Well, after 7 months of dedicated work, countless hours of sanding and layers of epoxy and marine spar varnish, I was able to find out if my new handmade drift boat floats. It did, and it did so better than I had dreamed of. Let me explain. I had a few concerns prior to launching the "Barca de Trucha", (Trout Boat). Little nagging questions.
First, the boat is 17 feet long from the bow to the stern. This is about 18" longer than my Hyde Low-Profile. It is also wider by about 6 inches, I was concerned that it would be a little to big for the Lower Yuba. An air craft carrier in a small bay so to speak. It isn't. It floats like a leaf, lighter and more responsive than my Hyde. Being so, makes it feel smaller, I always referred to my Hyde as a sports car. Nimble and quick to the response of the oars. The "Barca" is just as quick if not quicker.
Second, it seemed to be a work of art more than a working drift boat. Once I floated it down the river it just felt right. It will be a working drift boat come what may, scratches, dings, scrapes, it will be a fisher.
Third, Rope Seats? The rope seats look real cool, but what would they feel like, Uncomfortable? Pinching your rear? Well, definitely not your padded plastic seat. They felt fine. I wore lightweight shorts and was comfortable. The ropes will need to be tightened until they stretch out properly, but other than that definitely a passing grade.
The first float came with a sense of pride. Every piece of wood, every screw, every coat of epoxy and varnish was placed with care and thought. There is a sense of pride that is sort of like catching a fish on a fly rod you've built with the fly you tied. Now I can add "the boat I built". I've always been a craftsman and this is just another extension of that. I take pride in what I do, I do was I say, I keep my word and promises. My Mom and Dad raised me that way. This is just another mission accomplished, a plan come to fruition. I thank my Mom, Geri, for encouraging me to pursue my passions. This is is just who I am.
I am looking forward to many years of fishing in this new boat and coaxing many fish to the net. More stories, more time with good friends and family on the rivers of the west. It was worth all the time and effort! No regrets!
Photos from Launch Day
Ready to Head down the River
Ist ferry across the riffle
Zack the Photographer
My lovely wife, Laura, enjoying the inaugural float
Running a Chute
Zack getting ready to take the plunge
Taking our time down the river
Zack, Thanks for your help and encouragement along the way!
Made it to the takeout with nothing but smiles!