February 28 2015 was a beautiful sunny and breezy Saturday, and it was the occasion of the annual Shipwrights Regatta in Port Townsend. Russell and I are not racers but this seemed like a good excuse to get out on the water. We entered the PT 11 thinking there would be a host of dinghies in the fleet as is often the case in Port Townsend. Well, we turned out to be the only actual dinghy! Our 11 footer was the most “water-line challenged” in the fleet. Next up in size were 505 Olympic class racing dinghies, then 6 Thunderbirds, and lots of racing and cruising yachts of a wide variety.
When the horn sounded for the start, we were first across the 'line', together with the 'cruising class'. We made the course around the bay twice and crossed the finish line just over 2 minutes behind the last large boat. Yes, we finished last which, after-all, was pretty much a given at the start! It was a lot of fun and nobody was ever left far behind as even we were able to stay close to the fleet and boats with 10 times our sail area and 3 or more times our waterline.
A great thing about this town and this sailing community and regattas like this one is the fun loving spirit and a trophy of some kind for almost everyone. We won the Boat Hook, as the boat that 'could have used a little pull'... or one less crew, perhaps.. but we were tickled with our “win” and had a blast out on the water. I was having so much fun, cold as I was, that a childish grin was frozen on my face.
My fingers were too cold and stiff to work the Gopro camera very well but what I got is HERE, wet lens and all.
Other pictures of the day can be seen on the Port Townsend Sailing Association website. We are seen under the results and Annual Awards as "Lil B".
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."
On June 30th, Cassandra McDermott and 10 year old Milo arrived to pick up their PT 11 kit. 'Cassie' is a young woman who delivers boats, does a lot of sailing, boat finishing, refinishing, and polishing. I suspect she is very good at it, too.
Meeting Cassie and Milo (who also loves to sail) was a real pleasure. It was particularly exciting to have a pre-teen totally into building a PT 11 and that a woman was to be the primary builder. It often feels like building boats is perceived as 'such a guy thing' and I like to encourage more female involvement with the kits.
Besides the distinction for Cassie & Milo as the first ‘mom & pre-teen’ team so far to build one of our kits, they did it in record time.
On August 3rd, barely a month after picking up the kit, we received an email, and I quote, “Well we launched last week! I will send you some pictures soon....We are having a blast. She is a great boat!” Then she sent this great photo of Milo in the boat, with it’s shiny blue hull, (in honor of the SEA HAWKS)... Russell and I were very impressed!! 😉
Cassie totally dedicated herself to the project, including setting her alarm clock for 3AM to make a fill coat. They really familiarized themselves with the manual so that while waiting for one thing to cure, they knew what they could begin to prepare and have ready for steps later on. Warm summer weather helped while they had several simultaneously curing parts. This consolidated a lot of the 'waiting-for-cure' time inherent in wood/epoxy boat building."The build went really well. We made a few mistakes-nothing structural and nothing we couldn't fix," she told me.
They also had a strong motivation. Milo was going back to school at the end of the Summer and Cassie wanted to be sure he had plenty of time to sail in his new boat before then. Milo wrote us a letter that deserves a frame in our shop. Photos & captions following, (compliments of Cassie and Milo), tell much of the story best.
Building any kit can take weeks, months or years depending on a person’s working habits and available time. We recommend taking your time and enjoying yourself. Our builders have expressed real pleasure in the project and that is as much a part of it as the end result. The fact that Cassie met her self imposed and pretty short deadline AND had a great time is a testament to her skill and an inspiration for women boat builders! Hats off to you, Cassie and Milo!!
See some recent feedback from our builder's about our kits:
Robert in MA: It is a fantastic kit, and I thoroughly enjoyed the building project. Honestly, I felt a little intellectually lazy doing the build. Usually there are multiple details that have to be thought through, improvised, fleshed out, etc. Not with the PT11. You did all the thinking for me and didn't leave out anything. I didn't mind being lazy for a change. I can't think of a single thing to improve in the kit or manual. I can't wait to start rowing and sailing. August 2014
Simon in New Zealand: I didn't really realize how much of a delight to build she's been until the bumper had been stuck on and I was a little disappointed that there wasn't anything left to do except go sailing.
On a recent camp cruising excursion to BC, we towed our PT 11 along behind the Water Bug. We did not take the sailing rig but we really enjoyed after dinner rows around the different anchorages. The evening light is so beautiful and on calm, clear summer days, the reflections in the water make you feel like you are looking into another world or floating along on the sky. It was mesmerizing. I put together some clips of these evening rows. I look at my wind swept and bedraggled state with some embarrassment but I had a great time out in the vast wilderness of Desolation Sound. Here is a short video: SKY ROWING
I admit it..I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to some things. I am not a skier, will not go near a roller coaster, and have never been white water rafting. Russell on the other hand... well let's just say, in reference to THIS VIDEO, a standing wave, big or small, is as good an excuse as any for a little fun.
In any case, I do love a good adventure. Exploring the Toba Inlet in early July brought us to the mouth of the Brem River. At low tide, the river hit the inlet with some gusto to the delight of several seals, and, Russell. Had I not been holding our one, good, and yet very water sensitive camera, I would have been a lot less concerned. We could have played at this spot a lot longer than we did, although the big and biting black flies were a bit of a menace.
Russell insisted that I keep the sound on the first clip (you probably understand why, much to my chagrin) and I did my 'darndest' to be quiet on subsequent takes. Being in the boat was a bit 'knarly' AND really fun. The video hardly does it justice. The PT 11 clearly liked it. So I hope this puts a big smile on your face. The PT11 in the Rapids. Cheers, Ashlyn PTW
I am always happy to show off new boats from our family of builders. I am also so very impressed with the beautiful work everyone has done. Here are some pictures from this Spring.
206 Composites’ Simon Miles, here in Port Townsend, has had 3 PT11 projects in progress. One of these was just launched on June 25th. Simon was a student at the NW School for Wooden Boat Building when Russell taught a class while building the first PT Skiff prototype in 2009. He now runs his own business after working on some very high tech boat building projects including the BMW/Oracle America's cup boats, sailboat rudders,carbon bicycle wheels, and submarines. simonmiles206 at gmail.com
Bob in BC launched his PT 11 this Spring.
“Attached a photo of the first nesting, it fit perfectly.
"The paint is not the final, it will eventually be red, but needed the boat some it will be prime grey for a bit. I used System 3 water basted epoxy primer and it worked well and seems very hard, it will be tested this summer.
I did not clear coat the interior and will decide whether to clear coat or paint next year. Added strips of no-skid to the bottom panel by taping a few strips and adding non-skid grit from Interlux to some epoxy . It works very well and is not obvious.
Rows beautifully and my 100 lb wife and I can load it in the truck easily. Should fit will on the nets of my F31 trimaran."
A PT 11 just launched in Florida. Here showing the first ‘in-water’ assembly practice.
Family fun on a PT 11 in the Bahamas: Seeing these young gents sailing around put a big smile on my face..
We recently finished our sixth (yes, sixth) PT 11 prototype. This was to incorporate a few design changes and re-write much of the manual in an effort to make the boat easier to build. Building this many boats can lead to some labor saving ideas and we felt that we needed to do our best to make this, “kind-of-high-tech” boat as easy to build as possible.
In the last related blog post we detailed some of the changes we have made to the boat. Everything worked well, the new manual is done, and kit parts are stacked to the ceiling and ready to fly out the door.
Relevant details even if you already have a PT11;
We have a few new details to share. Most are in the new manual but could be useful for people that already have PT 11’s.
The back seat had two issues: One is that the seat needed a way to be held against the tank wall when nesting the boat. For some reason we never realized that if we trimmed 1/4” off of the aft edge of the seat (it’s now 7” wide), it could wedge between the cleat and the shock chord knot as shown below. It’s secure enough not to fall over when nesting the boat and that’s all it needs.
The other issue is that the back seat could slide forward, (even with the bunji cord) come off the cleats, and drop you on your butt.
The fix is pretty simple. We trimmed a bit from the outboard edges of the seat with a sanding block (to move the seat aft) and we block sanded the forward corners of the seat as shown, all so that there was enough cleat showing to drill holes in. We then drilled 1/4” holes to a depth of 3/8” for the 5/8” long hardwood dowels to glue into.
This works well, it’s an easy fix, and if you already have a boat, we can send the dowels to you along with the handy-dandy tether washer we shown below.
We have always kept our dagger-board trunk cap in the forward compartment, but it can be hard to find in there if it’s full of stuff. It’s easy to glue a tether into a hole drilled in the cap, but where to tie the tether? To the washer under the forward turn dog, that’s where.
It’s a special washer made for us by a neighbor who laser cuts other parts for us as well. This is a thin Delrin(TM) part, but we had a very hard time breaking one.
Replace the round washer with this one and rotate the washer aft for fishing the tether through the hole.
Holding the dagger-board down has always been done with a rope loop that can hook over the aft turn dog, but having the loop fairly snug (as shown below) keeps the board down all the way.
Having the board down fully will make the boat climb like a 12 meter when sailing upwind and it will also help you run aground. No, what I meant is that it will help if you run aground.
We hit a rock very hard and not only did it nearly throw us out of the boat, but the sharp trailing edge of the board hit the aft end of the trunk (because the board was up about four inches) and did a small amount of damage to the trunk. The dagger-board was fine, but we now sail with the dagger-board down all the way or we unhook it and let it float up (about a third of the way).
Work on a slightly re-designed PT 11 and a much improved building manual for the 11 is well underway.
We have long been planning to develop a smaller version of our nesting dinghy, but for several reasons, we decided to focus our efforts on making the PT 11 as good (and as easy to build) as we can make it.
One reason for this decision is that we are a small company with no employees (just ourselves) and even though the design process for the smaller boat was well underway, the thought of needing to stock all the parts necessary for a smaller boat seemed like too much.
Very few of the parts for the bigger boat would fit the smaller one. Even the rig and foils would need to be different, so the PT 9.5 has been put aside... For now.
The PT 11 has been a constant evolution. I have built so many prototypes and modified the manual so many times that I have lost count, but we love the boat and it has become quite a popular kit.
The new changes in the boat (and the manual) are mostly aimed at making the boat easier to build.
The biggest change is to make the gussets both thicker and slightly larger so that the builder can avoid the tricky job of applying the structural fiberglass over the gussets, besides making sense structurally.
The gussets will now be pre-beveled so that the upper gussets fit the hull without the builder having to do it and the curved gusset edges will be pre-rounded so that builders without router tables can avoid the risk of rounding their finger tips.
We wanted to make the two halves of the boat key together more snugly when nested, so the transom inwale is now wider and has a reinforced notch cut into it that the stem fits into when nested.
That, along with the larger gussets will mean that the forward half will just fit into the aft half, and once it’s there it won’t be able to move.
We will have the new boat cut in half soon to check our tolerances and then machine new gussets and inwales for future kit orders.
In the manual we are changing many parts of the process, mostly just to clarify parts of the process with more photos and better text, but some parts, such as the process of fiberglass taping the chines has been changed to a much better method, one we have used on the last couple of prototypes.
We have also been working on a video of some of the more challenging parts of the process. This video will (eventually) include filleting, chine taping, glassing, gloss coating, and painting.
As of Monday, April 7 th, our PT 11 nesting dinghy will be on display at Fisheries Supply in Seattle. This is something we have talked about doing for a long time and we are pleased it is happening this year. Fisheries Supply is one of our very favorite resources.
On display is our PT 11 that we have used a lot for 3 seasons now, around Port Townsend and north into Desolation Sound, BC. We have done a lot of exploring in this boat, some of which is featured in our videos. The interior finish is still the original WEST SYSTEM EPOXY(R) clear finish using 207 Special Clear Hardener(R) done in 2011. It is due a coat of varnish but I think you will be impressed at how little the scratches show even after all the sand and shoes. So if you are in the area, please stop by FISHERIES SUPPLY and check the boat out! Let us know you stopped by. THANK YOU!