Ahoy, boaters! Welcome to yet another boating blog, this one focused mainly on small-craft cruising and boatbuilding on the canals and lakes of Ontario, Canada.

Many folks- like us- love the water, but have land-based commitments (you know, jobs and things like that) that prevent us from sailing off to the sunny south. That's OK- there are plenty of interesting places to cruise right here in Canada, many of which can be explored in a weekend (or perhaps a long weekend... or a week).

Our current flagship is Sunset Chaser, a five-metre runabout designed by Phil Bolger and built by Matthew B. Marsh. In the shop is the prototype of the Marsh Design Starwind 860 power trimaran, which we are building to extend our cruising grounds.


On The Water

Photos, ramblings and the occasional bit of useful information from our voyages aboard the runabout Sunset Chaser and other small boats.

Mismatched driveshafts

A repair job is never allowed to go by the book. There always - always - has to be some weird, poorly documented catch that sets the whole thing back.

Wind + summer = kiteboarders?

MBM20130729-153952-3149s.jpgHey, it certainly looks like a valid equation if you hang out on the Queen's University waterfront.

What's inside an outboard engine gearcase

Since we have a lower gear case in pieces anyway, I may as well write about how the bottom end of your outboard engine is put together. This is one of those clever mechanisms that we boaters usually just take for granted, and trust the shop to deal with when it fails. It's kind of cool to see how it all works.

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In The Shop

Dispatches from the shop: Progress reports on our boat building projects, plus some useful information for those of you who are building, restoring or repairing your own boats.

Where's the good wood?

When I built my little runabout fifteen (!) years ago, it was pretty easy to find suitable plywood. The boat was a Phil Bolger / Harold Payson design, and neither man was big on spending money where it wasn't required. Payson's advice was something along the lines of "well, she's glass-sheathed, so you don't need the fancy exotic plywood – just use local AC exterior ply with the boil-tested glue." He was right; after fifteen years there's no evidence at all of any kind of rot, deterioration, delamination or other trouble with Sunset Chaser's fir plywood hull.

Crossbeam bits & pieces

Progress on the Starwind 860 prototype continues. It does seem, however, that I've fallen behind in posting updates about the boat.

The aft crossbeams are nearly done; they still need the fibreglass tape on their outer edges and a final fairing coat before painting.

The front crossbeams now have their upper mid-beam structure installed and are ready to be closed in. That task will probably take place tomorrow.

Back On Track

Our little hiatus is over. We're settled in, the essential work is done, and it's time to get back to the boat.

The next thing on the Starwind 860 build schedule is to finish up the crossbeams. Today, with perfect weather and (for the first time ever) plenty of space to work, we laminated the lower flanges of both forward beams.

Crossbeams Closed In

With the temperature now dropping below zero on a regular basis, temporary permission has been obtained to bring boat parts indoors for short periods so that the epoxy can fully cure. (In this weather, the resin will kick off and gel just fine, but the reaction slows down dramatically once it starts to solidify.

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