Bug Lighters,

Greetings from Capitola. Well Done, Bill, on your exceptional service to SSS. And welcome aboard Commodore Max!

We anxiously await the launching of “Wisdom,” Alan H.'s new skerry. His PHRF just came in, and with a rating of 426, we are all in trouble. Meanwhile, I can't let Alan have all the fun playing in sawdust and glue. Read on:

Most of you know a little over two years ago I abandoned and scuttled WILDFLOWER returning from Hanalei. At the time, shoreside family responsibilities were paramount. To risk going missing, or becoming object of a dangerous and expensive rescue weighed heavily on my ultimate decision.

Many of you have asked when I'd be getting a new boat. WILDFLOWER was my home, office, calling card, and magic carpet for 34 years since I built her in Alameda. She is irreplaceable.

As a result of WILDFLOWER being uninsurable, I was set back on my sea boots. I walked docks, visited boatyards, perused ads, and trialed beckoning designs. I was determined not to rush into something. But my goal was clear: to get back afloat where my passion and skill could be returned into play.

A month ago a serendipitous event presented itself. I drove to Port Townsend for the annual Wooden Boat Festival where a small cruising catamaran called an ECO cat (for "ECOnomy") caught my eye.

Then shortly after returning home to Santa Cruz, I ran into an old friend, Howard Spruit, one of the original Santa Cruz surfers, ultralight designers and boat builders. I told Howard what I had seen. His response floored me. "We can build one of those. Let's do it!"

If there are three things you want for a boat building project, experience, enthusiasm, and a flush bank account top the list. I had two out of three. I couldn't afford to build a new boat. I couldn't afford not to.

Sometimes one has to go with the tide. Though I have minimal experience with catamarans and my learning curve is steep, we are beginning construction on cruising cat here in the garage. Mom, watching from her Sunroom, is not sure what to think. The termites in the garage rafters are dropping cellulose filler into the glue on command.

The boat, as yet unnamed, will be 22' LOA with road legal 8'6" of beam, and 1100 pounds of displacement, trailerable behind my mini-van. A single daggerboard, kickup C/L rudder, a Hoyt jib boom, a cozy cabin. Power will be a Hobie 18 sailing rig using second hand beachcat equipment. No wing mast, Larry. A 5 horse outboard will push the boat in calm conditions. Construction is Meranti marine plywood and West System epoxy glue. Destinations will be near shore cruises from the Channel Islands to the Pacific NW, the Delta, Lake Tahoe, possibly Alaska. Anywhere accessible by road and launch ramp.

Attached is a perspective drawing. I value suggestions, questions, and participation.

If you'd like to donate time, we have glue to spread. If you have gear sitting in the backyard or locker, we are looking for a trailer, anchor, sails, boom, tiller extension, outboard, etc. Or, if you just want to send a couple of bucks, that would help navigate us over some thin financial waters.

I can't promise much in return but photo updates and participation in an exciting project.

Stay tuned. Go Giants!

~skip allan aka sleddog
310 McCormick Ave.
Capitola, CA 95010
ph. 831-475-0278
e-mail: skipallan (at) sbcglobal.net