Navigation Compass

I’m not sure I’ll use it.  I’m not sure I needed it.  But, I wanted it.  Every sailboat ought to have a compass.  Not some new fangled GPS (though I’m not necessarily against these modern devises), but an actual magnetic compass.  Also, I didn’t want one that required batteries and would illuminate at night.  No, I just wanted a good old fashion end of the world magnetic compass.

DSC00447Meet the Ritchie V-527.  Typically used on smaller vessels like kayaks.  I thought this size and weight were perfect for Shackleton.

DSC00441I wanted to mount it directly centered on BH 3 but the mast box is almost the exact same width as the bolt pattern for the compass.  So, I had to move off center to get the job done.  I built a 3/4″ backer plate to hold the compass off the bulkhead for proper installation.  The backer plate and compass are through bolted to BH3.


I like how the compass is out of the way and easy to read.  I love the simple magnetic nature of this devise…no batteries ever.  It’s as if Mother Nature wanted us to have a way to navigate and this compass will allow you to do it.  

Lighting, Music, Log Book and Dock Lines


I wanted to find a small LED light that could work as a flash light and a small lantern.  I wanted it light and simple.  I also needed to secure the light with a tether.  DSC00446I have often respected the UCO company for the uber cool candle lantern they manufacture.  Now they also offer a small LED lantern.

DSC00443And check out the attachment point.  Solid and simple.  I like the way the D ring is metal not plastic.

DSC00423Here it is secured under the veranda next to my UE bluetooth speaker.

DSC00427The light in the collapsed, flashlight mode.DSC00432The light in it’s extended lantern mode.  This light will be augmented by my headlamp, but should offer general evening lighting.


Who doesn’t want music on their vessel?  I love music and think it can add a ton to the mood and experience.  It’s also a great way to get your kids involved.

DSC00424 The UG speaker offers huge volume buttons that are very easy to find.  It has a 15 hour lithium ion battery.  The sound on this little water resistant speaker is incredible.

DSC00428 And check out the secure D ring on the bottom.DSC00426Easy to find on/off button with audio verification.

DSC00440I used bungie cord to secure the speaker up under the veranda.  This keeps it from swinging.

DSC00437The back side is secured with a carabiner to the loop line.  So, even if it slipped out of the bungie (which seems very secure), I wouldn’t loose my speaker.

Log Book:

DSC00448Every boat needs a log book.  This allows you to keep a journal of your micro expeditions.  Where would we be if early explorers didn’t keep journals?  DSC00453Rite in the Rain makes 100% waterproof journals.  I’ve always wanted one, but wasn’t sure I needed one.  With Shackleton, I now need one.DSC00451I love the small carabiner that came with the pen.  It allows me to secure the pen to the notebook.  The pen will write upside down or during a rain storm.  The ink is smudge proof.  I wrote a few notes on the front page and put the whole thing under the tap.  My kids thought I was crazy…not a single smudge.  Awesome gear.   DSC00455The carabiner also allows me to tether the journal to my boat.  I made the tether long enough to allow me to make a journal entry without unclipping the tether.

Dock Lines:

I didn’t want them dangling.  I did’t want them getting hung up in my outboard.  I didn’t want them trailing behind me like kelp around the centerboard.

DSC00435 I used stainless coat hooks from Ductworks and hung 2 lines on each side of the veranda.  I mounted them on the outboard side of the bow hatches.  This allows good access to the hatches without getting tangled up in the lines.  DSC00434I didn’t use a carabiner to secure these lines, instead, I just hung them.  I want very quick access to the dock lines.

Now working on mounting the compass

Organizing a Wooden Boat

One thing I love about a wooden boat is how easy it is to organize exactly to your liking.  This is almost impossible to do with a fiberglass boat, but with wood you attach what you want, where you want it.  You gotta love that!!

My goal was to organize three things:

  1. The garbage (more secure than my last attempt)
  2. The life jackets (when towing or sleeping on board)
  3. Oar stowage (when assembled and inserted into the oarlocks)

Let’s start first with the garbage.  

I had previously used a tea cup to secure the garbage bag.  This was very insecure and would fly off during transport.  I want things nailed down, so when I travel or during an accidental capsize, things stay put.  The tea cup hook just didn’t fit the part and it didn’t secure the garbage.

DSC00449This is the location for the garbage, just forward of the library on the Port side of the boat.

DSC00451I installed a stainless D ring and a carabiner.  Now there is no risk of loosing my stuff sack.

DSC00456The garbage bags are stored inside the fleece stuff sack.  It will hold about a dozen.

DSC00457With the garbage clipped through the carabiner, it isn’t blowing off anytime soon.

Now for the life jackets:

DSC00451Notice the extra bungie cord also attached to the D ring.

DSC00452It can be secured across the library to hang your damp socks on (hanging from the first attachment point).

DSC00455Or, (hanging from the second attachment point) you can secure the jackets out of the way.  This means I can get into all my hatches without moving the jackets.  Do you sense a little OCD here?  Only when things matter…Shackleton matters.

Finally, the oars

DSC00438 I added oar collars.  These fit nicely inside the 2 1/4″ bronze oarlocks.


DSC00430 I then found these bicycling webbing straps that I never use.DSC00425The have a loop in one end, which I ran through the hole in BH 7 and secure with a fastex buckle.

DSC00434They hold the oar just outside the boat and keep the oar from getting in the way of the backrest.  The oars are slightly downhill into the oarlocks, so I don’t think they will move much from this position.

DSC00432The oar stick aft and seem to be very much out of the way.  This will provide a quick and easy way to temporarily secure the oars.

Now designing the bimini/tent combo.  

Rudder Downhaul, 3rd times the charm

After loosing my rudder downhaul line on an oyster bed in Port Townsend, I came up with the great idea to epoxy the line in place (in the rudder) for a bomb proof attachment.  Problem was, the epoxy oozed out and stiffened the line where it exited the top of the rudder.  This caused the line to rub in the rudder head assembly, preventing smooth raising and lowering of the rudder.

So, I did what I probably should have done all along.

DSC00423I drilled the hole bigger than what the plans called for and secured the line with a figure 8 knot.  My first attempt left very little wood to support the line, so I filled with thickened epoxy and tried again.

DSC00424This smaller hole was drilled horizontally until it met the bigger hole.  This preserved more wood/epoxy for the line to pull against.

DSC00425The knot lies flush with the rudder for smooth movement of the rudder.

This approach is far superior to my last approach (epoxied in place) in that the line is now replaceable and fully serviceable in the field.  

Oar Stowage

There long, ungainly and important.  But, how to store them?  This seems to be the vexing problem, especially if you want oars over 8′ long.  And, if you settle for 8′ oars they will be a little too short.

Well, you’ve seen my 9′ break down oars.  Now, let’s store them.

DSC00427 Starboard side:  The water gutter provides a nice little dip for the blade section to rest into.  They also fit nicely along side the filler boards.DSC00428  Port side:

DSC00434And, I can still move the filler boards forward with the oars stowed away.  A little tight, but it works.

DSC00432I wanted a system that held the oars securely even if the boards were removed.  Meet the basic bungie cord.  Both ends are knotted inside the wet storage locker.  This keeps the system trim.  I drilled 4 holes into the wet storage area (2 for the blade & 2 for the handle).  There is a knot between the blade loop and handle loop (also located inside the wet storage area) to keep the handle loop from drawing tight.

DSC00433This shows the Port side and the proximity to the anchor arm.

DSC00426Starboard side Upfront:  I moved the CB uphaul line up higher on the seat longitudinal.  It provided just enough room for the oars to run underneath them.  The bungie keep things from shifting inboard and provides a nice spot to tend the CB uphaul line.  The water gutter again provides a nice notch for the bottom oar to rest.

DSC00423Port side Upfront:  When you want to retrieve the oars, you simply pull the bungie forward and slide the two stick forward and out.

DSC00424The knots are tied under the seat extension and inside the footwell.  This keeps it simple and clean.

I’m happy with this basic system.  Now moving my attention to fender stowage.  I do not want these things inside my boat.  

More Outfitting of Shackleton

Warning:  This post may be extremely boring to many of you, unless small details matter.

3 things I’m trying to solve in this post:

  1. Garbage stowage
  2. Fire Extinguisher stowage
  3. Seat Cushions

Let’s jump first to the garbage issue.  I decided to add a garbage in addition to my bail bucket.  This leaves the bail bucket free to store shoes, bail and function as a toilet.  So, I now need a place for garbage.

DSC00441 I added a soft stuff sack which holds half a dozen grocery bags to the front side of the library, secured by a tea hook.

DSC00443I can pull out a garbage bag, secure it to the hook and place all my daily trash in it.  Once in a harbor, I can simply discard the bag/garbage.  This system will provide me with 6-8 garbage bags for a given trip, which should be sufficient.

Now for the Fire Extinguisher:

Coast Guard rules say if your boat has a motor, you need to have a fire extinguisher on board at all times.

DSC00435In reviewing the ideal location for a fire extinguisher, I learned there is not an ideal location.  There is only good, better, best.  I settled for good/better.  Ideally, the fire extinguisher would be more accessible in the event of a fire, this would be best.  But, to mount the extinguisher up top would add to the cabin clutter and could snag on a strap or line, which could cause an accidental discharge.  Also, they are quite heavy.  To add this much weight up higher wasn’t to my liking.  So, I settled on the ballast chamber.  This offers good access (albeit a few seconds longer to retrieve) and best with regards to keeping the weight low in the boat.

DSC00436It just so happens that my vault lid screws are perfectly spaced to prevent the extinguisher from moving left or right.  The gap between the bulkhead and the vault also provides a nice nesting place for the extinguisher to settle in.

DSC00439This was simple to install and should be fast to remove in the event of a fire.  The security strap prevents the extinguisher from shifting around or falling in the event of a capsize.

Seat Cushions:

You can probably guess I wanted it simple.  Think Ham N Egger.  I was also concerned about the cushions shifting or denying me access to seat hatches.  And, could the cushion be used on shore for sitting?

DSC00424 This a piece from an old closed cell foam pad I had lying around.  I rounded the corners for a cleaner edge.  DSC00425I can move it to whereever I need it, including shore or a picnic table.  I could also kneel on it when tying up at a dock.  I could also place it under my air pad at night to slightly raise my head a bit.  I could also roll it up and beat my sailing partner with it late at night to a full moon.  The list could go on & on.

DSC00423It stores easily inside any of my compartments.

Now on to Oar Stowage

3 Modes of Transportation in under 12′

While at Port Townsend I learned a lot about sailing.  One thing that really impressed me and caught me by surprise was how efficiently many Scamp owners rowed their boats.  I would be motoring along at say 3 knots (totally guessing here) and the Scamp rower would be silently cruising along beside me at nearly the exact same speed.  And, they were not all collegiate rowers with perfect technic.  Wow…I didn’t realize how well Scamp could be rowed.  I knew I wanted to have this capability.  How cool would it be to have three modes of transportation on my Scamp.  Sail, Row or Motor.  I love the expedition feel of this little boat and oars makes it so much more dependable.  Besides, rowing is shippy and natural and silent.  I wanted oars for Shackleton.  DSC00450UPS brought me this gorgeously wrapped item the other day.  Any guesses?  Purchased from eBay, these 9′ spruce oars sold for $79.00.  Total bargain.

DSC00426I’m impressed with these beauties.  The blade shape was a little crude, otherwise all looked well.

DSC00427I reshaped the bottom edge a bit, nothing major.

DSC00436Then sanded the lower 4″ or so.

DSC00449Added a coat of epoxy.

DSC00426Then tipped the ends with red, just for looks.

DSC00437Then I took these perfectly fine oars and cut them in half.

DSC00439Reshaped the ends a bit to bring them closer to round.  Shinto rasp, baby.

DSC00443And added the carbon fiber ferrules from Duck Works.  This will allow me to store the oars inside the cockpit, under the coaming.  The ferrules actually add about 3″, so the 9′ oars become about 9’3″ which is even better.

DSC00446 DSC00445You need to be careful and not goop thickened epoxy inside the sleeve areas.  Otherwise, this was a very simple thing to do.  The connection between the pieces is absolutely rock solid…I’m very impressed with the quality of these ferrules.

Now figuring out exactly how to store these babies.  

Library Anyone?

I know Scamp is too small for a library.  But all cool wooden boats have a library, so Shackleton will too.  DSC00465I found this canvas bag at a craft store.  No, I don’t frequent craft stores, but my hot wife does, so I went with her.  Well, I found this simple canvas bag in the half off section.  I cost me a whopping $2.50.  I cut the handles off and decided it would make a great library for Shackleton.

DSC00468I attached it with finishing washers and 3/4″ screws.  Properly labeled, it’s ready for service.

DSC00473What a fitting first addition to the library.  This should prove handy for quick reference charts and maps also.

I’m having fun guys!

5 Purpose Bailing Bucket

A small boat is harder to design and organize than a large boat.  A small house is harder to design and organize than a large house.  Everything has to be multi purpose, sized to fit and nothing can get out of whack or the whole thing suffers.

Shackleton is small and I want it organized.

I started with a 20 quart flat back bucket.  It looked the part…solidly built with a rugged bailing handle, but it was just too big.  I couldn’t access the floor storage or the BH3 storage without moving the bucket.  I looked at several big box retailers for the perfect size bucket.  Many were OK, but none were just right.  Then I looked around my house.  In my kids bedroom was this waste basket.  The more I stared at it, the more convinced I became.  It was just right.

DSC00451This is the location I chose for the bucket.  I attached a stainless steel eye against BH3.

DSC00453With a bungie running through the eye, it holds the bucket in place and out of the way.  The rectangular shape fits the ackward space most efficiently.

DSC00464Notice how it doesn’t interfere with my storage hatches.

Now for the 5 purposes:

DSC004551-Wet shoe storage.  This should help contain all the dirt and gravel that come in on shoes and keep the boat much cleaner.


2-Porta Potty.  Utilizing the same bungie, I can secure a Wag Bag inside the bucket.  The footwell provides a very nice place to conduct business.  I plan (haven’t actually tried this yet) to sit on a filler board, then ease off the back side and get R done.  Simeon takes credit for developing this technic…he described it to me in Port Townsend.  Wag Bags provide an effective and simple solution to the porta potty problem.  If you’ve never used them, you’ll be impressed.

3-Pee bucket.  Capture, dump over the side.  Remember for pee, dilution is the solution.


4-Bailing Bucket.  This size should work well to get into the corners of the footwell for fast and efficient bailing.

5-Garbage.  By placing a grocery bag inside the bucket, it would also work well for granola wrappers or micro trash.

Now building break down oars.

Remaking the Filler Boards

My original design for filler boards didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped.  I had purchased 3/4″ pine, planed it down to 5/8 and trimmed to fit.

DSC00423However, one of the boards split right down the center.  This did little to inspire confidence.    I considered making all the boards out of baltic birch plywood, but this would have been quite heavy.  I went back to Home Depot and looked around for an alternative.  And there she was, staring at me from the dusty, orange lumber rack:  Number 1, straight grain, clear poplar.  She was tall, straight, with nice color variegation and no knots.  Perfect 10.

DSC00426 The boards are soft, lightweight and beautiful.  DSC00424Like the earlier design, I cut one hole in the center of each board.  This works very well for one handed installation and removal.  I left the boards a full 3/4″ but rounded fore and aft edges.  I left the port and starboard edges square for a good fit into the seat edge groove.

DSC00418When storing, I place all the boards onto the aft sole hatch.DSC00417The hatch holds the boards up off floor.  This gap allows me to slip the 3′ river-straps around the boards with ease.

DSC00421I then grab the strap tails to slide the boards back into position.  The straps also cushions the boards slightly and holds them up off the floor.  This will minimize road vibration and wear, as the straps isolate the boards from the floor.  And, there is just enough room for a storage bin to sit on top of the boards, under the seat.  The height of the cam buckles keeps the storage bin from sliding forward.

DSC00420Yet, can easily be pulled up and over the buckles for easy access.

I love organizing my boat.  The efforts I’m making now, will make my sailing trips more comfortable and enjoyable.  Now on to the 4 purpose bailing bucket.  Can you guess the 4 different purposes?