Covid coping

Just to expand on the mention of cheap or free subscriptions in the last post:

Small Boats Monthly:  follow them on Facebook or Instagram, and look in their recent posts – you’ll find their One Month Free offer for their online magazine.  You get access to their archives as well.

Off Center Harbor:  sign up for an 8 week membership for only $5 (US), and get full access to their extensive and captivating video library.  That’ll keep you busy for quite a while!

Small Craft Advisor:  sign up for a free one-year subscription to the digital version of their magazine.  You can download pdfs to keep, if desired

As for Oarlock and Sail Wooden Boat Club, we’ve had a few new members join recently – unfortunately, because of the current situation, getting together to do an orientation and training in the boats is unrealistic, so, until we can gather safely and freely again, there will be no more orientations. We trust you will understand, and we will welcome you after this is over.

In light of our reduced activities, we are extending everyone’s membership by two months.

For existing members of OSBUG (Oarlock & Sail Boat User Group), please be mindful of other people on the dock, and keep the required 2m separation. This of course precludes going for a sail or row with people outside of your own isolation group. On your own though, or within your group, it’s a great way to isolate!

If you do use the boats, please use the sanitizer and wipes provided in the shed to wipe down the oars, tiller, spars, locks, door handle and any other surfaces that you touch. One of our members has a pair of gloves dedicated to going sailing, and washes them and hangs them to dry in the sun – this sort of thing could help in preventing the spread.

Unless we are required to stay at home altogether, the boat shed and boats are available for members’ use and enjoyment.  There are parking passes available in our boat shed – please write the date on it in marker and display in your windshield.

COVID-19 Hiatus

Last week we decided to discontinue our Saturday workshops for a while, until the pandemic has been brought under control.

Before that happened though, we got the stem glued to the inner keel, and have a good start on the shaping.  The joint between the two has been faired, and the bevel for the planking started.

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The inner keel has been (temporarily) fastened to the transom – when we do the final fastening, we’ll countersink the screws.

Duane is continuing to record video of our work – here’s some of the glueup of the stem and keel.

It’s always interesting to see the less-common tools that people have – Brent brought this sweet little round-over plane – it makes quick work of softening an edge, and does so quietly, without dust!

Our boats are going out regularly – last weekend before ‘social distancing’ came into effect, Dale and I enjoyed a peaceful sail in Button Swan – even with a light wind, she moves along steadily.  We split an apple with Dale’s souvenir of his participation in the first leg of the 2017 Race To Alaska.  That day’s conditions were not nearly as peaceful!

Over on Anja, Arnt is doing beautiful work on the cabin top!  After cutting off the coaming, he cut out the hole in the deck to make way.

The following Saturday, he enlisted a bunch of club members’ help to bring the cabin top down from his truck to the dock, and then onto the boat.  Duane was there to record much of it!

It’s fascinating to see it coming together so beautifully!

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Although we’re not working in the shed, the dock is still open if you want to come down on your own to use the boats (if you’re an OSBUG member) or to just enjoy a bit of an escape.  There’s a gentleman who has been enjoying some sketching.

And, with all the changes in our lives, some companies are providing cheap or free entertainment.   If you follow Small Boats Magazine (an online magazine) on Instagram or Facebook, they are offering one month free, which includes access to their archives!  Off Center Harbor (an extensive video resource) is offering an 8 week membership for only $5, an amazing deal!

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Until things improve, stay well, stay safe.


We’re still refining the stem, inner keel, and transom.  The stem is looking so great, with the laminated sapele!

The bevel edge on the transom is as close as we want to get at this point – when we start planking, we’ll do the final shaping.  Speaking of planking, the yellow cedar boards are now in the shed, under the strongback.

We’ve glued up the inner keel, in which we had cut a stopped rip cut in the rear half, to make the fairly tight bend to the transom.

Out on the dock, Ern is getting a new cabin-top, and Tom was working on removing the old.  Anja’s mast got lowered, in preparation for her new cabin and mast.  It went perfectly smoothly, as Arnt used a temporary A-frame to create the proper leverage.  Thanks to Duane for putting together this video:

It was a satisfying and enjoyable day at the boat shed!

Museum fund raiser

The Vancouver Maritime Museum’s annual fundraiser has just kicked off and tickets are $20 for one or $50 for three. The grand prize is a boat trip for two from Iceland to Greenland! (don’t worry – the boat is bigger than ours)  All information is at

Please consider supporting the museum, and good luck!

The museum has free admission tomorrow (Family Day), but I’d encourage you to become a member – it’s very affordable, and also gives you access to their talks and special exhibits.

Last week at the boat shed was more work on the stem and transom – this is painstaking work which we are willing to take slowly, to make sure to get it right!  We got the notch cut in the transom for the hog, and got the transom clamped into position.  We made a pattern for the stem, to help guide our shaping of that, and got the stem cleaned up.

Yesterday, we were lucky to get one of our members and neighbor at the dock (owner of Querencia) to take some video of our workday – nice to see action instead of photos for a change!  Thanks Duane!

Last week after our work in the shed, a few of us took advantage of the beautiful sunshine, and got out in a couple of our boats.  There wasn’t much wind, but enough of a breeze to keep us moving for a while, and it was SO nice!


The wind died off at the end, and we had to take to the oars to get us home.  What a wonderful way to spend a sunny winter afternoon!

Stem & Transom

The last few weeks have been productive, with progress on the Auk’s keel, stem and transom.

The inner keel, or hog, has a fairly strong bend in the aft section – to cope with that, we did a partial rip cut to half the thickness, stopping the cut just forward of the tricky section.  It now bends into place, and we will apply glue in the cut, and clamp it into shape.


The gorgeous sapele transom got cleaned up after gluing, and looks spectacular!  The grain really comes alive as you move your head around, and the grain catches the light differently.  When it gets varnished, that should be even more dramatic!

After a bit of a tuneup of the bandsaw, the transom got cut to shape.  The edges will need to be beveled when the planking begins.

The stem is made up of strips of sapele, cut thin, and epoxy laminated on the form that we made.

Last week we formed the inner stem – yesterday we used that as the form for the outer stem.  The inner stem will take the planking, and after planking is complete, the outer stem will be fastened in place over the planking.

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That beautiful transom was clamped into position, and has been marked for the hog – but nobody has yet been bold enough to cut into that nice chunk of wood!  We’ll measure a few more times, and THEN.

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Over on Arnt & Valerie’s boat Anja, the new cabin is coming together nicely – Arnt brought the pieces down for a test fit, and his work with the templates sure paid off – a perfect fit!  Beautiful work!!

We have produced a video instructing how to rig our sailboat Ragna.  Benjamin has finished the video editing, and has posted it on Youtube:   Be sure to take a look, and get familiar with it!  As a member of Oarlock & Sail Boat Users Group, you have access to this boat and the others in our small fleet – we’ll be doing some more instructional videos soon.


Just to show what our boats look like when it snows:

Button Snow

The Button Swan’s cover was off, as Tom was attaching some sandbags to deal with the wind!  So instead it had to deal with snow.

Vogler Snow

Brent and Ingrid were on snow-removal duty – a HUGE thank-you for what appears to be a HUGE job!!!!

Button Cover

Now the cover is back on the Button Swan, and she’s looking much happier.  Thanks Tom!

Happy New Years!

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Welcome to 2020!  The last few weeks have seen some satisfying progress on our current build – the molds have been cut and assembled on the strongback, the boards for the transom have been glued up, and the inner keel has been cut.

Our power went out for a while on Saturday, long enough for us to get busy with hand-saw to cut the keel and trim the slots in the molds for it.  We all appreciated how much quieter hand-tools are than power-tools!  But we stopped short of ripping the thin veneer strips for the laminated stem.

The transom was glued up with some gorgeous sapele!  The wavy grain should look wonderful on the boat.  Since we only have three clamps large enough, we used rope and wedges to clamp the outer edges – worked like a charm!  (in case you’re wondering about the tilt, that picture IS actually straight – the shed was tilting and rocking a lot in the wind)

Yes, it was very windy!  The waves were sending spray over the spit, and we measured the wind speed at about 35 kt.  The bracing help MAY have been a bit theatrical, though effective!

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Our New York member Leif introduced us to a scanning app on his phone, called TurboScan – we had some fun with making striking images like this – I love how the wood-grain shows up!

The previous Saturday started with a tour of the new boat in Heritage Harbour: Querencia, a 40′ Sparkman & Stephens teak yawl built in Hong Kong in 1960.   The owner Duane welcomed a bunch of us aboard, and we spent some time examining the beautiful boat, under her winter cover.  Duane has a very comprehensive set of photos of the boat’s restoration in 2004, and lots of great detail shots of her immaculate current condition:   Near the bottom of the page is a video showing some of Saturday’s wind, and a bit of our work in the shed.

And that Saturday finished with a few of us taking advantage of the (mostly) sunny day and reasonable temperatures to take Ragna out for some winter sailing – sure felt great to be out there!!



New boat project!


We have started construction of our next boat – or at least the strongback which is the foundation for the boat build!  The design is an Iain Oughtred “Auk”, a 7′-5″ lapstrake dinghy.  The boat will serve as a tender for one of our members – Brent and his 46′ Kettenburg PCC “Richochet”.  We’ve decided to build it in riveted yellow cedar planking instead of glued lapstrake as originally planned.  Nice to keep it traditional!

It’s a pretty small frame, and it’s been suggested that we double up, and build another one alongside, taking advantage of the efficiency of multiples – I’m afraid we’d quickly find out that it’s not quite as small as that!

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Before we get started on the molds and keel, we tested the frame’s strength with some pizza and beer, supplied by Sheila & Bruce as part of the Christmas decoration award ceremony.  They had put out the challenge to the harbour boat owners to decorate, and then had a draw amongst the participants for a bottle of rum.  Some of the award ceremony can be seen in a YouTube video by Barry, owner of Dagon and First Mate on Providence.  Oarlock & Sail got a special award for our Grinch display, which is attracting a lot of attention on the dock!  Watch the rest of Barry’s video for a glimpse into the day-to-day work involved in keeping (bigger) wooden boats afloat.

Do come down during the many hours of dark, to see the harbour in all its coloured lights!  The gate at the top of the ramp is locked after the False Creek Ferries stop running, but you can enjoy the lights from shore, or if you’re a member, you can get the combination for the lock.

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Anja was getting a mockup of the new cabin-top that Arnt & Valerie will be building – it’s looking so good, and will give them headroom inside.  Barry’s video shows a bit of it.

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It will be fun to get working on the new project!  We hope you come down to the shed to take part, or at least to take a look at what we’re up to – the door is always open (or openable) to visitors!  Merry Christmas!

Relaunch of Venus


Yesterday we celebrated the relaunch of Venus, the cold-molded Davidson dinghy we’ve refurbished.  The boat came to us a little worse for wear, with a lot of delamination, and  a temporarily patched hole in her bottom.  We’ve learned a lot over the course of the project, building up the layers for a much better patch!

Suitable drinks and food were procured and laid out on the workbench in the shed, and a proper painter was spliced on.

Short and enjoyable speeches were given by Rob, our club president, and Joost, owner of the boat and Director of the Maritime Museum, after which Venus received a splash of champagne, and was put in the water.  Joost claims this was his first crack at rowing (which none of us believed), and he had a short and easy row, past his bigger boat, Milo, for which Venus will be a tender.

Festivities carried on in the shed for a while – it was a great time!

Other activities were also going on – Button Swan received her cover, thanks to Tom for all your work on that!!  It looks excellent, and will be great protection from the otters and the rain!

A bit over a week ago, the call went out from Sheila & Bruce, challenging Heritage Harbour residents to decorate their boats for the holidays.  A flurry of emails went around in Oarlock & Sail, and before long, a plan was set in motion to make a display using the Fancy Pram.  Last Saturday we cut it out, and it was painted during the week, with the final touches yesterday, and it got assembled on the dock.  Turned out wonderfully, and we expect it will be a hit with the public!  Button Swan got a string of lights, as well as a string around the shed roof.


In the shed, the plans for our next project were put up on the wall, ready for next week – we plan to get a start on the strongback and molds, before we turn to our holiday celebrations (starting at 1:00).  Hope to see you there!

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So close! Party to come.

Two dates to keep in mind:

  • November 30th, relaunch of our current project
  • December 7th, start of our next project, and a party to celebrate

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Last Saturday we came in to see a beautiful set of floorboards for the Davidson dinghy, ready to oil and fasten in place – it’s always fun to see what the boat-shed elves get up to during the week!

We then worked on the cleats and toggles to hold them in place, even when the boat is stored upside down on the deck of its mothership.  We got them shaped and epoxied in place.

This past Saturday we got the final coat of paint on the interior, and fastened the name-board.  We look forward to launching Venus this coming Saturday, November 30th – come down to take a look at our work and help us send her off!

The next weekend, December 7th, we’ll be starting our next build, an Ian Oughtred designed ‘Auk’, a dinghy for Brent’s Kettenburg sloop.  We’ll get started on the strongback and molds, and then have a bit of an early Christmas celebration as well.  We invite you to the shed to join in and learn more about the project!  We’ll supply the snacks, and ask you to BYOB.  Festivities start around 1pm.

Last Saturday was also a ‘tool improvement’ day, with new planer blades, the start of a dust collection hood for the planer, a new cordless driver, an adapter for dust collection for the tablesaw, and a new bandsaw blade.  The bandsaw is a whole new tool, cutting so nicely!!  We look forward to enjoying all the improvements!

Hope to see you at the dock!