Many an amateur boat building project has been launched (or restarted) this year in sheds and garages across the land. Finally people have time to build a boat. I know this because the man from West Epoxy Systems has been dealing with a flurry of construction queries about kit boats since the Spring, and there s a definite trend going on since the first lockdown. If you hang out on the right Facebook or Instagram pages you will also see impressive photos of on-going projects like canoes and row boat builds from ‘beached’ professional sailors who are unable to work right now.
Indulging in an existing hobby, or fulfilling a long held dream to build a boat, makes perfect sense, but why has Debbie Purser from Classic Sailing decided to go the whole hog and retrain as a boat builder at Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy for 40 weeks?
Over the next few months Debbie will be reporting back on all things to do with small boats, affordable boat ownership and the trials of tribulations of being a boat building trainee.
A New Era of Small Boat Adventures
Even before Covid 19 and the temporary ‘death’ of international travel, Adam and I have been seeing a small shift away from long haul flights and extravagant climate damaging holidays towards micro adventures, closer to home. It was if the affluent Western world were finally realising that all they really needed for a holiday was a break from frenetic activities and non stop consumption was to slow down and detox simply with nature and sunshine and sea.
The first lockdown made the treasures on our own backdoor more precious. Once some of the UK travel restrictions were lifted, some backdoors were more appealling than others and it felt like half of Britain had migrated to the coast in vans with kayaks and SUP’s. My launch of the wild camping and open boat weekends on ‘Outdoor Girl’ was a run away success. Everywhere we sailed on this traditional spritsail yawl with charter guests, we gained admiring comments that were envious of our 100% outdoor living. independence and sense of freedom. I found it remarkable after 20 years of sailing on a pilot cutter with a ‘roof’, galley and flushing toilet that all ages were prepared to explore in an open boat, with no certainty to where we would lay our had to sleep at the end of the day.
A New Wave of Small Boat Ownership
After months of seeing Classic Sailing customers have their precious holidays cancelled or postponed on the bigger residential boats, it re-inforced my belief that in uncertain times, people like to be more in control of their own destiny. I predict an increase in the desire for small boat ownership, especially the type you can pop on a trailer and go off exploring on with minimal costs. It is already happening with camper vans. A boat is initially a bit more complicated but the rewards and opportunities to get into really remote spots is well worth it.
Career Paths & Classic Sailing Holidays – Hedging our Bets
Adam and I know Classic Sailing has to stay agile and at the forefront of sailing adventures, so we are trying to cover all bases and make sure that Classic Sailing customers will always find our website inspiring for planning sailing adventures, learning new skills and meeting like minded sailors and wooden boat lovers.
Adam is focussing on the residential sailing holidays worldwide and how we responsibly encourage travel and make our holidays as green as possible. He is like a coiled spring, awaiting the floodgates as soon as a covid-19 vaccine kicks in and we can all travel again, live below decks, and socialise together with that very special bond that is created on traditional sailing ships.
I am trying to find ways to encourage boat ownership, whether it is confidence to restore or maintain a second hand wooden boat, build your own, commission a new one, or come sailing on our small boats to gain the skills to do your own thing one day.
Recycling Wooden Boats
One of the barriers to recycling wooden boats is the fear that they are a hassle to maintain. I am hoping to be a female ambassador that can give anyone the confidence they can adopt a second hand wooden boat and actually enjoy its upkeep, or find a handy boat builder that can help you without breaking the bank. There is nothing wrong with GRP, strip planking or plywood kits either – if it gets you outdoors, having coastal adventurers.
Join me on my small boat odyessey and boat building course at the Boat Building Academy from now until July 2021 with a series of blogs and videos. Some weekends I will be back in Cornwall running 2 day camping and sailing expeditions on Outdoor Girl, so why not join me (max 2 people. solos welcome. adaptable to Covid-19 restrictions or fully refundable (see terms and conditions.)
This Girl Can (wield a chisel)
Actually I can’t wield a chisel very well yet, but I am improving in leaps and bounds, The next blog is about natural talent versus enthusiasm….