When we arrived in Long Lake one of the first things to do was to get the guideboats, now three, in the proper order. The Frances C., the first boat I built, would come out of hibernation. She would go down onto the dock and be ready for a summer of out and about on the lake. The other, newer guideboats would go into the protective cocoon of the garage.
The Frances C. was soon launched and both she and I were delighted to be back on the water. Despite a winter of bitter temperatures with weeks of below freezing temperatures and excursions well below zero she took on not a drop of water. Then it came to me that she was nearing the end of her teenage years. Indeed, this summer she will be eighteen years old.
I thought that she had endured some not too gentle treatment in the last 18 years and yet looks pretty darn good. The Atlantic white cedar she is made of can certainly take a beating. It is virtually rot resistant and for that reason was used by the colonists in the Tidewater country of Maryland and Virginia for boundary markers. Some of the markers are still around after 300 years.
The Sikiflex 291 LOT bedding compound seems to have worked just fine. No leaks unless I get careless and leave her out in the sun too long. If that happens I get her back in the shade and make sure she soon gets back on the water.
The Epiphanes varnish is also a winner. I have only re-varnished the boat once in her 18 years and she still shows no need for refinishing.
It was good to see that she was treated like an honest-to-goodness guideboat over the fourth of July weekend. My boys took her out on several fishing expeditions. Then the youngest of the Fishers, Paige, age 13, got to go fishing with her father in the Frances C.
So Happy Birthday, Frances C. Many happy returns.
Next time, the launch of the Thankful.