The discussion revolved around designing a smaller one for private use in somewhat sheltered waters. I followed the ebb and flow of the email conversations and looked at some of the web sites mentioned. At the same time I was looking at the calendar and realizing that April 1st was approaching. As usual, I put two and two together and came up with five.
I use a CAD program to do the illustrations for my “how-to” columns and soon put it to work making some preliminary designs for a small stern wheel powered boat. It was addictive. As the design took form, I added more and more details. Then the brilliant idea struck. I would go ahead and do a more finished drawing and release it as a new design on April 1st as a spoof.
We’ve all seen those concept drawings in the boating magazines, right? XYZ Corporation announces their new, state of the art, high-tech, turbo powered “Whatzit”. Complete with stylized renderings with a couple of models lounging in the cockpit. I’m convinced that many of these are trial balloons. “Let’s get this drawing published, Fred, and see if we can get anyone to order it. Then we’ll build it.”
So that was my plan. I finished the drawing you see here and came up with a name that sounded like it belonged to a character boat. “Winton M. Green”, my middle name, my father’s middle initial and my mother’s maiden name. It sounded good and seemed to match the boat. I sent the drawing and text off to a couple of publications. Most didn’t respond. One said they wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot boat hook as the last time they did something like that they were bombarded with inquiries from folk who didn’t understand the joke.
That should have told me something but it didn’t. One on-line publication did pick it up and published the drawings and my email address. BIG mistake. I immediately began getting messages asking detailed questions about the design, the power plant, performance figures, when it was going into production and how much it would cost.
No one, but no one, looked at the date and thought it was an April Fool’s joke, nobody! Here is the text from a typical message:
I saw your drawing of the Picnic
Paddlewheeler on Duckworks.
I have been looking for plans or at least a starting point for a paddlewheel boat for the shallows of Biscayne Bay here in Miami. I also live on a fresh water canal, which sometimes has an abundance of seaweed, where it would be more of a novelty, but still make it through the seaweed without clogging the impeller which happens to our jet boat.
I have found several resources and even plans for smaller paddlewheeler boats, but no firm hull offsets for something of the size of your Picnic Paddlewheeler.
I am curious as to how far you have gone in your design. I would be interested in seeing more details about it, such as draft and displacement as well as top view profile.
Not only didn’t the reader get the joke, they were mad at me because the design wasn’t finished, wasn’t available and wouldn’t be in production. The on-line magazine even added the drawing and text to their archive, so I’m still getting inquiries.
There I was, with a design for a new genre of boats, the “Picnic Paddlewheeler”, a ton of inquiries and no boat to sell, all the result of trying to pull an April fool’s joke. That’ll teach me, at least until the next time.
So, if you want to build a Picnic Paddlewheeler, just send the check to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A vendor at a local boat show was passing around free samples of soda that tasted good! I stopped by the booth and found that it was a make-your-own soda machine. I noticed the same vendor at the Annapolis Powerboat Show and stopped for a more in depth look at the device. The system, as offered by SodaStream www.sodastreamusa.com/), consisted of a dispenser unit that contains a carbon dioxide cylinder, one liter bottles to contain the mixed soda and bottles of flavoring concentrate.
To produce soda, one of the bottles is filled to a mark with cold tap water and then screwed into the carbon dioxide dispenser. A button is then pushed to dispense the CO2 into the bottle. The level of carbonation is controlled buy the number of times the button is pushed. After the CO2 is dispensed, the bottle is removed and a capful of the flavoring concentrate is added.
The cylinder of CO2 is good for about 110 liters of soda, while a bottle of concentrate will produce over 12 liters of soda. The selection of concentrates is wide; everything from cola to energy drinks is available in either regular or diet versions. Refills for the CO2 cylinders are ordered on line and shipped by UPS. The same applies to the bottles of concentrates.
The cost per liter of soda works out to around $.30 a bottle. The best part, though, is the reduction a soda cans and bottles to be disposed of, there aren’t any! On longer cruises, the soda machine itself goes on board. On day trips, I just take the one liter bottles in the cooler. Satisfied customer? You bet!
The guts of the soda maker, showing the CO2 cylinder and the actuating button on top. Newer models may look slightly different.
One liter of cold tap water and a cap full of concentrate makes one liter of soda. The concentrate bottle cap acts as the measure.
A one liter soda bottle ready to inject CO2.
Ternabout, my 20-foot sloop, had halyards that were wire-to-rope and original to the boat. After 20+ years of use, they were stiff as boards. The rope section was 5/16” line and the wire around 1/16”. I looked around for replacements but couldn’t find any stock halyards the right size. After pricing custom made halyards with the wire to rope splices, I was sure that wasn’t the way to go, either.
Individuals who love going in water know better the importance of owning good boats and custom crafted sailboat trailers. One of the joys of owning a trailer is being able to explore different cruising areas in a more comfortable and easy way.
Know anyone who has enough storage space aboard? Neither do I. During the refit of our Columbia 10.7, my wife, Pat, and I were constantly on the lookout for places we could convert into additional storage space. We were able to find a surprising number of such places, significantly expanding our storage space. We’ll go through the boat from stem to stern and identify some of those areas; maybe you’ll be able to do the same to your boat.
Lulu Press is having a 20% off sale on any or all of my books! The offer is good through October 26, 2012. Simply go to www.lulu.com and get the case sensitive discount code on the home page. Then use the search box to look for "Paul Esterle". No limit on the number of books!
Spent Friday at the boat show, probably the best weather day of the weekend. Hung out at the Small Craft Advisor booth most of the day. Got to talk to lots of readers and potential subscibers. Karen Larsen from Good Old Boat stopped by to say hello, hadn't seen her for about three years. Traffic was typical Friday Annapolis boat show traffic, SLOW! Josh Colvin's wife, Anika, has a great new line of teas, salts and sugars in the booth next to SCA's, Old Salts. Proved very popular.
All for now!