Sunday, January 08, 2006

Zen and the art of boat building

After moving to the Puget sound area, I discovered two things. One, this place has lots of water (I mean, water bodies, apart from all the rain we get), and two, there aren't many marinas which rent boats. I love boating, be it rowing, sailing, canoeing or power boating, and consequently missed having easy access to a water craft. To make matters worse, we built a house that is three houses from a small lake (But, don't ask me why it takes 3 miles to get to the same lake. I hate the planners of this city). So, I was left with two choices: drive to far off lakes to rent boats (not many choices here, either), or buy my own boat. The first choice was not very practical because most marinas didn't have rental sailboats, which I prefer. So, I was left with the latter choice.

I looked around for inexpensive small sailboats, and most were way over my budget. Then, I stumbled on websites as well as magazines that focused on boat building. Yes, boat building is a complex task, if you are building complex boats. Since I wanted to start off with a small boat, it seemed easy enough for me. Given my wood working background (a bird house as a kid, speaker stands, bookcase for a friend, a deck behind our previous house), I felt confident that I could build a decent boat. So, off I went on to become a wooden boat builder.

After extensive research, I settled on a plywood boat covered with fiberglass. Initially, I will build it and launch it as a row boat. Once I understand its characteristics, I will rig it up for sailing. I bought the boat plans from a couple of places (check this page for links on boat building), and my supplies from all over the country (fiberglass from San Diego, epoxy from Miami, wood from local lumber yards and tools from garage sales). After acquiring all the material I discovered that the epoxy I had, even though a fast curing one, was most effective if used at temp over 60F. With temperatures in the 40s during the day, my plans of building the boat this winter are sinking fast. I guess I will have to wait for Spring before I can do anything significant on this project.

I have already built this boat several times, in my mind. I have made notes on some bothersome areas that need attention. I have already decided on a color scheme for the boat! Hey, this is planning or what? I wish I did this kind of thinking and planning in all other areas of my life too.

I will post updates as I build the boat.