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The next project..... Arthur Armstrong Blackjack

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The next project..... Arthur Armstrong Blackjack
 

As many know, my one-man boat is a Sam Hunt BBSB. My hull was originally built as a sailboat. I refurbished it as my hunting rig but maintained the sailing capability and built spars for the rig as well. Brian Garman and I have been hunting the salt marsh at Chincoteague each season, and I am finding the BBSB which needs nearly a full 12" of water to float when I am in the hull with a puddler load of decoys.

Brian has moved through a couple hulls and settled in and customized a Southbay Duckboat. I have been searching for a hull to do similar for myself. I have several registered trailers and a like new 15hp Yamaha SS, so my goal has been to find a hull. Most all of the Southbay rigs hitting the market are packages, and none of the sellers would part the out. About a year ago, I had a line on an AA Blackjack and trailer deal, but the seller was vacillating, and I could not pin him down. Months, Covid, we went back and forth, and he decided not to sell. Then he sold it without letting me know!

Finally, the stars aligned.... and I was not going to drag my feet. Last Wed, I drove 4 hours to Cape Charles, VA and picked up this 1990 AA Blackjack. My plan is to set it up to hunt over the gunnel primarily. As many of us are finding, sitting on the bottom of a hull for hours on end is getting harder as we get older. I plan to add some height to the gunnels, and then add flapper boards.


These first 3 images are how it was advertised:













Yesterday, Maria and I wrestled the Dodge and Krowl Ice Scooter off the trailer and onto some sawhorses in one of my back shelters. We then pulled the Blackjack onto the trailer, which will need about 2ft added to its tongue.




Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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She is now tucked away for the Winter, will scheme the enhancements and pull it out in the Spring to have it ready for next season.....




Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Dave,
I have always liked the Armstrong Blackjack and Wigeon. Some guys I knew in Michigan had them and used them on Munuscong Bay in the UP.

I know you are a happy man having found this boat that seems to be in great shape.

Congratulations.

Larry
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Hi Dave

I previously had a wigeon, and now have had a blackjack for several years. As I got older, the wigeon got tight for me. The blackjack has more room in it. What I really like about the AA boats is that they both can be poled through skinny water. I am curious about the square hole in front of the cockpit, that is not someti8ng I've seen before in these boats.
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Very cool boat!
Cant wait to see her in action.
Any obvious repairs needed?


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Seen that boat advertised and got itchy about it myself. Sold my Blackjack to a member a few years ago after owning it twice in its life. What is that hole in front deck. Spot to drop a battery maybe? Blackjacks will scoot w a 2 stroke 25 hung on them but a 2 stroke 15 will move a single hunter and dog alright.
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The hole in the foredeck is for a hatch. In the ad photos it was just a hole. When I picked it up it had the cover installed. As it is already there, I will likely leave it unless it interferes with what I do for raising the coaming and adding a dodger/flaps.

This hull looks better in pictures than in person. It appears solid, but I will strip it down in the Spring, and go through it as part of the modifications I have in mind. Supposedly this hull was used for Coast Guard testing, and as a result has holes drilled throughout it that, had they been addressed right after the test would likely have saved me some work. I could hunt it today, but don't need to, and will wait until Spring to do too much. It is stored away, and out of sight, but not out of mind.





Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Make sure you check those rear flotation bxs in corners for leakage. That trim around half's has a habit of leaking and letting water in when running with motor. Between that and stern handle leaks water gets in those bxs.
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Dave,

If you plan to shoot over the gunnel, you may want to consider the Steve Sanford situp blind. Here's a recent picture of the one I completed this season (the dimensions are very close to the ones that Steve provided).

I've hunted out of this setup 4 times now this season, and have yet to wake up in the night with leg cramps the evening after any of those hunts (last season I had that problem after several hunts in which I sat on a seat on the boat's floor).

Steve mentioned that his was not good in high winds, so I don't plan to test mine in such. Today we had small craft warnings so I elected to stay home
By the way, can you tell that a hunter is sitting in the boat in this photo?

Last edited by:

Steve O: Jan 3, 2022, 10:19 AM
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Steve O, Steve Sanford's blind, the Roy boats, and Brian Garman's modified SB are all the inspiration for what I intend.

This is Brian's:


I plan to do basically the same, altering to fit this hull best. I will raise the coaming sufficient that wen the flap boards are dropped they don't drag in the water while underway. Ideally, they should be at a height that I can still reach the water (decoys) when kneeling on the floor too?

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Dave,

Technically I can reach the decoys with the flaps down, but for safety's sake I don't intend to.

I have a pole with a hook I hope to use to retrieve the decoys if deployed in deep water.

So far I've only hunted spots where I can retrieve the decoys on foot while I have the boat alongside.
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Steve~


Great to see your completed project! Looks like fine work all around.


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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I always use a boat hook to pull decoys to the hull, but pick them up by hand.

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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The upright blind I built for mine Rolled up from both sides to 42" off floor. 28" shoot slot at top. I installed rod holders in 4 corners of top cockpit combing that would take 1" copper pipe. Simple elbow on top blind wall tubing slipped down over uprights. Front door and blind side walls extended out to location of handles on top of hull. Rear door and back of blind wall went back to nylon cleats i,d installed on rear hull corners. Very tough blind and super simple to set up. Walls stowed great along edge of cockpit combing when rolled down for transport. Entire cordura blind grassed w/rafia . I normally carried a bundle of switch grass bundles on front deck to allow some drape over shoot hole and allow me to sit in a fold up 3 legged primous deer blind chair. Very comfortable to hunt from and not overly tall with that low profile hull. Also built a layout blind for it with Dodger & lap curtain but can,t seem to find pics I took of either . Never could sit comfortably in a blind w/flapper boards on low seat. Legs to long, cramped easily.
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Here are a couple other views of mine, flaps down and grassed up. Low profile and easy to put out and pick up decoys. I widened the cockpit and sit sideways on 4 inch milk crate and momarsh seat. The AA blackjack hull should workout well with a similar setup
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Thanks, Steve S. This setup makes for much greater hunting comfort
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Keep us apprised of your progress. I have to pull the top off of mine this year, the transom wood has some rot and I'm going to have to figure that out. I will also be taking a look at the boxes Roy mentioned for water leakage, and I am going to put some support under the bow deck, which sags a little. I think mine is about 25 years old.

I do not have any kind of blind on it. I grass the boat and then cover the motor and part of the cockpit with camo burlap and sometimes a small panel of fast grass. I typically pull it into some taller grass. and sit either on the floor or on the corner of the cockpit toward the bow if the grass I'm in is high enough.
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some of you will find this interesting - It came with my AA Broadbill
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Thank you for sharing.

Rick
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Dave, how many boats do you have? Sneak Boats, I don't understand why hunters put large structures on these. I've had a few over the years and loved the low lines for gunning. I hunted by myself for years because floating blinds are the norm here. When my brother got interested we took a 13' whaler and put a blind on it. Went to a member of the forum later.
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Humm, Rich, how will this information be used against me?

1. Sam Hunt BBSB Sailing displacement hull (1950s vintage)
2. Devlin Design Scaup (1990s vintage)
3. Dodge and Krowl Ice Scooter (1905)
4. Devlin Design Cackler on Steroids (Dave Clark built, 3/4" bead and cove cedar, bare hull) Looking for a new home if anyone has a need!
5. Cedar Strip canoe (1970 vintage, built in Maine)
6. Phoenix Poke Boat(s) 12ft kayaks
7. Arthur Armstrong Blackjack (1990)

I am down from my all time high, and the armada has shrunk.....

a couple years ago I had a Higbee Pond Box, a Susquehanna Roll Boat, a Susquehanna sneakboat, and a Kalash Layout all in my fleet too.

The Kalash was Rufus', but I had possession. That recently went to NE PA. The Pond Box is in MA, the Rollboat, SE VA, and the sneakboat is in FL.

Honestly, I think I am about there.... I have boats that will scratch all the itches.

The Scooter doubles as a layout.
The Scaup allows me to host others.
The Blackjack will be my shallow/salt marsh boat.
The Poke boats are summer paddle primarily.
The canoe will be a Opa/Grandsons project in a few years

The Sam Hunt BBSB will be what the boys learn to sail in perhaps.

The only thing that does not have a purpose is the Dave Clark built Cackler. I envisioned that as a tender/camper hull, but really would love for someone to come get it and do something with it. I don't think I will.

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Dave

Holy crap that's a lot of duck boats. I like it!

Eric
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Eric, if I was honest, there are several more boats that I no longer have..... that could be on the list...

A 16ft Plywood garvey that was my first duckboat.... some 30+ years ago.
A Herters Duck Goose boat
A Wilderness Systems Chesapeake kayak
A SportsPal canoe, with layout seats, spud poles, and camo cover
A Devlin Black Brant II that I got from a Duckboats member, and handed off to another
A Glastron tri-hull I bought to get a good deal on a motor for the 16ft Garvey, ended up moving the motor back and forth so we had a tubing boat in the Summer.

That is all I can remember right now....With Maria, I found if you have enough that she can't keep track, that is best. She has no desire to poke her head into my boat tents.

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown

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Dave,

I don't see a Delaware Ducker in your list.

Rick
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A Delaware Ducker was on my wish list, in fact I have a set of study plans printed and they used to be on the wall of my office, along with similar plans for a Mellonseed. Just don't think they are a priority anymore.

Dave Diefenderfer
Manassas, VA

"Once you set out to build a boat, throw away your square. And if you work on her after she's launched, throw away your level." author unknown