Boatbuilding Blog

October 10, 2014

Victoria Cycle Trip Planning

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomlarkin @ 4:21 am
  • Home => Sequim => Port Angeles=> Victoria => Sidney => Friday Harbor => Anacortes => Arlington => Home
  • Take passport!
  • 194 miles total, 4 days, 3 nights


Day 1:Home => Sequim Bay State Park


Day 2: Sequim => Sidney

  • 50 miles total
  • Olympic Discovery Trail
  • Google Map – Sequim to Port Angeles – 22 miles/2 hours
  • Black Ball Ferry
    • Departs 2PM (arrive 3:30 PM)
    • (Other departure 8:20 AM)
    • Arrives 3:30 PM
    • Charge devices on trip
  • Google Map – Victoria => Sidney – 28 miles/2 hour
  • Unknown – where to spend the night

Day 3: Sidney => Centennial Trail

  • 36 miles total
  • Ferry Schedule
    • Departs 12:05 PM (Arrive 10:30 for customs)
    • Arrive Friday Harbor 1:55 PM
    • Arrive Anacortes 3 PM
  • Google Map – Ferry to Trailhead via La Conner – 36 miles/3 hours


Day 4: Anacortes =>  Home

  • 52 miles total
  • Google Map – Centennial Trail from trailhead to home via Snohomish- 52 miles/5 hours



  • Take 110 and 12V chargers
  • Phone and Nexus tablet
  • Passport

September 17, 2014

Minor Hull Patch

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomlarkin @ 1:57 pm

I pulled the Coot out last month to wash the bottom and touch up the bottom paint. Right at the waterline, back about four feet from the bow there was a half-inch divot gouged out, with bare plywood showing, and a crack a few inches long running aft of the hole. It looks like I hit something hard, maybe a bolt head mounted on something heavy. Water oozed out of the crack when I pressed on it.

While the boat was out, I took the dinghy home for sanding and varnishing.

Here’s the damage – hand for scale.

The plywood was very wet. To see the extent of the water intrusion, I figured the plywood would have swelled where it was wet, so I sanded the whole area with a longboard. The sanding took off the bottom paint wherever the wood was swelled. I’m kind of proud of this idea.

So I cut back the glass to the edges of the swelled area and dug down a few plys to see if there was damage below that level. It was damp but undamaged – no cracks or rot.

I sanded the paint off in a larger area, then mounted a heat lamp for a couple days. I kept it pretty hot, during some very hot dry days.
WP_20140826_15_57_53_Pro WP_20140826_16_01_02_Pro

When I decided the wood was dry, I soaked the bare wood with warm neat epoxy until it wouldn’t soak up any more, then laminated small pieces of 6 ounce fiberglass cloth to fill the depressed area flush. When that was firm, I smoothed the area with QuickFair, then sanded that nice and flat.

Finally, I laid a larger layer of glass over the whole area, smoothed with peel-ply to make it smooth and flat.WP_20140828_17_10_43_Pro

A little sanding, more QuickFair, and some bottom paint, and she’s done. Back in the water in time for the Port Townsend boat show.  The boat was out of the water for five days.

My only concern with this fix is that water may have leaked past the area I cleaned and dried, and now it’s locked inside, brewing dry rot. I kind of wished I’d soaked some penetrating epoxy in the area before filling it. I guess I’ll know in a few years if I should have done that. By the way, there’s a watertight compartment behind this area. I would not have sunk even if I’d been holed through.

September 11, 2013

Coot and Pacific Titan

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomlarkin @ 12:37 pm

I was heading out on my trip to Princess Louisa Inlet in early May, 2013 when they put me in the large locks with this guy.

Photos by Linda Evans (

Top photo links to a bigger version.
Coot and big tug


September 10, 2013

Port Townsend Wooden Boat Show 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomlarkin @ 11:47 pm







Merrie Ellen








June 16, 2013

Dueling Tablets

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomlarkin @ 1:08 pm

While in Victoria I found a RAM mount, so I screwed it to the dash so I could put both tablets up at once. That’s a Microsoft Surface Pro on the left, running Coastal Explorer, and my iPad on the right running Navionics . Coastal Explorer has a lot more features, but is kind of complex to learn, and the touch-screen interface is poor. Navionics has Active Captain built in, which I like and use a lot. The two systems complement each other, but having too many screens is kind of distracting. The Surface Pro doesn’t have a 12 volt charger, so I needed to run my inverter most of the time, and doesn’t have a built-in GPS, so that’s another wire running on the dash. The iPad looks odd because it’s wrapped in an OtterBox case. I used the iPad for almost all my navigation on this trip, and wrote blog entries and watched movies on the Surface tablet. With a 12 volt charger and a Bluetooth GPS, the Pro would be a good choice for a single computer.


Home (Day 29-30)

Filed under: Uncategorized — tomlarkin @ 12:52 pm

I spent Wednesday night in Watmough Bay, on the South end of Lopez Island, and crossed the Straights in the morning. Calm and sunny in the middle, so I anchored in the lee of the sand bar off the end of Smith Island and watched the Cormorants and Rhinoceros Auklets for a couple of hours waiting for the tide to be favorable into Admiralty Inlet.
Watmough Bay

I tied up at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center dock to walk to town, but the sign said I’d need to pay $12, so I went on and anchored in front of town instead, rowed to shore and walked to uptown to buy groceries. Then I went on to Mats Mats bay for the night.Port Townsend Marine Science Center

I ran into one of my favorites at Port Townsend – the schooner Adventuress, out for a day sail.
schooner Adventuress

While in town I checked in at the Wooden Boat Center and found a bunch of people building Scamp sailboats. I’d like to make one some day. They are fine little ships.
Building Scamps

Here’s a panorama of Mats Mats bay. Despite all the boats anchored, I think I was the only person on board that night. This would be a great place to leave a boat if you had to go away for a week or two – completely protected and out of the way. You could walk to Port Ludlow and catch a bus to Seattle. Getting in is a little scary, but if you avoid Klas Rocks and follow the range markers on the way in, it’s not dangerous. At a medium tide I didn’t see any depths less than 14 feet. (Links to a very large picture.)Mats Mats

Coming into the small locks. I was home at my slip in Kenmore at 4 PM. I spent 30 days on the water on this trip.

My last track from the SPOT tracker.

June 12, 2013

Back to the US (Day 27 –28)

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 3:34 am

I left Victoria early on Monday and crossed Haro Striaght on a nice calm day. I motored slowly up the south side of San Juan Island looking for Orcas, but no luck. Customs in Roche Harbor was uneventful. I had a nice lunch there and went to Jones Island where I anchored out for the night. I rowed around the point and beached the dinghy and walked the trails in the evening. Tuesday has been a lot of slow meandering around the Wasp Islands, gas in Deer harbor, and now a late lunch in the Orcas Hotel at the ferry dock, where I am now. They have Alaskan Amber and wifi – the two necessities for blogging.

Tonight I’ll anchor in Alex Bay on the rocky south end of Lopez Island and, if the weather holds,  cross the Straights of Juan De Fuca to Port Townsend in the morning. My trip is almost over.

Before crossing Haro Straight I stopped for coffee in Oak Bay, a suburb of Victoria, and found this nice garden. The beds of flowers are raised up so you don’t have to bend over too far to sniff them.

Surrounded by white plastic in Roche harbor.

Jones Island evening.

Orcas Hotel. The view from my seat as I type.

Victoria (Days 24 – 26)

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 3:20 am

I was tired when I got to Victoria on Friday afternoon, so I bought moorage at the government wharf right in front of the Empress Hotel. I was going to anchor out in Esquimalt (esk-WEE-malt)  Harbor. I walked around West Victoria all Friday afternoon, and then Meryll showed up with her bicycle on the Coho (Black Ball) ferry on Saturday afternoon. We walked through Chinatown and had a nice Japanese dinner that evening. Sunday morning we biked all over the neighborhoods south of the inner harbor. Meryll dropped a Loonie into the hat of the Plaster Man, and he scared her by stepping down and giving her a hug. Then we took a dinghy ride around the harbor, and she caught the 7:30 sailing back to Port Angeles to go to work the next day. The weather was sunny and windy each day we were there.

Threading the usual chaos on the harbor on the way in.

A pretty decent parking spot.

Meryll bought me some cedar carvings for the Coot. We talked to the artist, Clarence David Charlie II. They are loons instead of Coots, but no one carves Coots.

Parliament buildings. Meryll took this picture.

Meryll looking cute with her parasol on the dinghy.

Montague, Roche Harbor, to Victoria (Days 20-23)

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 3:02 am

Playing with the self-timer on a calm day.

Bumblebee wants to be a hummingbird when he grows up.

Montague Harbor has a pure white beach made of shells washed out of an ancient shell midden.

Artsy shot at Montague harbor.

I rode 10 miles to the ferry terminal on Galliano. I’ve  really enjoyed having the bile on this trip.

A lot of these posters around the island.

I got a nice parking spot in Roche Harbor. I listened to the singers in the cafe right above me.

June 3, 2013


Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 11:30 pm

I could imagine living in Nanaimo. It’s a real city (second-largest on Vancouver Island, after Victoria), but feels very accessible, with lots of restaurants and little stores. It’s also got an amazing waterfront and some great parks. It reminds me of an upscale Bellingham.  I’ve spent two nights here. Today I rode my bike all around town, which is very hilly.

I thought these guys were pulling me over as I entered the harbor, but they went on past. my favorite colors!

They are giving me the eyeball on the way past.

Newcastle Island is a beautiful park, and protects the harbor on the North. The city in the background.

They used to quarry grindstones here (as well as coal, which gave the island it’s name). Some remnants.

The harbor has a row-up floating pub.

I found some old totem poles rotting away quietly in a park.

An eagle holding a fish.

I ended the day with a salad and a burger, and a beer.

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