A look at the moon and mountains from our friend’s front yard on a crisp morning.

Sand. Epoxy. Varnish. Repeat. Ski. Snowboard. Sled. Repeat. Sand. Epoxy. Varnish. Repeat.

That was the basic rhythm of our days spent in the beauty of winter in the Cascade Mountains with our friends over Christmas and New Years. But as the fun of the holidays came and went, progress on all of our dinghy projects (see Part I here) moved slower than anticipated — which was not shocking considering that they’re boat-related and we were in a winter wonderland.

When the old rudder became firewood we expected the new build to take less time than refurbishing what we’d had. Oh, how silly was that logic? But after designing, building, shaping and epoxying it and the new tiller, the updated versions are far superior to the old and — thanks to Mike’s superior craftsmanship — look great, too.

Shaping the new tiller
Shaping the new tiller
The daggerboard and new rudder and tiller do their final drying by the fire
The daggerboard, new rudder and tiller do their final drying by the fire

Similar to the rudder, the work on Hornpipe’s transom took on a life of its own — going from a modest project to one that seemed painstakingly long. The sodden plywood sandwiched between fiberglass wasn’t rotten, so we decided not to cut the outboard layer of glass out to remove the wood. Instead, we reasoned that drying it out would be best before sealing the top. We expected the wood to take a while to dry and when we thought the progress was coming to a head and flipped the dink over, water poured out of the port aft corner. Not good.

After some choice words, we decided once again that since the wood wasn’t rotten, there was nothing left to do but continue the drying process. So there Hornpipe sat for a few more days as we fed the insatiable wood stove. With the dink upside down now, though, we were able to work on some spots in the fiberglass and got those done in relatively short order.

Mike filling the top of the transom with epoxy
Mike filling the top of the transom with epoxy

When the transom was finally moisture free, we filled the top with several steps of epoxy and waited for it to dry. The last stage of work, then, was to epoxy on a nice piece of cherry that Mike custom-shaped to the top. Predictably, the final task here was more sanding and epoxy. Even though the transom project took much longer than we anticipated, the final product turned out great and the stern is a lot lighter now that it’s not saturated with water.

Porter became frequent visitor to the barn to check on our work and "lend a hand"
Porter became a frequent visitor to the shop to inspect our work and “lend a hand”
The transom doing its last bit of drying before heading back to Yahtzee
The transom doing its last bit of drying before heading back to Yahtzee

One bright spot was that refinishing the oars, daggerboard and flagpole turned into routine projects and became things I could work on while waiting to do the next steps with the dingy and rudder. They all turned out great as well.

In the end, we got a lot done, but left a little more on our plate. After finishing the fiberglass repairs it became obvious that the boat needs a paint job, so that’s on the list.

Porter getting set to ride the snowboard down the hill by our friend’s house

Interspersed between all this work (and my real job), we did manage to get out to enjoy some skiing and snowboarding at Stevens Pass, and kids and parents alike got well acquainted with the nearby sledding hill. After 11 days nestled in the beauty of the Cascades with wonderful friends, it was time to return to Yahtzee. With our refurbished dinghy and accessories, we loaded up once again and trekked onto the ferry.

What an adventure.

Making s’mores by the fire with the kids

A huge thank you goes out to the crew of SV Arrow for going way above and beyond in hosting us!