As previously mentioned, 2020-21 was largely spent reviewing our production process. Another redesign included the PT 11 foils kit. We took our ideas to Paul Bieker of Bieker Boats for his expertise with foil design. The new foils are thinner, using 18mm Birch plywood instead of 24mm Okoume. The Birch plywood is more dense, chosen for its strength at this thickness and not for it's looks. The machined birch plywood is not as handsome for clear coating as the Okoume but we are quite pleased with the overall change.
Modifying the foils kits affected many other parts of the kit, so those changes are are reflected in a total rewrite of the foils manual and changes in the boat itself (the daggerboard trunk is narrower, etc).
Machining the daggerboard and rudder from high-grade plywood is a good way to produce very efficient and relatively light foils. The process is far from easy though. It has taken much trial and error and a very good CNC programmer (Turn Point Design) to come up with the final product. The price of this foils kit reflects quite a lot of machine time for each set.
This first quarter of 2022 has been interesting for Russell and I here at Port Townsend Watercraft.
Chesapeake Light Craft continues successful production of the PT 11 Nesting Dinghy Kit. You can see the details on their page here.
What has changed?
There is a price difference from our previous rates. This was to be expected. For one thing, CLC includes the WEST SYSTEM Epoxy Kit that had been an option on our package. We are happy about this because we have always recommended WEST SYSTEM for this project. Anther big one is that our cost of the connective hardware doubled. They are, however, exquisite thanks to a local machine shop here in PT. The total kit price hike reflects both the inclusion of the epoxy kit and material price increases across the board from plywood to stainless steel. That considered, customer investment has not increased by much because we made efforts to streamline production of certain parts to offset those inevitable material price increases. Russell and I would have been hard pressed to continue production on our own with all this factored in..
CLC also has a well established packing system for their kits. This makes the kit package more manageable than our long and heavy plywood crate.
In our shop in Port Townsend we have finally been touched by the "supply chain delays" talked about in the daily news streams. A lack of sail cloth, delayed our sail production. We finally learned this after several ETA predictions that came and went without sails. We are assured this time that sails are on their way so we can ship out the rigs on order. (Talk about stress!)Russell has been doing a deep dive into the boat building technique referred to as 'Tortured plywood'. One of the 3 foot models (of which there are at least 8 versions), have been translated into 27ft long hulls. This project has been both exciting and frustrating beyond expectation. More to come on that later.
Those who know about Russell's earlier boats, including his windward proas, may have seen our videos of "Jzerro". We sold Jzerro a few years ago and of late, have anxiously followed the new owner Ryan Finn, on his massive journey from New York to San Francisco via Cape Horn. This last week, Ryan rounded Cape Horn successfully and has been flying northward at speeds from 9 to 19MPH on the edges of and through gales and rough seas. You can follow his tracker progress here.
Also see 2 Oceans 1 Rock on FB for descriptions of his journey.
More updates to come soon, including the 2022 Shipwright's Regatta this Saturday (Postponed a month due to a gale in the bay in FEB 26th. (there may be more than one PT 11 this year!) and an update on our new goose-neck design. AEB 😉
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
Port Townsend Watercraft is not closed!
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 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.
Join the list: info @ ptwatercraft.com
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.
The Victoria Classic Boat Festival happens annually right before Port Townsend's Wooden Boat Festival. Many from our local fleet grace their docks in neighborly appreciation of these beautiful boats as we welcome their fleet in the days that follow.
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.
Thank you. AEB 😉
Retail businesses in WA will have received this recent notice from our Department of Revenue:
Starting July 1, 2019, retailers can no longer make tax exempt sales to nonresidents based on their residence (i.e. Alaska, Oregon, Montana). Instead, consumers residing in qualifying states, US territories or provinces of Canada may request a refund of state sales tax paid from the Department once a year. Please see our Special Notice for more information. https://dor.wa.gov/find-taxes-rates/retail-sales-tax/sales-nonresidents
I can only assume they are trying to accumulate less paperwork by asking eligible customers to keep track and submit only once a year. Thank you for your understanding. AEB 😉
This year, 2019, the first leg of the Race to Alaska started on June 3rd in the face of a near gale. It was an exciting run to Victoria for those of us who had boats capable of handling the conditions. Team PT Watercraft in the G-32 did really well in spite of the bobbing and diving and water over deck. We were going fast, averaging 9 knots in waves stirred to peaks by strong wind against current. The GPS indicated from 8 knots up to 15 when the water flattened out a bit near Victoria.
We had a fun team with Alex Spear and myself joining Russell; me doing my darndest to hold the camera steady and all of us well braced to keep from flying to leeward at times. We kept within sight of the far more powerful, lead boat, Pear Shaped Racing, finishing some 20 minutes behind them. We just shake our heads in awe at the capability of this weird little boat designed by Jan Gougeon.
Ours was a 4 hour run having traveled more than the official 35 mile distance. .. all racers had to tack around the "no-go" zone. In Victoria, we hung out with some of the racers and support folks. Two boats sustained damage that made use of Russell's epoxy skills and it felt good to be useful instead of stressing about his own continuation of the race. We opted instead, to take a little cruise and that is another post. 😉
For now, here is a silly video of our first leg from this year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFO0sXEYek4
In the description is a link to more photos of the start by Sean Trew. Definitely worth a visit.
Happy Summer boating!