Port Townsend Watercraft will be updating our website to function better on multiple devices and to reflect the changes in our business. We will maintain information about our designs as supplemental to the CLC website, and we will be creating new content related to our designs and our books.
We remain open to feedback, photos, and those particular questions that only we might be able to answer for now. Please send your favorite PT 11 photos to Ashlyn's GMAIL : PTWATERCRAFT@
THANK YOU to everyone who asked us to keep production of the PT 11 active and to all who have built our boats.
We are particularly fond of PT 11-in-action pictures and beautifully scenic pictures where even a small portion of the PT 11 is visible. Did you personalize your boat with some special detail? What color did you paint it? Of course, we love animals and pets-in-the-PT 11 pictures are welcome too.
PT 11 kits will become available this year if all goes as planned. The hiccups include supply chain issues and rising shipping and material costs. We are making forward progress.
We have been working with a well established kit company who long mentored our fledgling business and really wants to produce our kits. We will continue to manufacture and supply them with specific parts that make our kits unique.
This has been an incredibly interesting and challenging task to put our process into a transferable format. We are ‘creatives’, not ‘business managers’ persay. That we have managed, is nothing short of amazing to me as I fill in lengthy spreadsheets with suppliers, part numbers, current pricing, how many of what per kit, etc. Everything needed updated numbers. This rather daunting assignment has simply taken time to accomplish as Russell continues to make large runs of certain parts that get stocked in advance, to determine how those parts should be priced.
We have redesigned our rudder and daggerboard with help from very skilled friends. The new foils are thinner (18mm), denser, and slicker. The birch plywood is not as handsome for clear coating as the Okoume but we are pretty pleased with the overall change. Modifying the foils kits affected several other parts of the kit, so those changes are being made as well as a total rewrite of the foils manual.
We are working on a boomless rig for the PT 11. Why? Besides greater simplicity of set up and even lighter weight, a large portion of the cost and labor in our current sailing rig is in the boom. We have asked our favorite sail designers to work on this but getting a prototype is one of the supply chain hiccups. We know there will be trade-offs. It is the only way we see being able to keep producing sailing rigs that we would want to use ourselves.
With the retirement of our connective hardware machinist at the end of 2019, early inquiries at machine shops nationwide were not encouraging and we will not take this overseas. We discovered, however, that Port Townsend has a first class, family owned and operated machine shop. Truth be told, the initial quote took time to digest but we considered quantity, precision, and other local advantages. We just picked up the first run and the parts are excellent.
Kit pricing is to be determined but we expect minimal change. Our efforts to simplify parts of production are also intended to offset increased costs in other areas aiming to stabilize cost to the builder.
We expect to announce kit availability later this Summer. The details of ordering will be explained in the next update.
I continue to add names to a list of seriously interested builders. Everyone on that list will receive an email update before this blog. I do this because some of you have been waiting a year for news of kit production continuing. It is all of you on that list especially, whom I wish to thank for your patience and encouragement. It is deeply appreciated. We are excited about finding a pathway forward.
First in production will be the PT 11 Nesting Dinghy and second, the PT Spear. We are not 'there' just yet and we totally understand if you find or have found a different project to work on.
Thank you again,
The PT Skiff is not in our hands at this time. There is no manual that addresses design changes. The designers may have some information for experienced builders but we will not be offering tech support for that project for the time being.
Saturday the 27th was this year's Shipwright's Regatta here in Port Townsend and as always, it was such a fun event. I find that I cannot stop smiling when we are out there in the dinghy.
Upon registration, our class choices were, Racing, Thunderbird, or Cruising. Hmmm. let me see. An 11 foot dinghy...can't compete with the 505's and the bigger racing boats, we have a bird on our sail but it is a Pacific Swift... not a T-bird..., well, I guess we are in Cruising class!
Upon checking in with the committee boat, I was asked what class I was in. My reply got a good guffaw and we were on our way along with almost 60 boats. The race committee had decided to break up the Cruising class into 2 groups due to the many participants. The forecast was for very little wind. In fact, we'd had to row from Point Hudson to the course area at the south side of the bay which I believe is close to a mile. We had left our dry suits thinking we would be lucky to make it around the course once, much less twice, and do so while remaining perfectly dry. Think again. The sailing brain can rust over a long, dark, and cold winter.
The race started with a "wind shift" a little past noon, first the Racers, then the Thunderbird fleet, then Cruising boats over 30ft, and then our lot, Cruising boats under 30ft. There was a nice range of under 30ft boats this year. It was great.
We did get around the course twice as prescribed and in fact, did so ahead of 7 boats out of 12 in our class, most of which were well over double our length! It took me a moment to realize just how well we had done. Russell's challenge was to find clean air among so many boats especially when your mast is only 15ft tall.
I put together a little video of our day. Sadly, due to Covid, the Pizza and awards party was cancelled this year but it would appear that Russell and I can lay claim to the Golden Trident for being the Saltiest Crew (literally) of 2021. It is a really fun way to kick off our local sailing season. Thank you to the PT Sailing Association and the NW Maritime Center.
Customers launched new boats in 2020 and I am happy to share photos and comments we have received.
"Russell & Ashlyn I wanted to let you know that we finally finished our PT11 dinghy. And although we haven’t sailed it yet in warm water, we have tested it out in CO. My wife has proclaimed rowing it is “oargasmic”. So I am very happy to have built it, and thankful to you for such an awesome design, kit and instructions. " JB
As the signs indicate on our website, we are not able to take orders for kits (PT 11 and PT SPEAR) at this time. We had hoped to have a clear path figured out by now but we are still exploring what production might look like in 2021. By the end of the year, we really should know more.
We are collecting names and contact information of would-be PT 11 builders who want to be notified with updates on availability. So many of you have made it clear to us that discontinuing production of the PT 11 and the PT Spear would be, "tragic". We hear you! Solutions are being sought. Our most simplified explanation: "It's complicated".
For those of our builders who are looking for rigs or foils kits, we are building some new stock so that we may continue to serve the boats being built now. These will be available near the end of the year and early in 2021.
We also have books on our books page! There is a draft taking shape for a new book as well. (Spoiler alert; DIY hatches that really work) Plus we have swag and gift ideas on our mecantile page.
We missed everyone at the Wooden Boat Festival usually held at Point Hudson. We hope that you are all managing the current time we live in, in good health and good company.
You can also sign up for our newsletter for periodic updates.
Thank you for your understanding as we work through this transition in our business.
Recently we did a rather large paint job where the bubbles left by the roller refused to pop and the result was a very pock-marked finish that took a distressing amount of sanding to make smooth again.
Why did this happen? At first we weren’t sure, but now we feel the need to bring up two possible causes for paint-job disasters to be avoided.
Two things we learned are:The reactor (the smaller can) has a two year shelf life from date of manufacture.While I’m sure I have successfully used paint that was older than that, if the reactor starts to thicken, don’t try to use it. There is a code on the bottom of the can, but you’ll have to call the phone # on the side of the can to get them to tell you what it means. Apparently Interlux will not provide the reactor separately. The other thing we are learning is that over-thinning can also cause the bubbles not to pop. It seems like 15 percent thinner (as our book recommends) can be too much at times. We just did a large job thinned at 10 percent that came out amazingly well. While we have had excellent results in the past thinning up to 20 percent, that may have been an anomaly. We will update the Rolling Perfection book to discuss both of the above issues.
Using this paint with the roller only method can be relatively painless, satisfying, come out beautiful, and last forever. or, like any paint, it can all go wrong. There are so many factors that can influence a paint job. Our experience with this paint has been almost all positive, but one bad experience can be a wake-up call, especially for us, as we happen to sell a book on the subject.
Also, we haven’t used all the colors of Perfection and don’t know how that relates to handling and results.
We do know that clear Perfection seems to need to be tipped and we know that some colors cover much better than others: In the whites, Matterhorn, which is darker, covers much better than the whiter whites and Platinum, which is a very light grey, covers even better. With Matterhorn and Platinum it’s possible to do a two-coats only paint job.
Remember that besides a good respirator, good ventilation is very important. If working indoors, an exhaust fan is key. The fan should be in one end of the shop and an open door or large window at the other end. This paint doesn’t smell for long, but when it’s going off it’s very bad to be around. RB.
For those of you building our boats that haven’t gotten to the stage of glassing the outside yet, please read the "warning" label below. We got an earful from one customer about his uni falling apart before he could get it on his boat and now we wonder how many people hate us for the same reason. His point was that we should supply two pieces, so that it wouldn’t need to be split in half and he’s right, except that this material is rather expensive and we know that it works to split it in half. The new "warning" label follows:
This unidirectional fiberglass is for reinforcing the outer faces of the gunwales on the after hull half.
Page 250 discusses the process and page 253 shows it, but please read this sheet for success!
This 3’’ wide fabric needs to be cut into two 1 1/2” strips. Splitting it in half is easy, but it does want to fall apart after cutting, so read carefully.
The ideal way to keep from losing strands is to find a scrap of wood around 6 feet long (to cut the strip on) and leave the strips on that scrap until applying them to the gunwales. The scrap of wood can be anything clean, a 2x4, or a strip cut from your crate lid. Lightly mark the center of the 3” wide strip every foot or so and cut with scissors or a sharp knife.
When the time comes, place the scrap with the strips on it just below the gunwale (on a trash can or something) so that the strips can be carefully lifted and applied centered on the gunwale edge.
Placing the cut edge facing up will help retain strands and once it’s in place, Bob’s your uncle.
Remember, this is 13 oz material and it takes some time (and epoxy) for it to fully saturate.
This label is attached to every roll of uni that we supply with our kits.
This year, the PT 11 took the Best Tender award in Victoria, "without even trying!" according to owner John Bailey. John and Anne own the Schooner Sir Isaac that has an amazing story of its own. We feel honored that they chose the PT 11 as their tender.
This is the second time the PT 11 has won this special award. In 2016, the very first SPEAR, Pato, tender to the classic double-ender, Vito Dumas, received the honor.
We thank our friends and builders of the PT 11 and PT Spear not only for choosing our designs but for building them so lovingly. Much of the attraction these dinghies garner once out and about in the world, is due to the craftsmanship put into them. We recognize that our kits ask a lot of every builder. It is a joy for us every time we learn that a builder has not only finished and gone sailing, but that they enjoyed the process and learned new skills.
Say it ain't so, Joe!
How disheartening to see a vendor of such nice craft from Port Townsend no less call a fender a "bumper." This is such a lubberly mistake that it pains me to even draw attention to it. It is akin to seeing a movie star pick her nose. I sure wish I had never seen that! But what is done is done and the best thing you can do now is correct that horrible gaffe and we all shall agree to forever pretend it never happened. P.J. Nolan"
Russell and I do have a sense of humor and that email cracked me up! It is rare to receive such a harsh-and-gnarly critique that compliments at the same time. I must say, that takes some skill.
Fender or Bumper? I just had to find out. Searching online I found that vendors use the terms interchangeably for an assortment of barriers used on boats and docks. Could it be that we are all just movie stars picking our noses?
Since there is no reason to believe the internet, I turned to a more trusted source.
I actually still own a hard bound dictionary. It is 4” thick, weighs about 10 pounds, (it flattened my 6# postal scale) with gold lettering that proudly reads; The Random House Dictionary of the English Language. I had to haul it out, lug it to the table, and dust it off. Flipping through the musty pages, my handy-dandy magnifying glass was of considerable assistance.
FENDER; definition #5; A piece of timber, bundle of rope, or the like, hung over the side of a vessel to lessen shock or prevent chafing..."
Hmmm, that sounds about like what I was thinking except I picture the inflatable kind found at a marine chandlery.
Bumper: definition #3; Any protective rim, guard, pad, or disk for absorbing shock and preventing damage from bumping."
Now that sounds about like what we have permanently attached to the outer edges of the gunwales on our dinghies.
For argument’s sake, one could say that they both serve a very similar purpose and regardless of their possible origins, for better or worse, language evolves.
In truth, the most accurate term for what we have is neither fender nor bumper, but, rubber rubbing strip or for an internet search; "rub-rail". At least, for now, I can relax and not feel embarrassed.
However; I do take issue with the term, “lubberly”. I had to look that up too, just to be sure that I was properly insulted, at least for Russell's sake if not my own.
lubberly - clumsy and unskilled; "unskilled labor"; "unskilled workmanship", inexperienced in seamanship...
Hardly the case, my dear fellow. That would be a “horrible gaffe” on your part. But, as I am a friendly sort and would not want to disrespect anyone’s preferences or “pain” someone with my own, I heartily agree, “to forever pretend it never happened.”
Thank you for the challenge. It was fun. 😉 AE Brown