We have been deeply involved with wooden boats for decades. We love them, especially the very old gentleman's yachts from the 20's and 30's.
The first wooden boat we boat was the 5o ft. 1938 Swedish sloop "Gullmar." We decided we wanted a different sort of life while we were living in San Diego while Vince was stationed there aboard nuclear submarines as a nuclear machinists mate. it was the early 90's and we had a young family, two very young children. They were toddlers when we bought and moved aboard. It was an idyllic existence, and we absolutely loved it. We moved up to the NW and planned on living aboard Gullmar with the kids in Port Townsend. We had some planking that had been done previous to the time we had owned her that had been done incorrectly. It was our plan to have her hauled out after we shipped her up to Port Townsend from San Diego and have the work done. We were young and dumb, we had no idea that the shipwright we hired to do the job would do the shittiest job possible--leaving us with an empty bank account and nothing done. In fact, he tore out MORE things leaving us WORSE off than we were when we started. For a young family it was DEVASTATING. We loved this boat, and we intended to do what it took to get her back to where she needed to be, and we had worked SO HARD. We were SO CLOSE. It was at our lowest point we would sell her and buy a house somewhere in the area. We were, in a word, BURNED out.
We put the word out and found a buyer for her in Port Townsend. He seemed a good sort (we still like him) and proceeded to work out the details of her sale. He would take over the project, finish her work in progress and love her as much as we did. Everyone was happy. We found a farm to buy where the kids could run and play, go to good schools and enjoy farm life. We included the sale agreement in our loan paperwork so we could purchase the place. It was a done deal. On the day that Gullmar's buyer was supposed to take the boat and move it to a property where he could work on it at his leisure rather than rack up costs in the boatyard he never followed through. He had a family emergency and dropped out of the deal. We had closed on the house at that point, thank goodness, so it didn't affect us being able to buy our first home. But we were left with Gullmar and mounting yard fees in addition to new home ownership. YIKES!
So we managed to keep Gullmar there in the yard while we planned what to do next. The guy who let the deal fall through contacted us again and said he would like to try again to purchase her and move forward with his plans. We felt badly for him, he loved the boat and wanted to buy her--and unforeseen events came up and he couldn't. We were willing to take a second chance on him....and we did. We got a large down payment and he started planning again. Then he called us and let us know he couldn't do it....the family situation was too much to deal with, and had not been solved. So.....we still owned Gullmar. On the hard in Port Townsend, every day that went by she accrued more yard fees.
We made the big decision to move Gullmar to our new home. And that is where she still sits....in her own weather tight building. She is safe and sound, and our plan is to finish Fifer, then turn our attention back to Gullmar...and I'll tell you what--the work we will be doing on Gullmar PALES in comparison to what we have had to deal with on Fifer. Holy crap, the work has been EXPANSIVE and difficult. Sometimes you go full-circle only to arrive back where you started. That's life...and you don't see or understand that until you are pushing fifty. The decisions we made in our 20's might not be the decisions we would make now, but no regrets. Life is a journey. Happy for the learning. The guy who tried and failed to buy Gullmar twice called us every few months for decades trying to buy her again. We were done with that. We made the sacrifices we had to to keep her, and we are committed to her at this point. You had your chance, Michael. Sorry it didn't work out.
We also had a 1957 31 ft. Owens Flagship Cruiser that we bought and refurbished for my father who has since passed away. The whole family had a lot of fun times on that little boat. We sold her to a nice family over in Seattle who love Miss Molly as much as we did. Having a boat on the Puget Sound is almost a rite of passage for those who hear the call of adventures on the water.