I’m planning on launching the boat tomorrow. I’ve installed the motor and built the seats — just waiting for the paint to dry so I can install them tomorrow morning. My glass for the windshield won’t arrive until Monday or Tuesday, so I’ve decided to launch the Shackleton without a windshield. We’ll need to bring some eyewear.

Here’s a recap of the last week’s progress:

First, I installed the motor — the wife and I lifted it onto the transom without too much trouble. After we put it on and I’d drilled the holes for the bolts, I realized that I never checked to see if it was centered. It wasn’t. So, we pulled it off and did it again. I filled the holes with putty and painted over them. Heh.

I connected the motor to the controls without much trouble. I did find that the steering arm ran into part of the covering for the back. I remedied the problem by cutting a little recess:

I covered that bit with wood and painted over it. Now, it looks official.

I also discovered that the screw that attached the steering cable to the motor had gone missing — slid down the cable into the boat’s innards. Instead of cutting open the boat’s side wall, I decided to use some hose clamps and a little tin flashing to connect the two pieces:

It doesn’t look like it came off the assembly line, but I don’t think it will fail. If you ever see me steering by turning the motor manually, this’ll be the culprit.

Here’s the finished motor — freshly painted this afternoon:

All of those cables run to important things — like the steering wheel, throttle controls, battery and gas tank.

Then, I worked on the windshield. It took me a long time to get the curve of the decking just write — well, close enough:

The windshield will look like this — just waiting for the glass:

They’ll look smaller because they’ll lean back at quite a slope. I had intended them to protrude in a V as well — but that would have required cutting the glass and building the frames at angles other than 90 degrees. Screw that. Note in the picture above that you can see the brackets on the left windshield. Put them on the wrong side at first. That’s the type of jakeleg mistake I’m prone to make.

Then, I worked on the seating. The driver’s seat is a real one that I picked up a Wal-Mart for $37. Who knew they sold boat seats? I decided to build a short bench for the passenger side and two long benches running down the length of each wall. I figure I can fit 8 people into that arrangement if necessary.

Now, I don’t want to go all Rodney Fulghum on you, but I gotta say that this last part of the project came together in a rather miraculous way — as though some divine order had arranged it. First off, I went to the fabric store and bought foam cushions for the benches. The package was 22″ x 22″, so I figured the benches could be 44″ x 11″. When I got home, I started looking through my scrap wood and I found two long pieces of wood at the bottom of a dusty pile. Their width:

Holy cow! 11 inches! Have no idea what I’d bought that wood for originally, but it was exactly what I needed. Here’s the foam sitting on the perfectly sized wood:

I wrapped it in some vinyl fabric and stapled the bottom. The finished bench seats look like this:

They’ll sit onto top of the benches with hinges so that I can store stuff underneath. Pretty smart, eh?

The benches came together easily as well. I’ve got about seven years of scrap wood in my garage and found every piece I needed for the benches just lying around. They’re made out of plywood and two-by-fours mostly. Here’s my son and our neighbor helping me paint the benches earlier today:

So, that’s it — I’ve just gotta wait for the paint to dry and install the benches. I’ll hook a water hose up to the boat’s motor and start the engine before we leave. Hopefully, the next picture I post will be of the Shackleton on the water.