Texas 200 2014: a Brief Introduction, Post 1


 Way back in the day my father built a boat designed by some guy named Jim Michalak. I was in college at the time and thought it was interesting that Bill built this boat. You have to understand that my father is a little bit of a renaissance man, good at a lot of things but not an expert in anything. He always had some project or fascination for a few months then carried on to something else. Here is very short list of some of the things my father has done. Spelunking, parachuting, car repair, piloting a plane, building radio control F3B gliders and competing internationally with them, motorcross cycle racing, building robots, programing, building things in general, bonsai, karate, Aikido, judo, flamenco guitar, photography, operating on skunks, snake handling, building alarm systems, escaping from Mexican prisons, and then, he built a boat. This was about 16 years ago. So needless to say I thought this was a passing fade and he would be moving on to breeding race horses or whittling walking sticks in no time. But something strange happened on the way to the forum. This hobby stuck. I guess there’s a first time for everything. 

 And I am glad that it did. For one thing,  I really got the bug to build and sail my own boats, and so did my brother Sean. Secondly, it is something that we share and get to spend time together doing. If it wasn’t for boating I don’t think 80% of the conversations we have had over the past 16 years would have happened. So if I was a religious man I would call it a blessing, but because I am not I will call it awesome sauce.

 Back then there was this new event being started called the Everglades Challenge. (http://www.watertribe.com/events/EvergladesChallenge/Default.aspx)  It is a hellish race that takes place every year for people with a lot of money, training, and insanity. I wanted to do it to and had just been bitten by this bug. But reality set it. I just didn’t have the money to compete in this event, and my first boat wasn’t fit for something like this challenge. A few years later and the Everglades Challenge has now become an institution. Chuck Lienweber (founder of  www.duckworksmagazine.com) liked the idea but I think he saw the possibility of doing a more informal event. Kinda like a rolling Messabout. For those who don’t know a Messabout is, it is simply a gathering of small boat nuts who get together to sail and poke around on the water for a day or two. Chuck is from Texas and decided to do a raid type Messabout event along the outer banks of Texas in the gulf. (http://texas200.com/) By this point in 2008 Bill, Sean, and I had the bug bad. As of 2014 between the three of us we have built 10 boats, many of which were prototype builds. For more information on that first Texas 200 and what happened to me and Bill please read this article : http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/09/gatherings/horrible/index.htm

Now its been a few years and Bill and I have done the OBX130 several times, the Florida 120 once, and the Texas 200. BUT we have always done these events is “large” boats. Large is a relative term. By most peoples standards the boats we sail are very small and to take them out for 5 days at a time ridiculous. We are talking about boats from about 14′ up to 18′ in length. Most sailors who go out for a week will be on at least a 26′ to 30′ boat. Well we are upping the anti this year and a bunch of like minded boat nuts will be doing this years event in an 8′ open sailing dingy. Thats about the size of a coffin in case you are wondering, only a little wider. 14 of us will be doing this and along the way raising money for Live Strong. These boats are called Puddle Duck Racers, or PDR’s for short. The 14 of us who are doing this are all very experienced sailors, and we need to be because this could be dagerous. The winds will be between 20 and 30 miles per hour. The heat index will be well in excess of 100 degrees. Sun stroke and dehydration are very real possibilities. We will be well away from civilization and help. We could get run over by very large barges if we aren’t careful. The four campsites we have to make it two make up 200 miles of sailing. In an 8 foot boat that means that we will be setting sail before dawn and getting into the next camp site around sunset. The other craft that will be doing this trip will have longer water length hulls meaning that they will have much shorter days and exposure. Added to that is another interesting factor. Because we will be in last place everyday any larger boat that founders will need help and we will be the ones on the scene to help them. You can read an interesting account of just this thing happening here : http://www.andrewlinn.com/2008/080609texas200/index.htm

SO all in all this should be very “fun.” 

I hope you can join me and follow my progress. I will number my posts so you can keep track of my adventures. Last time I did this I had some reception here and there so I hope to send in some posts to my wife who will update this blog. 

If you want to donate to the cause please use this link: http://tinyurl.com/pyntohb

To follow us on using a GPS tracker please use this link: http://tinyurl.com/MoffittLivestrongTexas200

This event starts on JUNE 9 and ends on JUNE 13

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Paul’s Boat Report


I apologize for never having done a sailing report. I wanted to include one now and finish up this section of my blog. Here is a link to an article at duckworks where you can find the report and more info.



My next posts will be covering my adventures in the 2014 Texas 200 in a Puddle Duck Racer.


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Built and ready for a Splash

So it is Built!!!! But admittedly there is still the bending of the sails and final rigging to get done. I hope to get most of that done on sunday before I leave for Spain to visit some family and introduce my Daughter D’Arcy to them. When I get back on the 31st my father Bill will be getting in at the same time at the airport. We will do some finishing and loading of boats and head to the Eastern Messabout where I will Splash the boat for the first time. So expect my next post June 3rd with a sailing report.

To the Pictures!!!


So I did a lot of painting and took the boat out and sat in it. I put my butt where jim drew it and estimated where I wanted the foot pedals. I am working on an article for chuck about the whole foot pedal thing so i am not going to talk about it too much here.


Here you can see that I decided to mount them to the bilge panels. Originally I thought I would put them on the bottom but it turns out it is more comfortable on the bilges.


I used wood glue and fiberglass tape to attache the mounting studs for the foot pedals. (thanks duckworksmagazine.com!!!!)


I let them dry. I used glue instead of epoxy so I can later rip the out studs and put them where I need them when I find the even keel / comfort level of bent knees.


I mounted the rudder. Plenty good enough to get it in the water. for the OBX I will change out the hardware. All rigging and pintle’s and grudgen’s from duckworks. thanks chuck. you are the man.


I mounted the Lee board. Took me a couple of tries. did a lot more sanding and painting. I took a short cut with the rudder and leeboard and instead of laminating 3 pieces of 1/4″ ply  together used an old piece of 3/4″ AC ext ply. You can also see I installed the see through hatches.


I made a quick inuit style double paddle and you can see all the spars and and masts painted too off to the left.


another view of things.


Here you can see I made and mounted the rear hatch. Plenty of room in this boat for a weeks worth of economical camping. or am I crazy? we will see in september at the OBX.


Wow what I build. Fast too. even by my standards and I have built all my boats fast.

So I plan on testing the shit out of this prototype June 1-3 at the Eastern Messabout. I want to do a capsize test and hopefully the wind will be both strong and weak. I will also be bring my new piccup which I splashed last fall.

this post about 20 hrs. 102 hours plus or minus 10 hrs, not including trips to home depot.



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Penultimate Post

I should be blogging more often so you can see the process more. Oh well. So I have lots of pictures and want to finish the boat up this week. To the pictures we go.

I flipped the boat and installed the deck rails. I also primed and painted the water tight compartments. I also, as you can see, glued and installed the wales.

Here you can see I made the wales a parallelogram. I didn’t do the grip wales which my father has turned me on to because that would add a lot of weight, but at least this way i still get some grip.

Rear lower mast mount installed.

Here you can see the lower main mast mount and some of the upper too. yes there is a drainage hole in both of the lower mounts.

Here is a better view of the upper mast mount and the fore deck rail. Water tight compartments painted.

Here you can see how the wales come together with the deck rail.

i fit the deck’s onto the boat after cutting them out.

I glue the decks on and use screws. i have never used nails. I want someone to explain to me the advantage of nails over screws.

Then I took a break and made the main sail.

And the Mizzen sail cut out too. but then back to the real work. Oh but the way this is my shop at work.

I cut out the holes for the hatches and test fit all. Looks good.

Time to bend the coaming on and glue it.

I use caulk and screws for the center portion of the back deck so I can get back in there for maintenance or what not.

Here you can see looking up under the decking at the upper main mast mount.

I eyeball and cut the other side of the coaming and cut with a Jap saw. (is the politacally correct?)

Here you can see how it all came together. Notice i put the coaming on the outside of the main mast instead of along the decking as drawn. I figure this will keep water from coming in the mast mount.

Looking good! I go around and fill all holes and places I need too on the deck with epoxy putty.

I finished off this 8 hour day by making all the bits. from Left to Right, lower lee board mount, upper lee board mount, rudder horns, rudder stock, lee board, and rudder with lead hole cut out.

So everything in this post was 18 hours. that brings up the total to 82.

I am really trying to get the boat done this week. I leave on the 20th for Spain. i get back on the 30th and leave for the Eastern Messabout the next day. I want the splash there. Seems improbably like it might actually happen.




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I have very few pictures for such a lot of work. But you don’t care how much sanding I did. (4 hours) Or what I decided to bondo or not out of vanity. (very little) What do you think of the color? (Its called Mint. and my trim will be orange.)

Here I line up the skeg. Notice I have already sanded the whole boat now that it  is glassed, and attached a runner along the entire bottom. As far as lining up the skeg to match the curve of the bottom this is how I do it.

And here you can see how i marked it. Fairly easy. Do you do it a different way? I would be really interested in knowing if I am reinventing the wheel or if there is an easier way.

And then i wave my wand and it is magically all sanded again, a pinch of bondo, 1 quart Killz Complete, 1 quart exterior latex.

I attached the skeg and runner with epoxy putty.

Jim says this runner is to add stiffness to the bottom of the boat for the occupant or two.

In this extreme shot you can see some of the outlines of the fiberglass. But still I think this is a great finish compared to some of my others. and with minimal effort. I have taken the motto that it is easier to remove before it dries then to sand it after. I think Confucius said that?

Next I flip and do the mast steps and decks.

What do you do with your skek?

what do you think of the color?

11 hours work this post. 63 hours total. (this hour count does not include trips to home depot.)

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Nice Bottom

I Glassed the shit out of that bottom.  I gotta say it is the best job I have ever done. I flipped the boat and studied the lines. There are a couple of small misalignment here or there but they are so small to be inconsequential. The most important part, the bow, is perfect.

So i flipped the boat, sanded the seams, filled in the holes and glassed the seams with one piece of tape.

I am only doing one layer of glass and not two staggered. I am instead glassing the bottom all the way over the bilges with 4 oz clothe. the seams are 6 oz tape. Both from http://www.duckworksmagazine.com where i get most of my supplies from. In a larger boat you should use two layers of glass on the outside seams. I bet Jim even draws them into this design. But I don’t think it is needed. Especially since I covered all with a sheet of glass.

I had to pay extra attention to getting the bilge seams that make up the Bow. I used thickened epoxy and 6″ epoxy tape which I still have left over from my catamaran build 9 years ago.

And then I sanded AGAIN.

And again more sanding.

I laid out the 5 yards of cloth and cut out enough to cover up to the side seams. I used a sharpie to mark where the seams line up with the cloth to keep in all straight when I pour on the epoxy.

You can see here some of the sharpie marks on the seams to align the glass properly.

With the help of a friend I mixed up a BIG batch of epoxy. I ended up being right on with the amount I needed. 3 pints with some hard wood flour. Just a touch of the wood flour. I used the supper strong medium viscosity raka epoxy. Really great stuff. I will only use it from now one. I always used low viscosity before. The medium fills the weave very nicely. Slow hardener all the way. In 75 degree weather it had a work time of about 30 minutes.

as you can see no air bubbles. I used a soft Bondo squeegee to spread the epoxy.   I started on the top center and worked out from there. I tried to leave behind just enough to fill the weave and no more.

I am really really pleased. It cured perfectly. I will let it sit two days before sanding.

that is a spicy meatball. (you have to say that to yourself in your best Joe pesci impersonation.)

I think I have fallen behind. I wanted to be done by the start of may but that obviously is not going to happen. I am thinking end of may now.

I am going to finish the bottom by adding a runner and a skeg. Then paint. Then flip for the rest of the build. Decks, masts steps, steering and painting.

10 hours to do what was in this post. I am up to 52 hours for the build so far.



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“the messy part”

So into days installment I show a couple of boat related things and then talk about my on going work with Paulsboat. First did you know i make survival bracelets? I do it as a side hobby while watching tv to help pay for things like building boats. I just finished 50 for a day camp.

these payed for the epoxy and glass I needed. They are made form paracord. I travel with a lot of extra rope now that I make my own lanyards, zipper pulls, anklets, and bracelets. I plan on giving these away as prizes for those who finish the OBX this year. you can find my store here, hit me up if you have a custom order for an event or camp. http://www.etsy.com/shop/UhFrayedKnot?ref=si_shop

I took out the piccup yesterday to a small lake. this was it’s second sail and I fixed the problem I had with the halyard laying right and added the reef ropes. It sails well and I feel confident now in taking out into the Delaware river next week.

Here is Paul T. sailing my boat at Marsh Creek state park. He is a friend from the eastern messabout.

I like the way the sail and rigging came out. I have a topping lift which is also a spare halyard and will also help me rig a boom tent.

Here is student and fiend of mine sailing for the first time. i try to convert as many people as possible. He is going to come with me on to the Delaware and sail around little tinicum island up to the civil war fort mifflin.

In a recent email from jim he said, “now you’re at the messy part.”  So now let me show off some pictures of the work I have done on the Paulsboat. The inside seams.

I ain’t doing the how i did it thing this time around. Here is the rear compartment with the bridge deck beams just placed there to show a little bit of the final shape.

here is looking down one of the cockpit seams. you can see where I cut out the temp bulk head corners  for quickness.

Here is the Bow compartment with the center beam just placed there to show where it goes.

Here is looking forward at the bow point from inside the watertight compartment.

I flipped it and started checking all the lines again to find that it was closer to perfect then I thought. sweet!

The bow is perfect and cut just as drawn. Jim must be getting good at this. This is one of the parts he really wants to make sure is all good before sending out to customers.

checking out the lines.

nice stern baby.

Still light at this point. I am easily on track to getting it weighing 100 lbs. hopefully less.

A close up of the flux capacitor. (that’s a back to the future reference for you.) this is the one part where I thought to myself I could have set the bilge panels 1/8″ farther back when i put it all together, but really it doesn’t matter. still looks good and will sail just as good.

And one more look from the other direction.

So I plan on have the bottom glassed this week and making the sails for this boat as well as new sails for the roonio catamaran and sean’s new yawl rigged Toon 2.

Tune in next time when we find out if bat man can get that shark off his leg. same bat channel, same bat time.


The inside took about 12 hours of work. What does that make the total so far? I think 42 hours.



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Bilge Panels Attached

And then I attached the bilge panels. well first rough attached them to see if there was any place I need to make them larger. Remember I left them 3/4″ over sized. They seemed to want to fit as drawn so I cut them as drawn. Then I proceeded to attach them with screws to the temporary forms.

I take it out of the barn and take a look.

here you can see the stem but I ended up removing it to actually get the front seam aligned properly. I don’t even know if I will end up using that chuck of wood. It totally got in the way of sewing it up right. I will replace it with epoxy fillet and fiberglass.

It took me a long time to get this all aligned right. I am using zip ties this time around and not the copper wiring I am used to. I think it is going to work out. In fact at first I thought I didn’t like it but now I am a total convert. it made the process easier.

Look at that line. very nice if i do say so myself. it has a great curve that says, “I will cut through you chop.”

When I moved the boat back in the barn I noticed it is about 70 pounds already. I am guessing we will end up at 100 or 120 when all is said and done. Heavier then I wanted, but I don’t think it is realistic to get it any lighter. I am fine with it now that I have thought it though. this will be able to take chop, stand up in 20 or 25 mph wind. and be safe and hopefully even dry. Now if we were at 150# I would have a problem.

so here we are with the obligatory picture of Darcy checking out the work. I am already giddy with excitement. The true test of this boat will be on this years OBX.

Thoughts or questions?


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Gone 3D

Hi Friends,

as with any good boat build, the builder looks forward to going 3D in much the same way we once salivated over getting our learners permit as a teen. It gives us a licence to really size up where this thing is going.

So to recap the bulkheads are done and the bottom is made. Next is laying out the ply and cutting out the sides and bilges. This boat is long and narrow which means these parts are also long and narrow. Bill said to butt join the 4’x8′ ‘s into 4’x16’. I passed the idea to Jim and said that is how Payson used to do it.

I aligned and joined two sheets of ply and screwed them down to the floor of my boat barn. I add a little bit of saw dust to my epoxy and use waxpaper.

The I put another two pieces of ply down with the epoxy and glass on both sides, covered in waxpaper.

I hot box it all for 36 hours until cured. there is more to this story about how i hot box but ask me if you want my opinion on how to do this.

and it is set to go so I pull out the olde circe sawe.

and I cut out the sides as drawn and cut out the bilges with about 3/4″ of an inch extra because… well you know how these things can go. I estimate doing the sides and bilges this way saved me 2-4 hrs of time.

SO i take it all out and line it up for some 3d plywood on plywood hot action in the 70 degree sun. that is what is up!

and attache the sides to the Temp forms first.

I attach all the rest with some screws and get in the thing! with darcy of course. what do you think? personally i am pretty excited. I think I will want to have a 4″ cushion to get up over the 36″ beam a little.

Darcy gives me a High 5. here you can also see the deck beams roughed in.

Another shot of the lines. Everything aligns ok, even sitting on the rough uneven ground. Dont get me wrong, there will still be a lot of adjusting to do.

I put the bottom on to see how it is going to fit. Looks like I need to take the piccup out of the Boat barn to get around this boat. I will put it on the bed of my truck for next weekend. I hope to get out on the lake.

next I need to fit and do the final cut on the bilges and wire the thing up.

This post, about 8hrs of work,

at 20 hrs total for the build so far.

I like the shape. I liked the way it felt when I sat in it. I am super excited at this point and can already tell it is going to sail and paddle well.

Please let me know what you think.


ps then darcy took a nap

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Bulkheads finished, Bottom Cut and Laminated


A lot more pictures to look out and i will let them do the talking.

Here is the transom. the drawings dont show it but I added a stern post for the rudder. I had a piece of Oak laying around so I used that.

you can see that in 4.5 feet from the bulkhead at station 11′ where it is 3 feet wide in  narrows down to this transom.

I start laying out the bottom along with the help of D’Arcy Bryn. she is checking out the lines and thinks the boat named after here has nicer lines. I disagree but we settle the dispute later with a tea party.

Here she is making some important marks with my carpenters pencil.

The bottom is cut out with a circular saw. I must be getting good at this because it came out very nicely.

Here is close up of the front part of the bottom panel.

And here is the back. The seam in the two pieces of ply is where the BH 11 forward face is positioned. it narrows down to the stern transom. Should be a fast boat to paddle for its sail area.

Here is BH 11, you can see I cut some notches for the rails that support the upper decking.

I cut and prepare the fiberglass to butt join the bottom. I don’t do straps of wood, I always do a sandwich of fiberglass and epoxy. In this case it is needed because BH 11 will be resting right on top of it.

I mixed the epoxy with a touch of wood filler so that it isn’t too runny. whetted down the ply first then added the fiberglass and soaked it too. I made sure that there was epoxy in between the piece of ply as well.

I put sandbags from the theater and an old lee board blank on the joint. then i hooked up some lights so I can hot box the joint while it cures. this is in my shed. it is 50 degrees today and a little warmer then that in the shed, but these light bulbs will make sure it cures at the right temp.


Then I put a tarp over it.

Then I took a look see underneath. ahhhhh.  this is getting easier with every boat.


Next i cut out the sides and bilges. Laminate them, then go 3D!!!!!

any concerns or comments? please leave them here and not in your head!


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