If you’re reading this you probably already know that a wooden boat isn’t the same animal as a plastic, metal or fibreglass one. Wooden boats are beautiful, organic things and no two are exactly the same. The character and type of wood; the boat builder and his-or-her mood on the days it was built; the weather going on outside the shop walls; whether the boat will live its life North or South, in salt water or fresh. All of these things and many more have an impact on the final product. That’s one thing I love about them – each one is unique.
When a boat leaves our yard, our work is finished and yours begins. None of us has the time or money to buy or build a new wooden boat every few years, and this means work. Sanding, painting, storing. Loving (yeah that’s important too – because let’s face it: If you don’t love her, you just aren’t going to spend the time doing right by her).
You’re all responsible boat owners, right? Let’s say you’ve gone over your boat thoroughly. She’s sanded down and maybe you found a few little soft spots and you’ve fixed her up “right some good” … but it’s spring and you’re in a rush and you just want to get her in the water and get going. Maybe there’s a whole new bottom on her, maybe it’s just the sanded bottom that needed no repairs at all. Regardless, you’re in a rush and surely everything will be fine. Just toss her in the water and you can take care of the paint next weekend … later this summer … over the winter. Right? Wrong. So, so wrong.
Let me demonstrate why this is wrong using our very own dory. Let’s be clear: this dory isn’t owned by someone else, this is ours and we know what we’re doing. We put a new bottom on in the summer. Summer 2015. Late summer 2015. Once she was all pretty and cleaned up, we needed to use her and so she was rushed into the water. She was used a lot, but she also sat a lot. When we hauled her out in late autumn, after about three months in the water, and she had an entire touch tank living on her derriere. But that’s okay: it’s the ocean. Things grow. Lichen happens.
We’ve just finished a big, beautiful Faroese Faering boat here at the Dory Shop, and so Bub and Andrew took a free moment to get to that derriere. Look what they found.
You can clearly see where the worms filled their bellies with our beautiful new wood. Just the sapwood, mind you. They didn’t make it further than that sapwood. But in three months the worms did a wonderful job eating the bottom of our dory, and all because we were too anxious to get her back into the water. Had we taken an extra day or two and put on some marine bottom paint, this simply would not have happened.
If you own a dory, or any wooden boat at all for that matter, don’t cut corners. Treat her well, and she’ll be there for years and years and years. Keep taking short cuts and in no time at all you’ll have yourself an awfully expensive bonfire.