchers and bow eye.
Stainless rudder fittings (Holt Allen 3/8″ pintles and RWO strap gudgeons) and a bow eye
Bow and stern lines, fenders, safety kit, trailer tie down straps, flag, etc.
OARS and OARLOCKS
Five carbon Macon sweep oars and Concept2 oarlocks
TOTAL COST TO BUILD SEA SHADOW
It took 5 months and appoximately 800 – 1,000 hours to complete the boat and trailer.
We were very fortunate to have the expertise and equipment to build our own trailer.
Cost includes: spare tire and swivel jack
$1,100 (material costs)
This month is all about promoting the boat with the hope of having a sister ship built this coming winter. Getting people out on the water and letting them experience first hand the fun of rowing such a fine craft is proving to be very successful. Weather conditions don’t hamper the enthusiasm. Last week we rowed into Picton harbour on a beautiful day, sunny, warm and a light breeze. Yesterday, on South Bay, the winds were gusting to up to 26 knots with a two foot chop, which only added to the excitement.
We took to the tree tops yesterday for a different kind of strength training at the Ganaraska Treetop Trekking park ( http://treetoptrekking.com/en/ganaraska/ ). Climbing rope ladders, crossing suspended bridges, Tarzan swings, cable traverses and best of all, the zip lines! A thrilling and challenging experience. What’s next?
We launched Sea Shadow on the Black River and rowed a short distance to the open water of Prince Edward Bay. Unlike last week’s row in the extreme heat, today’s weather was perfect, comfortable temperature, nice breeze and the sun sparkling off the water. Sea Shadow felt more at home on the choppy waters we encountered today than the usual flat water conditions we row on.
Now that Sea Shadow is back home, we are planning to set up a weekly rowing schedule as well as some longer rows. This morning we trailered the boat to the more open water of Lake Ontario for a row around Waupoos Island. Expecting rougher water conditions than we normally row, the lake was more suited to a racing shell than an open water boat. The lake was like a sheet of glass, there was no breeze and the temperature was around 30C.