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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Charlie Foxtrot

The H.M.S. Clusterfuck is coming along nicely six days until the Trashboat Regatta. It would be good to get a test run in today, but I'm not sure I'm up to it. This beast is heavy, a lot heavier than I meant it to be. It's supposed to be towed behind my bike, though I might lash it to the Kuat and tow it with my xB, very slowly.

My friend Will did me a solid favor welding a couple of mountain bike forks to a bike frame for me to make it towable at all. He made them square with each other and everything, totally above and beyond. The wheels, I might just run them without rubber, not sure. I started to put a couple of old tubes & 26 inch tires from the garage on there, but when I got the first one to 40 lbs it blew out the side wall. By the time my wife (the only person here who rides a 26") gives up on a tire, it's whipped, and when you add years of age to that, yeah.

I made three pontoons out of two liter bottles lashed to scraps of lumber with discarded bike innertubes. The one thing I bought new for the project was two four-foot planks of 1x4. Home Depot has a cut-your-own stand and I found some scraps under a foot long in there they didn't charge me for. So the two four footers are deck-screwed to at three blocks on the two pallets to give it some stability. Then there are four places where there's a little stub of 1x4 deck screwed to the blocks. I wasn't sure it'd be a strong enough setup, but I worried about adding too much weight. And when turning the boat over, I accidentally dropped it a bit and the thing held so I think we're good there.

The bike frame the truck is made with is the Diamondback I was riding when I met Corinna, and promptly bent the frame on. I rode it 5200 miles with the bend before retiring it. I hack-sawed the chainstay off, and with the help of the guys at Velo+ managed to get the fork/handlebars and crank off it.

I decided bike innertubes wouldn't provide enough stability for lashing the truck to the pallet, so I used zip ties. Quite a few zip ties. It feels solid.

My theory is that I wan't most of the buoyancy to be to the outside so the boat is stable in the water. I originally thought of a catamaran style design but couldn't think of a frame that would be strong enough and light enough. So I lashed the pontoons to the sides and front, making sure to tie them to where they want to roll to the underside rather than the top (hopefully this will keep our butts more or less out of the water. Then for some reinforcement to the buoyancy of the pontoons, I filled in quite a bit of the pallet's underside with additional bottles. There's a bit of a gap in the middle but I ran out of bottles (I've been hoarding them for eight months), I'm kinda surprised I only had 80 or so). And like I say, I think having the buoyant stuff to the outside will make it more stable in the water, less prone to capsize with two or three people and a cooler aboard.

Another decision I have to make besides how to tow it and whether to try and get workable rubber on those junky wheels or just let it clatter on the rims (less rolling resistance, I think), is whether to lash Charlie & Foxtrot to the back pallet. These crazy animals are carved out of boat dock foam, and were given to me by a client who commissioned them for a trade show booth and then decided they looked too psychotic. So they're cast off/free, therefore qualified as boat building material, and obviously they're buoyant themselves. But we've had them in the yard for a month or two and I actually kind of like them as yard art—and I'm not sure I can lash them to the boat effectively without damaging them.

They would give the H.M.S. Clusterfuck a certain character, though. And Charlie-Foxtrot gives me an alternative name I can use if someone's little kid asks me the name of my boat. They take up a bit of deck room, and I'm thinking we'll have at least three people on this next saturday...

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