Friday, December 22, 2006

It Begins

Ok, I did it. After considerable research I ordered a Passagemaker Dinghy (PMD) wooden boat kit from CLC - Chesapeake Light Craft. I also ordered the sail kit. Then I ordered a boat trailer from Harbor freight and a trailer hitch and wiring from Draw-Tite. Why, you ask? First there was the experience I had as a kid the first time I sailed a small Sunfish-type sailboat. I was used to motor boats and this was clearly different. No fumes, no noise, but motion nonetheless. It was almost like magic! I haven't sailed since (some 37 years) but I have always wanted to. No need for a big boat, the 11'6" PMD should be just right. Second, I still remember the dirty and neglected 14' molded plywood runabout my brother bought when he was 16. He stripped it, refinished it, and it was beautiful. It had a blue acrylic windshield that identified its place in boating history and design. And it had this smell - varnish and wood and water spray. Third, my wife and I really enjoy some fairly minimal bicycling in the summertime along a river where we see a surprising abundance of wildlife and vegitation despite the fact we live in a fairly large city. I figure we can find the same simple enjoyment on small lakes here in Michigan. Nothing expensive or extravagant, just a way to enjoy the outdoors. Fourth, for 31 years I have poured myself into teaching with little time for anything else - I need a diversion. Finally, while riding our bikes my wife and I met an older gentleman who, at the age of 80, rides his bike 23 miles a day. He also builds boats in the living room of his condo. He's one of those wonderful folks who loves life and brightens your day just by talking to you. He also has that insight that comes from living long, and well, and having time to reflect on the years when he was too busy to ride 23 miles a day. After several years of meeting and talking on the bike path we discovered our mutual love of boats and he looked me straight in the eye and told me I needed to build a boat. 'Nuf said.

I've always loved the Peanuts comic strip and Woodstock was one of my favorite characters. With a slight play on words and a little levity which befits the character of this boat I think that's what her rear transom will display - Woodstock.