Hi Brian,

Ah you’ll love this. Last Sunday, I went camping for the week with my three children, (Sam, 12; Carmen, 11; Elliott 8) at Killbear Provincial Park on Georgian Bay (again), near Parry Sound, ON (home of Bobby Orr!).
Probably the nicest Park in Ontario. Anyway, I wanted Big Lassie to be ready for the trip so I frantically built her starting the previous Sunday. Well, by Sunday morning, time to pack for camping and hit the road, I had the frame done, with 1 coat of varnish on everything, so I loaded her up along with my completed Free Lassie onto the utility trailer rack and off we went.

On a pair of sawhorses on our campsite, I skinned her on Monday, finishing putting the outwhale on past midnight on Monday night. Soaked and shrunk the skin overnight Monday, and applied a thick first coat of varnish at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday. By 6 p.m. Tuesday, my two son’s Sam and Elliott took her on her Maiden Voyage in Parry Sound, Georgian Bay.
They were thrilled and had a great paddle.

Building a boat on your campsite stirs up plenty of interest from your fellow campers, and one such fellow is a canoe guide in Algonquin Park for his summer job. He grew up in Regina and has extensive experience racing kayaks. So I invited him to try both of the Lassie’s. He came ashore with glowing reports for both of them regarding speed, handling, tracking, stability, surfing. Everything!

He took some nice GoPro camera footage of his paddles too. I’ll send them along to you as soon as I get them from him.

Once again, the winds kicked up on Wednesday and Thursday, and on Thursday, the Sound (or Bay) was filled with towering white caps. I took my two son’s out in Big Lassie and we hardly shipped any water despite heading directly into the chop. And the surfing back on the waves was majestic again.

These boats are really something. You can really feel Big Lassie ‘give’ with the waves because she’s lashed and not screwed together.
But, still she feels very seaworthy all the same. Later that day, Sam and I headed REALLY far out into the building choppy seas, out to where a solo kite-surfer was ripping it up (800 m from shore or so). We both showed off our stuff a bit to one another, him launching himself 15 feet in the air, and we, surfing in our home-made boat!

Brian, I cannot tell you how many people are amazed and in awe of these boats. It’s really very rewarding to talk about them to people. It’s almost too much?!! I allowed another guy from Buffalo to take his daughter out for a paddle. He loved it too!

Thanks again, I’m off to plan another kayaking adventure right now,…and I just got back an hour or so ago!!

Oh yeah, my cat, Moriarty, enjoyed a Free Lassie ride as well on his first camping trip!! He liked it not so much… :O)