Game-Plan

The creative tendencies i talked about might seem a bit all over the place and unrelated. Some of them are.. But there is a vision in there somewhere. My professional life has taught me to go ahead and dream about long-term goals, always keep them in mind, but focus on the short term steps to get there. Usually my long, lifetime long, goals are far fetched and certainly not achievable in an afternoon, nor in a weekend or even a single year.

So when I go ahead and dream about the future, there's an important point in my life: when both my daughters (now aged 5 and 3) are grown up and 'normally' ready to leave the nest. I'd like to offer them an alternative.

When my wife and i talk about retirement we picture ourselves just that. Daughters long gone, our current house to big for the two of us (although, i doubt, with my endless list of hobby's...), and specifically OLD. Dutch pensions don't pay up till your 68. So its keep working to make ends meet. Anyway, we always pictured us selling the house, which should be debt-free by then. And buy a Camper and use our spare time to tour Europe.

However, my father got sick at the age of 70, good thing he stopped working at 62, where the last 5 years the quality of his life deteriorated. This is of course no guarantee this will happen to me, but this makes me want to retire way before the age of 68.

But i digress, I was envisioning an alternative post-graduation life for my daughters. What if we turn the year-abroad for both daughters into a multi-year abroad for the whole family. What if we combine the idea of early retirement, the 'camper', the idea of touring, perhaps selling the house early and go out exploring, the world no less.

Now a four (nor six) wheel Camper doesn't get you all over the world. When traveling with 4 or perhaps even 6 or more a Camper is not gonna cut it. A sailing vessel however, could. I say could cause it still limits you to coastline of seaside country's. A sailing vessel won't get you to Austria, but a Camper wont get you to Australia. Also the living space thing, a sailing vessel might offer more space. It comes at a price however, a pretty hefty price. Selling the house would definitely be a requirement. But when retiring early the house won't be debt free, so even then going all-in on a brand new boat won't be an option. And even if it would. I would not be wise decision. Boats sink, people get seasick or otherwise just over it. In the end even I might be the one
not wanting it anymore.

Also, i might add, the wife knows a bit about this vision and doesn't share it, she would never go all in. And also I never sailed. I even remember that during my years (and years and years) of college i heard of people going sailing for the weekend. Back then i just couldn't fathom it. Why on earth would one want to spend time away from their comfy home, away from the internet. But back then i was not (yet) part of working life, all i needed was a PC and a internet connection.

But now 10, no 15 years later, as a father in a (happy i might add) family, pouring my energy into hobby's ( also family, work ) more often then not unrelated to The internet. The internet never let go however. It wouldn't be the first time YouTube introduced me to something I want, but usually cannot afford. I tend to find more feasible alternative's and usually end up building it, or a version of it, myself. And even then i learned from people on the internet how it can be done.

So.. I guess now we arrived at the "I'll build it myself" stage and a brand new hobby was born: boat-building! An, according to me, perfect example of a boat that just could tick all boxes (relatively affordable, buildable, maintainable, manageable, capable,livable) would be the James Wharram Tiki 46. While I still see this as the end-game last-iteration of the boat-building hobby part of my life it would still be to much of an all-in. Unless I would take up WHOLE of the backyard (the
wife would never let me, also regulations wont allow be to build a shed that size) I lack a build-site, the material costs alone would be about 10-15 years of hobby budget, plus it is simply a way more then one man full time job. Let alone a single man with a few spare hours here or there. No alone i wouldn't be able to build it.

When i allow myself to dream a bit though, by the time my daughters become more capable, lets say at the age of 14 till 16, perhaps they can chip in, in building the boat. No not the boat...   in building their future world exploration vessel. Showing that you could build your own future is EXACTLY what i want to teach my children. The boat is just the physical thing, true power lies in the realization that you can shape your own life.

So.. The Tiki 46 is not feasible for now. A bit smaller perhaps. A James
Wharram Tiki 30 then. Definitely more affordable( 15k vs 50k materials), more buildable (even though the 'official' 900 hours won't cut it, its a different order of magnitude vs 4000 hours),more manageable ( 1000kg, even my car would be able to tow it vs 5 tons).
Perhaps less capable (not ocean going) and definitely less livable ( no standing headroom, 1.20m beds). Also the building site, I still need my wife to go along, but i do fathom a 11 x 4.5 m shed in the backyard, this would fit two 1.20 meter hulls or even a trailer with both hulls, and still leaving space for tools and machinery. The Tiki 30 could be a perfect sailing vessel for summer-weekend cruises on the bigger lakes, perhaps even a close-to-shore trip to one (or multiple) of the dutch islands. Storing it in the winter could be done on the trailer back in the shed.

But.. I currently still cannot cough up 15k for the materials, plus i do 'need' (or want) at least 10k but more like 20k worth of tools let alone the shed itself. So, even more steps back. Way back, to what i can build with the tools i have or can afford. I first considered a Canoecraft strip-planked canoe without sail (this could be added though) but this still lies outside my one-car garage workshop's capability's. Cutting 6 meter board into 6mil strips requires a table saw, although perhaps i could cobble something together with my tracksaw. Those strips still need to be brought to proper consistent thickness. Now one actually can buy all the strips and even other parts pre-made, ready for glue up. And technically you would be building the canoe. It does not feel correct. Perhaps a bigger show-stopper: the resulting (already chose a smaller 15ft.) 4.50m canoe would fill up the garage, lengthwise, it barely is 5 meters wall to wall. I could barely store it.

I then stumbled across the Gary Dierking Wa'apa. This canoe actually seems like the best first boat to build. It can be built out of unscarfed sheets of ply. The construction is bit like the Wharram boats ( also Wharram offers the Hitia 14 and Hitia 17, but again these hulls would fill up my garage). Two or three hull-pieces of one sheet of ply-length (2.4m. or 8 ft.) can be built, stored and transported separately, so would allow for plenty of walk-around space during construction. I think i might get it trailerable using the trailer were going to buy anyway. When building it various technique's need be learned (like working with fiberglass / epoxy, also sail rigging and even sail-making), and even when finished it seems like a good vessel for learning how to sail. Especially the safety wheels trimaran version of it. Also i think i might be able to afford building it without a extra source of income, and it might be an interesting process to BLOG and even VLOG about.

So building a Wa'Apa will be a concrete new project on my list, and even though small compared to the Tiki's its a rather big project with multiple stage's (hull, things like rudder and leeboard, rigging, sail, learning HOW to sail). I still lack a planer/thicknesser so i do will have to order in a few parts, since most of the construction is out of ply i consider it less cheating.

But before construction begins i still need to do some research, preparation, clean out the garage (sell the old holiday-trailer as it eats up valuable space), and maybe even finish some other projects first. However, this pretty much sums up one aspect of the future I'm trying to shape.