Clark Fork Drifter (sorta) Build Session 12 (kinda)
December 15, 2012

Things have really slowed down on the Clark Fork Drifter. It's pretty much just painting now, and it only takes a few minutes to paint. As a sufferer of AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder) I decided we needed something to keep us busy. We've been diddling around with Jim Michalak's QT Skiff, with the intent of using it for a Family Boat Build.

(l-r) Curt, Mike, and Bob showed up on Friday night. Bob had been putting a couple coats of primer on the boat - it looks like each boat will take a solid gallon of primer as the bare wood just drinks it in. Mike was there looking for plans for a Skin-on-Frame canoe we might be developing.

We had a wee bit of finish work to do - breasthooks and final sanding and the like.

Bob had picked up some paint at Habitat for Humanity, so we got to painting. I buy all kinds of safety gear - even paint smocks and gloves - but nobody except me uses them.

After we painted the QT Skiff, we gave the interior of the Clark Fork Drifter a lick, then went for beers at the Twisted Snout.

Saturday came with a beautiful morning. Waldo wasn't anywhere to be seen, but he's a flighty heron and I don't think he trusts me.

I'd planned on doing a experiment with not planing chine logs. I assembled all the pieces . . .

. . . and got to this stage of the test and said "No, I'm not going to waste all that glue filling that gap." and gave up.

Coots started showing up (l-r) John K brought Charlie up from Eugene, Bob was here again, and Bob L came in from Corvallis, and even Vigil came up from Tacknitch Lake. Jim R came up from Waldport and dropped off a 2hp motor for us to use in our tests, but he couldn't stick around.

All we needed to be ready for the water was tacking the seats down - 4 little #6 3/4" screws to hold 'em in place.

Haul out and Charlie and I got the honors of pushing her into the water for the first time.

Ohhh, she floats nice. Everybody liked how she looked. To the best of our ability, we weighed her at 114lbs. We'll see what we can do to shave that down for the final design.

Our first motor to test was a 30lbs thrust Minn Kota. In full water gear, I weigh 210lbs and the 50lbs battery is located just forward from where I am sitting.

Bob weighs 160lbs - the trim here is just about perfect. We sustained 3.3mph with the throttle full open.

Our next test was with a 2hp Johnson 2-stroke. The motor weighed 25lbs and you can see we are sitting a little lower in the stern and riding a little higher in the bow. We sustained an average speed of 5.0mph with two people and the 2hp.

Someone wanted to know how it'd go with only one person, so I took a stick and taped it to the tiller and gave it a go.

The stick let me get about 3' in front of the motor, but you can see the bow is even further out of the water - the stern is digging in and I could only maintain 4.5mph.

Next was a 5hp Nissan 4-stroke, which weighed in at 57lbs. It was a little more difficult to get mounted correctly and required a lot of supervision.

She motored slowly and carefully out - John could have trimmed her a little better by turning around and either facing sideways or forward.

John opened her up and did a "Pass and Review" She was scooting along nicely.

Trim is not working well. The motor is doing it's job and the boat was sliding over the water wonderfully, but the transom was digging in.

You can see it better here with Bob and I. We were getting great speeds, but the weight distribution (read: placement of the forward seat) could be improved.

Back in the Boathouse, we discussed seat placement. Lots of brainstorming and tossing ideas against the wall. In the end, we decided to move the forward seat forward by about a foot.

And after talking, what better than eating at Pig Feathers?

We'll start our final prototype soon: Same length and width, but optimizing the for weight and strength. Our biggest change will be moving the forward seat forward about a foot - straddling the side and bottom seams. It'll make it so the person sitting in the front is a 'little' cramped, but it's not bad, and the payoff (flattening out the trim) is huge. We'll also be trimming the wales and skids from 3/4" to 1/2" (saves 12lbs.)