Anyone whose canoeing experience is limited to plastic or fibreglass production boats will be blown away with the ease with which the Eureka Canoe moves through the water. It seems to float above the surface, touching the water very lightly indeed, and to my mind (after a few too short paddles) does everything that could be asked of a canoe very efficiently indeed.
On the other hand, anyone who hasn't experienced the simplicity of stitch and tape construction will also be amazed at so how few parts can be putt together so quickly to result in something of such beauty, and make no mistake, this is a very simple and beautiful canoe.
It can be built very quickly with just a few tools. One documented build had the boat in the water in less than 60 hours including painting, and while that won't be the norm, three or four weekends and a few evenings in between should easily be enough for the super enthusiastic. The rest of us will do it over a leisurely three or four months of part time work.
That ease of construction and rapid completion is what has made this boat a sort of thorn in my side. It has well and truly established or perhaps confirmed my international status as a world class procrastinator.
For us, the whole happy saga started more than ten years ago, when Michael Storer documented a larger version of his Eureka Canoe, but didn't have the software to accurately develop the multiple curves in the bilge panels. I volunteered to prototype it, to ensure that the hull panels all worked and make careful measurements so that Michael could make final adjustments to the plans if required. before releasing them to the public.
I built a set of moulds, which was necessary to ensure an accurate prototype, but got involved in other things and forgot about it for a few years. When we moved to another city, the moulds came too, and I built a strongback. As if overcome by the effort, I then shelved it all for a bit, until the time came for a major renovation of our house. I didn't want to carry around the full sheets of ply I had bought for the purpose a few years earlier, so I cut the panel shapes, dismantled the moulds and put them into storage.
A year or two later, Michael was paying a visit, and one night I suggested we pop out to the shed and finish the full-sized quarter model prototype. We did that in an hour or two of gentle conversation laden poking around, and Michael had a great set of dimensions to work from.
That was in August 2004, and I made the mistake of announcing to the world my intention of building a canoe, and documenting it. I logged on to the Australian Woodwork Forums and began to type.
350 posts and nearly 50,000 visitors later, despite the fact that there are now dozens of Eureka Canoes happily voyaging in all corners of the globe, as I sit here in February 2008, the prototype is still not finished!
It will be soon, and when it is, these pages will document its every voyage, or at least the ones which end up with lovely photographs. In the meantime, enjoy the build description, and the photos of Phil and Chris's Eureka, launched a few weeks into 2008.
Our gallery also features a few short movies of the launching and our first wonderful impressions of how easy this boat is to propel, and how stable as well!
Note that all photos in the main text will open in larger windows if clicked, or if you prefer to view them in one place they are also linked to our web galleries.
Enjoy your stay, and come back every few weeks until our boat is finally launched!