Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How it all began

In 1997, I told my wife I wanted to build a sailboat, which I guess must have come as quite a surprise to her. We'd been sailing before. Once. On my parent's Catalina 25. But they sold the boat, and that was the end of it. As far as she knew.

Now, at this point in our lives, we lived in a two bedroom condominium in the middle of Houston. Not really the best situation for sailboat construction. It was not really the best situation for building a 20' stitch-and-glue kayak, either, but that's just what I did. My wife was very accommodating of this project, which took up most of our living room and dining area for nearly a year. But then, she is the best. Every man should be so lucky!

The kayak was finished shortly before we were to move to Pittsburgh. We paddled some in Galveston Bay. We paddled in Moraine State Park after the move. We paddled a little more in a few other places. But it wasn't sailing.

I began looking for plans for a sailboat I could build. I had read George Beuhler's book, and I liked his designs and philosophy quite a bit. I even ordered some of his study plans. But his boats seem mostly to be designed for off shore cruising. Living in Pittsburgh, that just wasn't going to happen.

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. I expected we would use the boat about like we had used the Catalina 25. Taking the family out for a sail, maybe going out with a couple friends. We never went for extended cruises, but we did spend a couple nights on the boat, anchored in a cove or inlet.

So there you have it. A boat that is comfortable for four or so daysailing, able to sleep two with basic accommodations. Able to sleep a few more with mild discomfort. Oh, and one more thing. An "interesting" rig. One of the things I always wished for when daysailing was more sailing to do. Sails to trim, lines to haul, and whatnot. I was looking for a cutter, with multiple headsails. Or maybe a gaff rig, or a yawl or ketch. It had to be a small package, though, to fit on a trailer, and to be a reasonable building project.

I looked at some of Sam Devlin's designs. Winter Wren and Song Wren I think. I dreamed about the McNaughton Group's Surprise 24. But when I saw Iain Oughtred's Eun Mara, I was pretty sure I'd found what I wanted.

I was in the fortunate situation of going house-hunting just after settling on this design, and so I was able to make "boatshop" a priority in choosing where to live. We found a nice Cape Cod style home with a 30x24 garage. And so in the summer of 2000, I began construction...

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