Shackleton has moved on without me!

It comes as bitty sweet that I inform all of you that Shackleton has moved on to a new owner.  Jim Wilson of Portland, OR takes the torch and continues the legacy of Shackleton.  I wish Jim all the best in his adventures with my well loved micro cruiser.

Why did I sell Shackleton?

I am currently building another boat, a Skiff America 20, which I feel better meets my needs as a family man with a wife, 4 kids at home and 2 in college.  I truly enjoyed building and sailing Shackleton and believe she is a fine vessel.  However, I don’t have room for two lovers in my life.  I’m a passionate guy, and only have room for one girl at a time.

I was indeed torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool, love’n both boats was breaking all the rules.

So, Jim takes over as Shackleton’s new captain and I move on to another chapter of my life.

If any of you would like to see my new build, you can check it out at:

Happy sailing to all and I hope to see you out on the water,

Brent Butikofer


Shackleton is for Sale

Fellow sailors and friends,

With the boat building bug having bit me again, I need to create room for my Skiff America 20.  This means that I’ll need to sell my beloved Shackleton.  If you have ever wanted to own a Scamp, this might be your chance.  If you want to build one, I totally get it.  I loved building mine.  If, however, you’re more of a sailor than a builder, you can buy Shackleton and take her to all the remote places you’ve dreamed about.  The decision to sell Shackleton has been a gut wrenching decision for me and one I have struggled with for some time.  I hope Shackleton can be owned by someone that loves her as much as I do.


Here’s the details:

Less than 20 hours total sailing time

Neil Pryde sail
Norhtwest Canvas sail cover
Suzuki 2.5 outboard, new
Ritchie compass
Carnai galvanized trailer
Ancor system
Break down oar system
Custom full cover bimini

I’m into this build well over $15,000 in hard costs

Willing to sell for $12,000

You can contact me through the blog or reach me at:  208-589-1222

Build Blog Complete


Fellow sailors, after completing Shackleton and conducting a few sea trials, I am now moving all future posts to my adventure blog.  It’s a new blog focusing on cycling, sailing, woodworking and all micro adventures in my life, with cool gear review.  It can be found here.

Many thanks to all of you for your comments, friendship and helpful suggestions.  Hope to see you all out on the water.




26 Hours Aboard Shackleton

Having read about many adventures of others around the world, I decided to create my own micro expedition before snow falls, ending my sailing season with Shackleton.  The goal was to accomplish several small tasks I personally had not previously experienced.  I wanted the location to be close and convenient.  This was about learning as opposed to seeing marvels sights.  I chose a small nearby lake 30 minutes from my home.

Micro Expedition Goals:

  1. Sail, motor and oar approximately 6 miles to the far end of Ririe reservoir
  2. Utilize my anchoring system
  3. Cook, read, swim, urinate and sleep all while onboard Shackleton
  4. Neatly organized all gear into their respective places on the boat
  5. Test heater and candle lantern
  6. Test new tent enclosure system
  7. Hang on the anchor overnight (a first for me)
  8. Sail out the second day
  9. Have my wife pick me up at the opposite end of the reservoir

DSC00476Winds were very light to nonexistent all of day one.  I rowed approximately 1 mile and then fired up the jenny (Suzuki 2.5 outboard) and motored smoothly along at approximately 3 knots (just guessing here).

DSC00470 By placing one filler board across the seats near the veranda, I was able to steer Shackleton by simply shifting my weight from Starboard to Port (I locked the motor and tiller arm in a straight forward position).  This was awesome and allowed both hands free to eat lunch and just look around while my little tug boat slowly wound it’s way up and through the channels.  DSC00467The top went up within the first hour.  The shade it provided was a welcome benefit from the heat of the this rare hot October afternoon.  DSC00463Lunch was a California sushi roll from a local supermarket.  DSC00505Once into the cove, I deployed the anchor.  This is the first time I have ever droped an anchor off Shackleton.  A lot to learn here.  After untangling what was suppose to be a straight forward anchoring system, the anchor seemed to set firmly into the muddy bottom of the cove.  In the photo above, note the blue line attached to the main anchoring line by a brass ring.  This allows me to retrieve the anchor line from the cockpit.  It worked beautifully.  DSC00492I’m not the only crazy one in my family.  My dad, after seeing me building the Scamp, chose to build a skiff modeled after the Chesapeake Light Craft Peeler Skiff.  He of course, built from his own plans in his own head.  He was born that way.  Ham ‘n Egger Extraordinaire.  I, on the other hand, needed plans and kit to complete the Scamp.  DSC00486He motored across the reservoir and found me in the secluded cove, tied up along side and boarded Shackleton for a nice afternoon visit.

DSC00500We talked about life and memories.  He reminisced about a few of his High School buddies having recently died.  I told him I loved him, then he was off, motoring back before sun down.

DSC00508I used a new alcohol stove from Flat Cat Gear to prepare my dinner.  I love alcohol stoves and will do a full review of this system at a later date.  The filler board provides the perfect cooking platform.  The footwell (allowing full leg extension) makes it very comfortable while preparing the meal and eating dinner.   DSC00511Actually I only needed to boil water for tonights preparations.  Hot cider herbal tea was my drink of choice. DSC00514The balance of the meal was Italian Sausage, cheese, crackers and an apple. DSC00513As the evening wore on, I watched the shadows grow longer across the cove and felt the temperate begin to drop.  It was time to snap on the tent enclosure and prepare for nightfall.

DSC00519As the evening turned to night, I lay flat on my back and watched the stars spin slowly around the overhead windows as Shackleton gently surfed back and forth on the anchor line.  Without any sign of civilization in sight, I felt somewhat vulnerable in my small craft alone in this distant cove.  The sounds of water lapping up on the side of my boat became amplified in the quiet night.  I even envisioned Navy Seals sneeking up on me, like in Captian Phillips.  I laughed out loud.  Then my mind went to different scenarios like:  What would you do if you were forced to evacuate this little craft?  Could you swim to shore?  What would you do once you got there, without clothing or shoes?  I would probably freeze to death and wouldn’t be able to walk ten steps without bloodying my feet.  I decided then and there, that I would ever-after prepare a small bail out bag containing shoes, clothing, granola bars and a wool blanket.  This bag will reside next to me during future adventures at sea that I could grab in the event of a forced evacuation.  Slipping in and out of consciousness, I had a relatively restless night.  But it was my first night ever alone, secluded and hanging off the anchor in my small boat.  With some additional preparation, I think I could get used to this.

Day two I was awakened to the sound of an oncoming outboard motor.  It was hardly light enough to see, but a small john boat passed fairly close and stopped at the edge of the cove.  Hunters, looking to hunt these back waters for deer.

After two doses of hot cocoa, I weighted anchor and headed for the main bay for some morning sailing.  The wind had picked up and I intended to sail my way back to civilization.  The Scamp is a good sailing vessel and requires little headway to come-about.  It is a graceful little birdie that wants to fly.  After sailing for a couple of hours in 15 mph winds, I dropped the sail and secured the mast, boom and sail for transport home.

What I learned:

  1. Scamp is a competent overnight boat for one or possibly two (if on a honeymoon).
  2. Scamp is a competent small motor cruiser (just keep the outboard as small and light as possible).  I prefer gas as there is no worries about battery levels and the distance I can travel.  It’s easy to take a little more energy with you if you are using gasoline.  I ran what seemed like forever on 1/2 Liter.  I take (2) 1 Liter nalgene bottles of gasoline with me, which seems to be plenty.   Here’s the point, I never worry about the amount of energy gas will deliver, it’s always constant.  Batteries don’t allow this level of peace of mind.  Temperature, partial charges and decreased capacity lay wait to decieve you.  For these reasons, I prefer gas.
  3. Anchoring is easily accomplished off the bow when utilizing a line retrieval system.
  4. Mr. Buddy heater is overkill for this size boat, yet a UCO candle lantern is a bit small.
  5. A back rest for one of the filler boards would provide a nice rest for the lower back.  Mine was definately sore after 26 straight hours aboard Shackleton


It is by doing that we gain experience.  Pick a safe local lake, plan your adventure and go see what you can learn.  I had a great trip and look forward to many more.  

The Bimini

I saw Serenity’s bimini in Port Townsend and knew instantly I wanted one.  Well, here it is.  This represents hours of design work and multiple discussions with numerous canvas tailors.  DSC00442I decided my first night under the bimini should not be at sea, but rather in my driveway.  This keeps things safe as I begin to learn about this new enclosure.  I even used the pee bucket.  My neighbors have serious concerns about my relationship with my wife.  DSC00475Bimini in the open configuration.  Notice the absence of straps to tension the bimini.  With the addition of the horizontal bar and the short vertical bar, we don’t need tensioning straps.  By going strapless, the boat becomes easier to board and it improves access to the outboard motor.   DSC00457Fully enclosed configuration ready for a right good storm.DSC00464Both side panels have velcro windows for ventilation.  DSC00465 The windows roll back and secure with a velcro strap.DSC00466Both windows on each side roll out of the way for mosquito free hot weather camping.  What appears to be puckering in the fabric along the side of the boat is actually the support poles and mounting hardware along each side.  The hardware fastens to the top outside edge of the oak strip at the top of the coaming.DSC00463The front window offers great star gazing at night.DSC00462DSC00460 The back panel has 2 large windows and 2 small cutouts near the bottom for the traveler to cross the transom.  DSC00459DSC00471 Each panel zips off from the top and surrounding panels,DSC00470 and snaps along the bottom edge.DSC00468 DSC00467At the beginning of each zipper lies a snap to prevent the zipper from opening.DSC00453 A Mr. Buddy heater kept me toasty warm on its lowest setting.  I also tested a UCO candle lantern but this seemed to provide not enough heat.  There is plenty of ventilation provided by the handholds I cut into the veranda sides and the traveler slots cut into the back panel.  DSC00452 Interior shot looking aft.  There’s a surprising amount of room in here.  DSC00447The height of the bimini allows upright sitting to read “Into Thin Air, by John Krakauer.


The entire bimini (minus the side panels) folds aft and lays atop the transom covered with a boot.  If this proves to interfere with my mainsheet, I will have my tailor make a boot that covers both sides as well as the back portion.

DSC00458 DSC00459 DSC00460 DSC00461


I plan to sea trial the enclosure this weekend on a local lake.  I’m happy with how things turned out and the apparent function the bimini offers.  It’s what we designed.

I chose Top Gun for the material.   Waterproof, but a little stiff in cold weather.  By running the support poles on the aft side of the oarlocks, full access for rowing is provided by removing the side panels or simple unsnapping the bottom edge of each side panel where the oars exit the sides.  I can motor, row or camp fully or partially enclosed.  I do not plan to sail with the top up at this time.  Maybe if I do the Texas 200 I figure out a way to accommodate the sailing lines.  It wouldn’t take much…just not sure I’m comfortable sailing with the top up.

Full report coming next week after my overnighter

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.