Now that I have read through the whole thread, I think I might have something to add (which is amazing, because I am such a newb!)
I'm the spouse
My husband fell in love with wooden sailboats in his twenties, but had no experience. Hard not to fall in love in the Herreshoff museum...
He found/lucked into a job learning
carpentry for a builder
who spent one day a week paying the crew to help restore his 1930 48' Crocker racing sloop
. He met and learned from excellent carpenters and boat builders. Never saw her finished, I don't think she ever was.
In a couple of years, we bought an old farm; all the caveats that apply to buying
old boats are relevant there. Then we found an old Atkins-design double ender, 24', in the water
. Went out, fell in love, the owner liked us. I realize now we paid too much (5k), but he let us take delivery
of it and send him little checks for years until it was paid off.
Mistake-instead of sailing her, we put her in the barn and ripped the house, decks, and cockpit
off. Yes, she needed structural work, but we should have sailed her for a season first.
Then we had a baby; I was no longer able to participate in the project
, but it was really John's project
, and I shared his dream and was happy to see him happy.
We eventually got that boat in the water
, and we considered that 5k a fairly cheap
education. In addition to learning
a lot about boats, we both learned that John will spend all day in a 20 degree barn, under flickering fluorescents, if he needs to. We learned that I get tired of being a single
parent, but I will do it for the dream. We learned that John had the skill required to do, or learn to do, what needs to be done, and the right instincts. We learned that we could sail, too (I did have some small boat experience in that department). We learned that having a free place to keep it is essential, if it's a project boat. We learned a lot about humility; ego can be the biggest barrier to growth.
We hauled her after her first season and watched her open up on the hard
while paying for yard space. Finally sold her for a dollar rather than scrap her-she was full of bronze, newer sails
, Volvo Penta
; there was scrap there but she had a soul and we couldn't tear her down. Also, we had put the farm on the market because we realized that *that* was the *wrong* dream; so our hearts were moving on. She ended up as a pirate play house and we saw the engine
on Craigslist. No regrets. None.
The farm had a magnificent three season porch, and we would sit there and drink coffee and dream over the map, and the someday boat. When we sold, we moved right to the middle of that coffee stained page, John having become a timber framer after the stint with the builder
. We decided to rent, which is wonderful and I don't know if we'll ever buy again. Boat & House = too much for Thompsons. Bought a Blue Jay in near-perfect sailing condition from a guy up the road and put her in a mile away; we had our second baby immediately before we moved and I've STILL never been on that dinghy! Meanwhile, John and the older child get to sail.
Lessons-really small children
are full-time work, so one parent is effectively out of the picture, but getting a little boat keeps someone sailing and that's critical to regular reassessment and refreshment of the dream. Also, when you want something, head
straight for it. If it's the wrong dream, you'll know. If it's the right dream, you are already part way there. Check in with yourself-are you happy? Is it the right dream? Or are you justifying it because you are feeling committed and not wanting to look foolish? That's the ego talking. If it's the wrong dream, walk away. It's just standing between you and the right dream.
So, then I get really, scarily, sick. Like, am I going to die? You can read all about it at Nourishing Path
if you are interested. While I think all this boat chat over the years has been idle dreaming, I realize John has been carefully, systematically, watching the market. I find this out when, on one of my breaks between hospitalization, I see an email
"REPLY: Crocker 37, still interested?" and I find out that one of those "Look at THAT! Perfect, huh?" boats is on the market for a fraction of the original ask, and John has been up to inspect her; she's only an hour away, on the hard
. I am adamant that it is NOT the time for something like that, but then I begin to think exactly the opposite. We have a little change left from selling the house, so, even though it is a fraction again of the ask, we decide to offer that if and when I come through the other side. Lots more inspecting, soul-searching, etc in the meantime, but I do, she's still there, and they (pretty much) accept our offer, against another, higher, one. It's meant to be. John is commuting an hour to work on the boat, I'm home with two kids
, but he's doing it right. During a materials search he meets a local boatbuilder
, with whom he takes part-time work, in addition to his timber framing job. We take a slight income
cut, but I can see that he needs to go where his heart is; we'll make it work.
When the prepaid yard fees
run out, said boatbuilder
lets us build a shed in his yard and keep it there for free, five minutes away! Now work can proceed apace. We can barely afford even the hauling, but we're determined. Somehow, we keep it secret from family
, because it seems so massive and foolish. And yet, she's launched, a year and a half after purchase! There's still a lot to do, but we've cruised coastally and plan much more, and we want to live aboard at a marina for a while to see if that is the right dream. We've had fits and starts (see my thread and blog post about our planned and aborted fall cruise
, but we are moving forward, with ever-increasing clarity.
Lessons-This is a team operation; both partners need to have the emotional and physical resources to push through. I said to John at one point, "I'm going to bitch about it sometimes, but I want you to do this." For four or five months this spring, he worked seven days a week. Give yourself the opportunity to find out, in the clutch
, what you do. How hard are you willing to work, how lonely and discouraged are you willing to get, how honest can you be with yourself. For us, anther rule
was NO DEBT, and keep something in the bank. We slowed WAY down when we started to break that one. Know your price
And that's my essay on the subject
I've got so much more to learn than I will ever know, but I think I've got a lot of lessons under my belt already. I hope there is something useful in that for someone.