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Big Mac Spindeepster's Blog

New Cleats

These new cleats were a Christmas present from my wife.  There's not too many Large Mouth Bass in the Potomac waters that I fish, but you must admit they're sure different!


The Bell

No seafaring vessel, no matter how modest, should be without a bell.  It is said that the bell is regarded as an embodiment of the vessel’s soul.

  J.H Roeding reports in his Marine Dictionary, published in Hamburg in 1793, as follows: The bell hangs in a special bracket which sailors call the “gallows”, on merchantmen, it stands forward of the windlass and serves at the same time as a pall bit. To swing the bell it has an iron arm to which a rope is attached.  

Here is the story of this bell...

Shortly after Warren passed away, I found the bell in his workshop.  Unfortunately, it was missing the gallows (the part screwed to the bulkhead).   I looked high and low.  I took the bell into my mother-in-law’s house and described the part to her as best I could because I didn’t know what it looked like my self.  She hadn’t seen it.  I would pick up this bell and snoop around Warren’s workshop from time to time…looking for the gallows.  I even fancied making one my self from mahogany, but my versions split under the weight of the bell.  I had all I could do to keep from going nuts!  This went on for several years.

One day I noticed that when I attached my accessories cable to the boat battery, there was a minor spark.  With everything (lights, radio, etc.) turned off, there was still a spark.  This explained why my battery was always dying, something was draining it.  With that, I went to the boat one Saturday morning with spools of different colored wire, wire strippers, wire nuts, and everything else I would need to completely re-wire the boat.  I installed a fused switch panel, and a separate panel for the bilge pumps.  After completely re-wiring the “Big MAC” from stem to stern, I went into Warren’s workshop.  I opened a small drawer looking for one last wire nut to complete the job, and there lay the gallows…. go figure that one out.  Maybe Warren wanted me to re-wire the "Big MAC" all along.

Photo Opportunity


Today I thought it would be nice to pull the boat away from the pier and take some pictures with the back-drop of the autumn trees.  I took about 20 pictures, but I thought it best to post only one and not overdo it.  Enjoy...

Bottom Plank

Today I hauled the boat out of the water to address an issue I discovered recently.  Beneath the deck inside the cabin (out of my view) trouble was brewing.

 The plank is not pretty, but it is sound when I bang on it with a hammer and poke it with my pocket knife.  At this point I have decided to dry the wood, coat it with epoxy, and keep a close eye on it.  Replacemet will come later if need be.

Bow Repair

This repair was done in 2007

Ugly man...tacky tee-shirt.

The replacement piece is Mahogany.


Washboards, Gunwales, Toe Rails & Rot.

Every year, the “Big MAC” gets hauled out of the water, scraped, painted, and repaired.  There is always something that needs my attention, and every year I learn new things about what it must be like to be a boat builder.  The neat thing about owning this boat is, it’s nothing more than a big three dimensional puzzle.  When a part wears out, breaks, or rots, all I have to do is duplicate that part and make the repair.  

Over the past few years I have had an ongoing battle with the starboard side washboard, toe rail, and gunwale.  For those who don’t know, the toe rail is an interesting little component.  For a waterman, its job is to elevate his toes while standing on the washboard when pulling up oysters or crab pots.  This naturally throws the waterman’s center of gravity back.  If he loses his balance he is more likely to fall into his boat than out of it.  The curse of the toe rail is that it traps moisture underneath.  And underneath the toe rail hides the seam where the gunwale meets the washboard. 

The Cabin


 The “Big MAC” is a Deadrise.  She is 22 feet 4 inches long, 7 feet 4 inches at her beam, and powered by a 70 hp. 1983 Johnson outboard.  Top speed, 22 knots.  She also carries a 6 hp Johnson outboard “kicker” for slow-trolling and emergency use.  With the motor tilted up, she sits in about 12 inches of water.  Cedar, Pine, and Oak are the primary woods used in her construction.  Originally open-hulled, a cuddy cabin was added in the fall & winter of 2000.  She bears a strong resemblance to the classic Chesapeake Bay-Built Deadrises of her home water.  It is worth noting that boats by this definition are typically 35 feet long or longer, and powered by inboard diesels.  Still, she carries all the classic lines and construction features that make her a Chesapeake Bay-Built Deadrise more than anything else.


This is what she looks like today, October 31, 2008. 

A New Beginning

This is what the “Big MAC” looked like when Warren passed away in 1997.  My mother-in-law Charlotte gave the “Big MAC” to me, and I have been trying to figure out if that was a blessing or a curse ever since.  This blog will highlight changes I have made to the boat, repairs I have made, and anything else I can think of to share.


The Name

Warren named his boat after the only women in his life.  My wife Melissa is his younger of two daughters.  Alleen is his other daughter, and Charlotte is Warren’s wife.  From their names he came up with MAC, or the “Big MAC”.  Melissa and Alleen joke that he should have named the boat “Charlotte’s Kitchen” because he promised to remodel her kitchen when he retired.  The kitchen never did get remodeled, but I’m sure he meant t

Best Marine Epoxy

My favorite epoxy? Progressive Basic No-Blush Epoxy

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