Saturday, 17 May 2014

Rondane 8

This post is to let you know what we are working on design wise and in the shop, we have been seeking to expand our line of boats beyond the canoes and kayaks that we have been focusing on to this point.  Those of you who have seen us at shows over the last year will have noticed that our display has begun to show an increasing variety of boat s that we have been at work designing, some of which are well along in their development.

This past fall our kit supplier suggested that we work on developing a pram as there is always a call for a lightweight versatile boat of this style. When looking at prams there is a trend for then to be little more than floating boxes, my eye was caught by the Norwegian style of pram, and it is from there that we took our lead for the development of this boat.  Rather than using your time to build what looks like little more than a floating bathtub, why not use that time to build something that is much more pleasing to the eye.
As we have decided to use the Norwegian style of pram as our guide we have decided to call the boat the Rondane, this is a Norwegian national park and it stays in line with our usual boat naming practices of using park and river names for our boats.

 There will be two versions of the boat one that will be a sailing/rowing model the second intended to be powered by a small (2hp) outboard.  The boat is to be build as light and as easy to build as possible (that is always our goal) this will allow it to be easily car topped or hauled up onto a larger boat when it is used as a dinghy. Both models will be set up for rowing from either the mid seat or the forward seat this will allow maximum flexibility when balancing the boat under the different loadings it may experience in use.
The sailing rig will be a spider rig, which has a mast in two sections with the upper section hoisted with the sail; these types of rigs are handy in boats of this type as the rig breaks down into very manageable sections when not in use. There are renderings posted over on our facebook page which will help clarify this picture for you.

The Rondane is 7’ 8 ½” long and 49” wide this allows the hull to be cut from two sheets of plywood the additional plywood required varying depending on the model chosen, a strictly rowing version will require the least amount of additional parts and the sailing version the most with the supports needed for the mast as well as the addition of a rudder and dagger board with trunk. With all the additional parts the sailing/rowing version will still use up only about one additional sheet of wood, though it will part sheets of two different thicknesses to form the needed parts.

We will try to keep you as up to date as we can through the blog and by posting pictures of the construction on our facebook page. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

We Must Have Been Expendable

While I know that is not true (have to keep the parents off my back) it seems that way when you compare the attitudes of many when it comes to getting outdoors, and the experiences that they will allow their children to partake in these days in contrast with our adventures.  I have heard it described as wrapping kids in cotton, I would hold that it more like wrapping them in bubble wrap it may seem like a good idea but it is hard to breathe through plastic. It cuts them off from new experiences and of a connection with the natural world around them, leaving the feeling or impression that the natural world is scary and dangerous and should be avoided.  It also leaves a disconnect between them and our little blue planet and that ultimately is not good for us or our little blue orb as we need to live here and need all the parts of it to be cared for and to work together.

 I will admit right from the start some of the things we did where not real smart, but we were allowed to get out and experience the outdoors on our own, canoeing in the spring floods on the flood plain behind our house, heading off up a creek to camp on our own, I was about 13 the first time I and a friend headed out in the canoe to camp on our own. At the time it seemed like a grand adventure in reality we were only a couple of miles from home in a field at the back of a farm, but we did it, got our tent up, managed to cook our meals over a fire and make it home in one piece paid for by getting out collecting and returning bottles for their deposits.

The things we did could have been made safer, a life jacket might have been a good idea, not paddling in a winter coat and boots during the spring floods, as they do inhibit your ability to swim, or even be rescued.  Today no one is likely to allow their kids to head out on the water without a life jacket; cell phones are omnipresent and close up the distance while they are on their adventures as they learn to spread their wings. Before you begin to protest yes I know they can’t simply be sent off on a week long expedition in the wilderness with never having spent any real time outdoors, the idea is of gradually increasing freedom based on previous experiences. Getting started is as simple as a tent in the backyard or their own tent while out camping or the cottage.

In addition to an appreciation for our planet they will learn to plan and prepare for their adventures, (they may even develop an appreciation of the work you put into preparing family vacations) while on their adventures learn to manage risks (important for anyone who does not consider themselves expendable), kids will let each other know if they think someone is likely to upset the boat putting them at risk. Putting the trip together and carrying it out successfully they learn to work with others and to contribute to the completion of the journey even if it is just overnight. Hopefully they will also come to appreciate the world we live in and develop a sense of responsibility for it.