~ Sherlene ~
Searching for boats is a daily occurrence. We visit sailboatlistings.com, yachtworld.com, craigslist.com and scan the ads in the back of sailboat magazines. It’s the one thing that can melt our tensions and feed the anticipation of our coming certain adventure.
In the past, we had just 1 type of boat we searched for diligently, with the thought this would be the boat we’d set sail in. Then, little by little as we have come to know features and amenities we like and ones we absolutely thought were musts, our list of possibilities grew.
One thing was certain, it had to be fiberglass and for me, that chaffed a little. Many times when I’d see a really beautiful, salty-looking boat, it would be made of wood. Hulls made of wood are subjected to water and conditions that will eventually cause them to dry rot and develop leaks and then… It was something Kevin just didn’t want to deal with.
So imagine my surprise when coming to bed last night he says, “wooden boats are back on the list of possibilities!”.
~ Kevin ~
I love wood, and I love wooden boats but the thought of caring for one intimidated me. There was just a lot I didn’t know about fixing wooden boat issues. Then I came across a website dedicated to wooden boat maintenance, and that lead to some other websites about wooden boat maintenance, and that lead to YouTube… you get the picture. The fact is, that while I don’t know much about maintaining wooden boats, I have never done any fiberglass work either. Given the choice, well…
Any of you that live in an older home know how wood creaks as it cools down at the end of the day. Wooden boats do the same as they flex and settle at anchor. Underway with a good breeze, they come to life, creaking and groaning as they dash through the waves. It is very much as if they talk to you, telling you when to pour on more sail, and when to back off some.
The problem has always been that wooden boats are often old, dating back before the 1950’s and fiberglass. Beside the obvious ravages that time can wreak, they many times don’t come with the amenities us plastic sailors have come to expect; like bathrooms for instance, a cedar bucket being all that was needed back in the day. Wooden boats tend to be dark inside with all the natural woodwork, and the tiny port lights of the times. Nice big windows were for fancy homes, not sailboats. They can be a lot of work, maintaining the golden teak brightwork up on deck, and even down below there is a lot to keeping a wooden hull in shape.
But, for the right wooden boat, the labor is a labor of love. For the right wooden boat, the perceived shortcomings can be fixed, lived with, or, even seen as pluses. For the right wooden boat will have a character all her own that we can come to love and know, and trust.
I don’t know yet what boat we will wind up with, fiberglass or wooden, big or small. But I do know that we are looking for a simpler, slower life, crafted to highlight the things we enjoy even if it does take more time and effort, and I would not want to deny myself the joy of listening to, and talking to a boat that lives and breathes as we travel the miles together, each, relying on the other.