The Boat Shed

I spent a couple of pleasant hours Saturday finishing the winterizing chores on the sloop. With any wooden boat, you need to get some enjoyment out of doing seasonal chores and annual maintenance (or, if you are having trouble with the word “enjoyment”, then perhaps satisfaction at the money you are saving by doing the work yourself.). Otherwise, there is the temptation to skip the tasks that are the least fun, but that most need doing.
      With the exceptions of bottom painting and tracing electrical wires, I actually do enjoy maintaining the boat. I like painting, I even like most of the prep work, and I like working on rigging. A small ship like ours either requires very deep pockets and access to a highly skilled workforce, or the willingness to constantly learn, and practice a variety of skills.  It is the latter that I find makes for a very rewarding lifestyle. I love sailing, but I also enjoy sitting at anchor, in good holding ground, and waiting out the fog. I enjoy putting the boat to bed for winter, re-commissioning in the spring, and long winter nights reading up on places to explore, or spent down in the shop overhauling some part of the boat’s gear. I like the sheer variety of skills that I need to keep up, sewing, painting, caulking, splicing, plumbing, engine maintenance.
      Part of what makes all of this possible is that when we took on the boat we decided to build a boat shed within walking distance of my home. It is often on a winter evening that, what started out as an after dinner walk with the wolf-dog, turns into an enjoyable hour tinkering with something in the boat shed, or shop. Many small jobs get done this way, and it would be easy to use this fact to justify the expense of building a shed, but that is not why we built it. The boatshed is not about money and it is not about time; it is about lifestyle. I would rather walk than drive, I would rather do something at home than go out, and I would much rather learn a new version of a five-strand star knot than sit in front of the computer. I could say more, but I would rather go down to the boat shed.

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