Friday has brought to an end my immediate involvement with the building of the Heritage 23 Mackinaw Boat; tonight I will be heading to Detroit to board a plane to take me back to Scotland. I am certainly going to miss the people of Tawas, City and East. It has been an incredible effort by this multi-skilled and enthusiastic group to have done so much with this boat in such a short space of time. I would say that the excellent fit of the planks has much to do with the higher number of planks used – the most I have previously used was 9. There were no nasty surprises in the planking, and the hull form follows the traditional Mackinaw form very closely.
The pictures below show the boat continuing to be cleaned up, and with the internal plywood parts being dry fitted. Being present for the building of the prototype has been invaluable. I had tried several new techniques to make building the boat easier, and while they have all worked, let’s say that they could work better! Out of this experience, I will be spending some time tweaking the kit design, and very soon the Pre-Production Rowing only version will be available. The main glitches are related to the Sailing features of the internal fittings. The Rowing and Sailing version will not be available until the prototype has been launched and tested under sail.
The Tawas builders have set themselves a tight schedule. It is intended that the boat will join the 4th of July parade, and be officially launched the following weekend. Whether that target can be met remains to be seen, but having seen the talent and experience of the builders, it is certainly achievable.
I believe that there is sufficient interest shown from other communities on the Great Lakes that there will be other Heritage 23 hulls launched this year, perhaps not in time for full blown regatta. If you have been inspired by this build, and think that you will be able to build a Heritage 23 in your Great Lakes community, please get in touch with us.
I would like to thank everyone here in Michigan for making me so welcome. I hope that I will be able to get back to Tawas for the launch, but if I cannot make that date, I will be back next year for the regattas – when it is warmer!