The whole boat feels very sturdy with the ribs in and to be honest is a bit heavier than I imagined (probably because of the thicker rib size I opted to go with to strengthen the weaker bark hull). Despite this the boat floated quite high on the surface of the lake given the the cedar's amazing bouyancy. The hull's flattened bottom gives it decent primary stability but she still heels over quite well for solo paddling and responds just like bark canoes are supposed to, with an amazing delicate touch.
Action shot on the port side
Heeled over in the shallows
Final pose showing the starboard side
After about 10 minutes of paddling by the shoreline however, I felt some wetness on my shins and sure enough, the boat was taking on some water. Leaking on the first attempt is quite normal for a novice builder I suppose. But I'm a bit bummed out that I've run out of time to fully complete the boat and start paddling around the lake. Work and family obligations meant this was my last trip up here until August, so finalizing the boat would have to wait until then. Before packing the canoe up in garage, I let the outer bark dry up a bit, set it up on sawhorses and poured a bucket of water into the interior. The water eventually drained from the hull in numerous spots (mostly the 2nd lap seam and the stern end seam) and these were marked off with permament marker. When I'm back up again in August, I'll be repitching these seems and am confident the holes can be sealed off. In the meantime, I'll be thinking about designs to etch on the winter bark of the hull and fantasize about paddling it some more.