MiniMaxed by Rod Dodsworth
Cape San Blas, Florida

From WebLetter 92

This was my first woodworking project since high school. As opposed to just about every other new boat builder at this forum, I messed up my first attempt. As the explicit directions say, it is very important to follow the steps in order. I didn't when for some reason I attached the sides before the longis and found that the bottom could not be pulled by wire up to the longis. Oh well, I was out a sheet of marine ply, one of exterior ply and some time and epoxy. It was a cheap enough lesson, it will not happen again!

I took on the project as a test project for larger boats. It tested my few woodworking skills and more importantly, the will to see it through to completion. I highly recommend the Glen-L book, Boatbuilding With Plywood. Among the skills it helped me with was fairing. I was at first very intimidated with the idea of fairing sheers and chine logs. Once I got into it and researched planes, how to use and sharpen them, it got to the point where I was disappointed there was no more fairing to be done! I also recommend the DVD on glassing boats.

For those who operate in saltwater I have a few suggestions. When you open the exposed drum system from the package go ahead and immediately give the steering wheel a primer and two top coats of Rust-O-Leum paint. When assembling the system, be sure to give the stainless steel spindle a coat of grease. If you do not, it will quickly corrode the aluminum drum which slips over the spindle. On my first assembly I did not grease the spindle and had a heck of time pulling and beating the frozen drum off the spindle a few days later.

At my 130 lbs weight, 2.5 gallons of gas and maybe 5 lbs of other items I had no problem planing nicely with a 5hp Tohatsu at maybe 60% throttle. At full throttle the 9 inch pitch prop is prone to cavitation, and goes plenty fast enough for me. As for actual speed, I do not know. I can say with certainty, however, that sitting only a few inches above the water and feeling every wavelet, gives one a sensation of speed not experienced standing at the console of a larger boat.

The Minimaxed, which was supposed to prove to me that I can build larger boats, turned out to be a fun boat that I enjoy to run far more than expected.