Weasel Duck emerges from Kiwi egg!By David Whitworth and Pa #761 "Weasel Duck" (19es 2eo 3ea 1ar)
This duck began life in a Kiwi egg. Pam and I had planned to build a "Kiwi PDRacer" from the plans supplied by John Welsford the New Zealand designer. We built a Weslford designed dinghy some years ago and thought that the Kiwi PDR was a nice looking variation on Shorty's creation and at the time the plans were available free on the PDR website. The plans sat idle while we hatched 19 simpler ducks in Port Alberni this spring and then, during our Regatta in the summer, we raffled off our original Hull #623 as a PR effort. Now we NEEDED a new boat!
We started it in October, and after we had drawn the side curves on the plywood (but before we cut it out) Shorty offered Port Alberni the chance to organize the 2013 World Championship races . More delay to get that started and then back to the boat. Pam insisted that before we get back to the boat we build one of those comb-like measuring devices that determines that a hull has the correct curve. We will need this for the World's. She thought we should test some of our Port Alberni boats (all built from the same set of hull curve patterns) and while we were at it we could test the KiwiPDR curve (which we had not yet cut). I argued that we needed to get on with the build, but as usual in the end Pam was right.
Our boats all fit the curve just fine, BUT we discovered that the drawn curve on the KiwiPDR did NOT fit. There were two points where it was well out of line and the bow angle is very close to non-compliance. Since we want to race this boat in next year's Championships we decided to amend the curve and bow angle to fit Shorty's specs. We cut the plywood and started to build the rest of the boat as per the plans.
Because there are some inconsistencies in the measurements in the plans I had been following some of the on-line forums where other people are building the boat. I found that in several places people were assuring others that the boats WAS compliant. The boat is also shown in a photo in a recent Wooden Boat magazine where it is described as a PDRacer and appears with other ducks in the same picture. Hmm, something wrong here.
So, back to the PDR site where I found out that the Welsford plans are no longer offered for free. They ARE available for $25 from Duckworks and sold as a "PDRacer". After an email to Shorty and some digging around I find that the designer is aware that the boat does not comply, has not agreed to change the lines to fit, and continues to sell the plans as a PDRacer without a royalty to Shorty or even formal recognition. This is worse than the so-called OZRacer which at least changed the name before offering a quasi-PDR for their own profit without any acknowledgement to the creator.
What to do? We had cut the plywood and had used fairly expensive Okume. We did not want to start over. But we did not want to build a boat that might be mistaken for a Kiwi PDRacer at any event we attend.
Well, if Welsford can use Shorty's intellectual property without acknowledgement it seems reasonable to us that we can use his plans as a foundation of our own boat and then change them as we see fit. I suppose to be equally offensive we should build it ALMOST like a KiwiPDR and call it one. That way when it wins the World Championship next year . . . . !!
But we have decided on a more subtle approach. We will build the boat using (stealing?) all of the good ideas from the KiwiPDR design (and there are some very good ideas in it), but we will change the topsides and rig so that it is very obviously not a KiwiPDR. No hiking wings and a spray rail/cockpit coaming are at least two ideas. To a keen observer, the registration picture already shows some cockpit variations.
And finally, without wanting to recognise the original designer's influences of course, we shall name it "Weasel Duck".
We'll post some more pics when it is finished.