What’s beautiful, and blue, weighs about 80 pounds, and actually floats? You bet! Launch day finally arrived after many months of hard, but satisfying, work. And yes, the canoe, much to my surprise, does weigh around 80 pounds. I had asked Roger why so heavy, as the canoe seemed pretty delicate given the size of the ribs. Apart from the rather large decks, Roger reminded me of just how thirsty the wood had been, sucking up all that varnish.
My sister and I arrived at her cottage late Friday night, so I wasn’t too keen to do a midnight maiden (or rather re-maiden) voyage. I woke up Saturday morning to a great day. Not too hot, but a beautiful sunny day with very little wind on the lake. I thanked God for His goodness.
After taking the car closer to the dock, it was time to get the canoe ready. Taking it off the car definitely needed two people so, aided by my sister, we wrestled it off the top and gently placed it on the dock. After attaching a rope to the bow deck, and getting the life jackets and paddles ready, it was time to launch. Now came the challenge.
Not wanting to stress my sister too much, I worked out a game plan for how to single-handedly get the canoe off the dock and into the water without ripping the canvas open. Taking a really deep breath, I picked up the canoe amidships and gently lowered it into the water.
And that was all that was needed. She was afloat and looked quite at home gently bobbing in the water. It almost brought tears of joy to my eyes, especially seeing that there were absolutely no water leaks to be seen.
Now was time for her maiden voyage. Putting on a life jacket, just to be sure, I carefully stepped into the canoe and sat myself down. She was a little tippy, but that was not unexpected given the canoe is fairly narrow. Grinning ear to ear I pushed away from the dock and grabbed my paddle.
It was a short voyage, but enough to get an idea of how the canoe managed. I was really impressed at how easily she handled and cut through the water, especially for a heavier canoe. It was also enough for my sister to get some great pics of the first voyage. I was really happy!
For the next voyage, my sister and I took a long and leisurely trip around the island in the middle of the lake and then down through the bulrushes by the shore. As the canoe’s draft is really shallow, it was easy getting close to shore to enjoy the wildlife — careful, of course, not to ding the hull on rocks or submerged tree trunks. Later, when the wind picked up, I was impressed at how the keel kept the canoe from drifting too much. The canoe was also very fast when we got it going, perhaps a positive side effect of the heavier weight.
Needless to say, I am a very happy man. It was indeed worth all of the time, energy, and even the money. She is an amazingly beautiful blue water wagon indeed.
Stay tuned for future posts, as I plan to do some reflections on this amazing project.
previous Heritage Canoe Project