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Building the "Dillon Laker 14" Tunnelboat

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Hull turned over and leveled, ready to get started on the deck and cockpit.

The last of the stringers is clamped into position. A few other places are being reinforced to withstand the bending forces inposed on the carlins.

Next step is to bevel the stringers that need it. Then there's some interior things to do, mostly sealing and flotation. Also drain holes to bore and a bow ring to install.

The coaming will be attached to the inboard faces of the carlins, seen here curving into the bow beam. The coamings will extend another twelve inches forward of the beam and will ultimately be capped with a rounded tip (as will the sponsons).

The coaming temporarily tacked into place.

Before the coaming gets installed, it will be removed to make fitting the deck a little easier. Then the deck will probably be installed before the coaming.

A dry assembly of deck and coaming -- just to see how it looks.

Question now is, which do I install first, coaming or deck?

We have a winner!

The deck goes on first. This allows me to trim the plywood neatly along the carlin, insuring a nearly gap-free joint where deck meets coaming.

The coaming back in place, temporarily.

My friend Dave, tasked with finding a motor for the Laker, has come with a 70hp Mercury. Not sure of the details yet, but he'll be going all through it to make sure all is ok and ready to go.

He promises there's more to it than just this hood.

Dave checked the motor from top to bottom and serviced it completely. It has proved to be in excellent condition, and it should give the Laker a great ride.

For now, however, it lies waiting in the corner of the shed.

If you're going to put a motor on your boat, you gotta have something to hang it on.

So here's the motorboard, cut to size and temporarily tacked into place.

The coaming is installed. The dashboard and steering bulkhead are in place. Working on the front cowling.

Time to paint the cockpit. Then, I will be ready to install the rotary steering system which will pass under the starboard deck, then back into the cockpit, to be connected (somehow) to the port side of the motor.

Once the steering gear is in place, the starboard deck can be installed.

Side deck installed; sponson tips and cowling tipped; coaming trimmed and the cowling deck in place.

This hull is essentially done. Only body-work left to do, then ready for paint.

A coat of primer does wonders.

And then the topcoats. A nice clean shade of "prototype white."

There is a little hardware that can be installed in the shop. But mostly the rest has to wait until spring when I can get it out in the yard, hoist on the motor and hook up everything. C'mon spring!.

A couple of months ago, Ron Hill announced on his BoatRacingFacts forum: "I've been thinking about this 'Concept' for awhile now. I will give away some propellers."

I made my pitch, and today this beautiful "JEFF BROWN OMC Style Cleaver," was dropped off by my UPS driver.

"This is copied off Jeff Brown's old SE World Championship prop. It is 12.5 X 22."

Crossing the finish line with this build has been difficult, but I hope to have it on the water in a month or two.

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Building the Laker 14
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