Sunday, April 28, 2013

The back story.

Now that we've gotten the introduction out of the way, let's get you caught up on the back story.

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.

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