It is late afternoon on the last day of a big year at Fretwater Boatworks. We completed a couple Briggs boats, two sweet lapstrake boats, lots of repairs and upgrades, and still took the entire summer off for seven Grand Canyon trips, a couple runs down the Rogue, and a few weeks teaching and learning in Maine. We are well on the way toward another Briggs hull as the big pine cone prepares to drop downtown.

Earlier today fretwaterlines received its 200,000th view. So exciting. With all the hubbub in the news about those evil Russian hackers, I am fascinated to see they are real. Check out who visits my site: The number 2 and number 3 most hits come from Russia and the Ukraine. Last month a full eighth of the hits were from Russia. Dirty hacking commies. But at least Janek and I know who to blame now when things go poorly in the shop.

BJ brought the Thunder River by to attend to a few insults below the waterline. Five trips and the bottom still looks great. But he is electing to commence his slide down the slippery slope of fiberglassing. It’s a mixed blessing–less damage from routine wear and tear, and no chine seepage–but increased risk of rot issues and other pernicious developments.

The recent snows collapsed BJ’s tarp while he was frolicking up north, so Thunder River, now ground to raw wood, is going off to the drying shed for a few weeks before we throw on the glass.

Meanwhile we are pressing ahead with a new Briggs hull. Janek is tapping in the wedges to squeeze a scarf joint for the floor.

And we are doing enough of a design refinement on this boat that we have decided to build it on a strongback in order to make sure the lines are just right. First step is painting over eight years worth of gradoo on the floor so we can see all our lines.

Next we draw the center line and all the station lines so we can plumb any part of each set of ribs.

And up we go, with vertical risers at each station. We can pull precise heights off the lofting and end up with an upside-down boat, free-floating in space, virtually perfect off our drawings.

And if it is not perfect, I’m pretty sure the rat-bastard Russian hackers are to blame.

Happy New Year to you all.