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“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully

engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and

comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else

in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”

— Earl Nightingale

Amigo built by John Beaumont

Today’s article is a letter to the editor submitted to “Small Craft Advisor” magazine. We advertise in SCA and it is a wonderful magazine for sailors and would-be sailors. I really thought that Roger’s letter was such a wonderful expression of boatbuilding that I wanted to share it. We have Roger’s permission to use it.

So many of you have expressed to me much the same sentiments as Roger shares so eloquently that it seemed fitting to share it with you all. Enjoy…

Ahoy. A note about boatbuilding. For the builder the thrilling launch of a beloved homebuilt creation, the boat, is only part of a journey that began with the idea. The conception and effort to envision and render it as a living extension of one’s mind and skill.

The design may be from another person who shares such love of the effort and the journey, yet without the builder is left only as lines on paper.

Every hour of building tends to be an hour added to to one’s life, as if idle hours not spent creating this beloved dream are not life but waste. Building offers challenges that keep this old man’s mind and spirit together in the weary body that otherwise might stop and never create another dream. There is no fear of mental degeneration when one eagerly faces each challenge.

Even as one has sleepless nights when the mind is robbed of idle rest, so a builder can think through tomorrow’s challenges to envision the modifications and changes that make each project unique. Sleep comes eventually, and upon the morning will also come the reward of the subconcious response to the nights pondering and thinking.

Time spent waiting to purchase materials with which to continue building, until one’s income catches up with the desire to carry on, can be times of taking care of details and planning the next moves to be made.

Building keeps me alive and preserves my mental function. I dream of the day when I experience the rush of heart and soul as the first wind urges my beloved creation on its way over the water. That sensation that every sailor knows well, yet is hard pressed to explain to any degree of understanding to the landsman.

The completion of the first tack when the craft settles on her new course and heels to the compelling force we all love so. It is the thrill of releasing the tiller and finding that your craft holds her course with a balance once dreamed of as sawdust and solvent were yet being dealt with.

These things cannot be quite the same to the one who steers a plastic boat and shakes his head and wonders at the homebuilt wooden craft on his beam. Who has been blessed, the buyer or the builder? Keep on building, sailing, and living. They are the same thing to me.

Roger Pyatt

Mesa, AZ

As our gift to you, we have a free book online called “Rigging Small Sailboats” that we hope you’ll enjoy…

Until next time, build more boats… Glen-L boats that is!

Your Thoughts?

2 Responses to Boat Building and Wood

  1. David Walsh says:

    “Every hour of building tends to be an hour added to one’s life, as if idle hours not spent creating this beloved dream are not life but waste.”


    I am quitting my job tomorrow. If I work really hard at it, by the time my next birthday comes around, I will be a year younger.

    What a well-written and thoughtful message. Thank you for sending it.

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