Guided tour of The Shackleton

Here’s a video of the boat I built in my garage. I finished her last summer but had to wait for a new motor to enjoy my fruits of my labor properly. She hasn’t disappointed me at all. I must admit that the first time I took the boat out on the large swells of the ocean, I had a moment of trepidation. What would happen if she hit a wave and just cracked open like a walnut? But, all that oak, screws, glue and fiberglass have clearly done the job. Click here if you’d like see the progress on the boat over the past three years — certainly the most challenging project I’ve ever tackled. And that includes the doctoral dissertation.

Anyhoo, I’m enjoying The Shackleton immensely during my summer in the United States. I’ll miss her and mid-coast Maine when I return to the United Arab Emirates in September.

By | July 25th, 2011|boat, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Adventures of the Shackleton in Maine

Well, I did put the Shackleton into the water up here in Maine. Unfortunately, I had to row her out of the water. See the dramatic re-enactment at right.

When I took the motor back to the marine shop, the mechanic declared it DOA. I could have poured more money into that 1985 Johnson 40 HP — but the mechanics thought it foolish.

I would’ve been more bummed out if my original boat — the Bluebird II — hadn’t worked so well this summer. She had barely a hiccup and ferried the family all over the Maine coast. We even painted the Bluebird’s trailer in anticipation of driving her south to her new caretakers in the warmer waters of North Carolina.

Since the Shackleton wasn’t in the water I did get to work out a few kinks. I fixed a vexing leak around the drain plugs — found some marine caulk that works wonders. I also installed a bow light and an automatic bilge pump (in case water finds a way back in.)

And the best news is … the trouble with the motor convinced me to play big or stay home. I just dropped the Shackton off at J and M Marine where she’ll be stored for the winter. In early spring, their mechanics will install a brand new 60 HP Yamama. It’s expensive, but I’ve heard the pleasures of owning a new Yamaha are unparalleled. I’m hoping that the profits from my academic editing company can totally cover the cost. The mechanics are going to install a new steering system, new controls, a tachometer, and several other bells and whistles. Can’t wait to post the pictures next summer.

So, the Shackleton will wait a while longer for her first Maine shakedown cruise. But, I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.

By | July 28th, 2010|boat|0 Comments

Shackleton heading to Maine

Monday morning I’ll tow the Shackleton northward toward Maine. Yes, I’ll be towing her with my 1999 Toyota Camry — there’s no need to snicker!

I decided that I didn’t want to leave Das Boot in North Carolina after all. I figure I’ll spend the summer with her and bring my other boat, the Bluebird II, back down to North Carolina in early August. I’ll store the Shackleton up there and imagine I’ll get some tips from Mainers on how to properly maintain a wooden boat in northern New England.

Didn’t seem right to enjoy the boat I built for such a short amount of time. Besides, she’s got a new lower unit on the motor — had to replace it after I hit a submerged rock on Lake Allatoona …. but that’s another story.

I’ll be in Elkton, Maryland, this week for a family reunion. So, expect some pictures of the Shackleton on the Chesapeake Bay. Tally-ho!

By | June 13th, 2010|boat, Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Shackleton Soars

Here’s a picture of me on The Shackleton. THE BOAT I BUILT IN MY GARAGE!

I took her out today, and she ran great. With a pair of fresh spark plugs, the 40HP Johnson motor took her to a speed of about 30 to 35 MPH — plenty fast. I had three adults and two kids in her and she was tipped back pretty well — but she easily lifted out of the water and planed. I might need to put some weight in the front to help balance her out. She corners really well and is incredibly maneuverable. All in all, a pleasure to pilot.

A little water leaked into the bottom, but I think it was just from one of my drain plugs not being tight enough — just need to buy a new one from the Wal-Mart. The other one I got from there worked better than the drain plug I bought from the boat supply store.

Tomorrow, I’m going out on Lake Allatoona with my two kids and an old friend from the Jackson Clarion-Ledger and his three kids. We’re gonna put a raft on The Shackleton and tow the kids around. Should be a lot of fun.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll tow the boat to North Carolina and tool around the intercoastal waterway near Wilmington, NC. I’ll leave her there for the next three years. When I come back from the Middle East and visit my family in North Carolina, I’ll have a boat to enjoy while there. Plus, I’ve got a sister- and brother-in-law who should enjoy the boat with their family.

I’ll probably write up some final comments about the entire project later. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy this moment of utter satisfaction.

By | May 25th, 2010|boat|0 Comments

Das Boot Floatzen

There’s the boat in the water today. As you can see, IT FLOATS! Unfortunately, the motor never did get going. I’m still considering this a victory. I built the boat, after all, not the motor. Received some kudos from passersby impressed with my craftsmanship.

Hopefully, I’ll have the problem with the motor worked out this week.

By | May 23rd, 2010|boat|2 Comments