About the Project

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.

Memsahib:

memsahib at dock

Rigged Under Way

Memsahib on Tennessee River

Some of my other projects:

Auk1 sup final full

Boat1cropped (2)

CRM Chris 2

Jericho Bay Lobster Skiff

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5 comments on “About the Project

  1. Dani
    September 18, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    Oh this is so exciting!! I can’t wait wait to follow your progress on this huge undertaking. Also that’s a really neat business idea that combines fun and skill with helping people. I’m impressed!

    From the pics of your previous builds it’s obvious that Tardis is going be beautiful. Also, I love the name 🙂 We’ve added you to our “Friends” page with the rest of us refitters.

    Like

  2. Richard Beck
    March 21, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    I had worried about messing up a batch of epoxy and not discovering the error so I addressed the worry in the following way. On large glass jobs (hull, deck, etc) I would use a new unwaxed paper cup for every mix. I would either line them up in the order used, or number them. The next day I would verify that the epoxy remains in each cup had hardened, before throwing them away. I got lucky and didn’t have any that didn’t set up, but if I had I would have known it at least the next day, and about where the problem area was.

    Keep up the good work!

    Richard

    Like

  3. Bruce Elfstrom
    January 11, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    I’m I’m CT and am having a boat I designed built for me (no time) Boat is basically designed around the same goals you had. Like to meet up and talk. Im.in hadlyme ct. Drop me a note please

    Like

  4. Bob Hatcher
    March 19, 2018 at 12:39 pm #

    I need some info on that little dingy if you have it.
    I’ve considered one of Devlins other trawler type boats but just haven’t pulled the trigger yet. Dingy first
    Thanks

    Like

    • memsahibsvoyage
      March 19, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

      The dinghy is a Micro Petrel. Easy build, inexpensive, nice plans. Don’t get the kit. You will need to learn some basic lifting and how to tread plans to build the bigger boats — or an Olga 28. If I hadn’t found my boat,, I would have had Sam stretch the Dunlinn to 26, or 8.5 beam and whatever length resulted.

      Like

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