I want to share with you what happened today when I brought 'Little Bird' out into the light of day to step her masts.
(Yes, 'Icarus' was an idiotic name. You don't name boats after men, especially one known for the most famous 'crash and burn' of all time. So I've named my 'Beth' as I should, after the woman I love, a woman named Elizabeth, known by one and all as 'Birdie'.)
There are two gentlemen here this weekend who have between them about 100 years experience owning, building, and sailing small boats. I invited them over to see 'Little Bird' and they were, to put it bluntly, blown away. Before they'd even arrived at my trailer, the moment she was in sight they were raving. She only had the two masts up yet they were still already enchanted by her spars.
They say 'form follows function' but that just leads to functional, boring things. When design draws forth beauty the function follows will be superior. Whether you designed your spars to spill wind or to be beautiful doesn't matter because they do both. They are, as they put it, 'incredibly sexy spars'.
And that was just the beginning. Over the next hour one of them would repeat over and over 'that's a very fast boat'. He couldn't help himself, like he kept soaking up the design until he had to blurt it out to relieve the pressure.
I knew 'Beth' was special when I first saw her three years ago but I didn't realize until recently that she was your first design. I know the GIS is your flagship, the one that will generate revenue as such a classic representation of a small sailboat. In contrast 'Beth' is unique and iconoclastic and unlikely to be widely successful. But 'Beth' has a vibe that burns so bright that the rest of your stable languishes in her shadow.
I like to think it's because you designed her for yourself. That you had these ideas bouncing around in your head for many years and you finally had to express them. 'Beth' wasn't designed to make you a living, she was designed to make you sane, to 'clear the decks' so you could apply your talents in a measured manner towards boats people could easily identify with.
That same man was already planning on building a sailing canoe. You could see the turmoil in his mind as his preconceptions were challenged by the phenomenon before him. He wanted so badly to build a 'Beth' but he just couldn't let go of his years with a conventional perspective.
But every now and then a semi-sane sailor will not only identify with her but be completely absorbed by her magic, by the way she epitomizes raw, exuberant creativity.
I am so fortunate to have come across her, she has already enriched my life in countless ways. And in ten days or so I get to sail her!!! And despite my uncertainties over my inexperience in building, my fears of floating in a lake surrounded by toothpicks, I find myself imbued with an eerie confidence that my most optimistic expectations will come to pass.
So I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for following your heart, for throwing caution to the wind, for designing a boat that stands alone on her very own stage. I imagine at times you look back and wonder 'what the hell was I thinking!'. But I'm certain that she is special to you, this first design of yours. She certainly is to me.
Lumber $862.08 (this includes an extra sheet of both 4mm and 6mm Okoume and twice the needed amount of VG Fir due to warpage upon ripping and unexpected knots. Cost could be reduced by $150 - $200)
Epoxy $605.10 (Just over 2 gal. 2 B size and 1 A size of West Systems 105 resin and 207 clear hardener. Cost could be reduced $200 with more judicious usage)
Sails $472.61 (Cost could be reduced $100 if standard white rather than Egyptian Cotton color sails specified)
Rigging $324.51 (Cost could be reduced $100 w/o Spectra halyards/downhauls and w/ simpler hardware)
Misc. $366.03 (paddle. ports, paint etc.)
Total Materials Cost $2630.33 (could be reduced by $400 - $600 w/ experience and better planning)
p.s. I've got to know, who is Beth? A name as conventional as the boat is not. Not 'the Demon' or the 'Kamikaze Canoe' but the name of a person I'd think I'd really like to know.
p.p.s Don't bother to modestly claim she's just another design, I won't believe you. I'll just assume it's a symptom of living upside down, under the equator, down under.