13270The maiden sailing voyage of the Brick "Thickasa"
- Aug 2, 2001Well, this is my first post. I have been a member for quite a while and have found the various member posts funny, helpful, and inspiring. The Aircraft Carrier has me blanking out every once and a while, and I'm still mulling over variations on the inner tube sailer.
I've been a fan of Phil Bolger for years after my first experience with one of his cartoons in one of the Small Boat Journal issues. When I was very short of money, I was even able to justify buying BWAOM to my wife and got away with it! I'm still short of money and was able to do the same recently when I ran across a cherry copy of the Way of the Ship by Villiers at a local used book store.
While I've been watching this group I've been building a Brick with my friend Dan.
There is a beautiful little state park lake facility near our home called Marsh Creek. Dan somehow got one of the few boat/trailer parking places here several years ago, but found himself between boats two years ago. Someone has to either die or move away to get one of these spaces. I understand the usual wait is somewhere around 7 years so if you lose it, you are unlikely to get it back.
Last year we used my old sailfish to hold his spot, but I got rid of that last fall. This Spring he called me and I had to give him the bad news. I followed it up with,"Look, why don't we just build a boat? I know a boat I've been wanting to build called a Brick and we could build it here." Pregnant pause......."A Brick", said Dan,"Will it Float?"
I assured him it would, and lent him a copy of BWAOM. After he went through it very thoroughly, he admitted that he had always wanted to build a boat, but never had the tools, the time, the nerve. I admitted that while I had the tools, I'd never had the time, the money, the nerve.
It was a good match, and while our days off never matched as well as we would have liked, we were able to meet our deadline and had a nice shiny (well... semi-gloss satin) blue and white Brick named Thickasa sitting at Marsh Creek by the end of May before the deadline set by the park. Took us about 4 weeks for that part. Both Dan and I learned a lot.
Thickasa has been equipped with a removable straddle seat so it could be used for fishing (a complete success, its actually pretty comfortable) and hiding the battery box for the electric trolling motor. This has been used with great enthusiasm as the boat is comfortable for two people and moves right along with the trolling motor. Dan and I are constantly peppered with questions about the boat which we answer with great satisfaction.
Getting to the point of this post. Today we finally got to sail the Brick for the first time on a beautiful day with a perfect 8 to 12 mph wind!
You have to understand that I was understandably nervous as I had been taking the Brick's ultimate performance on a lot of faith.
I wasn't thrilled with the way the mast turned out, but once I was reminded about block plains again by Peter Lenihan's post, It did look a lot better that it did.
I had suspicions about the poly tarp sail. I've had a small amount of sailmaking experience over the years but had never worked with poly tarp. I finally decided to follow the directions and take what I got. When it was done it looked pretty good, but I have had experience with a lot of "looks good, doesn't work" in boating over the years.
I was pretty sure the rudder arrangement would work, (I made the existing rudder into a kick up due to shallow shorelines and big rocks) but was wondering if the budget way that we had used to attach the rudder was strong enough.....
.....and just general angst.
I met Dan at the parking lot and drove my car down to the boat launching ramp while Dan walked the boat down on the dolly we built. (It too works great) Dan had picked the sail and mast up earlier that day from my front porch so I unrolled the sail and showed him how the sprit rig went together.
We put the boat in the water, put on the rudder, found the misplaced tiller, put the lee board in the boat along with sponges, floatation cushions to sit on, and the slightly pessimistic paddle.
Dan stepped the mast, we hooked up the sprit boom, realized that we didn't have the sheet, (Oh yeah, it's in the trunk of the car) and stood there for at least five minutes admiring Thickasa. Everything looked pretty wonderful.
With some fear and trepidation on my part, enthusiasm and confidence from Dan and an offshore breeze that seemed to be freshening we walked the boat into a little deeper water to get in. Dan got in first and I followed. Rudder hard-a-port in on the sheet, spin the boat a bit, straighten the rudder, let out on the sheet and we were off!.
What a great experience! (when I write I don't usually use a lot. of exclamation points, but... !!!!!!!) Thickasa took right off on a down wind run quickly to a broad reach then close, making all the right sounds and feeling just the way she should. Dan and I both just grinned at each other. We then came up to see how high she would point...not bad...actually pretty good!
Lets see how she does on the other tack? points pretty good too, moving right along. Have to develop the right technique for this boat though. She seems to reward careful handling, definitely likes to come off the wind a bit after tacking to pick up speed before heading up again. Weight distribution is important too.
By now a couple of the wind surfer guys started to come over to see what this quirky little boat was about. The general consensus amongst them was that Thickasa is pretty Cool. "you really built your own boat?"
Unfortunately the day was cut short by some non-fatal problems with the rudder assembly ( more on that in another post) but we got to sail the little boat around for about an hour and had great fun.
Thanks for the opportunity to tell someone about this, most of my friends eyes just glaze over when I talk about this stuff.
P.S. The sail worked like a champ! I endorse poly tarp.
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