This site is about building a 28-foot wooden “trailerable trawler” designed by Mark Smaalders. It’s a new design, so no one has ever built one before, although a slightly different design by Mark is now being built in Germany.
People as addicted to wooden boatbuilding as I am will not have to ask the question, but the “normal” person will undoubtedly wonder “why?” I could afford a boat made of fiberglass or aluminum or whatever, and go cruising off next week, but there I am day after day, sweating it out in the shop over a pile of plywood.
The simple answer is: I want to have a continuation of the greatest experience of my life: cruising America’s Great Loop, a 6,000-mile journey around eastern North America, with my son John on our beloved teak motorsailer Memsahib. see: http://www.memsahibsvoyage.com
But while I miss Memsahib terribly, and dream about her frequently, my romantic side has a practical side: 1) Memsahib is a big, heavy boat, that I just can’t handle by myself anymore, and John is off at Miami University of Ohio. 2) I don’t have any desire to do the whole Great Loop again — just the jewels: the Canadian canals, the North Channel of Lake Huron, the Kentucky Lakes, the Florida Panhandle, the Keys, Chesapeake Bay. 3) I don’t want to be gone all the time, and I want to time things so my non-cruising wife Molly or John can easily join me.
So Memsahib is gone to a great new owner in Puerto Rico , and Tardis is being built at my workshop in Guilford, CT.
Why build it myself, rather than buy? Because that’s what I do now. I was a marketing executive for media companies for 40 years, including some big ones, USA Today, USA Weekend and Actmedia, and some little ones where we either lost a lot or made a lot, and in the end came out at the positive side of the ledger. But I led a parallel life after being bit by the sailing bug during college, when I learned that I could pass the physical education requirement by sitting in a sailboat. I owned six sailboats over the years, then was bitten even harder by the wooden boat bug 20 years ago. I built three of them, restored two, and finally started a hobby/retirement business building boats after the Great Loop. see: http://www.madisonkitbuilders.com
People these days, and probably for centuries past, think about their “self image.” When I look in the mirror I am increasingly aware of a me that is closer to my grandfather and my uncles: need a house, get out your saws; need the combine fixed, get out your wrenches; think the world needs the greatest slot-machine casino ever, build it.
Right now, I need a boat, so there’s a great big pile of plywood sitting in my shop. So I think I can do this, even though my friends who hear about the project routinely bring up the NCIS guy with a boat in his basement that will probably never leave, and of course, Noah.
I guess we will all see.
Some of my other projects: