While a couple of builders have reported in 6-week and 8-week
building times on the se micro yachts, there seem to be quite
a few who are struggling with much longer building times. On the
other hand, when we see shots of the new Weekenders being sent
in, they seem to be exquisitely finished. Maybe too exquisitely
When we get into a project, the first or second thing we seem to lose (after the measuring tape) is our sense of perspective. To combat this we sometimes put mottoes up on the wall to remind us that what we're really after here is good sailing adventures, -not endless weeks in the garage. Get it onto the water, is something we need to keep in mind. So we're going to make a plea here for a simple concept: -Don't over-finish or over innovate until after you've had at least one good season on the water.
Many changes happen to a boat when it leaves the garage and reaches the billowies. For one thing (strangely enough) it will seem to swell up bigger once you get it out on the water by itself. You'd think you'd feel like you're on a postage stamp with a boat this small on an ocean that big, -but somehow, just the opposite happens and the boat becomes your universe that your mind expands in great detail, as you get to know every nook and cranny on the water.
Another thing happens. All those little goofs that you thought were so shameful when something slipped or spilled or, you just never got around to fixing, slip into a finished whole that tends to look at LOT trimmer and neater than it did in the shop.
So these are two bonuses you'll get simply by moving the boat to the great outdoors, nature, and all that.
We're making a plea for not overdoing the fine finish (at first) for another reason:
Any boat goes through some rough handling once you get it out in the real world, and if you've spent too much time polishing certain parts, you're going to pull your punches when it comes to the rough and tumble world of sailing. You see this at marinas everyday of the year: boats that should be out on the water, sitting neglected because their owners read too many cautionary articles and made everything just a tad too prissy to risk on the great water.
And here's another bonus we can promise: If you leave off all those endless smoothing and varnishing jobs until after you've gotten a few good sail-adventures under your belts together (you and your boat) -then all those slow finishing jobs will suddenly become fun to linger over as you improve your boat as you go, instead of stretching out endlessly.
We make a point of getting our boats wet as soon as we possibly can. By their third season, they're starting to look pretty finished. And when we see a perfectly finished boat rolling out of a shop to its first sail, we think, "This guy's going to miss all the fun of gradually making his boat nicer and nicer, while at the same time getting some adventures out of it because he didn't take forever to finish up everything all at once."
Which brings us to an argument we find ourselves blathering about more and more, lately: Our plea is, -don't over-worry about clever upgrades until you've tried our dumb old way of doing it. You'd probably be surprised how many of the same clever upgrades we've already tried in the course of forty years of creating original boat designs and over thirty new brainstorm boats we've gotten excited about. There's just a chance that we know what we're talking about when it comes to small plywood boats. So, as long as you've paid good money for the results of these forty years of experimentation, -why not give our way a try before you change everything? (And when you DO come up with breakthroughs, be sure to tell us all about them).
We hear nervously about cracking keels, and falling masts, and swamping boats; -and then, on closer look, we find the builder has done something that we learned never to do many years before.
Or, if you have a brainstorm you just can't resist, give us a call and make sure we haven't already tried and rejected it.
Just remember, -the boat is going to get beaten around in the real world, so don't make it a violin that 's going to make you cringe (or start yelling) every time something silly garfs it up. We're looking for maximum adventure fun, divided by investment of money and effort.