Saturday, March 12, 2011

Boat builder's sickness

I've come down with it before: boat builder's sickness. For me, it starts with time on the water. It doesn't matter what kind of boat I'm in. Eventually, I start to think things like: what if this boat was 2 feet longer and had 3 more inches of freeboard? Next thing you know I'm sketching things. If the disease progresses, eventually I'm making sawdust and mixing epoxy.

Sometimes the idea for a boat design starts with a mission. For example, when the kids were small, I'd sometimes take them out in a 16 foot canoe I'd rebuilt. As they got bigger, the canoe could not longer do the job. Also, I had the idea of a canoe that would be suitable for taking the whole family canoe camping.

Eventually built a 20 foot cedar strip canoe. It did the job nicely. Not only could the wife and I bring all three kids canoe camping, we could bring things like a 10X16 canvas wall tent, camp chairs, and a barbecue grill. Luxury.

Now my lovely wife and I are sailing. It's a great thing. Of course, time on the water gets me thinking of boat building again. Now don't get me wrong. There is nothing inherently bad with the Oday 19 we are sailing in. It's a good boat for where we are right now. Of course, I've already started doing small personalization projects. Nothing major -yet.

Tonight I caught myself downloading sail making information. That's a bad sign. The sickness has begun. I'm thinking of much smaller sailing dingies on one hand. On the other, I'm thinking of building boats for extended cruising.

I'm thinking outside the box. Things specifically for marine use are outrageously expensive. Sometimes there isn't much that can be done about that, but often there is. Even at this early stage of sailing adventure, I can see that a lot of marine hardware is over priced junk.

Some people would be put off by being so green at this sailing thing. Heck, I'm constantly referring to a glossary of nautical terms just to understand what people are talking about. I'm not bothered at all. It's how I've always done things: find something I want to do, then acquire what's needed, skills, tools and materials, to make it happen.



  1. Maybe someday you will build a fleet of sailing ships and you could take all your blogger friends along. . . :-)

  2. Sounds like fun. Who's bringing the chips?

  3. Check out George Buehler's "Back Yard Boat Building". He has lots of alternatives to yachting's hoary traditions, based on what's worked for commercial craft for ages, power and sail, mostly sail. Plus, his snarky writing is a hoot!

    Oh it's salty I is, I yam, I arrrr, and when I spits, I spits tar!

  4. Thanks Mayberry. It's on my book list.

  5. Sounds like a good illness to get, if you ask me!

    It will be fascinating to watch your progress!

  6. You and Scott William's blog (BUG OUT SURVIVAL) would probably get along really well, he too likes DIY boat building. If you haven't already seen his blog, oughta give it a look.