Hello! I've been lurking for a while, and now that I've got a few posts under my belt, I figured I ought to introduce myself. Been told I'm a bit long winded, so this might be bit long. My apologies for anyone looking for a quick read.
Over the years, I've found that I enjoy being out on the water, but I also enjoy building & repairing watercraft. Years ago, I was tempted by some folk that paddle kayaks on a regular basis, and was bit by the bug. Did some research, and I really wasn't in the mood to buy a standard plastic "rubbermade" kayak. At the time, they were either expensive, short, and/or heavy. I wanted something I could carry from the car to the water without expending so much energy that I didn't want to paddle far afterwards. Couldn't afford one of those lighter fiberglass sea kayaks, either. A bit more research online, and I found a website run by a guy named "Tom Yost", and built one of his skin on frame designs in my basement. Carved myself few Greenland style paddles out of 2x4s. Went paddling, and confirmed that I really enjoyed it. Word got around among my friends and family... I'm currently working on my fifth skin on frame kayak for a close friend. I've even built a second one for myself... 17' long, 19.5" beam, originally built to help me learn to brace and roll. I live next to a major river in Upstate NY, and there's plenty of lakes within an hour's drive when I need a change in scenery.
Fast forward a few years, and a friend of a friend offered up a Force 5 dinghy for nearly free. I picked it up and hauled it home, intending to repair the damage to the hull and learn a bit of fiberglass work in the process. It's still sitting in the backyard, mainly as a result of my learning that sailing that dinghy isn't really my style. Sailing fast, hiked out... sure, might be fun here and there, but I'd really like to be able to drop the sail and just relax out in the middle of the lake. The Force 5 has a sail design that slips over the mast... so short of letting the sheet out and having the sail flog itself, there'll be no relaxing in the middle of the lake. Some of the fiberglass work was a little daunting, due to the location of the damage on the hull, so I've been procrastinating on getting it repaired. The lack of a workshop (heated or otherwise) doesn't help. Current plan is to wait for decent weather (warm and dry), complete the repairs to the hull, then donate it to a local sailing school. Rather hoping I can barter an educational session or two out of it as well, but I'm not relying on it.
Last winter, I happened across an ad for an O'Day 19 Weekender, advertised with a "hull in excellent shape". As it turns out, it was anything but... still, the fiberglass repairs it needs are in easy spots to work on, so I picked it up more as a project to improve my fiberglass skills. Get enough practical knowledge, and I'd hope to get confident enough to tackle the dinghy. Should be finishing up the hull repairs to it by late spring, and short of a few repairs to the topside (bent turnbuckle, knackered backstay tail, some trailer repairs), it should be hitting the water this season.
The winters are bad for me, though... I sit inside, stare at my tarp covered boats in the yard, and dream. One thing that's been tickling my thoughts is that the O'Day is gonna be great for weekend trips. 12" draft means launching won't be a problem, and it'll be easy to trailer and quick(er) to set up. I grew up in the Adirondacks, spending a lot of time camping, so having a cabin the size of a pop-up tent isn't a real detriment... at least for a weekend trip. Even if the weather's rainy, I can curl up with a good book in the cabin and relax. It's even big enough to take a significant other along, as long as the lady takes to the same camping attitude. It's going to be rather tight for anything longer than a weekend, however... even an extended weekend (Friday through Monday) might be pushing it a bit.
My neighbor has an English built twin keel 21' sailboat that's rotting away in their front yard (adjacent to my backyard). She bought it as a project, and didn't get any further than tearing out what little wood existed in the cabin. Most of the interior furniture is molded out of fiberglass and tabbed into the hull. Her landlord (her mother) had dropped a few obvious statements that she'd like to see it worked on and out of the front yard, so I expressed interest. That went to naught, however... the owner hasn't quite let go of it emotionally (her words, not mine), and wasn't ready to see it passed on, despite not having time to work on it nor the skills. I was able to convince her to at least throw a tarp over it until she's ready to tackle it.
I still had it sitting in the back of my mind, over the winter, though.... and stumbled across a twin keel '67 Tylercraft 24'. It was listed on an external site, pointing back to an eBay auction that expired summer before last. Only had one cheap bid on it, but the auction had been relisted (bidder backed out?). Second auction went without any other bids, so I reached out to the seller. Turns out that the boat had been sold, but the boat had sat ever since. The eBay'er passed along the contact information for the newest owner... fast forward a few months, and I bought her for the price of the trailer. She's in rough shape... rotted plywood bulkhead under the cockpit, delaminated cockpit floor, interior veneer delaminated at the bottoms. Standing rigging needs to be scrapped, and the majority of the running rigging needs replacement, even to my novice eye. That said, she's manageable within my current skills, and I'll have plenty of entertainment fixing up an old boat. Her twin keel and 2' draft means I can trailer sail her, though nowhere near as easy as the O'Day. Give myself five years or so to get her back into seaworthy condition, and there's enough room on her to keep me from going stir crazy on extended trips.
Now, I know there's a bunch of folk out there that consider me crazy for taking on even one of these boats. What they might not consider is that I'm not normal
. I actually enjoy doing the repair work; I don't mind the financial costs, as I'm considering it a hobby. Some folk pour money into the local bar. Some buy old vehicles and restore them. I live across the street from a yacht club full of folk pouring money into some really big fuel tanks. Point is, we all got our hobbies that'll never pan out from a financial standpoint, but they keep us sane and occupied.
I grew up the son of a farmer, who was constantly picking up old neglected equipment and getting them back into shape. Tractors, balers, hay rakes, a payloader. I've seen my parents free up the pistions of an old backhoe by with judicial use of ATF, a pine 2x4, and a big hammer over three days. My dad even picked up an old 28' powerboat... he got the gasoline engine up and running long enough for a season of waterskiing, but decided he'd rather go fishing with it... so he pulled the gas engine out and installed a diesel, rebuilding the engine mounts and supports underneath. When I wanted to go kayaking, I built my own. When I wanted a motorcycle, I picked up an older non-running Honda Shadow cheap; a quick carb rebuild and I'm still riding it today. Point is, I've grown up in that environment of fixing things instead of throwing them away, of taking an old piece of neglected equipment and rebuilding it so it can be used again, sold for a gain, or just to keep me occupied and out of trouble.