Back in the Boat


After a crazy number of repairs and improvements I finally got back on the water.  It’s been a long process…I know a little about sailing, a bit more about wood working, I know very little about wooden boats and even less about boat trailers…I’m way in over my head here.

I’ve replaced both trailer hubs, the trailer lights, all the wiring, and one of the wheel fenders…I’ve also learned how to use a grease gun which is really easy if you know how and much less easy if you have no idea.  And that’s just the trailer…

On the boat I’ve sanded and primed and painted the floor/deck (not sure what it’s called on my kind of boat…but essentially the bottom of the inside of the boat), replaced oar lock mounting bracket screws as well as one of the screws on the rudder bracket, figured out an affordable gps/chart plotter, gotten two different types of anchors along with a bunch of anchor rode and chain and shackles and seizing wire…also fenders, charts, parallel rule, some random tools and zip ties and gorilla tape for fixing things on the water, a tarp to sleep under…as well as a whole customized system of boards to lay down between the rowing benches which should make it possible for two people to sleep on the boat…haven’t tested that out though.

And each of these steps has it’s own trial and error…one of those trailer hubs was replaced on the side of the road…the first gps I got couldn’t handle charts…I had to find a friendly local mechanic to take a welding torch to the wheel fender in order to get the rusty bolt out so I could reattach the fender to the trailer…everything seems to be more complicated than I would have expected…

And yet there I was, rowing into the wind and the swells and slowly creeping my boat back to the ramp after an afternoon of sailing…and everything was working.  Maybe not always smoothly but working all the same.

The boat is more seaworthy than I am, and I’m thankful for it’s seaworthiness…running down wind with swells rolling in behind me and tipping the boat all over…sails splashing into the waves…and while I’m not sure what I’m doing the boat seems to be fine…it knows how to do this…I just need to give it the chance.  It’s an amazing little boat.

Based off work boats from coastal Massachusetts in the mid 1800’s, it’s built for strong winds and rough seas, and it’s not hard to imagine the design might have evolved from old viking boats…it’s rugged, so rugged that the designer delivered the first boat in 30kt winds with a friend and camping gear aboard, all the while pulling a second boat for the return journey.  It was a questionable decision but none the less they arrived safely.  As I said, it’s a rugged little boat.

I like it.

It’s just right for sailing and camping along the Maine coast, it’s small which forces me to pack light, it’s responsive which forces me to sail well and carefully, the single sail and minimal draft make it easier to sail alone and in shallow waters…it’s forgiving, and yet it makes me work, makes me pay attention.  It has a lot to teach me, and I’m looking forward to it.

It’s a great little boat, and I think we’re going to have a good summer together…

One thought on “Back in the Boat

  1. Simon, I loved reading this post and am so happy you are back on the water! Sounds like you and your boat are getting to know each other and I’m guessing you’ll have a long thriving exciting challenging growing relationship! xo


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