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February 26, 2016
Here’s the “Why?” behind my own houseboat design:
Wonderful video and thoughts. I’m 74, and my dad taught me to sail. I taught my son to sail and he has taught his son and daughter to sail. Boats and the water can really bind a family together for a lifetime. When my son finished university we built a beautiful cedar strip canoe together. Aside from spending lots of personal time together with him he learned how to read a drawing and use the tools to build the boat. He is 47 now and his family still get lots of compliments when they take trips with it. Memories forever!
Dan Goldring, Kingston Ontario
As a young father myself, all I can say is I agree with these thoughts and struggle with the same questions in different formats; not only at the water’s edge in other words. In particular the point about competition creeping into all youth activities. I wish the video were available to members and the public who stops by to check things out – good questions and perspective to share as broadly as possible and a great representation of what OCH is in addition to “boat” content.
Terrific thoughts Eric…..where does it begin that we want to crawl back into the waters from which we came. For me it started in 1949 when I was 10 years old, a city boy living in a Project filecabinet apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I had never been in a boat. I would detour from Public School 61 to a defunct pier on the East River, sit on a piling and look out towards the Statue of Liberty at open water. Across the river from me at the Brooklyn Navy Yard was a deteriorating shed with the phrase “Welcome Home” whitewashed on the roof for all the G.I.’s returning from Europe. All I saw was a wider world, adventure, an endless stream of options and experiences…a wider life itself. Thirteen years later I looked out on the same waters as I took the oath and was sworn into the U.S. Navy. My ship and crewmates were my community at the water’s edge and beyond. Everything after that came within the range of the sea. Half a century later I look out of my workshop window at the Eggemoggin Reach. There are water boys…..and everyone else.
Wonderfull essay, Eric. You work in a fascinating world of advancing technology applied to high-end yachts and yet manage to stay grounded in the basic emotions which tie us to the water’s edge. Great to hear you on the full range of these topics.
One of the pleasures of cruising Muscongus Bay on a Summer Sunday is the many lobster boats are out on the water with lawn chairs, picnic tables and portable grills aboard as extended families enjoy a day on the water. I don’t know why it is a more common sight there than elsewhere along the coast–perhaps just a coincidence, but it seems those families are practicing what you preach as they take advantage of their lovely “back yard”.
Eric, Great video. I am a former student of yours from 2009 in the cold molded class on the 21. We live in Green Bay by Lake Michigan and keep a 35 footer In a slip. We talked about what our theme was going to be for this boating season. We decided on simplicity and everything has be about the water. All too often everyone gets to their boat and then runs to town or goes out eat. This year when we get to the boat were staying put, on the water. We don’t need tons of stuff on the boat, just water views, drinks and good friends. By the way I need some advice on a boat I’m building if you read pls rely on how to contact you. Talk to soon Guy Shep.
Great questions Eric. I have been thinking about this since I saw the Centre for Wooden Boats video from OCH. The closest town to me seems to often see the river/canal as an obstacle instead of an opportunity. We have physically turned our backs on it and the only life that is visible are the few pleasure craft that come through on their way to somewhere else. A small boathouse centre for small local boats (canoes/sailing canoes, rowboats, kayaks) may be a way to do this. Are there any ideas around sectional designs that can be bolted together easily so that they can be hauled in and out easier for storage on land or maintenance? I look forward to designs that fit the “why” you have outlined.
I too have a houseboat dream. I have 100’s of sketches and a vision of an entire dock given over to a variety of floating homes. I stayed with a 30′ x 10′ footprint because at $18-25 per foot slip fees it can get quite expensive. Yet it would still be a beautiful and inexpensive way to live here in San Diego where land based living is so much more costly. I’ve also worked with the family boatbuilding program held during our annual wooden boat show. Its sad that down here there are few takers for the program, few people rowing small boats, really few wooden boats at all. I try to get kids involved on the water through schools and organizations but unfortunately San Diego is not like Seattle. I wish we could wake up from the dream and start doing.
Well said Eric!
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