Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Make the first choice

Picking your first boat to build is not an easy choice. I decided to start from the very beginning with the easiest plywood boat I could possibly find and doing research before that even started.


Boatbuilding for Beginners and Beyond is a really thorough place to start. I thoroughly enjoyed learning the starting technique for building instant boats. Jim goes through the basics of boat construction techniques and explains how to build the Mayfly, a 14' sailboat. The book also includes the plans for several other boats.

Think I'm going to start with the Piragua, a double rowboat. Plans are included in the book. It takes two sheets of 1/4" exterior grade plywood plus some extra stuff that's already on order. I get to try epoxy and fiberglass tape for the first time, but I'm not going to glass the entire bottom of the boat. This one seems small and easy to pull together and is supposed to be a great first boat to build.

I would actually like to build the Mayfly as well someday, and learn how to sail. But this is seems like the right place to start.

They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Welcome to step one!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

First Attempt

Hi, I'm John and I've never built a wooden boat before but I've always wanted to try. In college, roughly 20 years ago, I started developing some basic woodworking skills around furniture building and cabinetry. Eventually after I got married and bought a house I started doing more home repair and construction there. Building decks and storage buildings, screened in porches, all kinds of fun.

In the meantime, my other hobbies came and went. We had two kids, I started a business, I sold the business, then I and they started to age. After the kids were born and the business was gone, I was very overweight and had been a pack a day smoker for 15 years. I went full health nut, dropping 70 lbs and the cigs, completing 24 marathons including 3 full ironman triathlons and a bunch of trail ultramarathons (longest was 75 miles in 21:30) and I'm doing the "full marathon in all 50 states" challenge as well. My training has had a 9 year run on my other blog if you want to check it out.

I still want to finish the 50 state challenge (11 down with 3 more planned for this year) but right now I can't run at all. My last marathon was 5 months ago. It ended with some pain in my right foot that was brought on by inflammation and overuse. This pain had been around for a few weeks before that marathon as well, so I knew I would have to deal with it later. Rest and reducing how much I ran didn't help, I could not run and be in pain, or run and still be no worse off so I got the minimal miles in to still keep my sanity.

See, my personality dictates that I have some kind of overwhelming "thing" that I can pour 110% of my time and effort into. I love to learn and grow, so there has to be something that I can learn in my life at all times. When I played golf I wanted to play every day and spent hours reading and adjusting my stroke. When I got into triathlon I learned about nutrition, training techniques, recovery importance. I didn't just want to do one triathlon or one marathon. When I did one marathon I wanted to do 100. When I got into trail running I wanted to do 100 mile ultramarathons.

It's my zen time. My meditation, how I deal with stress. My time to solve problems and make decisions. The kids know if I go 2 days without a workout I get very snappy and unpleasant to be around. I can still swim but thanks to a stressful (but overall fun) job I don't get in the water as often as I should. If I really can't run anymore, or can't run at the frequency (now that I'm in my 40's) that I need to finish 6+ marathons every year, I need to find a new hobby.

Boatbuilding has a lot of appeal. It's not just interesting woodworking in a classic format, but the intricacy of the designs that I can really throw myself into. I've always wanted to learn how to sail as well. So maybe I'll build a boat and sail off in it. I've got the space, the resources, and the time for it. I just hope my family has the patience.

Cheers to my next adventure!