Aft Hatch

By creating a footwell, it freed up an extra hatch.  In contemplating what to do with it, I decided to place it in the BH6-7 location.  This will make available almost as much space as I lost by creating the footwell.  None the less, it still takes guts to cut a hole in the sole of a perfectly good boat.

DSC00416The first step was to determine the location of the cut.  With the hatch in hand, it is easy to trace out the area to be removed.

DSC00417This hole allows access for the jig saw.

DSC00420After a little extra cutting and filing, the hatch dropped in.  Luckily, I had already finished the inside of this area with epoxy and paint, so there was little to do other than installing the hatch.

DSC00421Before installing, I coated all the newly exposed plywood edges with two coats of epoxy.  I then applied a liberal bead of silicone and secured with 3/4″ ss screws.

This hatch still allows for a good place to stand while straddling the tiller arm when sailing.  I plan to store extra line, repair parts, tool kits, registration, flairs, carabiners and first aid kit in this area.  I picked up a lot of good storage here that I had no previous access to.

Footwell Complete

This one was big to me.  I wrestled with the questions over and over again.  It weighed heavily on my mind.  Can I, should I make a footwell?  How big?  Would I screw up my boat?  That is, my hard earned boat of the last 17 months of my life, boat.  Then there was the little voice in my head saying, can you really retro this footwell thing?  Should you cut a hole through the sole of a perfectly sound boat?  What bail out options would you have if it all went awry?  Answer:  Nothing…there is no bail out plan that I could think of.  Yet, I wanted one and I wanted one in a real way.  I believed in the concept, the benefits and seeming advantages and knew it would increase my comfort.  While sailing in Port Townsend, I never quite got comfortable in Shackleton.  Always shifting here and there, trying to find just the right sitting position, only to find out there really wasn’t a position I felt comfortable in for very long.  After sitting in Serenity, I knew a footwell was a must.

You’ve probably read the earlier post regarding the install.  Now I’m ready to show you the finished product.

DSC00416Oval caps epoxied in place with a good fillet surrounding them for a water tight fit.  Surroundings taped off and ready for paint.  I decided to paint over the oval caps to blend into the surrounding bulkhead and seat longitudinal.  DSC00417After lightly sanding all these areas, I was ready to apply the paint.DSC00630Here you see the floor with 2 heavy coats of high gloss spar varnish and 2 coats of paint to the surroundings.  The footwell is now complete.  I’m ready to move on to additional changes I wish to make.  Remember, there were 39 in total.  This was the most technical and difficult change of all.  Whew…glad it’s done.

I chose not to install a bailer of any sort.  I wanted my footwell to be very low tech, with no mechanicals to fiddle with.  Remember, I’m a simple guy…I want my boat very simple as well.  I’m convinced that by isolating the water into one location, I can bail it out very quickly.  I also wanted my floor unencumbered, clean and basic.  I’m looking forward to taking a bath, washing clothes or cleaning off my muddy shoes all in the footwell.  Sea trials to follow.  

Finishing Footwell and adding Stern Tow Eye

I’m always surprised how many steps it takes to complete a task, especially if you’re trying to do it right. The footwell has taken quite some time, but I’m happy to say I’m almost finished and I can feel it starting to give.

DSC00417The bottom piece (3/8″ Okoume) is finished with multiple coats of high gloss spar varnish after 3 coats of epoxy and a large fillet around the edges.  The two oval access holes that exist in bulkhead 6 were covered over using 3/8″ Okoume overlays.  I though about covering these from the back side of BH6 (I will be adding an access port to the back side of BH6) but decided to overlay the ovals on the front side of BH6 in oder to provide the strongest solution.  That way, if they got kicked really hard, there is no danger of them popping through.

I now need to remove the screws (used for clamping) from the ovals, fill with thickened epoxy and touch up paint all exposed edges/additions.  I’m very happy with how this is turning out.  If you want a footwell, my advise is to go for it.  

Now for the stern tow eye.

DSC00421While towing small water craft in Port Townsend, I realized I needed a better place to attach the tow line.  I was using the mast crutch off the stern to secure the line, but this was not ideal and awkward at best.  I first built a 4″ x 6″ backing block of 3/8″ Okoume.  I epoxied this block to the transom using the stern eye bolts as a clamping mechanism.

DSC00419The only logical place I could find to add this tow eye was on the Starboard side of the rudder, near the top of the transom for easy access from the cockpit.

I plan to use a carabiner to quickly attach and detach the tow line.  This will be much quicker and more secure than tying to the mast crutch (which I now plan to remove before launching).

I’m having more fun with my Scamp now than I ever have.  Making it mine is so much fun.  It just keeps getting better and better.  

Outboard Motor & Refueling System

I make no bones about my outboard motor.  I know many sailors feel it is somehow cheating a bit, or maybe beneath them to consider such a modern day device.  I totally get this thinking and sometimes I’m actually tempted to adopt such a creed.  But here’s the deal.  I have a multitude of hobbies, a large family and a demanding job.  Given these complications/blessings in my life, I’ve come to fully accept modern technology (in moderation).

With that as a backdrop, let’s discuss my outboard motor.

DSC00437First off, I love my outboard motor bracket.  It’s simple, beautiful, practical and rock solid.  When I motored with my West Wight Potter 15, the aluminum motor bracket vibrated and made quite a racket.  This outboard bracket, with not moving parts, is dead silent.  I also love my 2.5 Suzuki.  It’s liquid cooled, as light as the Honda, has a gear box (N and F) for warm up and can pull two additional Scamp with no problems.

DSC00569Towing Serenity and Jeff’s beautiful #284 on a no wind afternoon.  Hence, with the outboard you can serve as a rescue boat…which is fun and practical.

DSC00432I noticed the outboard was somewhat stiff to rotate within it’s steering bracket.  Upon further inspection, I notice the drag was coming from the lower rotation collar.  After applying a little bicycle grease (which tends to solve every problem in life), the noise and friction went completely away.  Yay, problem solved.

Did I mention I hit an oyster bed after towing a Northeastern Dory around Rat Island?  It banged up my aluminum prop a bit, creating a rough edge on the blades.  DSC00431I took a metal file and cleaned up the edges.  This took almost no time at all and made me feel better.  I also learned if you want to remove the prop, you’ll need both regular and needle nose pliers.  Note for tool box…Needle nose to straighten the cotter pin and regular pliers to remove the cotter pin. 

Next I wanted to simplify the refueling process.  It is fairly difficult to refuel out on the water.  With the boat movement and wave action, refueling can be quite an issue.  Additionally, I learned that 1 Liter of extra fuel is not quite enough for comfort, especially when towing others.  After giving it some thought, here’s my solution.

DSC00423I’ve already expounded on the merits of the venerable Nalgene bottle.  I love the quality and size.  With this in mind, I created (2) 1 Liter fuel bottles paired with a correctly sized fuel funnel to prevent spillage.

DSC00417I tethered the funnel to the fuel bottle so I can’t drop it overboard.  When one fuel bottle is empty, I’ll switch the tether to the remaining fuel bottle.  Finally, I wrapped duck tape (useful for a multitude of situations) around the fuel bottles for clear identification.  I plan to store the fuel bottles in a separate location than my drinking bottles to avoid any late night confusion. DSC00440The funnel fits perfectly inside the fuel tank opening and the large diameter allows for quick refueling.  I also like the shape of this funnel.  The high side allows for quick dumping of the fuel into the funnel. No spillage, no mess, with an environmentally friendly 4 stroke motor. 

The literature for my outboard says it holds 0.984 liters of fuel, but I’ve found that a full liter of fuel fits perfectly into an empty tank without any spillage.  This makes the 1 liter Nalgene bottle the perfect size fuel container.  

Attaching Water Bottle Holders

I used 3/4″ SS screws with fender washers.  I screwed the cup holders into bulkhead #4.

DSC00418I originally placed the screws through both webbing straps, but the screw head scratched the bottle and made the fit a bit snug.  I then placed the screws only through the vertical webbing into the bulkhead.  This worked better.

DSC00427Two on Starboard side.DSC00429Two on Port side.


  • Out of the sun
  • Just under the veranda
  • Easily reached from the cockpit
  • One handed retrieval and put back
  • Flexible
  • Imposible to damage
  • Easy to sew and install

 This is one of several steps I want to take to better organize Shackleton.  How organized is your boat?

Footwell, Part 2

With the sole cut away revealing the foot well, I needed to remove the paint in this area. DSC00417After 20 minutes with my orbital sander (80 grit), my hull looked like this.  DSC0041945 minutes later, the hull looked like this.DSC00420 I wanted to create an Old World look with the foot well.  I took a piece of 3/8″ Okoume plywood and routed small cuts 2.5″ apart to simulate planking.DSC00422Two coats of epoxy applied to top sides of panels (applied 8 hours apart).  I did not sand between coats.  This created a natural non-skid texture.  At this point, the back side of the panels are raw uncoated plywood.  I wet the back sides with un-thickened and then thickened epoxy when I installed the panels. DSC00416I used my ballast to weigh down the panels.  Once cured, I’ll create a large fillet to the edges, tying the panels to all surrounding bulkheads.  I’ll then finish with high gloss spar varnish.

Steps I took:

  1. Cut out the sole with jig saw.
  2. Cut the sole flush with the bulkhead cleating on the aft side BH 5 and the forward side of BH6 using a flush-cut router bit.
  3. Round over all edges.
  4. Remove bottom paint with scraper and orbital sander.
  5. Cut to fit hull doubler using 3/8″ plywood pieces (It requires two pieces, one piece won’t fit through the opening).
  6. Planed the back side edges of the panel pieces to fit over the existing fillet between the hull and bulkheads (this allows the panels to fit flat).
  7. Applied 2 coats of epoxy to the top side of panels.
  8. Applied wet epoxy to the back side of panels and the foot well.
  9. Spread thickened epoxy on both back side panels and foot well.
  10. Install and weight the panels.

Water Bottle Holders

So, where do you keep a cold drink or hold your snacks while sailing?  I don’t like things clanking around my feet, loose on the floor.  I want Shackleton organized and orderly.  I’ll say it again, the fun of building your own sailboat, is that you get to decide and solve all these issues.

While waiting for epoxy to dry, I set about trying to solve this problem.  The first question is actually not where, but what.  What will you use to hold your water and snacks?  Once you have answered the what question, you can move on to the where question.

For years I have used and been an advocate for Nalgene bottles.  After my wife went through thousands of prettier, neater, cooler, fancier, insulated water bottles, she was finally ready to live a higher law and just get a Nalgene bottle.  She now is a believer.

With the Nalgene doctrine firmly entrenched, I was ready to move on to the where question.  I originally wanted to build a water bottle holder on the aft filler board.  This would have worked, but the bottles would have been in full sun.  This was not optimal and just didn’t feel right.

I had some leftover webbing laying around from my boat lifting straps.  While eyeing over this left over webbing, I came up with a ‘Ham n Egger’ idea.

DSC00423What if I could use the left over strapping to create water bottle holders?

 The design concept was:

  1. A simple soft design that wouldn’t get in the way, get smashed, knocked off or interfere with other gear.
  2. Utilize a standard 1 Liter Nalgene bottle.
  3. Work with both wide mouth and narrow mouth Nalgene bottles.
  4. Stow the drinks or snacks out of the sun.
  5. Ready made with available stuff around home.
  6. Allow for one handed fetch and put back operation.
  7. Create two holders per sailor (for a total of 4 holders).  This gives each sailor one bottle for his drink and the other for snacks.

DSC00429I love my Sailrite sewing machine.  I don’t use it a lot, but when I do, I’m always glad I have it.  DSC00424The stitching is not professional grade, but well within the ‘Ham n Egger’ category.DSC00426DSC00416I plan to bolt the bottle holders to the forward side of BH4, just under the veranda, easily within reach of the cockpit seats and out of the sun.

I had 4″ of webbing left over after cutting all the parts.  The sailing Gods were smiling down on me today.

Filler Boards for Sleeping

During the Palooza Crooza, I watched Simeon, Jeff, Sergei and Tyler all sleeping aboard their Scamps.  I was in such a hurry to finish Shackleton that I skipped this step, telling myself instead that I didn’t want to sleep aboard such a tiny ship and the I would simply sleep on the ground.  After watching these guys sleep on their boats, I knew I wanted to be able to do the same.

Plus, being able to sleep aboard Scamp adds to the versatility of this little micro cruiser and takes the vessel in a whole new dimension.  Finally, what man doesn’t want to sleep on his boat…all real men aspire to such high and noble callings in life. 

I told you there were 49 things I wanted to do to my boat…I wasn’t kidding.

DSC00416Lance testing the filler boards.  I’m planning to raise up a lot of sailers in my family.

DSC00425Abby is utilizing the foot well underneath.  This would provide a very low center of gravity dining position.

DSC00430I chamfered the edges to transition between the seat height and the filler board thickness.


Steps I took:

  1. I grooved out the seat extensions with a router (3/8″ wide by 1/2″ deep).  This was actually very difficult.  The router wanted to split the vertical grain Douglas Fir.  It would have been much easier to do this step on a table saw prior to installation, but I got it done.
  2. I then purchased 3/4″ x 12″ pine shelving from Home Depot.  I cut this to fit between the seats.  It took 7 pieces.
  3. I planed the filler boards to a heavy 5/8″.  This cleaned them up and lightened them just a bit.
  4. I then used my table saw to chamfer the top edge to transition between the seat height and the thickness of the filler boards.  This matches the look of my seat hatches.
  5. I then used a 1/8″ round over bit to soften all the edges.
  6. I also cut a 1, 1/4″ hole in the center of each board.  This allows me to reach in with two finger and remove the boards one handed.
  7. They are all designed to stack against the rear transom when not in use.  I will utilize a river strap to secure them in the event of a capsize.


I’m going to design a custom filler board at the transom.  This board will have cup holder cut outs, anchor storage and extra fuel containers built into it’s design.  I also plan to fix this board in place.  I also plan to design a stop at the front end of the seats to prevent the boards from slipping forward and out of position.  Lots to do, but all good stuff. 

Footwell, Part 1

While sailing with Sergei and Tyler in Port Townsend, I notice several things about Serenity that I liked.  One was the large footwell, the other was the Bimini.  I left the Palooza Crooza with several improvements on my mind.  The footwell and the Bimini were two changes I knew I wanted to incorporate.

Preston and I discussed the pro and cons and finalized our decision.  Shackleton would get a footwell…and a large one at that.

DSC00417You’ve got to think this one through for a while.  This is definitely a one way street.  After measuring and remeasuring, staring and scratching my chin, I got out the jig saw and made a cut.

DSC00418Located right behind the ballast tank area and running aft all the way to BH6.  I left quite a large edge near the seat longitudinals to serve as a foot rest.


I plan to add support to the existing hull to stiffen this area and add two round access hatches to the BH6-BH7 storage area.  All this while not getting in the way of the prime real estate located between BH6 & BH7 that we utilize while standing to sail Shackleton.


Why so large?  Well, have you met Preston and Bennett, my two sons?  This should answer your question.  Also Sergei had very positive things to say about Serentiy’s full size footwell.  It preformed admiral during their capsize testing.  Finally, if your going to open it up, why not gets some room in the process.  Others prefer a small foot well, but after looking at Serenity, I knew I landed in the large footwell camp.  

Simplifying the Mast Support

While sailing with Howard Rice at the 2015 Scamp Skills Academy in Port Townsend, we noticed that my mainsheet was fouling on the aft mast support.  In the future, Howard urged me to remove the mast support before launching.   I was resistant to this idea because I wanted to minimize the time required to launch my Scamp.  However, after seeing the main sheet wrap around the aft mast support several times, I knew something needed to be done. DSC00416I started by epoxying the front bolts and washers to both mast supports.

DSC00419Now, these bolts will not come out of the supports.  This means when I remove the supports at the launch, I will not loose the bolts and washers on the launch ramp.  I then took a drill and slightly over sized the holes for easy insertion through the mast box and rear transom.  This allows me to insert both mast supports without any hang ups.

DSC00417Then, I purchased stainless steel wing nuts to secure the back sides of the bolts. Notice, I had to cut the Port side washer to fit around the fillet.  I still need to tend the washers and wing nuts on the back side of the supports, but this is much easier than tending bolts, washers and nuts for both sides of the support.

DSC00418This allows me to quickly remove the mast supports prior to launch.  Howard, are you proud of me?


It requires a lot of finesse to get a boat right.  This is why I decided to build my own sailboat…I can get it the way I want it.  I love my Scamp.