It all Started at the Library
a story written by Dale Ruth email@example.com
Dec. 06, 1999
| The library was jammed
packed with kids including my own. I knew finding a quiet spot just for myself was
going to be a challenging task indeed. My luck, however, was holding out. In the
"Adult Reference" section tucked away deep in a semi-secluded corner behind
stacks of shelved books was a small table with a pile of previously looked over books on
top. Nothing unusual about that. While scanning through the pile of unshelved books
( curious to see what other people were reading ) I happened to come across one of
the most amazing do-it-yourself books I have ever read - Harold H. " Dynamite
" Payson's " Instant Boats ".
| I just
couldn't seem to put it down so I checked it out for further home study. Then it happened.
I practically became obsessed, especially when I discovered that he had written another,
even more amazing book titled " Build the New Instant Boats".
After reading these
|two wonderful books and a few others I knew
right then and there that turning back was no longer an option. For years I had always
dreamed about building my very own boat but unfortunately I never really seriously took
the initiative to actually go out and learn how.
||An erroneous perception had me
thinking that to build even a small boat would involve many complex procedures and it
would, in all likelihood, still exceed my capabilities. Besides, to successfully build a
safe, fully functional boat surely this would require not only years of boatbuilding
experience but it
|would also include having a shop that is
equipped with a battery of heavy duty, highly sophisticated woodworking machinery and
countless hours of devoted attention to detail which for me would probably amount to being
nothing more than an expensive and frustrating effort, regardless - and so I conveniently
continued to think that this was so.
|Then along came Mr. Payson's books
which instantly reversed everything I had come to believe that I couldn't possibly do. It
was full steam ahead from there on. I'm reminded now of a quote I once heard and should
have adhered to......" Knowledge, combined with the ability to believe in yourself,
is like a kind of fuel, it needs the motor of understanding to convert it into
power "- source unknown.
Armed with this knowledge and boosted confidence, I went ahead
and built my very first boat - " The Elegant Punt ", a classic fit-and-fasten
design of Phil Bolger's drawing board. I can attest to the fact that his boats
do indeed perform the way they are designed to ( at least the ones I've had the
pleasure of building ). My very first attempt and success at building a boat and trying my
hand at sailing - it just couldn't get any better than that! There is really nothing
more exciting and thrilling than during that very first moment when the wind fills the
sail and "poof " away you go, sailing effortlessly across the water with
unabated freedom. I may never experience what a "magic carpet" ride
|is like, but sailing for the first time in a
boat you built yourself certainly comes the closest. I do, however, confess that
it was a little frightening at first. I knew of no one off hand with sailing
experience to properly teach me the ropes. I had no choice but to rely solely on
what I had read in Mr. Payson's books. Mistakes were expected and made and yes there
were even some down right embarrassing moments as well
||( an unexpected curious crowd had
gathered on the shore to witness my failure or success which made me even more nervous )
but in spite of all that I managed to get the hang of it in no time at all - I was
actually sailing and in a boat I built myself. A moment I will cherish for the rest of my
|My next project , after regrettably selling my
Punt, was the " The Amazing Pointy Skiff ". I desperately needed a bigger
boat that could safely accommodate a family of four for
those weekend picnic adventures
at our local lakes and has ample storage capacity for all my gear on those fishing
extravaganzas - this boat was ideally suited for it's intended purpose and much more.
Mount a small gas or electric trolling motor on her transom or just row for the sheer fun
of it and you will be simply "Amazed"! By the time I built my fourth
Pointy Skiff it had incorporated some building techniques borrowed from the Tack and Tape
varieties - such things as no chine logs, butt straps and bulkhead framing - it all
worked very well. I highly recommend the Pointy Skiff as a starting project for any
first-time wanna-be boatbuilder but above all do stay within the "fit and
fasten" methods and guidelines as outlined in Mr. Payson's books and in no
time at all you should be on the water enjoying all the finer things in life.
|Still suffering from "sellers
remorse" of my Punt and deeply missing the thrill of sailing altogether especially
on days that were beautifully warm and breezy, I finally decided that enough was enough.
I put on the tool pouch, rolled up my sleeves and built a 14ft. sailboat called "
June Bug ". Another marvelous design from the drawing board of Mr. Bolger. This
particular craft is a sailor's delight - lightweight and a surprisingly fast
performer. Two can row her at the same time and she offers
||excellent stability and plenty
of room to just stretch out and relax even on days when the wind is calm. She does indeed
perform quite well under sail, oar and motor power. I once got caught in almost
catastrophic wind conditions that practically scared the pants off me as I thought
for sure the spar was either going to snap in half or worse I was going to capsize.
|Instead my rudder blade broke off and I was
forced to drop the sheet and let the wind take the sail where it may. I managed to
painstakingly row her safely back to shore but that will be an experience I'll never ever
forget - that's for sure! I have also used her extensively for fishing and she has proven
to be quite popular for many of our outdoor family recreational activities. " June
Bug " certainly has my stamp of approval. Unfortunately, I ended up selling her as
well. My wife accuses me of selling my boats for the simple reason that now I have
a legitimate excuse for building another boat. She is absolutely right of course, but I
have never openly admitted it until now. " Happiness is building your own boat
and another and another and....... well, you die-hard boat builders know exactly
where I'm coming from. Happy boatbuilding to all.