At OffCenterHarbor.com, what we have in our mind’s eye is a thing apart – free from the anxious clutter of the rest of the world…
A space big enough for the small jobs essential to life alongshore: work benches with tools at hand. Bins of useful marine hardware. Bosun’s supplies stored in canvas bags. From the paint locker, the scent of pine tar and linseed oil.
An ancient skiff hangs from overhead beams to remind us that good boats have been around for a long time.
Furnishings are to the point. Sturdy chairs around a woodstove for winter talk, a library stocked with maritime books, an old radio tuned to some ball game somewhere. At the shore side end of the building are built-in corner berths with canvas cushions inherited from a schooner that sails these waters.
Alongside in a lean-to shed, a sailing dinghy is under construction by a combination of old timers and local kids. Everybody is learning patience out there.
From the corner windows and the porch out front, the dock is plainly visible: punts, kayaks and sailing dinghies bailed and ready. A couple of small sloops and several larger cruising boats swing on deep water moorings.
There’s generally coffee on early and by mid-morning on weekends and all summer long, kids from town straggle down in ones and twos to row or sail or to help maintain the little fleet. Older members understand the future is in these kids.
Everybody enjoys the chance to learn a better way to do a thing. There is never a shortage of opinions. There are several big pads of paper for sketching out ideas.
This boathouse of ours at the head of the cove gives all of us a chance to take a deep breath, to be present with things worth doing, and feel how being here and now stretches days into their full dimensions.
Which is about all any of us can ask, really.
P.S. The boathouse we dream of might be different from the one in your imagination. So sketch them out and send them in when we put out the word. Sometime this winter when the weather is awful and the stove is hot, we’ll choose a few and share them with everyone.
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