Escargot Build 6

Escargot Builders log


January 3rd

Several very nice emails about my project.  Thank you very much.    I cut another window out right next to the one in picture above.  Also started working on framing around the first one.  Working our pretty well.   Pictures later.  Also got well along on the forward berth.   Could sleep in it now if it weren’t so cold and hard.  Will end up putting in a futon I think in that berth.  Should work ok. 

I have been going on a journey through Buddhism.  For a long time I held back on talking about it… just hinted.  For some Buddhism represents Hollywood rich boys trying to find some peace now that they have made their fortunes, for others it represents skinny guys in diapers in caves. For me… it feels like a fog lifting.   Some pain involved… but mostly more clarity.  Allowing myself to see the world as it is.

In an effort to continue our families love of reading… but keeping our credit card bill low…. we have been going to library often.

Got a book called Frugal Luxuries by Tracy McBride.

I will share some of today’s chapter….

The Difficulty in Life is the Choice.

How many people drift in life because they have no plan? They have not synchronized their efforts with the aspirations. Words do not leap from a dictionary to form books… nor do successful happy lives spring into existence. They have to be thought out, planned, acted upon. You do this by taking control of your actions. How do you do that? By taking control of your thoughts. Karma is real. Our lives are reflections of us.

We must create our own happiness. We must be conscious every moment. Do not allow circumstance to guide you. Instead… be master of your thoughts and direct them toward the good, the right, the productive path. Don’t ignore the negative, but do not let them guide you.

As Solomon said, As a man thinketh himself, so is he.

February 5th

It has been a long cold winter… as far as the boat project is concerned.    Just feels too cold to go out most days.   Since this is Seattle, I guess it really ISN’T too cold, but….

I have done some work on the windows.  A few weeks back I made a test frame.  Not for the window itself.. .but for the actual whole in the side of the boat that the window will fit into.   This area takes more precision than most of the rest of the boat.  Not a strong area for me.  After I figured out the test window I cut the bottom sill for all four of the large windows in the “living room”.    I am stepping quite a ways away from the plans here.   To be honest… I am not even sure where the plans are at this point.   Somewhere under a lot of other stuff.   I like what I am doing better than the plans.  

I have been reading LOTS this past couple of months.   Lots of thinking.  Tonight I am reading “A Plain Life: Walking my Belief”.   Last night it was “Migrations to solitude”.  Almost all of my books have been coming from the library… which saves a LOT of money.  Still working on doing more and spending less… and with some success.   That has been a long journey for me.   Shifting from a sense of vitality being created by stuff…. to a sense of purpose coming from my building awareness of what is around me.    I shared with a fellow traveler that it seemed my Buddhism had helped me a lot, but I was finding that as I went along I was finding that really I was learning that I didn’t really have a clue.  This past week, I said, I was absolutely sure I was not enlightened!   His response… as he said .. in typical Zen fashion… when you realize you haven’t arrived… in a way you have. 

My reading of late has been drawn by a fascination of being alone.   In some ways it seems a logical extension of my desire for simplification…. an extension of my Buddhist path.   But it also is probably a natural reaction to having two kids, a job, a wife, an ailing mother, brothers and sisters, cars with problems,  ongoing house repairs… and…. and… and…..

It seems a normal inclination to run… to find your simplicity by leaving all behind and moving in with the Amish or some such setting.  That is just hiding.   Anyone can be a Buddhist in settings that they control. Anyone can be a Buddhist in a room if the temperature is exactly to their liking, only friends are allowed in, if all is just as you seek.  The challenge…. and the ultimate goal… is to be a Buddhist in the real World.  To be a Buddhist to the guy who cuts you off in traffic… to be a Buddhist to the neighbor whose dog is barking all weekend.

So I read these books with a somewhat romanticized notion of escape to a Shangri La… but more I read with an eye toward what I can  learn about what simplicity really is.

March 7

Getting a little too philosophical for my own good.  Back to boats.

Made some good progress getting framing on windows done.  Not the frame for the glass yet, just the frame THAT will go into.  Parts cut for the most part. Waiting for warmer weather to epoxy in place.   Then I will begin the windows themselves.   Still not sure on design I will do.

The rear hatch is about done.  I used a scrap of wood from when I cut the top curves of the frames.  The scrap matches the top curve of the boat. Looks pretty good I think.  

This past weekend I started work on the seats/storage cabinets in the back deck area.  The plans call for pedal power.  Not doing that.  Instead I have outboard.  But I need a place to put the gas and such.. so I built seats on either side of cockpit.  One side is about done… without the lid.  I will try to work on other side this weekend.  

Really need to get on stick for buying trailer.    Then I will finish sanding and painting the far side of the boat… mount the motor.. and take her out for a test spin.

Reading interesting book… just starting.  “Sailing to Simplicity” by Migael Scherer.   “Asking where the road lies is a big mistake, because there is no road.  We have been on the way all along.”     Also found a book called Gypsying After 40!!

March 12th

Joined an online boatbuilding group…  Seems like a pretty good group of people, and Don, the moderator, puts in an incredible amount of work for the good of the site.

It seems the Escargot was the subject of some interest there.  Nice to see reviews of the boat that are positive.  It seems that the lines of the boat, meaning the absence of a v bow, upset people.  If it doesn’t look like a boat they recognize, it couldn’t possibly work.   Again, the smallboats group seems very interested.  

There is another boat that seems to hold much interest to members there, including me. It is called Paradox.  Paradox was designed and built by Matt Layden for coastal cruising and for short offshore passages.  While VERY small, it holds a certain appeal to me.  Affordable, easily trailered, rugged, capable.  Check it out. 

All of the talk of Escargot on Small Boats has given me a new sense of enthusiasm.  I have finished the rear doors and mounted them on hinges.  That small step makes such a difference.   I also did quite a bit of work on adding two seats/storage areas to the rear deck.  That is where the pedal drive units were supposed to go. But I wanted storage and a place to sit while “driving”.  This will allow space for the gas tanks and batteries. 

So what is left?  Well, I still need to order that trailer.  Every time I get the money I hesitate and something blows up.  This month it was the water heater for the house.  I was told I could install it myself for about $300 or have someone else do it for about $550… and they would haul away the old water heater.  Life is busy so I let them.  I should have known better.  Complications brought the price up to about $900… almost the cost of the trailer.   It needed a new shut off valve, a little wiring work, and earthquake protection.  Good thing I did that I guess, we had that 6.8 earthquake a few days later.   Now I need to get the chimney fixed!  Funny thing, when the Earth stopped shaking my first concern was my family.  My second was the boat!  So much work would have been lost.

I also need to sand and paint the bottom of one side of the boat, and mount the motor. At that point I will be able to put it in the water. Then I will need to build windows, sand the upper half of both sides of the boat, and paint those sections.  Then I will need to work on outfitting the inside.  The front bed is in, I built some supply shelves across from the bathroom, but I still need to make the toilet useable and put in a floor in the main cabin. The plans don’t call for that… but I think I want to make that part of the boat really look well finished.

It has now been a year since I started.  I am shooting for opening day of boating season, May 5th.  I think it is possible.

I must say I have enjoyed the process far more than I thought I would, and my kids have enjoyed it far less than I thought they might.  It really has been all me all the way.  I would say the size of this boat presents some challenges, mostly in keeping everything straight… but for the most part it is not a hard boat to build.  I would not recommend as a first boat… but after building something simple like the Bolger Brick… you should be ok. 


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