Bryan's Website

by Guest Columnist Brian Lowe

Escargot Makes it to the Boat Show

Reprinted from a post to the Yahoo Bolger discussion group. 

For a couple of months now I have worked with renewed enthusiasm with the show at the Center for Wooden Boats as my goal. There were several times, as recent as last week, that I had decided NOT to go. My main reason was that I figured my boat was just not built to a high enough standard. My learning curve got me down.

Luckily I went. I was in great company. I had great comments and enthusiasm from many of the show goers.

My wife made some beautiful quilted pillows for the boat. They are works of art worthy of any showcase home. She is really getting good at her quilting! We also put in lace valances in the cabin windows and some odds and ends of rag rugs on the cabin floor. On the front deck we put out two long flower pots with White Nicotiana in them, alongside a beautiful green enamel watering can and some of our kerosene lanterns. Around the cabin we put out Tibetan prayer flags in red, blue, yellow, and green.

The designer of the boat, Phil, was there. He said when he saw me walk out the door of his house with my new plans... he knew that the boat wouldn't get built. ;-) Something about my situation and lack of experience I guess. I think he was pleased I was so happy with the boat. He seemed to have no problems with the raising of the cabin roof or most of the other minor changes. He did think the straight line of the side rail was a mistake. I can see his thought, but, to be honest, I think it looks a little better that way! All subjective. You can compare them for yourself on my website at .

Interesting story. Phil told me that the one in England was built with paid labor. In the end it cost about $27,000! Mine cost maybe $5600 with trailer and motor. At most it was $6300... I didn't keep track. It could be built much cheaper with non-marine grade ply... and used motor and trailer. Amazing.

You know..... forget any thoughts of ego for a moment. Forget any thoughts of bragging, or of fear of what others will think of the boat you may build....

It is a wonderful feeling to be drifting off to sleep in a boat you made. The sound of the waves gently lapping against the boat. The gentle rocking.... lying on your back and looking at the stars above through the hatch. It is a unique feeling. A great feeling. And with one of my children asleep at my side... tired from the days adventures... tired from visiting with delightful people like Captain Bill and Mary... tired from meeting new people with their Chris Crafts, their 8 foot dinghies, and all in between.. You forget about the things you should have done, you forget about the mistakes, you forget about the praise. ... it is a warm feeling... nice feeling. A sense of peace and just being right somehow.

If you are thinking of building a boat.... Bolger or otherwise... don't let lack of tools, or fear, or anything get in your way. I built mine in a small driveway with no protection from weather. I don't have lots of tools, or even a table saw. (I do have a rather worn out radial arm saw.) Most of my work was done with a drill, a small pad sander, a belt sander, and a cheap jig saw...and a few friends with nicer tools than me every now and then. If I can do it.. you can do it. And you will be glad you did.


Home | Articles | Books | Columns | Projects | Links | Subscribe | Boat Index