This is probably a familiar tale but I feel like getting it off my chest. I just turned 49. Iíve always tinkered. Just couldnít help myself. I got a lot of support from my stepfather, a fantastic man and a legendary tinkerer in his own right. He essentially had a hardware store in his garage and as a kid it was a fantastic wonderland that Iíve essentially tried to recreate on a smaller scale in my adulthood. My strengths though have always leaned towards the mechanical (as opposed to carpentry) but Iíve put a put hammer to nail my fair share. I appreciate technology but I LOVE craftsmanship. My profession is in CAD. Iím a second generation draftsmen (now in civil engineering). My main passion for the last 20 years has been classic motorcycle riding and restoration. Iím a lunatic for old road going 2 stroke street bikes. Iím not intimidated by a big projects and I think I have a fair amount of patience.
Another familiar tale Iím sure is that Iíve always had the boat dream but like many folks life, circumstances, children, finances, geography etc have always interfered. Living in Florida for thirty years now, Iíve had my share of plastic runabouts but they were tools for family fun days and fishing. No real romance but no regrets either. Good tools for good times. I needed a tool and not a project. Besides I had the bikes for that. But the boat dream has always nagged at me. Tasked me. Trips to Mt Dora classic boat shows over the years and Wooden Boat Magazine (especially launchings) have kept the lust burning. My friends always laugh that I know more about wooden boats than any non wooden boat owner ever should. When my thoughts are idle, I often start to just build them in my mind. Iím sure that Iím not alone. Iíve been lurking here for months now and read countless threads. I know there are probably many builders (and potential builders) who on here with similar backgrounds.
About 15 years or so back, I was well on my way to building a George Buehler Juno from the free plans in his legendary ďBackyardĒ book (now very dog eared). Like many folks, he hit the right note with me. I wanted something ďshippyĒ but a flawless teak classic was less important than getting ďout thereĒ. At the time I had a great space available, I had the plans all drafted up in 3d (still have the file somewhere) and I had plotted out full sized frame patterns. I was setting aside the some money and I had a roadmap. Then the clichť hit. I met my wife Had a daughter, bought a house and hit the pause button on the boat. So for 15 years it was all motorcycles. They worked out better for the 2 car garage and were more manageable as a hobby so I went that route. No regrets. I still ride and build and always will as long as the flesh and mind are willing. But for all the usual reasons, the boat is back in my psyche.
So once again Iím going to devote some real energy towards.. towardsÖ.wellÖ at this pointÖ Iím not entirely positive.
Iím struggling with the demons of self deception. Like many folks I have ďthat vision thingĒ. A beautiful schooner sailing the emerald waters of the Bahamas at sunrise etc etc. Itís a great image but honestly there is no way because:
A) I donít think Iím a sailor at heart. I love the romance but Iím not crazy about all the work involved on the water with sheets and rigging. Iíve tried and and when conditions are perfect it sublime. But how often does that happen.
B) The truth of my life is that Iím probably going to be motoring out of Jacksonville Beach Florida and heading north to Fernandina and south to St Augustine or west up the St Johnís River for some overnighters and maybe some beach camping. So the blue water passages and the expense of those boats donít interest me like they did when I was 15 or 20 years younger.
So my plan is to build 2 boats. The fist is going to be a simple strip plank canoe. I can use the garage, I can get some splinters and test my resolve. Itís a boat I can use to paddle the shallow ICW creeks around here and maybe use to chase some redfish. If that ďdoes itĒ for me then so it goes. But, if all that goes well, Iím going to eventually go with a second ďrealĒ boat. This one has me stumped.
My criteria nowdays (as opposed to the time when a Buehler "shippy" and slow sailboat would have sufficed) leans towards... Simple power (preferably outboard), just a bit of speed, a small cabin I can sleep in. Beachable along the sands of the ICW. .A touch of classic looks. Realistically Trailerable by an average full sized pickup. Straightforward construction (plywood on frame or cold molded I think). Also, I believe I have enough room in the yard to throw up some cover and get about 30í of space under cover.
Iíve not seen (m)any photoís of the completed boat but I keep coming back to The Parker Marine Commuter 27. For now at least, it feels like the right boat but Iím not sure what else is out there in this class?
Well anyway, Iíll shut up now. Thanks for the chance to vent. For now back to listening I think.
Any thoughts, observations, suggestions, even insults (or boat plans I should consider) are all very much appreciated.