Building and sailing Kluster Duck (#728) - Drive way sea trials

Recently retired from a 46 year career at sea I was looking for a small sailboat building project on the internet and came by the site quite by chance and knowing the advantages of this type of hull design immediately peaked my interest.Having owned,built and repaired wood and fiberglass boats in the past ,this looked liked the perfect project for me at my age of 64 and I was also looking for a more stable hull for my maritime mobile ham radio station(W1JKA/qrp-cw) which I usually operate from my canoe or kayak.

As I have a place on China lake here in Maine and live within a 30 minute drive to the coast and am usually on the water once a day. I built the boat with heavier scantlings than the design called for and made a few inside dimension changes to fit my requirements.For instance I angled and raised the fore deck 6 inches in order to fit 2 plastic milk crates for holding gear and extra equipment room for overnight camp/cruising the Maine coast island chain.

Normal sailing conditions in my area are up to 25 mph winds and up to a foot high chop so my minor modifications to the scantlings were making all framing 3/4 x 2 in. from strapping lumber,about half the price of ripped up 2 x 4ís or dimensional lumber,also transom is 3/4 in.plywood,bow is 3/8 in.plywood,leeboard pivot point backing plate also 3/4 in.plywood.I used Titebond III glue for the hull and PL 375 for all inside seams/joints.All below water chines and four corners sealed with 6 oz. FG cloth and Titebond III glue painted with 3 coats of RustOleum based enamel.I have used this method for several years without any problems as long as kept painted when needed.I opted for the 12 in. back mast location and 41 in. back leeboard pivot with leg o mutton sail plan because of my requirement of quick tacking in high wind conditions.Sail was according to website plans,but I used Gorilla tape in lieu of duct tape{much more adhesive strength}on the blue poly tarp,sail lacings are 12 in. apart on mast.

I am not a big fan of leading the leeboard or rudder blade,instead I simply use two 6 in. plastic coffee can lids back to back at the pivot point thru bolts between hull/leeboard ,rudder blade/head for friction/compression and adjust tension to suit me with nut/lock washer.Up/down adjustment simply done by reaching overside and doing so.The 3 sacificial skid on bottom of hull are held in place by 3 screws embedded in latex calk and easily replaced if needed without damage to bottom.I put the 2 outer skid at the outside chines as this is where the hull is most subject to damage due to transport,launching/haulout and bottoming out.

Basic construction was made easy by using 4 plastic milk crates clamped in each corner for perfect square up before gluing and a few spanish windlasses athwartship/fore and aft for side and bottom panel clamping pressure.Basic saftey gear consists of $3.29 car dashboard compass from VIP,my wristwatch with stop watch function,a 3 ft. long line with foot stirrup hanging off transom for ease of reboarding if I go overboard for any reason and although I am an able swimmer I always wear a BRD (body retrieval device) i.e. lifejacket.

My 86 year old mother did the christening honors at the lake with a bottle of Molsonís beer,a little into the water and a swig for me,the old tradition,man,boat and sea as one. Sea trials were excellent after a few adjustments to the sprit boom and for all round sailing,helm/sail balance out well with leeboard 2/3 down.I have had my mother and sister on board for several day sails and am giving my sister lessons with the sprit sail set up.Always getting cute,neat,love it comments from people and doing my best to promote website and building here in Maine.I am very pleased with the performance for my needs and will be building another one for my sister this winter.