At the end of September, I got a hankering to do something a little different than the coastal open-boat cruising. A rainy solo evening at home got me reacquainted with Dylan Winter's duck punting videos from the UK. For the intrepid reader who DOESN'T know anything about duck punting in traditional duck punts from West Mersea, England, have a look-see over at Ye Olde YouTubes.
I strongly suggest looking at Lurch's page, as he has some phenomenal videos of duck punting with his local duck punting group. I have spent hours watching his videos to glean sailing tips. Dylan Winter, through his famous Keep Turning Left adventure has literally wrested this small traditional duck boat from SE England and plunked it on the world stage of sailing, where it has weaseled it's way into many sailor's hearts for it's simplicity that also demands high levels of technique.
Duck Punts have no rudders, or centerboards. They are sailed by sail and weight trim, and an oar. They sail in a few inches of water, and cost little to build.
Cap'n Jon pushed me over the edge, and I built a duck punt in one month, for a few hundred dollars.
I built my punt from FLO-MO's stitch and glue adaptation of John Milgate's classic West Mersea duck punt plans. There were a few aesthetic and construction changes, but the scantlings and dimensions are true to FLO-MO's plans. I did not play naval architect and I wanted to ensure I kept the West Mersea shape that FLO-MO put together. John Milgate requires a strongback and 10mm plywood, I wanted mine built out of 6mm ply and without the strongback. Primarily, this was because I wanted to car top my punt, as I live somewhat landlocked. Meranti ply and pine came from Goose Bay Lumber, leftover epoxy, some screws, and a few cans of Rust-O-Leum. An optimist club sail came from Intensity Sails for a swell price.
|Dan Noyes with his punt on a dolly, walking down to the water.|
Dan's punt is constructed of solid pine boards and oak frames.
|MRS MUMBLES and Dan's Punt getting ready to launch. Note Dan's DIPPING LUG RIG. SALTY!|
|Detail of Dan's Punt|
|MRS MUMBLES working through the grasses to a hidden creek in Plum Island Sound|
|Dan follows behind, snaking through the grass|
|Dan and his dipping lug, which he dips.|
|Working up another creek|
|Dan in his own irrigation ditch.|
|Dan's ditch comes to the end of the line. From here, we will drag the boats.|
|A salt pan, that remains full at low-tide, above the water line, in the middle of the flats.|
|Time for lunch! We are pleased with this beautiful day.|
|Dan sailing MRS MUMBLES|
After these pictures, they ran away from me
|MRS MUMBLES is very fast, which is why I have lots of stern pictures from a distance, |
and very few up-close action shots.
Having a fast boat is not frustrating, unless you are trying to take pictures of it.
|Heading home in round-about kind of way.|
|Hauling out in the muddiest canal we could find in the entire state of Massachusetts.|
There is an entire gallery, including construction, that you can peruse at this link.