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05 November 2013

Decisions, Decisions

SLACKTIDE (T26x7), our current home, sweet home

Decisions, Decisions

Keep a clean mind... change it often!
  -- Cap'n Billy's Whizbag

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds!
  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Anke and I have been living aboard for about 25 years. We've learned a lot in these years about ourselves, life on the water and how we like to live.

So you'd think this would be easy!

By this, I mean deciding on what form our final boat should take. But no. We waffle; we back-track; we renege; we head off down blind leads at full trot.

Here, I'll be writing about as much of the process as seems worth sharing. It's pretty individual, but many potential builders go through similar throes. Maybe sharing will help?

One thing; the process of finding out what one wants, needs and can manage is time-consuming. It is generally a lot of fun, but can be frustrating. Everything in design is trade-off and compromise. If we don't accept that, frustration will outweigh the joy.

My advice is to stick with it. Work it and polish it until all the jagged edges are worn smooth; until each bit pulls together as a single, integrated whole. When the whole finally emerges, it will be worth it!


Why a final boat?

Well, we're not getting any younger. The physical and economic resources we can muster to build are likely to dwindle in the coming years. If we have a shot, there's no time like the present.

What's wrong with the boat you've got?

We built SLACKTIDE (T26x7) about six years ago as a proof-of-concept for a liveaboard, sailing box barge... something we could live aboard indefinitely, if we had to, but limited in size in case she didn't work out. 

As such, she's small, and laid out as a camper-cruiser, like sitting/kneeling in a luxurious tent. We figured we had roughly a decade before the lack of furniture became a challenge. And her small capacity means we can't carry some of the field kitchen gear or liquid goods we'd like (more on that later).

Her box barge hullform exceeded all our expectations. 

The box barge, in our opinion is a truly viable option for liveaboard sailors. Not for everyone, mind you, nor all waters. But they get us where we're going in comfort and a certain, rugged style.

It made the list!

Why your own design? Why build your own?

We grow through DIY, in knowledge and skill. DIY empowers us.

In design, we know ourselves better than any other, no matter how able and willing... one size fits us - not all, or most. And in finding our way through the myriad options, we come to know ourselves better, yet.

 In construction, we acquire skills that will last a lifetime, and see us and our vessel through thick and thin. On that far and perilous shore, we have a fighting chance.

We partner and understand our own creations in ways that cannot be bought. We shape ourselves, as much as we shape them. In that shaping, we and the entities we bring to life are joined.

Our boat is shelter. Transportation. A Tool. A partner. Pretty fundamental stuff. She (or he, as the case may be) watches over us as we sleep, saves our lives by 'living through the gale'. Every moment, she enfolds us within her hull, separating us from the cold abyss.

DIY is the first act of love, in all that follows.

So what are you going to build?


[As it turns out, we've got a pretty good idea (stable this last week)... but patience, my friends!]

1 comment:

  1. Probably more folks than you know in this situation now, my friend. It's going to be interesting to see where and how this process plays out for you.


About Me

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Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, our T32x8 ketch. We sail by wind, tide and muscle in the waters of mid- to northern Southeast Alaska. We try to maximize the joys of life, and minimize the chores. ........ We live between the communities of SE Alaska, but drop in to visit with friends. Lately, we've worked, every other winter, care-taking Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warmsprings Bay. This has given us a window on Web. ........ We're working toward a subsistence lifestyle, somewhat impeded by addictions to coffee, chocolate and cheese. ........ We think TEOTWAWKI is looming, and while we won't be ready, we'd at least like comfortable seats.