Almost a year ago I started on an ambitious/crazy plan to build a sailboat seaworthy enough to handle everything from local lakes to coastal cruising. Since it’s too cold for epoxy to harden it’s a great time to finally sit down and show what I’ve done so far.
I learned to sail almost 20 years ago at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle. The arrival of children, the move back to Boston and the fact that it’s a rich man’s sport had all conspired to keep me off the water. But in 2010 I stumbled into the hidden world of backyard boat builders. The fact that I was an absolute novice at woodworking didn’t stop me from dreaming – and spending countless hours surfing the net watching other guys build boats.
Before my first boat, this was the height of my woodworking accomplishments. I bet it floats!
In the summer of 2010 I found free plans for a simple sail boat, the Summer Breeze by David Beede. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t succeed, and I was also pretty sure that my lovely wife would agree, so I started it on a weekend when The Admiral was out of town. My plan worked! By the time she returned on Sunday afternoon I had something that was vaguely boat-shaped, so I braved her skeptical eye rolls and continued. Much to our surprise I finished, it floated, and it (more or less) went in the direction I wanted.
In the summers of 2012 and 2013 our floating family grew with the birth of two kayaks in festive colors. So now that I had proved that I could make something that floats, it was time to make a serious sailboat.
My search led to the Navigator, designed by John Welsford of New Zealand. Because I’m still a very beginning sailor, I needed a design like this that has been proven to be very safe and seaworthy. I was also attracted to the fact that the design was a good step up for me in difficulty, but not as hard as some other building methods. John has sold over 500 sets of these plans, so there are Navigators sailing all over the world.
Ain’s she purty?
So, with a little luck, I’ll be out sailing in fall of 2016 or the following summer