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.
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.
This September we had the opportunity to play with an EP Carry electric motor for the first time. Dinghy owners often ask about an outboard for the PT 11.
Our preference is to discourage outboards on our dinghies because good rowing and sailing boats never make great motor boats. But some people really want to be able to use an outboard. That's understandable, but the fact is that the smallest gas outboard motors currently available are really too big for our boat; too much power and too heavy.
Now there is an option we can support; the EP CARRY electric "outboard". All of the technical information about this innovative little motor can be found on the website ELECTRICPADDLE.COM. Though it is compared to a 1HP on their website, it has sufficient power to get the PT 11 up to a cruising speed of about 4 knots. The USCG however, considers all small electric outboards as "2HP". Based on that formula, the PT 11 and PT Spear are rated for "2HP" so, the EP CARRY aligns with the Coast Guard figures. The amazing thing about this motor is that it weighs only 14.4 Lbs. This makes it very easy to mount and remove. The battery pack weighs 6.3 Lbs, making the total package less than 21 Lbs. There are several design features that add to the ease of handling as well.
(At this years wooden boat festival, Russell showed up with the motor in his bicycle bag.)
Our recent experience with the EP Carry was very positive and to my surprise, I caught Russell grinning after speeding off to visit other boats in the anchorage. "Mr. anti-outboard" was actually having fun and we enjoyed it further by taking a friend on an evening "cocktail" tour of Reid Harbor, a deep bay with lots of shoreline and many boats to observe.
We spent a couple of days, driving along the shore of Sucia in the San Juans, in Shallow Bay making watery doughnuts, backing up, going forward, generally goofing off, and then venturing out to 'Danger Reef' to "brave" close proximity to a group of Stellar Sea Lions. We were pleasantly surprised by how far the battery went on one charge. You will notice in our video that we carried our oars with us but we did not need to employ them.
This motor is not silent. Neither is it loud. Our lightly built plywood boat seemed to acoustically amplify the sound a little. Even so, there was no need to raise our voices for conversation. In fact, we could almost whisper and still communicate. This was a plus to me. Loud outboards in quiet anchorages are, in my mind, a real nuisance and many of us are familiar with boaters talking in their loud dinghies barely hearing each other and assuming no one else can hear them either...but of course we hear every word. Sound is a funny thing. With the EP Carry, the birds, seals, and sea lions were undisturbed by our passage. It made it a great modus for exploring the nature around us.
Another thing that is really attractive to us about this motor, is that even with our limited house battery power, we could re-charge the EP Carry Battery. It does require a 150-200W inverter, but this lithium battery requires a third of the power than comparable models to recharge. At home, it is simple to plug it into a normal outlet. Beyond charging the battery and rinsing the unit after use in salt water, there is virtually no maintenance. Yet another plus.
(see our video exploring Sucia with the EP CARRY)
When our EP Carry arrived at the door, unpacking it was quite amazing. The care taken to pack it and the detailed contents made for a well thought out and complete package. It was a positive reflection of Joe and Linda who have spent years perfecting their product. They, like us, had a vision that they worked and reworked in every detail. In fact, the original mount did not fit the PT 11 and now it does. Further, the EP Carry, designed right here in WA State, is assembled in the USA. It is yet another example of admirable American ingenuity with style and a small business making a positive difference in the world. Of all the outboards on the market, we feel confident that the EP Carry is a good fit for the PT 11.
We now have a pattern for the PT 11/Spear cover. This option allows owners to pay their local canvas shop for time and materials to stitch it up but not for the time to measure and make a new pattern. Owners may also have the skills to stitch their own. The cover is for the PT 11 assembled to its full length or the PT Spear.
These photos show the first prototype cover that now belongs to PT Spear Hull #10. I regret not getting better photos with the poles installed to peak the center line but you can see one sent by a customer at the bottom of this post..
The pattern can be ordered here on our website. It gets shipped US MAIL rolled in a tube. The roll is 36" x 12 ft. long and includes general instructions.
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.
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
In August, we launched our “new” cruising boat, downsizing from Jzerro to a trailerable catamaran, unique in that genre, the Gougeon 32. We have managed to get away twice this year, on a shakedown trip to Deer Harbor and a week long trip into the San Juan’s after our local Boat Festival. On this last trip we took the PT 11, mounted on a custom made platform. I managed to miss getting a photo of it nested on its platform so we have to get that later.
We 'rendezvous'ed with 'Vito Dumas', our frequent sailing buddy, in Shallow Bay, Sucia. It turned into a stormy night but we still got in a good hike and a fun row. I snapped the above shot simply because I was struck by the interesting contrast of vessels. 'Mary H' is owned by a lovely couple, Lou and Al, who even offered to serve as a ‘dock’ when our anchor was not cooperating. Lou and Al are lifelong sailors only recently giving up their sailing home of decades, for more comfort without giving up mobility on the water.
Russell and I do enjoy rowing around and exploring. Having Alex with us in his PT SPEAR, 'Pato', makes him our best model. He is both a great sailor and rower and I am ever grateful he has not fired this photographer for being such a pest. I cobbed together a short video of our week.
As the wind picked up the next day, we decided to move around to Ewing Cove.
We were able to pull the dinghy onto the platform without taking it apart, for the short runs.
After a day in Ewing Cove we sailed to Stuart Island into Prevost Harbor. 'Mary H' had moved there and Madam Pele, with Ian Andrewes showed up too. Ian was aboard the R2AK 2016 winner, Mad Dog Racing. Al Hughes on 'Mary H' was Captain on the 2015 R2AK winner Team Elsie Piddock. It felt like a small world, in a good way.
From Prevost we moved to Reid Harbor. There Alex and I practiced our capsize drills. An effort was made to film all of this but the resulting video is mostly out of focus. A camera glitch...Bummer!
Scotty, on 'Da Capo' joined us in Reid Harbor. Now we had a PT 11 and 2 PT Spears in the fleet; Lil' B, Pato, and Rascal.
The next day we all had a good sail to Skull Island. (Orcas Island) There we enjoyed some sailing, rowing and hiking before heading back to Port Townsend. There was an impressive wooden, converted work boat crossing the straights with us. The view was beautiful. Photos follow. Video HERE.
Click photos for larger view, then back tab to return.
This year was the 39th annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival. Among our friends who participated, Alex Spear was there with his beautiful boat, Vito Dumas and her tender, ‘Pato’, a PT SPEAR. 'Pato' is in fact the very first PT SPEAR.
In Alex’s words, ‘An esteemed panel of judges, including our local Carol Hasse, selected the PT 11/SPEAR as the “best open sailing vessel in the show”.'
This is a great honor. According to Alex, ‘Pato’ was not independently entered in the show but it garnered so much interest and attention from the judges that they deemed it worthy of mention. Our humble gratitude goes out to the judges.
From Victoria, 'Vito Dumas', 'Sir Isaac', 'Sparkle' and other familiar and beautiful wooden boats converged at the Deer Harbor Wooden Boat Rendezvous.
Vito Dumas and ‘Pato’.
When it was suggested by our local sail maker (NW SAILS & CANVAS) that we should come up with a distinctive insignia for the PT 11, I had to do some research. I looked at hundreds of existing insignias for sails. Some were really fancy, others were on the verge of pathetically bad, and others were very simple and yet, very effective. My goal was to create one that fit into the latter category. I had some pretty bad ideas along the way.. The Pacific Swift silhouette was a step in the right direction. From here I personalized it with the signature puzzle joint from our local CNC shop,(Turn Point Design) used in all of our kits in place of the traditional scarf joint. I showed it around to my 'honorary advisers' (as I generally do with most of my ideas) and I got positive feedback from lots of people. It stuck and.. is on all of our sails and much of our promotional materials. Below is the final insignia design for Port Townsend Watercraft's sailing dinghies. PTW
Having a bailer in a dinghy is a very important thing. Dinghy sailing in gusty wind can get wet, especially if the captain is not paying attention and dips the rail. Russell came up with a handy bailer idea. This oblong fabric softener bottle offers both a wide mouth scoop and a low profile that fits neatly below the seat tongue. Stashed inside for minor spray is a sponge. This green sponge was a waste of pennies. It does little more than spread spray water. A good absorbent sponge like this PVA sponge or 3M C41 7456-T is a much better choice. I personally like these pop-up sponges but they do not hold up well if left outside, which is kind of the point environmentally.. 😉 This bailer installation does not interfere with nesting. There is room to spare. We used carbon glue on eyestraps and a bungee cord to keep the bailer stored out of the way but within quick reach.
The PT Spear, one piece PT11 design is now official and kits available. This was such a Port Townsend moment; A dinghy launching with flowers and bubbly, great friends and even a blush causing speech in the drizzling rain. All that was missing were the bagpipes!