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Just a note to let you know that my AF4B actually floats (no leaks!) Many thanks for all of your input Chuck. Jim gave far more to me in advice than the few bucks I paid for his AF4B plans. The video below plays better at slower speed, and the sound should be turned down. My little motor is pretty loud. By the way, the motor is a 3.3 hp 2 stroke. Top speed was 6kts in calm conditions. Many thanks to the kind folks who helped with much thoughtful input. Rene Vidmer stands out as my go-to guy throughout the project. He is a prince of a fellow! Jim Michalak and the Michalak discussion board provided invaluable advice. A note to other builders if you are going to pick folks' brains, spread it out among as many as possible. It helps to cut down on death threats. All in all a very rewarding project. I look forward using this little ship.


Stan Kowalski

EC Pdr

So, the launch of my EC PDR was very successful despite having the normal long lists of tweeks and fixes. The duck was nice and stable, behaved very well when hove too, balanced on the helm, easy to get out of irons, and sailed well. My biggest problem is leeway which was really evident sailing hard to windward and when the wind gusted.

Sail Tweeks

I had this issue on another boat equipped with this escape rig and I think it may be a too-tight leech line is creating a cup at the back of the sail which captures the wind rather than letting it flow nicely off the trailing edge. I have had recent experience fixing this on another boat. My Suncat, as delivered from the factory, made horrible leeway and I noticed the sail was cut very full for a four-sided gaff rig. I ended up buying another sail (bigger one also) that was a lot flatter and now the boat tracks great. I also need to install a cleat for the roller rig and work a bit with the mast step to get the collar on the roller mast to lock in fully.

Leeboards Tweeks

I am not going to limit the fix to the leech line, however. I also plan on making new wider leeboards for the boat. The leeboards I made are rectangular 10" wide by 42" long and look kinda weird on the sides of the duck. It just begs for shorter, wider, and more curvy boards to match the character of the boat. I will make the new ones out of plywood glassed for strength. I also had issues with the board staying down when the boat was charging through the water. I depended on a shockcord to keep the board down with a line to a cleat to raise it. Using the autorelease clam cleats from Duckworks, I will reverse this setup so the line is used to keep the board down and the shockcord (along with the flotation of the board) will raise it when the line is released.

Boom Tweeks

I gave the mast more rake on this boat than on the previous boats I have used this rig on. This lead to the boom being too short which wasn't a problem given I had to reef the sail to keep the boat upright yesterday. So, I need to lengthen the boom. I also need to swap out my 2:1 mainsheet for something with a bit more purchase and possibly (gasp) a cleat so I can block the sheet off. My arms are still aching from holding that mainsheet.

Propulsion Tweeks

Tried out a fishtail drive and it did work but will need a lot of adjustment to make it practical. It sockets into an oarlock on the transom so is easily removable but not easily stowable. I used oars instead and was happy with the trim of the boat using the front of the cockpit as the thwart. However, I need to raise the oarlocks and move them aft to get clearance for a full stroke. The breakdown oars worked well and store easily downbelow. I will also try the Scullmax I bought from Duckworks on this boat as I could "motorsail" with a sculling oar. I can use the breakdown oars for the scullmatix so don't have to carry any extra parts. The oarlock on the transom also allows me to use an oar for a backup rudder.

Rudder Tweeks

The rudder worked well in the high winds though I need more than the one very solid gudgeon and pintle. I have a duckworks gudgeon for a weekender and it held up well but I want to add another purchase at the bottom of the rudderbox to take the slack out of the system. I may build a new rudder system using one of the butcher-block laminated leeboards as the blade for looks and sturdiness. The rudder lines worked but there was a lot of friction in the system making the boat a little tiring to steer. I believe this is due to an angled pull on the rudder done in order to keep the transom clear for the fishtail drive. If I drop the drive, I can definitely remove this friction. I may also add steering levers to each side of the cockpit replacing the dowels I have tied into the steering rope for handholds.