Knowing Great Enthusiasms

On occasions, I get ideas in my head and am unable to shake them. One of these ideas is sailing. A number of years ago, I had a sailboat. A beautiful 18′ Johnson Weekender that I got for a song. Unfortunately I hit a rough patch financially, and had to sell it. (At a profit! Almost unheard of in the boating world.) Ever since I saw her being hauled away, I’ve wanted to get back on the water in my own craft.

Fast forward a few years to the present, I’m still itching to sail. After trawling craigslist most of the summer looking for inexpensive boats and coming up with nothing, I had more or less given up on the idea this year. Then somehow I ended up looking at plans to build your own boat. I’m not entirely sure how I came across it, but I eventually ended up at the Puddle Duck Racer page.

Now this has potential. It appeals to my drive to make things. It’s fairly inexpensive (considering what boats usually cost). It’s small enough that I should be able to car-top it. Yes… I must build this boat. Last night I picked up the supplies I needed from the local big box: A jigsaw, 4 sheets of 1/4 plywood, a gallon of wood glue (it’s cheap, why not?), some construction adhesive, various clamps, a polytarp for my sail, and a 16′ 2×4 to shape my mast. Total cost so far with tools: $113

After spinning my wheels on the design of the boat, and bedtime drawing near I decided to just make a few initial measurements for the hull. As of this writing the basic hull shape has been plotted. When I get home tonight, I plan to take a few pictures to document progress so far and make that first cut.

More updates to follow!

Oh yes! I nearly forgot to mention this: The blog title comes from a passage in Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizen in a Republic“. Commonly referred to as the “Man in the Arena“, it’s a paragraph that I use to remind myself that doing things is what counts. Even though that means failures, setbacks, mental and physical pain… Doing things is what ensures that I will not end up with “those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat”.

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