Monday, February 13, 2012

Mule Time

The jon boat is going to be on our minds a lot between now and April because it has now been on its first real RRCC trip.  That means we have a much better idea of what works and what needs to be improved.  For example, by Saturday morning on the Duck it became obvious that she has a pretty good leak somewhere in the hull.  That could be put under the "needs to be improved" column.  We also learned that two people is the ideal crew size, although it can certainly carry more when it's being used just as a personnel carrier like it was on Friday night.   And let's face it, the boat performed that task perfectly so we know it's always going to be good for that purpose.  The rest of our efforts should focus on how it's going to get down shallow streams without getting stuck or losing a propeller, and how to help it perform its second intended function/rationalization - which is hauling all the bulky gear we used to just heap into our overloaded canoes.  

Here is the current wish list of improvements:

- Fix the maddening outboard tilt problem
- Continue to protect the propeller and buy a spare
- Address the not-as-maddening-but-still-could-be-better tilt problem on the trolling motor
- Repair damage to running lights from the Friday night sweeper incident
- Show Josh about deceleration
- Improve mounting of electronics switchboard
- Make the carpeted deck in the stern removable (related to switchboard mount)
- Add carpeted deck to middle seat like the rest of the boat
- Convert under-utilized live well in middle seat into much more practical beer cooler
- The trailer fairy left us some new, homemade trailer guides while the boat was in the warehouse and they need to be mounted
- The trailer jack is horrible and needs to be replaced

We weren't even sure the Current River was going to be navigable with a motor because it is really considered a canoe-only river.   Most of the references to jon boat fishermen you find are about the sections much lower than where we will be floating and when we called the canoe outfitters they were all against it.   However, the National Park Service has a 25-horsepower limit in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways on our section of the Current which suggests that it must be possible, otherwise why regulate it, right?   We also happened to come across this picture, which isn't a jon boat but close enough:

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