Logically, I have no business building this boat. It is, undoubtedly, a crazy endeavor. I know all this and I have tried to talk myself out it, dismiss the notion that it is even possible. I am purposely ignoring all the reasons not to. As I cruise some of the various marine related forums, reading, learning and asking questions I have been told a number of times not to take this project on. The reasons are many and if I'm honest with myself, truthful. It's expensive, the resale value will be low, you probably will never finish it, It's cheaper to buy a used boat and on and on. All legitimate and practical concerns. I don't take offense to the naysayers, I know they are speaking the truth. They are in fact trying to be helpful. It doesn't anger me, I honestly do appreciate their opinions.
Yet I still choose to ignore them.
I chose to build rather than buy for many reasons. I love creating things from wood. I like big projects. I enjoy working with my hands. I treasure the feeling I get when in the morning I start with a pile of boards and at the end of the day I have something beautiful. I have never owned a large boat or cruised the high seas. I am the most dangerous kind of boat builder, I don't know what I don't know. In order to address that I chose to build my own boat to understand every system and it's location. To know how it goes together and how they all work with each other. I am a voracious reader especially on topics that interest me, but some things you can't get from books. I learn by doing, seeing and touching. I am indeed a cautious person, measured in my decisions, continually aware of threats. I need to address those threats, understand how a boat works before I embark on blue water cruises. I will do that by building my own boat. I know I could buy a used boat cheaper, that's not the point. It would be a pile of components, a mystery. I know things will fail or break on a boat. It will be much easier for me personally to deal with my own mistakes and failures then someone else's. Scratching my head not knowing where this wire goes or where that pipe leads. My boat will be mine, for better or worse. Boat building and boat owning is a series of compromises and trade offs. You can have it this way but you have to give that up. By building my own I will make my own compromises, not someone else's. I will have things as close to as exactly as I want them on my boat. Custom indeed.
My kids call it a midlife crisis, they said that to when I bought a shiny red BMW a few years ago. They tease me in good fun and we all laugh. Maybe they are right, As I approach my mid 40's, I recognize that it's a distinct possibility. In the last few years I have reflected on how the years have flown by. I still feel the same inside as I did when I was 20, but the mirror tells a different story. I have boiled down the frustration of aging to one point. When you are young, the world, your life, your future is all about what will be. When you become a real grown up you realize that your life is what it is. No more romantic notions of achieving all the great things that seemed possible when you were young. I say that not to sound depressed or resentful, it's just a fact of life. In many respects I have achieved all those great things I wanted; A loving wife, a healthy family, a roof over my head and food on the table. All that with a little left over every month to enjoy a comfortable life. I am truly blessed, that fact is not lost on me. It does not change the realities of aging however and I still want more, I still dream.
I presume its the same for everyone, but I don't know how many times I have asked either to myself or friends or family, "you know what would be cool?" Then going on to talk about some seemingly great idea. Those ideas are bandied about as we all smile and agree on how great whatever that particularl thing might be. Just as quickly it is dismissed as being unreasonable, to expensive or an otherwise frivolous notion, only capable of being had by someone else. Someone else who is smarter, richer or in a better station in life. Why is that?
I believe the answer is simple.
Fear. We fear the unknown. We may resent or be disappointed about certain things in our life, but we know those disappointments, we are comfortable with those shortcomings. Doing something differently would require an even scarier option, change. It would require us to try to change or to risk doing something new. Treading into the unknown where we may suffer the ultimate adult failure: the inability to succeed. As long as we don't try we can never fail. It's infinitely easier to sit on the side lines and point out all the potential ways to fail and give up before even trying. We comfort ourselves with the thought that we are doing the responsible thing, the sensible thing, but it's just an excuse.
I am as guilty as anyone. I am very good at pointing out all the holes in a persons plan. I have spent nearly 20 years in the emergency services planning for the worst, looking for ways that things could fail and trying to prevent it. Measuring risk, being cautious and staying the course. Those are wonderful qualities in that world, they are poison for our dreams. Killing them before they can even be born. It's cliché to point out that the most successful people are the ones willing to risk it all to succeed, but it is the truth.
After some personal failures, all of my own doing, in recent years it became clear to me that in some parts of my life I needed to start doing things differently. I refuse to continually put off my dreams waiting for a better time. I will not be embarrassed to admit that I have dreams. I will get off my Ipad, turn off the TV and do something to make my dreams come true.
I dream of cruising the world's waterways and oceans, I'm going to try to achieve that dream. The way I will achieve it is by building a boat, launching it and going on adventures with my wife. I'm not exactly sure how I will get there but I'll be damned if I will lay on my death bed wondering what could have been.
I may fail, the odds say it is likely I will fail. No matter what though, I'll sleep soundly at night knowing I tried. I hope to set an example to my children that if it's worth dreaming, it's worth doing. To never be afraid to try. It's easy to tell them that, and has been said to them all their lives. Talk is cheap. I will show them, by my own example, that nothing is out of reach if we are willing to try.
Welcome to the Sea Dreamer Project! This is the story of a complete boat building novice and his family with no previous nautical experience constructing a 41 foot Diesel Duck in the backyard of an Upstate New York home. This George Buehler designed trawler yacht is a blue water cruiser designed to cross oceans. Built mostly of home center lumber, epoxy and galvanized hardware, this boat is within the reach of an average person. It's the internet boat project for the rest of us!
Friday, October 14, 2016
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I know this comment is about a year behind the post but very well written and absolutely true. As more and more people follow, it might be worth repeating it every once in a while because the vast majority of people reading this are most likely the people that want to do just what you are but are afraid to take the first step.ReplyDelete
Thanks Gary, I appreciate that. That might be a good idea about repeating this sentiment. I try to be as authentic as possible, as much as my pride will allow. On the flip side I would hate to sound preachy or arrogant like I have it all figured out. It's a narrow line to walk indeed!Delete
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