Slight correction: I HAVE in fact launched my Petrel!
And as you may already have noticed, this build turned out to be a lot more than my previous "winter projects".
It was not only that a strip-plank build simply takes a bit longer than a hybrid.
The stems, the skeg and the cockpit coaming all took extra time. Mostly though there were a number of interruptions and distractions which got me "out of the boat-building rhythm" - the flow - if you will.
So, once I had stopped, it took a while to get back into the groove.
The layers of varnish actually went on quite nicely and without much disruptions. However one of the hang-ups came when I needed to decide on the exact location of the rigging points. This had to happen prior to the varnishing.
I used the drill-fill-drill method (drill a somewhat larger hole, fill with epoxy and then drill the smaller hole to fit the screw for the fitting). The drill-fill came before the varnishing, and the second drill happened after the varnish had cured sufficiently.
I put the Petrel on the roof rack of my car before installing the fittings. In fact, becoming rather impatient to give the boat a test-drive, I launched the boat before installing the deck fittings. I did not glue in the seat and knee braces either until having tested in the water for the best location...
This is the skeg control box - located on the port side - in easy reach from the cockpit. Below is the skeg in deployed position.
For the deck fittings I happily resorted to using the default method recommended by Nick Schade and so beautifully executed by Dan Thaler from Moonlight Marine on so many of his builds.
The advantage of this method is that it is straight forward, requires only very small holes and makes for easy maintenance anytime you want to refinish the boat.
Initially, I was playing around with the idea of maroske fittings which my FB friend Etienne Muller demonstrated so beautifully and which my kayak guru / friend Joey employed on his Wooden Boat Show best-in-show award-winning Petrel. Alas I did not get to the point of sufficient confidence with this method and Nick Schade's concept became increasingly convincing.
After an initial launch without deck fittings at Moraine State Park, I took the Petrel for a ride on the Ohio and Allegheny past downtown Pittsburgh.
The Petrel paddles like a dream.
The Petrel paddles like a dream.
I don't think that I'll be using the skeg all that much.
I am amazed at the difference of how the Petrel handles in comparison to the Night Heron. Certainly you cannot say that one is a better design than the other. They were designed for entirely different purposes. The Night Heron slices through waves like a samurai sword and with its long chines it tracks like a rocket. The Petrel on the other hand rides over the top of the waves, is amazingly nimble for its length and rolls with supreme ease.
Maneuvering the Petrel by canting the hull is so different from the Night Heron. I love it. On the Petrel is pays to lean forward when you want to harness its chine for an easy turn. Not so on the Night Heron.
After two intensive seasons with the Night Heron, I suspect that the Petrel will be my "go-to" boat for quite some time in order to really get to know this amazing design.
Lucky me! Now I have one of each.