I'll spare you the details of my journey into the world of boatbuilding, but the plot summary goes something like this: Guy caught up in brutal, lengthy divorce seeks tranquility; Looks to water; Wants boat; Wonders if it is possible to build one himself; Stumbles into world of boatbuilding; Gets hooked. You can fill in the blanks with your favorite feel-good story or courtroom drama. There's been plenty of both.
I knew absolutely nothing about boats when I started. The first design I found online was a very attractive Jon Boat from Uncle John's General Store. From there, a builder directed me to the famous Bolger Diablo from H.H. Payson & Co. A little more online searching brought me to the Bateau RB-14 Classic Runabout. This was when it first occurred to me that it might be possible to actually build one of these gorgeous classic-looking boats. Having now learned the term "Classic Mahogany Runabout" (remember, I knew nothing about boats), another online search instantly brought me into the world of Glen-L Marine. By sheer dumb luck, the Glen-L group was having their annual Gathering near my home, and less than two weeks later, I was actually seeing these hand-made boats firsthand. And riding in them.
Yep. I was hooked.
Soon thereafter, I ordered the Glen L. Witt book Boatbuilding With Plywood and read it cover-to-cover. I decided on the "Squirt" design as my first build, ordered the plans, and got started.
Unfortunately, I never actually finished the Squirt. Not that it's hard to build, but I made several mistakes initially. The more backtracking I did to correct these mistakes, the more I questioned the logic of building a two-person boat when I'm a single parent with two kids. The thought of leaving one of them standing on the dock on launch day just didn't sit right with me. So six months later I chose another design, the Glen-L Utility.
|In September 2011, I took my first ride in a gorgeous Glen-L Zip.|
|By December, I'd read "Boatbuilding With Plywood" and started building a Squirt from these plans.|