Boatbuilding Blog

August 18, 2010

The Perils of Owning a Character Boat

Filed under: Building - Considerations — tomlarkin @ 1:09 pm

The original Godzilla 25, the Donna B, is up for sale again. This boat was built by Devlin, but finished by the owner. It’s been for sale for most of the last 2.5 years or more. This time they are asking $125,000. The last time I saw it, they wanted $69,000. It was for sale originally 30 months ago for $137,500.

Donna B   Coot

I think the Donna B is too busy. There’s too much detail and too many items on the boat. I have trouble seeing the boat under the detailing.  I tried very hard to keep the finish on my boat very plain (except for the paint job anyway). The boat itself is inherently too cute enough without adding more. I’ve had a dozen people tell me I need bow pudding and rope fenders. I’m trying to fight the temptation of adding extraneous stuff.

This brings up a couple of interesting ideas about such specialized boats. One – how do you price something that’s so unique?  I think the temptation is to ask way too much because it would cost that much to replace. The other question is – who would buy this boat? It’s too slow for young people, too small to take kids aboard, and doesn’t have enough amenities for older people. The Donna B has no sink or stove, a porta-potty in the pilothouse, and the bed looks pretty small and hard to get into. My boat avoids some of those issues, but has others, like very little outside space. It would still be really hard to sell for anything like I think it’s worth.

August 17, 2010

Sequim Trip

Filed under: Longer Trips — tomlarkin @ 11:46 am

This trip had two new things – the VHF radio, and the bike rack with both of our bicycles mounted on the aft cabin top. Both were a lot of fun to have. We bought a lightweight dingy before the trip, but didn’t get a chance to use it. We only anchored out one night, and spent two nights in John Wayne Marina, near Sequim.

Lots of observers at the Locks, as usual.


“I’m an excellent driver!”

I temporarily mounted some truck-bed bicycle mounts so we could take the bikes safely. They worked perfectly and the bikes were safe and easy to mount and remove. I need to make some nicer, permanent mounts.


Crossing Admiralty Inlet at Foulweather Bluff was rough, with a cold North wind. The seas were jumbled, throwing spray and water clear over the boat. We rocked a lot, but were warm and felt pretty safe. The entry to Mats Mats has some scary rocks on both sides, and we came in directly into a burning setting sun. Kind of scary, but fun.

Mats Mats Bay was warm and calm after the rough crossing. In the middle of the night the water was completely smooth. I peed over the side and the water burst into phosphorescence. I dragged Meryll out into the cold to show her. I’m pretty sure she was impressed.

Eagles and Harbor Seals on Protection Island. The Olympic Mountains in the background.

I think they’re just standing around admiring the sign…

Cheaper than mosquito screens!

We rode on the Olympic Discovery Trail from near the marina into Sequim. The first mile to get to the trail was very steep, and we walked the bikes to the top. We were looking for a coffee shop with wifi so Meryll could check her email. We ended up at the Starbucks inside a Safeway, escaping the 90-degree heat.

Railroad Bridge Park on the trail to the west of town. The Audubon Society has a very nice building and display there.  The Dungeness River is very short and very cold.

Carrie Blake Park on the East side of Sequim. The stone lantern was a gift from Shiso, a sister city in Japan.

The baby Harbor Seal couldn’t make it up onto the dock across from where we were moored. After a while mom gave up and they both swam away. The marina was infested with seals, Blue Herons, and Kingfishers, all making a racket.

The trip back on Sunday was very long, but the weather could not have been more perfect.

130 miles total. About 25 gallons of gas used, for 5.2 miles per gallon.

August 3, 2010

Tacoma & Gig Harbor

Filed under: Overnight Trips — tomlarkin @ 10:43 am

Our first overnight trip on the salt water. We left at seven Thursday evening. We timed the trip to arrive at Blake Island after moonrise to help navigate the narrow channel into the harbor. The trip through the locks was uneventful, with just one other boat. The lock tenders asked us a lot of questions about the Coot. Watching Seattle glide by in the dark was pretty wonderful. We got the last spot in the Blake harbor and called it a day.

The morning dawned foggy and chilly. We cooked an omelet and walked around until the day warmed up and the fog lifted, and headed for Tacoma. I figured out I can steer and drag my foot in the water at the same time.


We stopped at Des Moines and ate lunch at Wally’s Chowder House. Decent food and interesting décor. Then on to Tacoma. We stayed at the Foss Seaport moorage overnight, where we saw this beautiful thing in the display:

Here’s an oar tip guard made of brass from a different display:

We taped yellow paper over the windows for privacy because we don’t have curtains yet:

Interesting ships in the harbor, with Rainier in the background:

And a delightfully rusty little tug:

Chihuly glass sculpture:

Union Station:

Mandatory tugboat-in-the-sunset picture:

Tacoma has some very weird places. A little faux-town in a warehouse:

On the way to Gig Harbor in the morning…

…my manager Jared was on the beach with his family and took this picture as we motored past:
Our days of anonymous boating are over, I guess Smile

It was a glorious evening at anchor in the harbor:

Meryll got a chill and went below to do a little Linux-y stuff by red night light.

We found a lovely little bakery in the morning and I ate their last two cinnamon rolls. We headed back via Blake Island again, hugging the West side of Colvos Passage to better see the homes and birds. We went through the large locks and had to be against the edge, which was kind of scary. We had two boats rafted to us, and had a hard time keeping the boat against the lock wall. The tire fenders took a lot of abuse against the rough wall as we went up.

We were gone from the house almost exactly three days.  It was a pretty amazing little trip.

We used OpenCPN navigation software running on my netbook, and it worked great. I had the vector charts installed and they were a lot more usable than the raster charts because you can zoom in closer without losing clarity.  Here’s the approach to Blake Island showing our tracks coming and going:

Here’s what it looks like in night mode. It looks too dark here, but was just right in the dark:

The whole trip was about 100 miles We burned about 20 gallons of gas..