On July 3rd, 2011, Yellow Creek Lake was the scene for an happy if unusual launching. Six new, homebuilt sailboats made of wood took to the water. These six Puddle Duck Racers were built by groups fo Indiana families in a project organized by FOYC with the help of Moraine Sailing Club’s John Bridges. We gathered as a group for construcion oft the hulls in February and sail building in March. Now after much sanding, caulking, and painting, we had sailboats.
There were last minute questions about rigging. Is this boom supposed to be 8 or 10 foot? Some of the builders had never sailed, so we held a 20-minute crash course. How do you sail up-wind? What if you capsize? What is the main-sheet for again? But the winds were gentle, and even first-time sailors made it off the shore and back again! Our sails made as cheaply as possible from Tyvek and stuck together with carpet tape held! Not only did the boats float but, thankfully, but they sailed pretty well and only mine leaked!
In the picture below, you can also see a pair of wooden Optimist sailboats and a Weekend Skiff that came along for the ride. In the gallery, you can see that we launched from shore. The soft mud is gentle on boat bottoms, but you sometimes need a push to get “unstuck.” We found ourselves having to launch the boats into deeper water before hanging on the rudders.
Building and sailing a PDR offers a few chances to be create. Our PDRs sport some colorful, custom paint jobs. For our first build, we suited up the six boats with a popular sail style called the “Leg-o-mutton” which is efficient and easy to build. You may see other PDRs with very different sails, since while the boat hulls should conform to the same shape, sail design is totally open to experiment.
|Puddle ducks, and other wooden boats; Optimist, far right. Yellow Creek Lake 2011 – From PDR|