Friday, October 1, dawned overcast and blustery and remained so as I put the skin-on-frame outrigger canoe on top of the car and headed to a protected spot for a quick launch. Or saw I thought. I arrived at the small beach at Pohick Bay Regional Park to find that there was PLENTY of fetch over the marsh at the head of the bay for the gusty Nor’wester to build up a head of steam. Undeterred, and leaning on an interested passerby, I put the skin-on-frame outrigger canoe together on the beach and christened her AL DEMANY CHIMAN (“al” is “The” in Arabic; “demany” is “sail” in Malagasy; “chiman” is “canoe” in Algonkian). Let the record show that the sun was nowhere near the yardarm and I had to work later in the day. I christened her with orange seltzer.
He had a generally successful first voyage, though the wind made paddling a challenge. Light boat + high freeboard + solo paddler + some rocker in the keel = directional instability. But I am getting to know my new creation, and we’ll work out the kinks over time (the second and third voyages were a great success, but that’s another post…).
Thanks to the many who helped bring phase 1 of this project to a successful completion. I have already mentioned Robert Morris’s book “Building Skin-on-Frame Boats,” which provided the backbone of the knowledge for the project . Corey Freedman at Skinboats.org provided numerous bits of advice and the key skin materials. Gary Dierking’s “Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes” provided help with design guidance. Joe Youcha at the Alexandria Seaport Foundation provided some key thoughts on lumber. Several readers chipped in with encouragement and advice, which was great. Finally, I’ll single out Dan Sutherland and Rich Scofield at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum provided a wealth of skills and inspiration through their Apprentice for a Day program. I doubt I would have gone through with the project without the experiences I got there. Many thanks all.