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Introduction

This blog starts as one person’s attempts to get afloat and go Sailing on a Shoestring but like most voyages it will rely on the support and encouragement of friends. I’m sure I’m not alone in this endeavour, but from where I sit this evening it feels a bit like that – so please give me a bit of your time, your expertise, your knowledge and experience I surely need it.

The story will be told honestly, I’ll record mistakes as well as successes, and try to include all comments. I won’t link or recommend any product, service, process or procedure that I wouldn’t recommend to my best friend and if anyone sends me an idea or an approach to solving a particular issue I’ll be pleased to post it up and acknowledge the contribution.

The ultimate aim is to provide an on-line resource for everyone on the same voyage - so I'll be adding helpful stuff from wherever I can find it. One issue already encountered is the relative isolation in which we boat builders and restorers live. Finding local suppliers of specialist books, tools and equipment can be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. To make life easier you might like to visit my Seaward's Boatshed  pages where you can order all the essential gear you need. There is a USA and a UK(Europe) page to keep delivery costs down. They aren't identical because some items available in one region may not be available in the other. In all cases however, I have listed the items I used and found reliable OR I took advice as to the closest possible local match.

Hopefully, this won’t always be a singlehanded trip so please make contact and contribute. It would be good to think that my lone scribbling, could eventually become the informal newsletter/magazine/ information source of a larger anarchic group of similarly eccentric builders, designers, sailors, and fellow travelers. Welcome aboard shipmate!

So, I’ll keep this brief and hope you’ll stay long enough to sign up for the voyage to a place a long way from here.

A bit about me

As a child, I was raised in the coal mining district of Yorkshire England at a time when ponies (pit-ponies) worked alongside human miners underground. Like the humans they were entitled to an annual vacation and so once each year they were brought to the surface for a two week stint in the sun. We kids tried to ride them but, like any other miner in the sunlight they became crazy! 
 
My own trip starts after forty years in the harness of mainstream life, commuting, working, raising kids and paying mortgages. Sailing happened whenever possible but always with a strong engine to get me home by Sunday evening ready for a return to the office on Monday morning. Last year, I was ‘cash rich, time poor’, next year I’ll have all the time I need but I’ll be considerably poorer in financial terms.  I am approaching this with an enthusiasm bordering on the insanity of a ‘pit-pony’ in the sunlight.

I am a slow learner and quite forgetful. In the 1960 and 1970s I was a part of alternative culture but now, after being sucked into the vortex of mainstream society and having stayed there so long, the luxury of choice and the options of what to take and what to leave from the ‘old life’ feel very new to me.

This blog is about choosing, purchasing, restoring, renovating, navigating maintaining and voyaging a cruising boat. Sailing is going to be writ large but there is also a hidden agenda. I want to explore an idea that that the exchange of time for money may not be a simple ‘like for like' equation. Maybe time is more precious and useful than money. Maybe you already got there years ahead of me but I’m sure there are plenty of us who through choice, circumstance or personal philosophy are in similar situations or at similar turning points in our lives – we need to know:
Can we get on the water, cruise, voyage in comfort, and maintain our vessels on a shoestring?
Could this idea actually be more attractive than our current situation?
Might we discover that time is actually more important than money?
Could the knowledge and skill acquired have wider applications?
So, my trip, and yours (if you want to join it) is a philosophical exploration as well as a practical quest

Seaward