Off she goes, Iain Oughtred's slightly foreshortened Penny Fee, at 15ft. Sails by Jeckells, spars by the wonderful Jeremy Freeland at Collars. The rest by Messrs Burke and Morgan (that's Jonny by the way...)

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Mid-Life Crisis Boat Builders

As one who has been having a mid-life crisis ever since he was 21, when he returned from swanning around the Caribbean to become a tea lady at Samuel Hoare's bankers in the city (I do not joke), I can sympathise with those who down pens and mice and up chisels and planes to become boat builders. The world needs more boat builders, as many in fact as the market will stand.

I applaud those who leave the excellent colleges to set up business in draughty sheds building bespoke craft for discerning customers. And as the economy improves (or not) then more and more discerning customers will take wallets from inside pockets and make out cheques which will justify the decisions of all those mid-life crisis boat builders giving up well paid, secure jobs to plough their lonely and insecure trade.

I wish you all the very best of luck. Do not be disheartened when you get no reply from the email from the man who is definitely thinking about having a boat built, and to whom you have given a comprehensive breakdown of costs. He will cherish those emails for ever, although he will never have the wherewithal to order the boat. You will have given him something on which to hang his dream, and although you have not profited thereby, you will have made his day (and made him happy).

A boatbuilder is as much a builder of dreams as of reality. We are counsellors and  confidantes. It may not pay the bills in cash, but we will have our rewards in longer lasting currency.

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