Cover Photo: One of LADY B’s first sails on the Saginaw River near the Gougeon Brothers boat shop.
Lady B is a sailing sharpie I launched on August 20, 2009. On one of the first sails, I asked Jan Gougeon to come along with me to see what he thought of her. That sail brought back many memorable sailing moments that Jan and I have shared over our lifetimes. Jan Gougeon grew up on Donahue Beach and I on nearby Aplin Beach. The two beaches were separated by Wenona Beach, a magnificent amusement park built at the turn of the century. We were in the same kindergarten class. It wasn’t long before we were both in boats we’d built: Jan in his 13′ Dart and I in my 8′ pram, the Pal. Back in those days we built using bedding compound and lots of screws. We carried coffee cans to bail our leaky boats. Around 1955, Continue reading →
The sharpie’s main reason for existence for over a hundred years is its fine operation in shallow water. However, the conventional sharpie rudder is notorious for causing squirrelly steering, often becoming totally ineffective when the craft heels more than 20°. Most sharpie sailors simply accept the handling aggravations of the conventional rudder in trade for its wonderful steering ability in the shallows. I decided to resolve the traditional faults in steering by installing a special rudder and steering system that has evolved and is used on some contemporary boats. This system will yield maximum control over a wide range of wind and sea conditions while retaining the sharpie’s shallow water virtues. Continue reading →