building a small racing sloop
There seems to be no shortage of interesting "do it yourself" designs out there. Check out the selection here, for example:
I don''t think making something out of wood with your own two hands is a "stupid idea" even if you end up longing for a different design before you''ve even finished the one you start on. The process of creating a boat out of wood is a very challenging and rewarding one. If you''ve got the time and desire, I''m sure you would have a lot of fun. It would be good to have an expert resource to turn to with construction questions, and perhaps ask for references of people who have actually built and sailed the design you pick to see how well it fulfilled it''s role. For example, here in Alexandria, we have a seaport museum/foundation that does wooden boat construction; I also spent a few weeks at Mystic seaport museum, where they have a small wooden boat shop dedicated to making classic designs (melonseed, marblehead skiff, swampscott dory, etc.) and the fellows who work there are absolute experts on making seaworthy small craft. Having someone with that type of experience you can turn to would be a big help.