New Water Sports (Aug, 1938)

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New Water Sports

NO ONE in your beach party will be bored for want of something to do if you have several of these fun-making gadgets at hand. For example, there’s, racing with the circular craft shown above, called a “Coracle” after ancient European fishing boats. This tricky craft will provide no end of sport because of the difficulty in making it follow a straight course.

Just follow the details shown in Figs. 1 and 2. You’ll want to duplicate the parts, of course, so that you will have two or more completed craft. The paddle is simply a piece of 1/4-in. plywood with rubber loops for the fingers.

Then, there’s “Skipperoo,” strictly a water game and one that will revive memories of the fun you had as a youngster skipping flat stones across a pond. To play the game you need quiet water, a number of wooden disks, an old tennis net and a goal. The disks are turned from hardwood, making the bottom somewhat flatter than the top. Different colored disks are allotted to different players. Smooth the disk and give it a spar varnish or wax finish. The object is to skip the disk over the net into the boat.

If you like a little more adventure you might try the “Sea Skis” detailed in Fig. 4. Two pontoons, linked in such a way that they are always parallel, enable one to “walk” about on smooth water.

Should you go in for log rolling, Fig. 5, you had best be prepared to swim a good share of the time. If you’re an amateur at it, either you or someone else will have a lot of fun while you are learning. An artificial log can be made of a round galvanized tank covered with a wooden shell of battens bound with iron straps, as shown. Put the filler cap in the end so that buoyancy can be regulated by filling the tank with water. The log should float about three-quarters submerged. The tank must have three or more baffles inside to prevent the water ballast shifting too quickly. A satisfactory log also can be made by covering three or four Ford model-T gas tanks with battens and canvas. In this arrangement the water will need to be put in first and the tanks permanently sealed.

Another novelty is the “Tampa Tractor” detailed in Fig. 6, simply a light surfboard with a paddle wheel in front and a rudder which you control with your feet. When finished, the entire job should be painted or varnished carefully to prevent moisture from getting in and increasing its weight.

And now a child’s rowboat with a novel feature, Fig. 7. No matter how awkward the young rower may be he cannot help but make the boat go forward for .the oars are made to move in a vertical plane and the hinged blade pushes the water only on the power stroke—on the return stroke the blade swings free, causing a minimum of resistance. Make the hull of two side members of light wood such as white pine or redwood, with three cross-members on the bottom and end pieces. Turn this frame upside down and lay cotton binding tape along the edges of the side boards after applying marine glue liberally. Now lay on tempered hard-pressed board 1/8 in. thick and fasten with galvanized shingle nails, staggered and about 1 in. apart. This makes a permanently water-tight joint. A keel is bolted on later. The oars are of pine, with a short piece of brass tube for a bearing on the axis or “oarlock.” The fin of heavy-gauge galvanized iron swings on a bolt and rests against a stop-pin on the power stroke.

Everybody likes to fish, of course, and there are many kinds of fish including those shown in Fig. 8. Along with the varieties detailed, you add a boot or tree branch to take care of over-confident anglers. The “fish” are weighted so that they submerge with only a wire loop floating above the surface. Fishermen use the regular tackle and a small lead weight for “bait.” The trick, and it’s not so easy, is to drop the lead weight through the wire loop from a distance of 20 or 30 ft. You’ll find it excellent practice in plug casting. Fig. 9 details the roomy shelter you’ll need between times at the beach. It’s a very simple design, fully as effective as an umbrella and can be taken down easily. Lastly, there’s the “turtle,” made from a wash tub and a few boards, as in Fig. 10. It’s easily constructed but is a most difficult affair to manage. All the floating craft described are safe if used in calm, shallow water off a sheltered beach, but don’t venture out over deep, open water unless you’re an expert swimmer.

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