I was trying to get the boat finished for the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Micheals, Maryland. Unfortunately, I ran out of time. The hull was finished, as were the masts, sails and rudder, but the keel was still covered with wet epoxy when it was time to leave.

So I decided to do as the oldtimers did - launch the sailing vessel without the masts. Later, once everything was complete, I'd rig it as a sailboat and put it in the boat that way. In the meantime it'd be a big decked canoe.

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Ready to Go

All the temporary deck screws are gone and the holes filled, the deck glassed. The coamings are glued into place and the cockpit coaming is capped with pine. The foremast collar is installed, along with a bronze bow eye. There is also a decorative compass rose onlay on the foredeck. Lots of varnish has been applied.

Foredeck Detail

This shows the onlay, mast collar and the foredeck puzzle joint. The onlay is actually under the deck glass, so it should be quite safe from damage.

Moving to Ramp

Finally launching at St. Micheals. The boat was light enough that 3 of us could easily carry it from the parking area to the small boat ramp. Once rigged as a sailboat, of course, this will be impossible, especially with the drop keel.

I christen thee, Puzzled Mullet

Here she is, all properly christened with a tiny bottle of Grand Marnier, touching the water for the first time. Why Puzzled Mullet? First, the puzzle joints, which received an enormous number of comments. As for Mullet, it could be for the fish, but it's not. It's because of the plain coaming (business) in the front and the fancy one (party) in the back. The Mullet!

Loading the First Passenger

My buddy George agreed to be the first passenger in Puzzled Mullet. Even allowing for the fact that he's a skinny surfer type, the boat was stable enough to let him stand up with no trouble at all.

Captain Coming Aboard

Now it's my turn to get in. The cockpit and hull felt enormous compared to the kayaks and canoes I'd paddled in the past. It also felt much more stable, even without the keel, than my sailing dinghies had.

Away We Go

And we're off into the Miles River. As a canoe Puzzled Mullet is a pretty good sailboat.

Actually, it was very stable and moved easily. But it was too beamy for the paddles we were using and felt as if it was balanced wrong. The rudder would have probably helped. Fortunately, when it's rigged as a sailboat it'll be properly balanced.

Copyright © 2014 László I. Mórocz. All Rights Reserved.

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