View Full Version : Geo. Calkin's Bartender

Dave 'doc' Fleming
10-23-2000, 04:09 PM
Anybody have experience with this type?
I am aware that the Pt.Townsend Shipwrights in Washington State list it as a stock design but I am looking for some objective comments on it.

Ian McColgin
10-24-2000, 09:09 AM
There was a thread some years back that might help.

Also an old WB article where someone actually improved the bartender with lifting strakes - I believe I heard that Calkins even approved.

I drove one around on the Columbia Bar 25 years ago and found it a good boat for the purpose. Not necessarily the fastest or most efficient boat on the ocean but a boat that'll get you there and get you back with workmanlike panache.

I don't know if it would be practical, but it seems to me that it would be nice to somehow marry a Bartender with the newer higher speed Tractor jet drive (high volume lower rpm jet that the normal jets) but I guess that just can't be with the double ended shape.

Good boat, but is it classic if you don't crossplank the bow V?



Dave 'doc' Fleming
10-24-2000, 10:21 AM
That water jet idea has been kicking around in my mind for some time but I have not really persued it. What problems do you see with using a water jet in a double ender.
I have an impression based upon nothing concrete that the, to me, smallish rudder and pointy stern might be some trouble in a following sea. ie: might tend to yaw on the lift of a wave. A jet just might have the uumph to over come that imagined failing.
Oh were you stationed at Cape Disappointment?
If the CG had the rescue swimmer rating when I was in boot camp I would have seriously thought of transferring from the RR to Active Duty. But alas they did not and so after our 'grueling' 13 weeks of training and cruising the Carribean :), I went back to Wall St. and soon thereafter choose a different path.
As Edith Piaf would said, No Regrets.

Ian McColgin
10-24-2000, 10:46 AM
Not in the service. I lived at Cannon Beach, built Leeward to handline for ling cod rowing off the beach, and sailed, fished and worked a variety of boats along the coaste and up the river.

My experience with the Bartender is that she has enough power and rudder that it's easy to avoid broaching. Mostly, she's fast enough to come in on the back of one wave, but a few times I had reason to come down a following wave and it was well behaved. I think that the pointed stern kind of squats in the wave and has less tendency to fall down hill the way a more bouyand and flat stern does.

Jets are a whole thing in themselves. Most are not good at displacement speed but tractor's high volume jets, really made for sein boats, are nice and powerful at slow bell and there's a new version that's suitable up to about the speed a bartender can usefully handle. Their impellors are turning slowly enough that they are reported to be undamaged if the intake grabs some sand, again unlike the high speed jets.

The tractor is a big diameter exit, however, and I think you'd have to cut off some of the underwater horn timber area of the bartender, making a kind of underwater transom. This in turn creates construction and design problems that might well be worse than any advantages the jet could have is you like cruising in thin water.

However done, they are good boats. Caulkins' first versions were a bit underpowered but the contemporary approach with the lifting strakes will scoot right along when running light. Load her down and chug home at economical displacement speed or burn some gas & push her up on a semi plane.

Dave 'doc' Fleming
10-24-2000, 01:59 PM
Thanks for the info, Rick.
And Ian as far as building one, to be honest I would probably build it out of.....say this vewwy vewwy quietly, Aluminum.
After spending the last 12 or so years of my working life in Aluminum, Bristol Bay gillnetters, yachits and such. I am much impressed with its qualities.
I am no fan of petro-chemical boat building, though I have and will continue to use various goos for laminating. So that lets out plywood cum fiberglas sheathing as a building material. Strip planking is not an option that I wish to consider either.
Sitting on a trailer for most of the time bouncing down the road and coming in through the surf to the beach are situations that,IMOP, show of Al's best qualities.
Oh, Uffa DA, surf fishing off OR., me heap impressed!

Tom Lathrop
10-24-2000, 09:33 PM

The comments I've heard from one owner on the east coast is that the Bartender is not a good choice outside the element it was designed for. When not running off the beach or over a bar across an inlet, the compromises made for rough water handling make for less than spectacular performance in calmer water. The boat I saw had lifting strakes added to the aft underbody in an attempt to improve planing ability. The buoyancy of the aft sections will not support the weight of a large engine nor is the aft bearing area adequate to get the boat up on plane very rapidly. With the modifications, the performance was stated as marginal.

Not my comments, but the guy who told me knows a lot about boats.

In your intended use, the Bartender may be just what you need. The Jersey Sea Skiff might also be a good choice for your off the beach use. It also will take a powerful engine for good speed since some were used in the rum running trade. Just what I've heard or read since I've had no experience with either.

Dave 'doc' Fleming
10-24-2000, 09:51 PM
Tom, I have always liked the Sea Skiff but since my future plans are centered on the East Coast and in particular the South Fork of Long Island and the fact that I will not be able to keep a boat in water all the time.
I was interested in the Bartender because it, IMOP, would lend itself to....whisper...Aluminum construction.
I will be launching into the greater Shelter Island Sound so big waves as I recall in Spring Lake, NJ., are not a problem but a cobbled shore line could be. And the planked hull of a Sea Bright Skiff type would be unsuitable for that shore.
So says I, back to searching mode.

Derek Gavin
10-25-2000, 08:06 PM
My uncle had an 18 foot Bartender, plywood, with lift strakes and powered by an outboard in a well. (50hp Merc as I recall) The boat actually moved out smartly and handled the Jersey shore, Rumson area, finaskind.

Ian McColgin
10-26-2000, 08:38 AM
As long as you're looking around, what about one of those long lean Culler designs? They go well loaded or light; flatwater, chop or surf.

Dave 'doc' Fleming
10-26-2000, 10:56 AM
Ian, good idea and Culler's book as well as Kelly's is right alongside this here electronical thingamabob. And if anybody would know the east coast and what works it should be Culler. Always liked him ever since I got his book and saw that photo of his shop. Anybody who is savvy enough to have a Williams and Hussey planer for small boat stock is alright with me.

Ian McColgin
10-26-2000, 12:38 PM
I'd met Capt Pete through Robin Laggamin in the early '70's when I was in Theology School. When I moved to the Cape in the 80's, he'd died but his widow, Tony Culler, lived across the street from where my partner established her studio. Also got to know George Kelly, and so had some entre.

The shop has been torn down and the house has been moved - that house has a migrant history and is on its 3rd or 4th foundation of the last 150 years. I regret that I lacked the temerity to ask Tony to let me use the shop, but I did enjoy standing in it.

I think that the string of various sized outboards that he did with the sharp cross planked bow and graceful flattening stern are really sweet. Not tried one in real surf but I drove on out and later back in through Canapitsit at Cutty Hunk in a vigorous s'easter with the tide making against it and we had some fun where other boats might not have had any joy at all.

Dave 'doc' Fleming
10-26-2000, 02:11 PM
Ian, what hoppen to the tools?
Especially that Walker Turner bandsaw with the neat modification so that one person could crank the table trunnion handle and do changing bevels.
I gots me a 16 inch WT and always wanted to try to rig up something like that too.
Now the damn tools sit in a time capsule waiting for SWIMPAL to retire so that we can have some fun. Haven't locked the location down yet. As you can deduce from the Bartender thread,we are looking very carefully on both coasts.
Heck we may wind up on the Cape along with 'Doc' Millekin and youse. :)

Ian McColgin
10-27-2000, 09:55 AM
The rumor I heard from a somewhat irritated Tony Culler was that at least the hand tools - like a gazillion planes etc - were donated to Mystic and promptly dispersed into many private tool boxes. Her consolation was at least people knew enough to steal the very best, and they are probably in use.

Dave 'doc' Fleming
10-27-2000, 10:56 AM
Ian, I hate to hear stories like that too.
You want to think that people are above deeds like that, too bad says I.
I recall when working at Anderson and Christofani, they got a job redecking the Balcluthla before it was part of the National Maritime whatever.
Rumor was that many tools of the trade such as complete caulking sets and shipwrights tools had been donated to the body owning her at that time specifically so that they would be available for the job and others to follow.
I never saw one tool come on board that did not belong to one of the A&C crew.
Makes me think about my tools when I am gone.
I told SWIMPAL to sell them to the highest bidder and have put down some ball park estimates on the really old stuff.
I hate to see them on some 'yuppies' mantle or the like but I guess there is not too much to be done about it.
In days past out here on the left coast the Union had storage for a mans tools between jobs and many were left in the Hall when a man passed on to the big shipyard in the sky.
Business Agent would get in touch with widow and work out arrangements with her about how best to dispose of the tools if there was no family member who wanted them. They would be auctioned off at the next meeting. Heh Heh, those were the only meetings that had a big turn out.
Last Mother's Day we were up to the Bay Area and I stopped in to my old Local and got my retirement pin and in chatting with the BA,it came out that a fellow who retired about 10 years ago and had moved to Texas with his son called up asking about his tools. They were still there and the BA shipped them to him in Texas.
I dunno about folks that follow this BB but to me and many like me that worked in the trade our tools were almost a part of us.
See the Tale, My Tools, for more of an explanation.