My name is Robert Hodge. I’m originally from just outside Chicago and learned to sail on a sunfish in a northern Wisconsin lake, from a book I found in a thrift store.
I’m somewhat of a recognized expert in the repair, restoration, and upgrade of old Vespa Scooters, and run a home buisness doing that under the name of Hodgespeed
I currently live in Seattle, and am a member of local 104 of The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers.
I recognize the irony that I’m an experienced small engine mechanic and steel shipbuilder entering an engineless boat race in a wooden boat.
The design is a collaboration between Perttu Korhonen in Finland and Michael Storer in Australia.
The evolution of the design started with the Bolger Brick, which was modified to become the home-built one-design Puddle Duck Racer. Then, Michael Storer came up with a slight variant on that design called the Ozracer. Perttu Korhonen came up with an idea to fit a small cabin to the 8′ Ozracer that used Michael’s sail and spar design and gave the tiny cabin boat design the tounge-in-cheek name of ‘Ocean Explorer’. Meanwhile, Michael Storer came up with a 12 foot stretched Ozracer that used the same sails, spars, and foils as the Ozracer and called it the OZ PDgoose. There were requests to put the Ocean Explorer cabin on the 12 foot OZ PDgoose hull, so they colaborated on this design, with Perttu Korhonen primarily designing the hull and Michael Storer giving primary input on the new spars, sailplan, and foils.
While the design has some definite compromises and interesting trade offs, it’s alot of boat in 7 sheets of plywood.
This hull was built in about two weeks by Rick Landreville, in British Columbia. I came to own it by contacting Rick while I was planning my own build to ask him about the feasibility of a modification I was planning to do on my build. Apparently, his wife has a 7-boat-limit, and he steered the conversation to how he’d cut me a sweet deal on his. a few months later, My son woke up to a boat in our front yard.
The Minnow originally launched as the prototype build of her design under the name ‘Oozegooze 1’. Before she had even hit the water, she was lent by Rick Landreville to Andrew Linn in Oregon, who finished the spars and sails so he could enter it in the 2012 Texas 200, a rolling messabout thru the Texas intracoastal waterway. He’s the one responsible for the maple leaf on the sail, a tribute to her Canadian builder and heritage.
Traveling in the back of a pickup truck she hit a few small boat events on the way back before finding her way back to Canada. Rick used the boat occasionally, but he’s an avid builder and so it got less and less use before coming to me as other boats and other builds drew his attention.
When I received the boat in the early fall of 2014, the cabin roof needed replacement, having delaminated and being partially replaced with lexan that had then cracked in a capsize. her rudder box needed replacement. the cockpit floor was pulling apart from the bulkheads. In short, she had alot of miles under her hull both on the water and on the road and a lot of wear and tear. I did a quick fix on the cabin roof, and fitted the foils from my Ozracer and started sailing her on puget sound.
In the winter of 2014/2015, I did an extensive refit. the cabin roof was replaced in it’s entirety. The blocks and rigging were repalced with quality sailboat hardware to replace the climbing ropes and lower quality items that came with the boat. the cabin floor got a skin of epoxy and fiberglass, as did the entire bottom of the boat. Access hatches were added to make the storage more useable. Cupholders were fitted. portholes were replaced with much better items. All the sail lashings were re-done. Lazyjacks were fitted. to top it off, the whole hull was repainted, inside and out.
In light of the 2015 run and preparation for the 2016 run, I plan to fit a Hobie mirage drive to repalce the oars i carried in 2015. while they work, they don’t work well. They are awkward to use, a pain to stow, and make for a difficult transition from sail and back. Depending on resources, I may also opt for new sails and an autopilot.
The Race to Alaska is a boat race from Pt Townsend to Ketchikan. There are few rules, most primary being that there are no motors or support boats allowed. First prize is $10,000. Second prize is a set of steak knives.
The full race covers 750 miles, traversing some of some of the most extreme tidal swings and tidal currents in north america, off of one of the most desolate, uninhabited coastlines out there.
Not that the first leg is a cake walk- The first leg crosses the Strait of Juan de Fuca, which can be particularly rough as the channel funnels the wind and waves from the open Pacific Ocean directly into the race course. It’s one of the two roughest bits of water between Ketchikan and Pt Townsend, and entrants are allowed 36 hours to finish.
I completed the first leg of the 2016 Race to Alaska. I’m in it again for 2017, with an eye on a future go at Ketchikan.