If you are a dreamer, a doer, a horizon viewer - come in! come in! Announce yourself and let it be known.
The seed of adventure has been sown.

The goal is to take this boat on a trip that no other Wharram boat has taken.
From Great Slave Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories up the MacKenzie River to the Beafort Sea
and westward to the Bering Sea and south to the inside passage on the Alaska and British Columbia coast.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Adventure! This boat building process is turning into exactly that. Like the ridge in the photograph, building a boat is a long thin line. Each step equally important. How you take each step and what you bring with you will influence if not outright determine the outcome. In mountaineering, you need to focus on each step as it could be your last if you become sloppy. In boatbuilding, you will live with the short cuts and inattention you had along the way until you step ashoe for the last time. You need to have the whole picture firmly in your mind at all times. Success comes from envisioning the whole lengthy process in your imagination; what you will need along the way, where you will rest, what reserves do you have to keep you going and what milestones will you set for yourself so you don't loose perspective. Under duress will you stick to them, retreat when you said you would so you can live another day to go on or will you loose all insight and plod on into oblivion. The risks associated with each activity, mountaineering and boatbuilding are not the same but the rewards are as are the steps you will need to take along the way. To succeed you need vision and purpose. The ridge (of an undisclosed mountain because it remains unclimbed) in the photo is one that my friend Paul and I have talked about tackling for years (he gets the photo credit). On a Bluebird day, as in the photograph, the ridge is majestic and very intimidating. Imagine it in a full on storm with night approaching! Under such conditions it would be absolutely terrifying; having knowledge of the mountain, the stamina to plod on one step at a time while maintaining the big picture and a good aerial photograph will help you on your way. They won't make it much easier but they might help you stay focused. Building a boat that you can see a photo of and you can envision through the designer's plans is helpful as it keeps you goal focused. The path is not easy though. It is the little things that start to erode your vision. If you set out on this boatbuilding adventure, don't rush in the beginning. Every piece of work you put into the boat, be it well or poorly executed, will live on in the boat. Think of that and then envision all the conditions the sea and its bottom can throw at you. Don't think of this as a battle but as an opportunity to harmonize with the sea. I think what appeals to sailors, who become boatbuilders, is the knowledge of how the boat was built. By building it yourself you are part of it. Very differnet from a boat assembled by someone who will not be associated with its use. They won't be out there with you when it gets rough but their care or lack there of in building will be. That said, the sailor's skills as boatbuilder may not be the best but at least you know where the weaknesses are and hence the limitations. If you work carefully and consistently, you will know the boat's strengths and weaknesses. That said do not rush at first to get the work rolling along, plod carefully up the long steep ridge while envisioning how you will get back down too.


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