When and Where...  
by Bob Doyscher - Pepin, Wisconsin - USA

...are sometimes more important than How

Many years of building and remodeling have taught me to make do with the space at hand. I travel with a pickup and a small enclosed trailer. At home the trailer serves as an outdoor shop as I have no garage. The house basement serves for smaller jobs but, when the time came to build a boat, there would be no way out. February in Wisconsin is no time to be working outside.

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Note February outside

Arriving home from a busman’s holiday helping the eldest with her “fixer-upper” condo in California, I moved the portable bench to the living room and went to work on the small bits. The tiller and leeboard “clothespin” are made of scrap Douglas fir that rode home with us. The basement was taken up with furniture projects but left an alley long enough for the spars. Table saw and planer were down there and I managed to plane mast stock by letting the planer move itself on casters through the middle of the piece.

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The only room with room

Meanwhile,upstairs, the bigger bits were going together. The room, slated to be the library, opens to a balcony over the living room and, thereby, leaves access to the front door for a large object. I might have got away with a 16 footer! Time, though, was critical and why the Teal was chosen in the first place. I had set a deadline to make the Lake Pepin Messabout by sail. With parts all over the house and working every spare minute I stood a chance.

Coming down

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With two weeks to go I spent a week on the road working and delivering that furniture that had clogged up the shop. That left room there to finish the leeboard and rudder. The spars went out the basement window with a couple quick coats of varnish. Upstairs, I finished the flotation chambers and managed one coat of epoxy on the interior of the hull.

The middle kid came by that night to help move off the balcony. It’s now Tuesday and the deadline is Friday.

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In the yard. Whole at last!

No time to paint and I still need a sail! With the hull out, the library floor makes a loft and I’ve got a partial roll of Tyek. With that and my aunt’s Singer set up in the living room the sail was sewn by 2 o’clock Wednesday morning. Ran to Minneapolis to meet my wife at the airport Wednesday afternoon and picked up some grommets on the way.

Rigged and assembled Thursday. Packed to go on Friday.

Bill Paxton photo at Lake Pepin Messabout

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Friday threatened thunderstorms and let loose a downpour during the afternoon. So much for sailing the seven miles from Pepin. About 6 the weather let up, including the wind. The boat was slid in the truck and ready to go. I was in a quandary; drive to Lake City or go up the road to Stockholm, hoping to find help to launch and leave the the truck there for two nights. My wife got home at 6:30 and rode along to Stockholm. Barely breeze to clear the shore and pier. Better out from under the bluffs. Had a leisurely sail across to Hok-Si-La, meeting a couple more Messabouters on the way. Perfect for my first sail in many years.

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Final epoxy coat.

After a wild sail home on Sunday it was back to work and let the boat dry out. The one coat inside was insufficient and the bottom had stained. Otherwise it had weathered the maiden voyage well. Next deadline; Iowa Messabout at Spirit Lake. Vowed to have it painted. First, a lot of sanding, filling and one more coat of epoxy all over. Its summer in Wisconsin and I can work outside. Didn’t rain much at all, few bugs and the only problem was birds and airborne recycling of the wild raspberries in the yard.


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and out

Painting was done with a week to spare. Time to rig a trailer and make a masthead fitting for a halyard. Didn’t get reef cringles made in the sail. Didn’t need ‘em. My bother, who lives nearby visited us at Spirit Lake and said, “ Well, ya picked the one day in twenty the wind doesn’t blow”.

Sunrise on Spirit Lake, Iowa

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We did sail some and had a good time yakking on the beach. Sure was great to see my own boat floating there in front of me.

BTW, The only thing not made from scratch are the Seadog hatches from Duckworks.

Bob Doyscher