Thursday, August 6, 2009

Some final thoughts on the building of the Pathfinder named "Pikake"

With the build behind me and life returning to normal, I finally can reflect on what I have done. It has taken 11 months and 500 hours in that time span to completly build this boat. I started building in September of 2008 and averaged about 10 hours a week in my shop, but after the Christmas holidays I nearly doubled that to get in the water this summer.
The completed boat has cost me $10,000 approximately. About $1500 over my estimate. The cost which I have kept pretty much to myself is higher than some might think, but you must consider it's all new. (example; 5hp Honda $2100, Sails $1400, Trailer $1500. That's $5000 before I include any hull or rigging.) You don't build a boat of this size to save money.
I have average building skills and none of this build was technically challenging. What it was though, was a lot of hard work and patience. People tell me I must be very proud of what I had done, but to be honest I don't really feel that. I feel relieved that it's over, and very, very satisfied. It's not until I got up to my neck in the build that I realized that it don't take a master boat builder nor a cabinetmaker to build a boat like this. People looking in from the outside at this project see the final product and how it seems to be somehow a major feat. When I get the "You must feel proud" I can't help but think of the fishermen of not too long ago would spend the winter building bigger boats to replace their previous smaller ones, and launch in the spring with a nod an "Hope she floats" murmured. Half a dozen would be launched in nearly every community across this island with no more thought than if they had fixed the wharf. It's just a lost skill that used to be common place like making nets or mending them.
It's been a goal since my teenage years to build my own boat and now that its been accomplished it's gratifying. But I can see how a person could get down because it is taking so long to finish their boat. Moral I think is the biggest killer of boat builds. You just get tired of it. So you better be sure what your getting yourself into before you commit large sums of cash to the project.
I thank my wife Nadine for agreeing to let me take on such a large project and for putting up with the huge mess in the basement work shop that migrated out so far as the laundry room. But she no longer will need to endure me pouring over plans and telling her in minute detail about what this boat can do and what that boat costs to build. I bet she's as relieved as me that it's done.
I have a sailboat again, but this one I built...

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