I like to tell my children stories. Some of their favorite stories are about the fun that I used to have with my friends adventuring on the lake where I grew up. I grew up near the lake in Moses Lake, Washington, and a great deal of my growing up life was spent swimming, boating and fishing on the lake. My children loved to hear me talk about the adventures that I had with my friends in the small boats that we commandeered and the rafts that we made. They wanted to know all about the islands I visited and the games that I played. They especially wanted to hear about the times when my poor planning meant that I got hungry, thirsty, or cold. They especially like the story where we were attacked by three enormous French poodles when we went ashore briefly and picked the wrong private beach. My own personal favorite story is about the time I lost the rig to my Snark sailboat in a bit of a windstorm.
Perhaps I will write that story down here someday.
One day as I was telling one of my stories Eliza asked me if I would ever take her to visit Goat Herd Island in Moses Lake. It occurred to me that I was doing my children a huge disservice. They deserved to go on some adventures of their own. I also remembered how much fun it had been to mess around in small boats, and I wondered why it was that I had ever given up that part of my life.
In short, I decided that I needed a boat.
After a bit of searching, however, it became clear to me that purchasing a boat was probably out of the question. I am the father of 6, and there just isn’t money in the budget for an expensive boat. However, I knew from my experience as a child that sometimes the simplest boats are the most fun. I spent hours, as a boy, poling a small raft around the outskirts of Moses Lake, and that was always a good time.
So instead of buying a boat I decided that I would build one. A bit of searching on the Internet and I soon found myself in a small world of very friendly people who lived and breathed boat building. Next thing I knew I was downloading plans for a Puddle Duck Racer, and learning enough CAD so that I could draw my own plans for the small sailboat of my dreams.
My first boat was even more fun than I expected. Not only was sailing even more fun than I remembered, but building and designing boats was also tons of fun. I was hooked. I started working on a second boat almost immediately, and I have boat projects planned far out into the future. Along the way I realized that I owed a real debt of gratitude to the many folks who had written about their boat building experiences and shared their knowledge with me over the Internet. I wanted to share my experiences as well. Hopefully I can inspire others to join in the fun, and I can show that building boats does not have to be expensive or difficult.
I would love to hear from you if you have questions or comments. Feel free to leave a comment on the site, or send me an email at jearl <at> notengoamigos.org.