As mentioned in my previous blog post, I did build Otis in a bit of a hurry both to make the Florida 120 and to beat Scott Gosnell in his build of the IMB. Add this to a new design by an amateur (me) and some experimental build methods (canvas and tightbond III) and you get a boat that will need some fixes and corrections down the road.
This first came to notice during the first Florida 120 (www.florida120.com) I took Otis to when the canvas and tightbond III coating started coming off the bow of the boat…big flap of cloth hanging down. I also found the main rather hard to tension as I hadn’t made the mast quite tall enough. Finally, my wife and I took Otis to Lake Jocassee for two nights and we got wet thanks to water intrusion. Ended up being from the chines which I never did properly tape or glass. The canvas and tightbond III let in water and the wood quickly rotted despite the paint.
After this fix, Otis didn’t leak a drop of water. I also took the opportunity to lengthen the mast for better geometry for raising the sail. Really helped! I took Otis to the Florida 120 event again…first time I used the same boat in two consecutive years! This year we met up at Dupont point and then sailed to Ft. McCree area. The next morning, only 8 boats made the trip down to Navarre due to rough conditions crossing Pensacola Bay. I did end up motorsailing because I wasn’t making good time going to windward in a fickle wind against some nasty chop. Once under the Pensacola Beach bridge, the conditions improved for a great windward sail down to Navarre.
The next day (Saturday) I had my best sailing experience ever in the Pensacola area which is saying a lot. We went all the way from Navarre to Dupont point, a distance of 45 miles. We arrived at Dupont point around 4pm.
It was an incredible day followed by a fairly miserable night. That night we had a major storm pull through that dumped a lot of rain. First time I had slept in Otis during a downpour only to have about two inches of water join me down below in the cabin. Completely soaked my bedding and made for a cold night and yet another modification for the future. I recovered Otis and stored it in Pat Jackson’s boat cave for use in the BEER (Backwater Environmental Escape Rendezvous) in June.
In June, I drove back down enjoying not having to tow a boat all the way from Atlanta. I picked up Otis and headed to Galvez Landing to launch my Otis for the BEER cruise. Unfortunately, on the way there I was rear ended by an inattentive driver. The winch stand bashed in Otis’s bow and crushed the Evinrude outboard my family had since I was six years old. I ended up hitching a ride with Pat Jackson on his Mirage sailboat for the BEER cruise.
So, back to the boatshed to rebuild Otis once again. Beginning to think this wonderful boat is a bit cursed! I rebuilt the bow using 2 layers of 1/4 inch plywood instead of the one layer I originally had. Be a bit more comfortable when the waves bash against the bow. I fixed other damage caused by the collision before addressing the water intrusion into the cabin the last Florida 120 trip. I realized the water snuck in via the storage niches I had put into the seat backs. I hadn’t done a good job sealing up the path from those seat backs into the cabin. When I took the seat backs off, I found rot so decided it was best if I got rid of those storage niches. Could add flotation at the same time! Finally, I decided to increase the height on the cockpit coamings to prevent water coming in when sailing hard.