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Showing posts from January 24, 2010

Of Wooden Boats and Worms

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Over the six months I spent looking for boats, 98% of what I looked at were fiberglass pocket cruisers... a lot of 25 to 31 foot sloops, 25 to 40 years old, $5,000 to $20,000, seemingly impervious to time... at least their hulls.  Sort of.  I was attracted to, but afraid of, wooden boats, and heaven knows there's reason.  Joe Kerchen prodded and poked me on this, and shamed me into a broader perspective.  Randy, my elder brother and professional boat maintainer, snarled something to the effect that a boat unsullied with character is scarcely worth owning (let alone, sailing).

A sail plan that inspires is more important than cabin headroom (let alone, a head room).  Lines trump lounging space.  And to lay out on a berth within the planked carcass of a well-built wooden boat is to understand that most everything surrounding you had another life, and has been assembled into a complex and dynamic construct that feels living, even if good sense says otherwise.

What I've learned in …