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14 April 2014

Building on Edge

Murder Cove Steam Punk
Photo by David and Pearl

I knew, even then, that to love the world, you have to get away from it.
-- Priest from the movie, The King of Hearts

Building on Edge

Huzzah! The shopping is DONE. 

All the fiddly bits that go into a vessel should - if we've planned well - be wending their way toward a Seattle barge line. They'll be stuffed into a container for shipping to Petersburg, Alaska. All fairly normal stuff, to this point.

We're building at a remote site at the southwestern end of Admiralty Island called Tyee (aka Murder Cove), about 15 miles from where we are now. A lodge is being built there, which we caretook in 2012/13 and will again, this winter (2014/15).

Points in its favor:
  • Good people involved.
  • Remote and beautiful, the kind of place we love to hang.
  • Good protection for SLACKTIDE, handy to the build.
  • Work/rent/trade/tools/materials situation, simplifies, reduces and enables finances.
  • Our container can be delivered by the site owner on the same run that supplies our current lodge.
  • Come winter, we'll have indoor spaces for sailmaking, cushion work, details.
  • Time is no object! We won't be building 'under the gun'.

Before now, building in town has been a mixed bag.  

We've been very fortunate, people-wise, in past building situations... friends who tolerate our funky ways and time overruns. BUT...

On the one hand, supplies are just down the street. On the other, supplies are just down the street! Because we don't have to plan ahead, we tend to wing it much more than we should. That means more time commuting to and fro the store, with maybe a treat or two along the way. 

On the one hand, lots of great people stop by to see what's going on and talk shop. On the other hand, lots of great people stop by to see what's going on and talk shop! I'm not the kind of fella who can talk and work at the same time (or much of anything else, for that matter), so maybe a third of our time on site goes to social pleasantry.

On the one hand, there are lots of special occasions. On the other hand, there are lots of special occasions! Picnics and parties and barn raisin's and barn burnin's. Good times all, but they don't get a boat built.

So we like it in town. We love our friends. We love the good times.

But this time, we're going to take a step back...

...and over the Edge.


  1. [Posted on behalf of JOHN:]

    Congratulations on getting your triloboat designed and supplies ordered! In looking at the aerial view of Greater Metropolitan Tyee, AK on Google Maps I'm not sure where all the neighbors are going to come from to disrupt your boat building? And exactly where is "the street" in Tyee that you are going to go down to get supplies? Anyway, it looks like a beautiful location, at least when not raining. I hope that you can afford the time while building to post a few photos on your blog. And what, exactly, is the EDGE that you are planning to step back over?

    Best Wishes for building

    1. Hi John,

      You've put your finger on the dangers of late night writing! I see that, the way I wrote this, it sounds as though Tyee is Town.

      In fact, Tyee is the remote alternative. No supplies, streets, treats, steady stream of friends and acquaintances.

      I'll go back and rewrite for clarity, so your questions (hopefully) won't match the new text. 8)

      The EDGE is connectivity, both physical and virtual. I'm hoping we can post from there, but it will depend on how well several systems work. At worst, we could be out-of-touch for almost two years! Chances are, though, that some will get through. If nothing else, I should make progress on the DIY book!

      Thanks for the good wishes...

      Dave Z

  2. [Posted on behalf of TIM]:

    Hi Dave,

    Your next boat is a big project and very expensive...I was wondering why you couldn't make it easier and cut up the project into 3 parts:
    1. Make your 24ft cabin with box ends and copper bottom
    2. Make a cockpit so it could bolt to the main cabin
    3. Make a 8'x8'x4'8" pointed bow with flat bottom sloping up 1.5' to the point on a straight run...Construct it so it could be bolted to the main cabin..

    You already have Slacktide....By dividing up the project you make a big job a series of small jobs and you don't have to bend ply on the bottom just have straight runs...End up with a 40'x8' sailing barge...How about the Mary Elisabeth? Didn't he use a cooper powder in his epoxy? Did that work?...

    I'm getting lazier as time passes me by...I made a box for truck a few yrs ago...I sold my truck last yr and kept the box..I'm going to cut it up and make a 14.5'x30"x16" motor-sailing nested canoe with canopy and junk rig.. Then I can have a boat again and worried about it getting stolen..I just can't get my ass in gear...

    1. Hi Tim,

      One could build that way, and pretty easily. I think, rather than bolting, though, I'd just leave half a buttstrap exposed at the ends. When you're ready, just continue building.

      Bolting might be an approach if one wanted to trailer the boat in more than one trip.

      In the case of the T LUNA styles, most have their forward bulkhead already mid-bow curve, so the payoff isn't as high.

      In our case, this is the moment, now or never. I doubt the stars will align for us again, so we'd better get her done in one go.

      Copper + epoxy was used on MARY ELISABETH (and TRILOBYTE and my Brother's SELKIE, among others up here). It does work well - not as effective as bottom paint or copper, but with some of the advantages of both (goes on like paint, and lasts a long time). If you don't keep on it, you get more growth, but if you keep it down, it's easy wipe-clean, with occasional sanding to expose new copper.

      Good luck with your project... and if you find which gear to engage, lemme know!

      Dave Z

  3. hello Dave+Anke, best of wishes for the build......may all go smoothly. We'll be launching kilda in the next few weeks and heading east down the saint laurent. try to keep in touch if possible. robin+karen

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About Me

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Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, our T32x8 ketch. We sail by wind, tide and muscle in the waters of mid- to northern Southeast Alaska. We try to maximize the joys of life, and minimize the chores. ........ We live between the communities of SE Alaska, but drop in to visit with friends. Lately, we've worked, every other winter, care-taking Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warmsprings Bay. This has given us a window on Web. ........ We're working toward a subsistence lifestyle, somewhat impeded by addictions to coffee, chocolate and cheese. ........ We think TEOTWAWKI is looming, and while we won't be ready, we'd at least like comfortable seats.