|Interview I||Builder Profile||Shop Safety||Sailing Stuff||BYYB News|
|BYYB Profile||Launchings||Regattas||Sailing Stories||Builders Tales|
|Book Review||The Sailing Edge|
By Rick Winn
Gaff Rig; Tell us about yourself Joe.
Gaff Rig; What first interested you in sailing?
I have always enjoyed reading tales of people who chucked it all for a sailboat and headed off for exotic ports. Growing up my experience was mainly with power boats and human powered craft but sailing always seemed like such a tranquil pursuit.
Gaff Rig; What boats have you owned and what is your sailing experience?
My Weekender is my first sailboat! When you tell people you are building a boat, that raises a few eyebrows, when you tell them it's a 20 foot sailboat and that you have never sailed before, they start to question your sanity. My thought was, what better way to learn about sailboats than to build one from scratch? It wasn't a completely harebrained idea as I did have quite a bit of woodworking experience and had been a kayaker and canoer all of my life so I knew something about boats. Where I found I had a lot to learn was with things like the rigging. It was quite a challenge to figure out the best way to build something when you weren't 100% sure how it was really supposed to work. I did some reading on the subject and a little experimenting and in the end it worked out just fine.
Gaff Rig; Why did you become interested in boat building?
My interest in boat building really started as a child. My father had a set of bound Popular Science magazines and I can recall spending many hours with them dreaming about all of the neat projects I would build when I grew up, especially the boats. So that's where it really started. A couple of years ago I was looking for a significant woodworking project and had kind of decided that maybe a cedar strip canoe fit the bill. I started hunting around in magazines and on the web for plans and things just kind of took off from there. I recently went back through those books and it really brought back a lot of memories.
Gaff Rig; Why did you choose a Stevensons project boat?
I picked up a copy of Wooden Boat thinking I might find some ideas or places to buy boat plans and I saw the ad for the Weekender and I knew that very second that I had found my boat. There was just something so attractive about the look of it, it's really difficult to describe. It just had a "salty" nautical line that attracted me right away. The ad made it sound easy to build for a beginner so I order my plans and video that day. My video arrived on Friday, I watched it 3 times and bought my plywood on Saturday morning!
Gaff Rig; Why, in light of your experience working with a Stevensons project, should others choose a Weekender, Vacationer, Pocket Cruiser for a first boat project?
Boats are an extremely personal thing. A boat which you have built yourself is a VERY personal and special thing. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything in the world. I enjoyed the building process, and I have enjoyed owning the boat. The first time I had the boat in the water I really understood the power of that boat's appeal. The boat always draws a crowd at the dock and I am constantly bombarded with questions and compliments. My first afternoon on the lake was a little nerve wracking though, not because of the boats performance which was great, but because at some point every single "plastic" boat on the lake came up along side to take a look at the wooden gaff rigger! I'm used to the attention now and when I see a big boat bearing down on me I know it's because they want a closer look. I explored a number of possible options and I would recommend the Stevenson's designs wholeheartedly. For such an attractive and able craft it is very straight forward to build. The plans and video are very explicit so there is no guess work or previous experience required, a fact much appreciated by a novice like myself. And lastly, I did not every feel like I was on my own do to the tremendous community that has developed around these boats. The help I received from fellow builders on the BYYB board was invaluable.
Gaff Rig; What are your thoughts on being a part of the BYYB? (i.e., why join, support, participate?)
As one of the founding members of the BYYB I obviously feel strongly about it's value. On one level the BYYB is there to promote the Stevenson designed boats and all owners of these boats benefit from that. The most important function in my mind though, is the role the BYYB plays in fostering a sense of community among the people who build and sail these great boats. Much of this community is focused on the building process and the BYYB message board is a way for us all to support each other in that endeavor. The challenge we face is coming up with ways to extend that sense of community beyond the building phase and to appeal to new and long time sailors. The Gaff Rig is obviously one integral part of that. Local fleets and periodic events are another way to build community among Weekender/Vacationer/Pocket Cruiser owners. We have to continue to encourage to growth of the BYYB and the formation of local fleets which will make this community a reality. I think we also have to strive to be as inclusive as we can in the process. To be quite frank, the formation and the continued operation of the BYYB is not without its challenges. We are a tremendously diverse group of people brought together based on our love of this particular boat. We have to continue to value everyone's opinion and to encourage participation from everyone, even those whose opinions do not agree completely with our own. I think if we are able to accomplish that I think we will have an organization that we are all proud to be a part of and one which will continue to grow and thrive.
Gaff Rig; Where would you like to see the BYYB go in long term development?
As I touched on above I think we have to strive to be as inclusive as we can, to be as creative as we can, and if we are, I think the BYYB will become a very strong national organization. Today we are focused primarily on growth and stabilizing the infrastructure of the organization, in the future we will have to continue to focus on continuously creating value for our members, that is, if we expect them to be with us for the long haul.