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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Eastport Pram Sailing Conversion - The Hard Way

HideAway Pram  St Pete Beach Florida
Back in 2002 we acquired an Eastport Pram kit from Chesapeake Light Craft as a tender for HideAway.  We had no intention of sailing the dink.  Then one fine day the folks at CLC brought all their boats to our part of the world.  We tried a few kayaks then started on the sailboats.  I noticed the Eastport Pram on the beach begging me for a sail.  It was not a long time before I discovered the pram sails as well as it rows and  with none of the effort.  I was instantly hooked.

A fellow sailor who had enough of my babbling about the sailing pram gave me an old rig as more of a dare, I think, than a polite suggestion to shut up or put up.  More time passed until I happened upon the plans for the pram hiding in a long forgotten place.

Yeah, I know that's not how the dagger board looks on the plans  

 If you know how to read plans it is easy to trace the full scale drawings onto plywood and cut them out.   It's a bit harder if you don't notice the difference between millimeters and inches.  'Course then you wouldn't have a spare dagger board and rudder like the author. 

Some modification is still needed to the donated rig.  Who, besides me, needs a gooseneck when you have a bit of electrical wire and a couple of non stainless steel plates?

Yes that's electrical wire and a couple of metal plates
OK a lot of modifications will need to be made.  It has to be easier to make a new mast rather than scarfing on a couple of feet to prevent the ever painful boom-whacking-noggin incident. Not to mention that the existing mast is too skinny to fit the deck hole step.  If the dink had a mast step that is.

I'm sure you have realized by now, as have I, that the step hole for the mast bears little resemblance to the American way of measuring wood.   There is not really enough space to enlarge the existing hole and maintain the designed strength.  The good news is I'll likely get a new block plane out of the deal as I shave 3/8 INCHES off the last eight INCHES of the new mast.

Mighty handsome rudder & tiller construction don't you agree?  The answer is - Yes by the way!

We spent an entire Saturday afternoon unraveling the mystery of the rigging.  The process involved many trips to the Internet and at one point taking photos of the screen then running outside to compare with reality as we understood it. 

We believe this to be the correct rig setup
 The HideAways did eventually discover the correct configuration.  The lines in the foreground were determined to be the standing rigging of the former craft.  I bet that was interesting!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


It was a lazy day for the HideAways Saturday. It was the first sailing day after Tropical Storm Debby wrought havoc in our part of the world.  Relieved that we had escaped unharmed or damaged we took our time recommissioning HideAway, our Compac 23 sailboat.  The afternoon sea breeze had set in but we chose to anchor for a leisurely lunch and a nap.  Later, after sailing off the anchor across Boca Ciega Bay listening to WMNF 88.5 Community Radio in Tampa spin 50s era platters, I craned my neck around the bimini to check the mainsail set and noticed our large American flag flying off the back stay framed against a clear blue sky

Trading the tiller for my camera I started shooting this video when the music stopped for a moment and suddenly The Star Spangled Banner, sung a cappella, reached over the air ways.  Neither of us could speak when it ended. 

Unfortunately the combination of wind and bad reception ruined the original audio but my good friends at UTube stepped in with this rendition.   A special day for the HideAways on Boca Ciega Bay near Gulfport Florida.