Menwithtools hull #823 comes together!

With great anticipation and daydreaming, my 13 year old son and I decided on building a puddleduck. The whole concept of build it yourself and in a short amount of time, conjurs up visions of vast ocean expanses, billowed sails and salt water splashing in your face as you bring your boat up on its edges. Landlubbers turn into pirates and sing sea shanties while they build. What sport! A great time was had by all, with excitment building as we got closer to putting her in the water. This is a great oppurtunity to spend a lot of quality time with "the crew" as you build your boat together, though I must admit, younger members of the crew had a difficult time keeping their interest at a peak. Here are a few pictures showing the process.

My son hasn't had much opportunity to work with power tools much, my bad! But this was a true joy working with him on our boat! He now can safely and confidently work with several tools.

This is when it starts becoming real. Probably about 3-4 hours into the project.

More of the structure. We decided on the side airboxes because that's what the PD articles seemed to recommend for the most stabilty or ease of righting her without a lot of water to bail! After capsizing scorpions and sunfishes, this sounded great!

It was easier seeing a finish to the building process as we started coating her out. The excitement was starting to really build! At least for the older members of the crew.

We went with colors that I already had in my sign shop, keeping the cost way down. Hopefully the rub rails will help protect the hull when we're dragging it.

Using the 16' 2x4 mast with the reinforcement on the sides, seemed a simple way to go. Sorry for the non marine terms, this is a new sailor here. They stained and urethaned quickly and dried rapidly in the sunshine while I dreamed further of distant exotic shores with coral reefs and palm trees.

The swing up rudder wasn't too bad to build using materials that had around the sign shop. The aluminum was purchased for a small amount at your local lumber store. It bent easily, maybe too easily! This might be a weak point in the future, perhaps use heavier aluminum to replace it next time.

We decided on poly tarp for the leg o' mutton sail.After one botched attempt, I found that the second sail went quite quickly, perhaps an hour! Double faced tape on the seams keeps everything nice and crisp and flat, then the finishing touches... duct tape or should that be "Duck tape"?

Here we are, finally, ready to launch. The whole concept of building her inexpensively was pretty accurate even though lumber has gone up considerably. We built Duck #823 for $278.00. It was only fitting that we christen her with seltzer instead of fine wine! The whole family arrived with much excitement. The day was warm, the whole lake before us, ready to sail with wind in our hair and bugs in our teeth and you guessed it... NO WIND! We got out onto the lake with a breeze which tricked us into believing this was going to be very exciting. Stalled out, dead in the water. Needless to say, the crew was not impressed! My 13 year old first mate and 5 year old grandaughter splashed and had a great time testing the stability of our boat, but we crawled in on a breath of air.

All in all it wasn't by any means a dissappointment. We put her in the water, and found the integrity of the hull was better than anticipated. She took in no water. This is a boat with no fiberglassing, just glued and screwed joints and 4-5 layers of acrylic latex paint, between coats of primer and 3 of color, even leaving the screws in place, less work filling holes, more time to relax and enjoy! We did however caulk all the inside joints before painting. Now, we start the process of learning how to anticipate good wind days. She is easy to load and unload into the back of my little Ford Ranger. We're really looking forward to seeing what she can do and perhaps even learning how easy it is supposed to be to right her after we get the nerve to push the limits! Now, we can look on her and brag to friends about how "we built it" as they stand in awe and we dream of far away places."Menwithtools" is a reality! We may still get lots of chances before snow flies in the North Country. If anyone out there is considering building your own, feel free to contact me with questions.I'm no expert but I can sure share what went wrong!

Thank you,
Dan Adel / Adel Signs