As the weather forecast for yesterday was good I decided it would be an opportune moment to have a test launch of Felix's Canoe.
I hatched a plan which was to put her in the water for a few hours to see what happened whilst I went for a short paddle in Peterborough 1 had my lunch and returned. If on my return she hadn't leaked then I would go for a paddle in Felix's Canoe.
I began by slipping Felix's Canoe into the water.
There was no immediate leakage.
So I tied her up and took a picture of her in the water from Peterborough 1.
Then I went off for a short paddle down river to Alwalton and at the same time I tested the Anula paddle that I made whilst teaching Robbie to make a paddle last weekend but that's another story.
I returned about three hours later and examined Felix's Canoe. There was a small amount of leakage in several places as you can see in these pictures but it didn't look serious so I decided to fetch my sponge and go for a paddle.
Once I climbed aboard it was apparent that she is a little less stable than Peterborough 1 but as she has no keel she turns more easily. She felt very light weight which reminds me I must weigh her as I am sure she is lighter than one might think for a sixteen foot six boat.
I have been making some bottom boards for her but I left them out as I haven't finished varnishing them and I wanted to see where the leaks were coming from.
I paddled up river towards Wansford and found she paddled well.and was relatively unaffected by the occasional light breeze.
The water continued to come in but I was able to deal with it very easily with my sponge barely having to stop at all.
I was beginning to get cramp and thought it might be a good idea to move from resting on one thwart to the other. The other thwart had plans of its own and decided to break at the joint as soon as I rested myself on it! Looks like I will have to make a new pair of full length replacements after all.
I thought about possible fixes like glueing a wooden butterfly into the joints let in from the underside and I might do that later to preserve and reuse the bits of original mahogany but for now I think it will be quicker and less risky to replace them in their entirety.
I paddled on up to Wansford lock where I was able to sit on the side and see just how much water she had been taking on.
It wasn't a great deal and was easily controlled by the use of my sponge.
I paddled back through the village under the bridge which is a few years older than the canoe having been built in.1794
I paddled back and although I can't be sure I think the amount of leakage was beginning to reduce although it could be because more of it had soaked into my trousers. A successful test as although she leaks it does not seem to be a problem as it is easily controlled with a sponge. One theory is that once she dries out fresh varnish can be applied and the leaks may be cured so that is my plan for now and she is back at the workshop drying out. It may be that she never becomes fully watertight but she is definitely a use-able boat restored to working condition.