|Eddie Guy with the very first Flint|
I think it was sometime in 2004 that Eddie Guy came to me for a new rowing and small outboard boat. Eddie lived on an island in Moreton Bay, and being an experienced waterman, he used small boats to travel to the mainland, in all sorts of weather, to pick-up supplies. His previous boat was a stitch-and-glue, flat-bottomed rowing boat which he had built from plans. The design is well-known, and of a similar size to Flint with an emphasis on rowing, but with provision for mounting a very small outboard. The problem was that Eddie found her very difficult to keep tracking in a cross-wind or cross-sea, and the pounding was driving him crazy.
As a result of Eddie's query about a replacement boat, I drew Flint. The construction was the same as the flat-bottomed boat he was using - stitch-and-glue from developed panel shapes - but my design incorporated a V-bottom with extremely fine and sharp foreward sections in an attempt to avoid the pounding problems Eddie had encountered. The radical part was the amount of twist and bend in the bottom panels, which takes developable plywood panels to the limit. As it turned out, eddie said that, "....the boat just fell together..." Now Eddie is a very capable builder, but my experience has been that as long as you use good-quality plywood of the correct thickness, the boat is a breeze to build.
|Very simple construction - no mold or strongback required|
Eddie liked his boat very much, finding that she handled the choppy conditions of Moreton Bay well, without pounding, and tracking well.
I subsequently built one for another customer, and had the opportunity to test her.
|Car-topping was easy...|
|...boat was light...|
|...and to my eyes at least, looked pretty.|
There have been a lot of Flints built, and generally they get used. One person who has really inspired me is Alec Morgan. Alec has done a number of muti-day rowing expeditions and has also fitted his Flint with a polytarp "crab claw" rig. He doesn't use a centreboard or lee-board - just relies on her sharp sections and a steering oar for lateral resistance.
|Beachcruising under oars - healthy for mind as well as body|
Alec has just sent through a nice email about a recent trip - only half-a-day, but it goes to show just what good fun can be had in a very short time, using minimal resources - very impressive
In this part of the world it's that time of the year when the dominant swells travel north with the humpbacks and the estuary bars are safer for small craft going to sea. A couple of weekends ago I set off early to row from Currumbin Creek to Point Danger. With forecast 0.8 metre swells and light to moderate winds out of the south I packed the sail for a cruise on the return run.
Everything went to plan except for 10 or so seconds where the gps records a 15kph spike surfing a wave back in through the rivermouth No harm done but a few exciting moments and half a dozen scoops with the bailer.
The gap in track is a result of me not knowing how to pause while taking photos.
Max speed: 15km/h
Ave Speed: 6 km/h
|An early start from Thrower Drive ramp in Currumbin Creek just beating the sun to the water. The wind blew off the land from the southwest all morning hence the outward track hugging the coast sitting a 100 metres or so out from the surf zone.|
|Not much surf for the boardriders at Snapper Rocks the home of the Quiksilver Pro surfing contest. To the right of the twin pines on the hill in the centre you can just make out the Point Danger lighthouse that sits on the border of NSW and Qld.|
|Making for home. Wind remained in the sou-west. Sun shining. Muscles warm. Lots of 9 km/h + readings on this leg.|
|Happy happy Alec|
Well, what more encouragement do you need? Low-cost boating at its best, low carbon foot-print, good exercise, and rest for the mind.
I've drawn two rigs for Flint but her primary function is that of a rowing boat. A small outboard will push her nicely at semi-displacement speeds.
|Here is Steve Dorrington in New Zealand doing 6.3 knots by GPS with a 35 year-old British Seagull 40-plus 2.5hp|