Happy 2023 to all. Russell and I heralded in the new year with a day on the water in the PT 11. Every January 1st, weather permitting, The local Pocket Yachter's and friends make their way out to Rat Island in Port Townsend Bay. The craft lined up on the beach vary from sailing dinghies to row boats to mini camp cruisers. Everyone meets on the beach with snacks, cider and friendly greetings in praise of the beauty all around.
Thank you to Galen Piehl for the invitation and taking this photo of Russell and I, each on an oar, heading back across the bay. The other boat is the Scout designed by Brandon Davis, and Brandon on the oars.
I took a few pics but was too busy rowing most of the time. A snowy white Mount Baker rises behind us and there were at a number of seals checking us out at any given time.
Leo, of Sampson Boat Co / Tally Ho rebuild project, has featured the PT 11 prominently in one of his excellently produced videos. We are a little floored by the feature and yes, very grateful. He surely would not have made such a great video (we think all of his videos are great) if he wasn't happy with his PT 11 and that makes us happy indeed. Thank you Leo!
PT Watercraft maintains an informational website about the PT 11 and the PT Spear and we are available to answer inquiries. Kit orders and kit production is now managed by Chesapeake Light Craft. We still sell our books, various small parts, and serve our pre-CLC customers directly. Sailing Rig production remains in our workshop in Port Townsend.
Leo's video also shows how one person can manage the dinghy from vehicle to beach launch. This is something we got asked about a lot but never managed to film so this is an important addition to the PT 11 videos already online. In case you have not already seen it, click on the image below.
If you are unaware of the Tally Ho videos, we recommend you start from the beginning and subscribe. Leo is a brilliant videographer. This skill greatly compliments his knack for explaining the processes of rebuilding this historic sailboat. Even more valuable in my opinion, is that he is documenting the evolution of learning things as you go that influence how such a project evolves, while showcasing the many skills, tools, materials, and talented people it takes along the way. The videos are educational, entertaining, and very inspiring. AEB 😉
There is hardly a better way to start the sailing year that the Shipwright's Regatta every February. The regatta was originally started decades ago at a time when most of the shipwrights in Port Townsend owned a boat. But owning a boat was not the only criteria for being a shipwright. You had to get out on the water in it! The work ethics of our Marine Trades keeps most of them totally focused on their work, often year round, so the Shipwrights' Regatta was created to get everyone out on the water toPLAYat least one day a year.
Besides the 505 racing dinghies, most of the entrants are either cruising boats or schooners. Some daysailors often show up and, for me, if we failed to go dinghy sailing on January first, the Shipwrights' Regatta is often our new year sail.
This year at least one other PT 11 is planning to join the day. The apples to apples competition will be extra fun. May the weather gods be kind.
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.
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.
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
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.
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."
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 😉
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.
Two weeks have already slipped by since the festival! I am late to express my deeply felt gratitude to everyone who makes the festival happen, (http://nwmaritime.org/) , all who participate, and all who come to talk wooden boats and all things boaty. I realize that is a big blanket statement.
For the past 5 years we have been very fortunate to share a tent with WEST SYSTEM EPOXY. This year Alan Gurski (CEO) and Bruce Niederer were on hand with their comprehensive and unbiased knowledge about epoxy; its uses, history, and the very chemistry of it all. If you want to understand epoxy, pros and cons, these are the guys to talk to.
There were more than a few of our customer boats in the festival. PT 11 nesting dinghies and PT Spear dinghies were to be seen on boats, behind boats, at the docks, and out in the bay.
Two customer PT Skiffs graced the festival as well. Both boats are mind blowingly beautifully built and equally unique interpretations of the kit. High compliments are due to these two builders.
Steve Merrill wipes the morning dew from his PT SKIFF, Takin' Five. Steve has been meticulous with his build, taking his time. He says he has been really enjoying it and getting creative especially with his 'expanding' driver seat and his self bailing installation.
This seat hinges up, slides forward and ......
....expands into a romantic, "side-by-each" joy ride seat. My jaw dropped upon seeing this. But, alas, there are NO PLANS for it so you will have to charge up the brain-waves to create your own if you want one!
Our friend, Cooper Parish, took time off from his high-tech job at Scaled Composites in Mojave, to help us at our booth again this year. We love having him! We want him to keep returning every year so we make sure he gets plenty of sailing time in! In spite of being the smallest boat with the least sail area, Cooper sailed 'Rascal', a PT SPEAR, to a 3rd place finish (out of 6) among the Non-T-Bird class in the 26ft and under race.
Of the events in the bay over the weekend, I totally missed getting photos of the Schooner Race. With a piping wind, it was one of the fastest schooner races on record at the festival. It was over before I could get to the beach with the camera. I hear it was eventful! John and Anne Bailey's recently re-launched , Sir Issac, snuffed the fleet.
The PT Wooden Boat Festival is always a colorful affair. It is an overwhelming weekend for us, exciting, exhausting, and encouraging. Customers often visit us at this time and we see our 'family' growing. We are seriously looking forward to holding a casual, PT11 sailing regatta of sorts and I will keep you posted on any development in that direction. Thank you all again. AEB 😉
Yesterday morning began with a tropical downpour that is just as out of character for the PNW as this summer's 90 degree temperatures. A few days ago the driveway was suddenly littered with crunchy yellow alder leaves. It has hit me hard that summer is coming to an end. For us, it also means that our local Wooden Boat Festival, (the 40th!) is upon us. We will be there! September 9, 10, & 11.
We are pleased to announce that two, customer built PT Skiffs to be at the festival this year!
Mojo at the Wooden Boat Festival
Immediately prior to festival, we will be in Deer Harbor (Wooden Boat Rendezvous), and just as promptly after festival, we will set sail northward, incommunicado, for 2 weeks.
We try to go sailing every year after festival and this year is special as it will be our first trip in our 'new' boat. We have yet to give it a name and perhaps this first real sail on her will help us decide on a name from our list, many suggested by friends.
If you are curious about our odd but inspired cruising boat, a G-32, the original promo videos can be seen HERE, and Russell's refit blog HERE.
We will have the PT 11 with us as we travel up to Desolation Sound and back. During that 2 weeks we will aim to get new video, recharge our creative and productive energy banks and be on full power for our busier Biz season; Fall through Spring. Hence, we will be a little difficult to reach by phone and a little slow to respond to emails for the rest of September, but please write and leave messages anyway! We will get back to you and new production favors the early birds. There is also the quick deposit button if you are ready to secure your place in line for kits while we are away.
While I am at it, I want to share a couple of pictures of some dinghy fun from this summer. It is exciting for me to realize that quite a few PT 11's and PT Spears have been completed locally and regionally (with many more on the way!). We had our first 'mini regatta' of friends at Watmough Bay this summer and look forward to having more PT 11 'meets' in the future.I also have this vision of a Wooden Boat Festival here, perhaps the 41st next year, where-in a veritable fleet of PT 11's and Spears fills the foreground of the sail-by on Sunday afternoon, escorted of course, by several PT Skiffs.... my how our family is growing. Mark it on your calendars if you think you can make it. 😉 AEB
Fun! For the second year we had a blast in our PT 11 as the smallest entrant in the Shipwright's Regatta hosted by the Port Townsend Sailing Association. Russell was at the helm and I was ballast, chocolate dispenser, and "kite" handler, .... hmmmm... maybe we have some work to do if we are going to get real about racing...
Of course Russell would have been much faster by himself but no fun without me! Kidding aside, we didn't do all that bad (13th out of 19 boats in Class B) since our competition was all multiples of us in waterline. (except for Simeon in Noddy, his SCAMP)
It was a beautiful day, perfect breeze, sunshine, and little chop. I took some photos and Ace managed to capture a shot of our "kite" on the down wind leg... yes, it really was a kite. I could not get it out from behind the mainsail but it actually did have some pull to it. The one time I got it up higher, it nose dived into the water and became an instant drogue. A funny experiment that confirmed we could come up with an 'itty bitty' spinnaker and make use of it. We shall see...
Oddly, for Russell and I, it takes more discipline to actually get it together to participate in our local sailing events than to work in the shop and office every day! Gotta work on that... 😉 AEB
This letter came in November and I have the author's permission to post it along with the pictures he sent. It is clear by the pictures, that this boat has gotten some real use. Nothing could please us more. 😉
"The boat went into the water Thanksgiving 2014. Since then I’ve spent a lot of time with it. I have become quite jaded over the years with lots of bluewater miles and lots of hours racing a thistle-not to mention dozens of other boats. However I think I can state unequivocally that this boat is by far the most fun I’ve had on any boat in a very long time.
I have to confess to some off-label uses—on Sunday I was on a lake in Northern Massachusetts and had an adventure in an unexpected snow squall. Gusts 15-20 and horizontal snow. The gusts went away and I managed to keep the boat bottom side down. It took me a long time to regain normal feeling in my toes after I got back to base.
In So Cal (my normal stomping grounds) I can take it lots of places that neither a Thistle or a Canoe (two of my other boats) are comfortable. The Thistle is too much boat for a narrow cove with gusting winds and canoes don’t deal with surf (at my level of skill—though they are fun in whitewater rivers). I bought a small Rocna and use it to anchor and dive off of the boat. Dolphins seem frequently curious about the unusual traffic and check the boat out. You don’t realize how big they really are until you are eye to eye from water level.
In one incautious moment (or of one of several) on a flat calm day I rowed into a little cove. There was a rock pillar in the center of it, but I didn’t think anything of it. A boat wake from a passing ferry picked the PT11 up and deposited it directly on top of the pillar. I was really worried it was the end of my favorite toy. However when I got back to the dock, there was a slight paint chip aft of the mast area and NO OTHER DAMAGE! This boat is strong.
In another adventure had a 2+ mile long plane down a lake in New Hampshire in a really big blow. I knew it was a bad idea but I was flying all the way and it was too much fun. I did not succeed in taking the boat upwind. After a couple of capsizes I gave up and left it on the lee beach until the weather changed. I think I would have been OK, but the boat was so slippery inside that I couldn’t get up on the rail between tacks. I simply fell down.
I’ve since put a tasteful patch of non-skid on the floor of the boat, and found that I can feather upwind sitting on the rail, even in a good bit of wind.