Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thinking about building a boat

Broad-reaching with Asymmetrical Chute
So why would anyone want to build a boat and more to the point, why would I want to build a boat?

Heck, I did not even know that I was a sailor until well past a reasonable age to learn a new trick. But that's another story.

Anyway, so here I am - 18 years later - usually sailing in the fast lane, finding myself smitten with the idea of building a small nutshell of a sailing dinghy. I know next to nothing about building a wooden boat and other than a couple of years of shop in school - eons ago - I don't really know much about working with wood.

Encounter with Goldberry
Over the past many years of sailing my high-tech 18' racing dinghy, a Johnson 18, I became friends with Garth, a true wood-working artist and artisan who built Goldberry, an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous wooden boat designed by Iain Oughtred. From time to time, our boats would cross paths on Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park. On one occasion I had an opportunity to sail on his boat and like a flash, I remembered the smell, the sound, the feel of my father's wooden 15' dinghy, a Pirat. From time to time I'd wistfully think about building a small little vessel but then would dismiss the thought before it had a chance to become a plan.

As my wife Iris and I perused around the Annapolis Sailboat Show this past season on a perfect fall day, we came across the Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC Boats) booth where they were in the middle of putting together a small pram. I picked up a catalog and... well, put all these things together and I arrived at the conclusion that building my own little boat would be a great winter project after all... I looked at many other companies offering kit boats but in the end came to the conclusion that CLC Boats would be my best choice. After studying the various mouth-watering designs offered, I decided on the lovely lines of the Passagemaker Dinghy, a Norwegian-inspired pram.

This 11'7" lap-strake craft offers a wonderful combination of sailing and rowing and I was definitely attracted by the traditional lug rig option which I chose over the originally designed gunter rig.

Finally, on Dec 13, the kit arrived after many weeks of not-so-patient waiting.

I am hoping to launch the boat in the spring... at any rate, I promised Iris that my 10' x 20' workshop will be converted back to the Bristol-clean sun room it previously was.

This log will chronicle my progress.

According to the manual, it will take 100 work hours to complete construction. I suspect it'll take me a bit longer simply because of my space constraints. Not to worry though, the doorway is large enough for the hull to exit unharmed upon completion.

I'll keep you updated...

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