THERE is an abandoned lighthouse on the northeast headland of Isle Royale where Rock Harbor thumbs it's nose to the sea. Standing lonely and white amid dour and guarding spruce trees, this old Rock Harbor light has not been lit' for seventy years. Time was when sail showed up from Houghton to lighter off Isle Royale's production of copper, but the Island Mining Company and the English Syndicate never declared a dividend, the stockholders or sack holders declared "no more money", and the lighthouse simply went out for keeps. Into the bight behind tlie light moved and squatted a singular family of Norwegian fishermen, and today, though there is nothing singular about the old light, the piece of Little Norway that Pete Edeson and his wife Laura call home is singular indeed.
There if you are cruising you will be greeted with an open faced friendliness rare in the world today. And if you can listen to Peter Edeson's tall tales of tall seas on the big fresh water wastes, Pete will melt, and will serve you a nip of his homemade aquavit, or dragon spit.
Then the old light will light up. Bells will ring.
Peter's aquavit is made of unsprung wolf traps, double edged razor blades and barbed wire. He stews this junk in homemade soap. When copper and zinc plates are immersed in this brew and, upon being connected to a twelve volt starter, will spin the motor violently. Pete's aquavit is ready to go.
And so also, brother, are you.
The effect of this nitro ranges broadly between rattlesnake bite and a jet assisted takeoff. I swallowed a nip in fellowship and before I could reach for my throat or screech "Assassin!" my life flashed in review.
I wanted desperately to live. In that lucid moment I knew that not alone I, but the world, needed to reform. To implement the reform there appeared the dream of a sweet little compromise sterned launch which you see here. You will readily gather that I have named her Assassin in honor of Peter Edeson. He is some brewer.
Assassin is also so named because she stands for all that is alien to hellfire and brimstone. She will kill nerves and tension, will allay, nay slay the blues. Ah! To retrieve the lazy comfort of the old days. Back in those times our dads had something. Given a moonlight night and a low pressure boat like Assassin and a lass, if you could strum a mandolin the girl was yours.
(click to enlarge)
Now for the dope. Assassin is 16 feet I inch long and 4 feet 4 inches beam, which follows closely the old formula for an easy to drive displacement hull - beam one-fourth the length. Shown in the lines drawing is the kind of engine with which such a hull is at home. It is the 2 horsepower Lockwood-Ash 2 cycle, swinging a 2 blade 12 inch diameter by 12 inch pitch wheel on a 7/8 inch shaft.
A number of engines will do. A Palmer YT2 2 horsepower is another ideal mill. The little Kermath 5 horsepower job would be modern, and just to show our deluxe or showroom model of Assassin I have drawn in the Brennan Imp, 4 cylinder 4 cycle power plant, the cylinder block of which is about the size of an ordinary storage battery. This Imp will cost more, but will idle down for trolling all day, will be silent as a slipper on said moonlight adventuring and of course enjoys pushbutton starting. The Imp, if used, must swing a 12 inch wheel and be held to an output of 7 horsepower or so.
The hull is sweet. The sections may not appeal to some, but the finished hull in three dimensions will. I drew two sets of lines and modeled her twice to achieve that extra dash of marine appeal. Boats are a lot like girls - pretty ones are everywhere, but lovely and beautiful ones have that extra something that makes them rare. The hull is rare. It is lovely.
Here are her technical data. Displacement, 690 pounds, beam-length ratio 25 per cent. Pounds per inch immersion depends on what you immerse it in, whether the Passaic River, the Chesapeake, Lake Superior or Texaco Marfak.
And now a word as to the scantling sizes. Deliberately I have kept the scantling section (Mold 7) and the inboard construction plan free of type or lettering, the better to exhibit Assassin's plain boat building construction. Every bit of it is old hat and will not bother a proficient boat builder in the least. Old time techniques of construction are simplest for anyone who is a boat builder. Joel J. Johnson, 20 Arthur Street, Black Rock, Bridgeport, Connecticut, can do a wizard job on this. The stem is a hackmatack knee sided 1-3/4 inches and molded as shown. Use 2-1/2 inch sided if you care for plenty of back rabbet. The stern knee is of the same type of wood.. Hackmatack is known by at least ten names, larch, tamarack, jack pine and others, any stump from a burned over area will serve well. In fact, any resinous stump with splayed roots, providing it is fall or winter cut with the sap down, will do. The shaft log can be mahogany, teak, begac, birch, anything but fir, which is hard to bore end grain. The keel can be of fir. Oak is hard to get in decent lengths and is candy to teredos. I have seen fir keels thirty-two years old in good shape. The keel is sided 2-1/2 inches, the log 3-1/2 swelled and
rabbeted around the swell.
The frames are 3/4 by 5/8 inch white oak, bent on the flat through box holes in the apron. They are on 8-7/8 inch centers. Oak floors, 3/4 by 3 inches, are placed atop the
frame and apron at sectioned stations.
(click image to enlarge)
Shaft, rudder plate, propeller and skeg should be bronze or brass. Flooring is 11/16 by 4 inch neat, sugar pine, shellac hardened. Decking is of fir or any good wearing wood 11/16 by 2 inches, tongue and grooved or laid.
The planking will be 5/8 inch cedar, ponderosa pine or mahogany. There are 14 strakes to a side, spiled, cupped and fastened with bunged No. 12 copper nails riveted over washers, or with 1-1/4 inch copper clouts, predrilled undersize and set up and puttied before painting.
The apron is 1-1/4 by 3-3/4 inch ponderosa pine, boxed for frames. The Canucks build boats this way, notably the Peterborough people, and the rabbet seam is formed by planing the apron down to frame height after the frames are bent in. Very simple and tight construction.
The boat steers with a lever, which can be wooden or brass as fancy as you please. She has a lazarette in which it will be ideal to install a Thermex type muffler. This is simplicity itself, just two half bowls of cast iron or aluminum. Very quiet. I have indicated a gas tank of ten gallons forward. This will run all day on the powers indicated.
So turned out Assassin will be a delight to own. easy in a wall sided chop, safe anywhere. It is a good deal of fun to modernize a time tried idea in hulls.