I Don’t Think It Needs To Be Perfect

If there were two things that made this past winter different it would be first, that New York got pounded by the kind of weather that I hate, cold and relentless, and second, that I escaped a couple times and lived a few weeks in California building this boat. This isn’t about bragging but about embracing simplicity. Each day, I’d get up early and go surf with my friend Dan, eat some mexican food, go back to Heath’s around noon and start building. Take a nap around 4 and then squeeze in some more time with the boat if we weren’t waiting for epoxy to dry. I loved it, and I loved that you couldn’t rush it. We must’ve read that manual a thousand times and gone to Home Depot 800.

The first few days of building is when you see the most progress. After that, the boat looks pretty unchanged for almost the entire build until you start working on the finish. In the beginning, it goes like this:

-Glue the hull slats together to make them full length
-Stitch hull together around the U-shaped bulkheads on the inside
-Fiberglass the inside
-Fiberglass the outside
-Glue the rails on the outside (use a million a clamps)
-Glue together and shape the seats
-Start adding one by one the coats of clear epoxy to the outside and inside
-Sand the boat until you can’t sand anymore
-At this point you’ve started the process of something forming inside you, due to all the chemicals and dust you’ve been breathing in, that will one day kill you.

photo 3

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During the process of making something like this, there’s an ongoing evolution of thought about how much attention to detail you should be using. It starts out with you thinking that you’re going to be able to pull off a boat that could win a damn ribbon in one of those contest with a bunch of old guys looking proudly at their “baby.” Then it goes something like this:

“Let’s just take our time and try to make it nice.”
“That last coat of epoxy is bumpy as hell.”
“You know what? We’ll just smooth it out when we sand it.”
“It’s not like anyone’s going to look at the boat that close anyway.”
“Fuck it, this thing’s going to get pretty beat up. I don’t think it needs to be perfect.”
“I don’t know what happened there, it just dried that way. Oh well.”
“That part is going to get painted over, don’t worry about it.”
“Are you hungry? Bob’s at the bar if you wanna get out of here.”

3 thoughts on “I Don’t Think It Needs To Be Perfect

  1. I have to admit that the boat is beautiful, the picture of you made me laugh and the thought of you both living in the boat for 30 days is unfathomable. I think I know the punch line to this joke, but the joke part (which is really not a joke) is going to be amazing. Thanks for taking us along.

    KAT in Texas

  2. My grandfather had all his kids help him build a fishing boat in a creek off the Chesapeake Bay in the 80s. Definitely a team bonding experience from the tales I hear

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