Transitioning from 2018 to 2019 has had its challenges for PT Watercraft. One of the big issues for us has been to update our builder’s manuals. The PT 11 manual has just endured a big rewrite while Russell built another boat following the existing manual. This was something we had been working on for a while. We felt the final push to finish it when a customer asked a simple question about screw size. The realization that we had been instructing builders for the last two years to use a screw size that was inappropriate,  was a shocker. The size screw we called for on the gunwale reinforcement, #12 instead of #10, would have worked but could have caused some serious hydraulic pressure issues (when installing with epoxy) considering that the hole size we called for was based on #10 screws.
--This PDF -- has some updates to the manual including that new section.
Over 100 PT 11 nesting dinghies have been built with our ever evolving manual. To console ourselves, we prefer to credit the ‘quiet-type’ builders with seeing our errors and correcting them on their own. We hope so. For those who blamed themselves thinking, “I must have done something wrong,” we humbly apologize.

ptwatercraft.comWe have created a fairly technical boat. To get the most out of our kit, the builder really has to follow the manual. To get the most out of our builders, they have to have a manual that really does the job.  We feel very strongly about our designs and we want the boats built to be the best examples possible. For Russell personally, he puts so much effort into producing the kits, and has built one every time he felt the need for serious revision of the manual, that if the manual falls short, or has real errors, he feels like he is falling down on the job.

A good manual also reduces the number of questions for our limited capacity to respond, but without feed back, we might never have known where the problems were. Thank you. We are humbled by our inherited family of kit builders; the novice in particular who takes on such a big commitment with enthusiasm and dedication.

In general, we want to congratulate every, single, one of our builders. Our kits are not the simplest or easiest to build. So many of the technical steps are geared toward longevity, the potentially extreme conditions of use, and the intention that your investment of time and money has resulted in a worthy boat. The new manual may not produce a “better” boat, but, it will make it easier to get the most out of your kit.
 Please check in with us by email or follow this blog. There will be more updates coming soon, (also regarding kit availability and what other interesting projects are happening.)
For those of you currently building the PT 11 Nesting dinghy, view the PDF here and/or contact us. We want to know where you are in your project. Many of you should get a new manual. We expect they will be available in February. It is a big hit for us to send everyone a manual at our expense so we need to charge for printing and shipping.
Another note to our builders; We have been doing a lot of gasket testing but are still puzzling over our options. Please give us more feed back. We’d like to hear from you if your gaskets are working fine or if you have had issues and if so, what have they been?
For those building the PT Spear, updates are coming. If you get stumped, do not hesitate to ask questions.;-) AEB

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...a video opportunity...
We recently had the opportunity to document painting a PT SPEAR. I put together a video of applying the first coat and some highlights of the third coat. The video is not a “how-to” but rather a demonstration that may be most useful to those of you preparing to paint your own home built boat with Interlux Perfection 2-part LP paint. The book, Rolling Perfection, really shows the technique Russell uses, from mixing, thinning, and applying onto a variety of surfaces, including non skid. You might note that we do not use a primer. Our boats are built using WEST SYSTEM resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener; saturation, fill, and gloss coats. This prepared surface has been perfectly suitable as a base for applying this paint (and its Interlux predecessors) on Russell’s boats over the last 30 years.
So here is the video. We hope you find it helpful. 😉 AEB

 

The PT 11 and Spear are very dependent on gaskets. The 11 has a hull gasket, a hatch gasket, and a trunk cap gasket. The Spear has two hatch gaskets and a trunk cap gasket. ptwatercraft.com
We are fairly proud of the gasket systems we have developed, but nothing is ever perfect. The latex tubing gaskets set in notches of the correct depth work amazingly well, but we have had some trouble with two things:

One of the issues is that gluing the latex gaskets is difficult, so they can come loose.
We have tried just about every adhesive and have finally found one that works much better than the contact cement method described in the manual. More about that in a soon-to-come blog post.
The other thing we have recently had happen is the outer face of the gaskets becoming stuck to their mating surfaces. This seems to be a problem mostly with the trunk cap, where the gasket is pressed much more firmly, due to the gasket notch depth being limited. We tried coating the outer face of the gasket with a few different lubricants, Vaseline being the one that seemed to work.
We will do a blog post about gluing in new gaskets with the adhesive we have found to work, but first we would like feedback on gasket issues from our customers. -What issues have you had?

-Do you need a new set of gaskets for you boat?

-If your gaskets are working fine, consider rubbing a light coat of Vaseline (or maybe you know of something that will work better) on the outer face of the gaskets, especially if your boat is being left assembled for long periods of time.

Thank you!

RB

The new batch of plywood is BEAUTIFUL and kits are rolling off the CNC machine.

Out of this batch of PT11 ans PT Spear kits, everything is beautiful, except....one PT11 foredeck. As it is not cost efficient to cut just one new foredeck,  we are offering this kit with a $50 discount. See the photo below to better understand this somewhat deep but pretty small flaw. (smaller that a quarter)  Anyone want to try their hand at an inlay repair?

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flaw located on the foredeck neat the mast step.

Let us know if you are interested! AEB

Our mahogany riser blocks of the past were beautiful complex shapes that performed a nicely functional duty; to give the oarlock socket more bearing and to offset the height of the seat relative to the height of the oarlocks. They were, however, rather beastly to make in the quantities we have been needing.

To improve production, Russell took the design to Turnpoint Design and figured out how, with minor changes, they could be machined on the CNC router. The remaining labor, (sanding out the tooling marks and rounding the upper edges ) is a great deal less time consuming than the previous version.

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Comparison photo, new style left, previous version-right.

They are still made out of Sapele Mahogany.  For those of you who wanted riser blocks this Fall when they were not available, this is our new product. Please let us know what you think. We have them IN STOCK! 😉 AEB

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Now available as of December 20 2016

 

It’s time for us to admit it, our boats seem have a weakness. We may just be treating our boats  poorly, but it’s more likely that there is an issue that PT 11 owners should be aware of.

Owners, please check your gunwales for cracks.

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Beginning the repair...

Builders, there will soon be an added step in the building manual to prevent the problem. If you haven't glued your bumper on yet, the fix is easy.  This printable PDF informs for both a fix or the added step in the build process.

We have seen this failure three times now. The first, when one of our boats got driven over (just the edge) by a truck. We thought that was unusual punishment, fixed the boat and forgot about it.
The second time was a boat that got beat up by solid water while lashed to a foredeck. We didn’t really know what happened there.
The third time it happened, it was our newest PT 11 (3 years old now) and again we don’t know exactly why, but here is our theory:
When the boat is upside down in the nested position and somebody walks on it (or a bunch of people sit on it), where does that weight go? It goes onto the very ends of the gunwales on the fwd hull half.

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photo shows where the load goes, (the aft corners of the forward half).

The failures we have seen have always been in the plywood hull skin (right where you would expect it).
Fixing the break and the weakness that caused the break are both pretty easy and important. The first is done by injecting epoxy into a carefully drilled hole to fix the crack, the second by putting screws (with epoxy) into carefully drilled holes.

Please click here to see the printable PDF with full instructions with photos.

I admire those who take on the challenge of building a boat or an airplane. CNC technology on kits has done for creative people, what the GPS did for adventurous people. (Not that they might not be one and the same) Cruising is far more accessible to those without traditional navigational skills, and CNC routering has opened up a whole new avenue to those who want to create something that would otherwise have been beyond their skill level.

Pause on that thought while mentally revisiting a lot of fun sailing..... OK-back to the present.

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PT 11 nested in the truck. Photo;Randy Kerr
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Kim and Mark get the boat wet for the first time. Photo;Randy Kerr

Our customers come from many walks of life and a wide range of ages and skill levels. However; they never fail to impress me. While Russell can take  credit for creating a beautiful design, kit and manual, our customers need the vision, passion, patience, and attention to detail for good results. To add the complexity of documenting their own efforts takes the same qualities and much more.  I cannot, for example, count how many tens of thousands of photos Russell had to carefully set up, snap, choose, and edit to get a few hundred for the manual.

Hence, for this post, I would like to point the spotlight on the Kerr Family; Randy, Kim, son Alex, and good friend Mark. Not only did they  complete their beautifully built PT 11, "Lil' Bear" in about 6 weeks, their documentation of the experience resulted in a wonderful

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"Lil' Bear" named in honor of Kim's great uncle who was on the crew of the Coast Guard cutter "USS Bear" back in the late1800’s. Photo;Randy Kerr

and creative little video. The feedback from Kim and her family has been so meaningful to us and I feel puffed up with pride like a mother hen. With their permission I am sharing some of that feedback and the wonderful present of this video. Randy's videos are all beautifully created and fun to watch so explore and let them know what you think.

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Kim goes for her first sail in her PT 11. Photo;Randy Kerr

 

From Kim, "It was your  PT11 kit that made my dream of having a sailboat come true!!!!!   Randy and I can’t quit talking about how grateful we are that you guys put so much heart and thought into such a beautiful and smart kit.  She sails and rows like a dream!  Highlight of our summer to build and sail that boat!
So thankful for you and Russell."

RANDYKERR
https://vimeo.com/187076801

Yes, there are some crazy things happening in our country and in the world. I refuse, however, to let that overshadow all of the wonderful things and people that, through shear existence and positive attitudes, are in some way, making this world a better place, cherishing what is good and beautiful.  Thank you to the Kerr family and all of our customers for your inspiration. AEB 😉

 

A few cool sites to share:

Toti Blue  Collective Evolution  on Woodworking

As beautiful as clear coated Okoume is, a couple of builder's have chosen to paint their dinghy interiors. They have also added non skid. I have to admit, I think these boats look super smart!

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exterior paint job on Sadee Ann includes a nice racing stripe.
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Sadee Anne PT 11 nesting dinghy nested
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Sadee-Ann with painted interior and clear coated accents.
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A PT 11 in Holland with paint over non skid on the interior
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This PT 11 in Holland matches the 'mother ship'

we received a very special New Years gift from PT 11 builder Cassie McDermott. It was a really nice email and a pdf attachment from 10 year Milo, for whom she built the boat. She concluded her letter thus:

"I knew that your boat changed our lives, but I didn't realize just how much. I am overwhelmed and feeling completely blessed for what you and your boat has brought our family. In the end, it's not just a boat."

.."Please feel free to share Milo's story. Maybe it will inspire other young folks to get into boatbuilding and sailing. " Click here to read Milo's story about his PT 11 ... and something more..

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Milo in his PT 11 that he and Cassandra built. See more on this project HERE

Many of you already know about EPOXY WORKS magazine, a FREE publication from Gougeon Brothers Inc, that is sent out twice a year. Issue #39 for this Fall of 2014 reviewed Russell’s EPOXY BASICS on the back cover!

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Issue 39 of Epoxy Works

This is a huge bonus for us and many of you have proven that! We had such a run on books within days of the magazine landing in mailboxes, that I have been kept busy sending them out. I want to thank those of you who had to wait with faith and patience for your back ordered copies. THANK YOU!
So why did Gougeon Brothers do such a nice thing? All I can say is that we are thrilled. Our relationship with Gougeon Brothers/WEST SYSTEM, is based on our long history and trust of their products, through which a lasting friendship has emerged. Russell’s nearly constant work with epoxies over the last 40 years has given him many opportunities to try various brands. His livelihood has depended on very refined composite workmanship and building lightweight, tightly engineered parts and craft. Many experiments, challenges, and successful projects have lead him to trust in one epoxy in particular; WEST SYSTEM.

The Gougeon brothers have an fascinating history and the company maintains an expert team unafraid to ask questions of themselves and the products they represent. In the spirit of doing what is right, ( yes, they do carefully consider environmental impact), full time scientists continually test every imaginable epoxy related scenario and tweak their products to best serve their customers of many industries. Their loyal customer base depends not only on having the best physical properties and workability in their epoxy, but also on knowledgeable customer support. The full time tech support staff at WEST SYSTEM are, in that down-to-Earth, humble, mid-western way, generous with their knowledge. If they don't have an answer for you right away, they will find out, and get back to you, even if it takes lab testing.  All this greatly benefits the casual epoxy user as well.

Calling the company during business hours (phone #1-866-937-8797) will not reach an automated phone system.... Nope, a real person will answer and politely direct your call... I know... hard to imagine these days.. Can you tell we like these folks? I hope so. We have the highest respect for the people in the company and the principles on which they base the production of excellent products; integrity being far more important to them than fancy marketing. Working with the folks at Gougeon Brothers/WEST SYSTEM, is always a pleasure. Such person to person relationships, with friends, customers, and business associates, rank high on my list of things that make life meaningful.  For a well written article about the Gougeon brothers, see: GOUGEON. G-O-U-G-E-O-N GOUGEON by Dan Spurr in Professional Boatbuilder Magazine Issue #125, beginning on page 36. You can buy  the issue HERE: Also, coming soon in WOODEN BOAT MAGAZINE ; an article by Jim Brown called, "Catching Up With Meade Gougeon".

PTW AB 😉