I have had (and still have) many ideas for designs of cardboard boats for this event. I may even get around to building them someday. This year I was most interested in speed and appearance, as well as something of manageable size. (some of these cardboard boats are huge!) I selected a canoe, the one water vessel with which I am most familiar.
For those of you familiar with canoes, this design is patterned after the long out of production Peterboro canoe. I recently received a wooden scale model kit of that canoe and it provided ready made form patterns that I simply had to scale up.
I selected a scale that is about 3/4 of the original, resulting in a 12 foot canoe. I selected this because the cardboard I was working with was 12 feet in length, and I didn't want to use multiple sections of cardboard along it's length.
Below, is a rather lengthy photo essay of my construction. I've included thumbnails, so you can skip the pictures you're not interested in. At the end of this page you'll find a link to a photo album of the race event at Wasserman Park.
My canoe is now ready for a float test. The canoe is far heavier than I expected it to be so, as a precaution, I am going to float her in a local lake and board her to see where the waterline is. I will capture pictures of this and post them when I get them.
I was going to float her this weekend, but it turned out to be a rainy wet weekend and I don't want to stress the weather proofing quite that much... *S*
Stay tuned for more info and photos!
|Hey! She floats! She floats pretty too! Empty, she has a nice high waterline. Now to see how she looks loaded...|
|She looks a lot smaller in this picture with Jennifer standing next to her. Well, it is a small canoe. a 3/4 scaled down version of the Peterboro canoe.|
|Two problems, both minor. She has a very high waterline with the two of us in there. Not as high as I expected, but high enough to know we would have to take care not to take in water as we rowed. Second problem was that, with so small a keel and so narrow a canoe, she was very tippy. It will take time to get used to rowing this canoe without flipping it. Jen is helping me with the float test, but it will be Joey in the canoe with me on race day. So I need to plan a few outings in this canoe with Joey so that we can practice.|
We have a problem
|The best laid plans, eh?
Ever have one of those days where you do something very stupid, like that time you tried
to start your car only to discover that it is already running? As comedian Bill
Engval would say, "Here's your sign"...
Well, I messed up. Royally too. After the fantastic float test, I went home and jumped to the computer to download the photos for this journal. After that I checked my mail, worked some on my Alaska journal (coming soon to the Alaska section of this site), practiced my guitar, etc... all of the busy things that I need to do day to day. Then I went to sleep.
6 a.m. I woke to the alarm, and sat bolt upright in my bed... I never took the canoe off of my truck last night! How could I be so careless??? I quickly got dressed and darted out to my truck to the softly falling rain. It had been sprinkling all night long and there was about 4 inches of water inside the canoe.
Keeping my composure (no easy task), I quickly emptied the canoe of the water and brought her inside. Taking as many towels as I could find, I began to dry her off. Already, I could see swelling cardboard and colors beginning to run on my homemade decals.
I was frantic, heartbroken and very angry with myself. I cried. I could not believe that I allowed this to happen.
Added to that, I had to get to work as well. I did the best I could, without causing more damage than the rain has already done. I decided that the best course of action would be to let it be until I could review better what my choices were. Needless to say, it was a very troublesome day at work.
Below are some of the photo's of the decal markings and some other damage easily seen in photos.
|Here, you can see the color fading in the dragonfly on the point|
|Note the color run and wrinkling of the decal. It has also begun to peel from the canoe|
|Here you can see where the swelling of the cardboard has caused cracks in the paint. This will have to be taken care of promptly.|
Long road to recovery
|It has been a week now since the damage to the
canoe. Inspection, after work on the day I left it out in the rain, showed a great
deal of water absorption in the bottom panel (inner *and* outer) as well as the center
area of the ribs and the keel. The canoe was much heavier as well. Based on
weight alone, I estimate that the canoe was retaining about 2 gallons of water.
As near as I could see, the only options were to rebuild the bottom of the canoe or, possibly, rebuild the whole thing. I could not afford the time necessary to rebuild the whole canoe and was too emotionally distraught to consider cutting out the entire base of it tonight, so I slept on it.
The next morning, the decals were more faded, but the canoe seemed to be releasing it's store of water. I did notice though, that the entire base of the canoe was very soft, like a rotted pumpkin, as was most of the keel and the entire top edge of the canoe. It does not look good.
I made a point of moving the canoe outside whenever the sun was shining. I also fired up my space heater and worked to drive as much moisture as I could from the cardboard. Two things became apparent. IF this canoe was to show her stuff at the boat race, she was going to be much slower than originally planned as a result of being so much heavier, and it was my opinion that she could no longer hold a two man crew. I felt that there was too great a chance of two men sinking it (with the added water weight) plus the bottom could not withstand the load of two pairs of knees. The lose of one oarsman also meant a reduction in rowing power and a corresponding loss of speed. It also means that Joe and I will not be able to practice our oaring technique nor balancing within the canoe as she is not touching water again until race day.
I also noticed that the cardboard has begun to firm up. The water was evaporating and seems to have stopped propagating through the canoe. As of this writing, the decals have faded to trash, but there are no more cracks in the hull, the base is firmer and I am more confident that she will do me proud on race day, even if I don't win as a result of my carelessness.
|Lets go to the Races!|
|(Return to my Canoeing page)|