11 November 2009

I Am Bitten

The other day, I realized I'd been bitten. Not by a dinosaur, but by something just as powerful and a lot more sneaky: the boat building bug.

I was building the stongback for Cabin Boy -- a kind of ladder-frame structure that is used to erect the molds. Compared to lofting and building the molds, putting together the strongback was simple, even for me. Obviously I didn't say so at the time... no sense tempting fate.

Nevertheless, while doing this pleasantly easy work, I had a few brainwaves left over and found myself day dreaming.

Did I daydream about sailing Cabin Boy across Oyster Bay Harbor on an early spring morning, with a bone in his solid oak teeth?

Or maybe rowing down the Housatonic River, with my darling casting admiring gazes at my rippling pecs?

[Note from son: "Try not to embarass us, Dad"]

No, what I found myself daydreaming about was building the next boat.

Now, I have to admit that the sudden onset of this disease took me by surprise. Building Cabin Boy started off as a way to learn the basics of wooden boat construction so I would have some confidence in my ability to care for the larger wooden boat that Helena had fixed her mind on.

Build one small boat, learn the basics, get a nice dingy out of it. Move on. That's what I had in mind.

So what was I doing daydreaming about building the Atkin "Little Bear"?

Little Bear (sometimes called "Great Bear")
Design by John Atkin

This illness was easy for my new boat building friends to diagnose... They all had it too. They say it isn't fatal... most of the time.

They also say a picture is worth a thousand words, so rather than waste a thousand describing the process of building Cabin Boy's strongback, I give you this short video.

Cabin Boy's Strongback
Video by John Almberg

The music, by the way, is William Bolcom's "Graceful Ghost Rag", played by John Murphey. Highly recommended.

>> Next Episode: Man, The Tool Maker
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-- John


  1. happy to find your blog! It must be going around coz we've been bitten too!

  2. Love your blog!
    I got bitten too, but prefer to start small.
    I have built two 8 ft sailing skiffs and am working on a third for my sister. Here is a quote pretty much says it all, "
    "The gods do not deduct from man's allotted span those hours spent in sailing." -Phoenician proverb. Should we add a line about when you are building boats??

  3. the video doesn't work can you please upload it to youtube and send a link?

  4. anychance you can repost the video it has been removed, or put it on youtube and post the link

    1. That was rather rude of Blip. Okay I'll have to find the video and repost it to youtube. Thanks for letting me know.


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