Canoe Rant 2
Using hull design math by itself is a good way to make a crappy boat. Master boat builders get good at eyeballing calculations that would boggle any modern software. I’ve heard many stories about engineering types with little boating experience who are sure they have a new way to do things that is better than the currently accepted paradigm. Invariably they turn out to be wrong. One such engineer was told by experienced boaters that Tri-marans were too fragile. According to the math, a trimaran should be faster and safer than a single hull design. Said designer was sure of his calculations and wound up breaking up in heavy seas. It WAS a very fast sailboat though.
I hope I’m not one of those. I keep looking at canoes and my eye immediately goes to the design flaws. I just saw a skin on frame canoe built “stringers first”. There were THREE plywood bulkheads and no ribs. I saw some others where the hull was so full of support pieces running athwart that no one could have moved around in them. Some of the god skin on frame boats are still overbuilt. So every canoe I see just reaffirms my assertions that I could do it better.
I finished skinning the Cognac today. (see previous post) Despite chemistry problems that made the finish look ugly, the design looks very sound. This weekend or sooner, there will come a moment where I slide this thing into the water. At that moment there will be undeniable proof that
A) I was right about everything, and I’m a brilliant craftsman with revelations that will allow me to create better boats than anything on the market… OR
B) I have no idea what I’m doing and have invested all this time and energy into an embarrassing mess.
Wow, the suspense is thrilling.
The reality will probably fall between those two extremes. The bugs and leaves permanently in the finish don’t concern me. There is reason to worry however, that in my attempt to make a really fast light hull, I’ve made an incredibly tippy, fragile hull. What if my super-light V-bottomed cognac has a permanent list? What if it only paddles well loaded down with 100lbs. of ballast? What if little wooden pieces start snapping apart all over, the first time I put it in the water? These things aren’t likely, but possible. I’m a little skerd, but also very excited to paddle out into a lake in this weird looking craft.