Building a boat to sail around the world when you don't know boat building or sailing

Originally published at: Building a boat to sail around the world when you don't know boat building or sailing | Boing Boing


Depends on who you have helping you



Excited Tom Hiddleston GIF by Marvel Studios


So how does a 30 year old who’s jobs include stints as a teacher and a store worker cash in his life savings to spent 8 years building a boat from trees on his own property?

Just how large of an inheritance did he have? What 30 year old part time teacher owns their own forest?

This is like another off-grid-living show. People of means can afford to give it all up to live small on their sprawling estate in the mountains.


I know nothing of boats or sailing. But I’d absolutely give it a shot!


Seems like a very drawn-out way of killing yourself.


I hope he makes it, but it seems unlikely.


Yeah, that phrase instantly made the red mist descend for me. This is one of the reasons I can’t watch broadcast TV any more (see also: the places where people live in shows set in London or New York).

We sneer at North Koreans for seeing a painting of Kim Jong-Un riding a tiger and accepting it as documentary fact, but the news talks about a 30-year old with two college degrees having enough savings to live for 8 years building a boat from his own woodlands and we’re supposed to be like “oh, he just used his life savings, how thrifty”.

It’s not even really a generational thing at this point, because even 70 year-olds don’t have that kind of savings outside of the 1%. It’s just batshit insane fantasy lies, and people accept it because while it’s constant, it’s only ever mentioned in passing.

If the headline was “30 year-old manages to save > $500k from irregular teaching work”, that would be astonishing and difficult to believe. But they keep managing to slip stories like that past our bullshit detectors as fact.


So I have been reading Joshua Slocum’s Sailing Alone Around the World recently. Slocum did pretty much the same thing. He rebuilt his 36’ sloop Spray from a rotting hulk, rather than building it from scratch, but it was very much a ship of Theseus. He went on to be the first person ever to sail single-handedly around the world, in the 1890s. So it is doable.

Here’s the difference: Slocum was an incredibly experienced professional sailor with decades at sea under his belt and an almost legendary knack for navigation and improvisation. He knew exactly what he was getting into. He had been the master of his own three-masted barque before, and he had once built a junk-rigged ketch from scratch in the Brazilian jungle when his tall ship wrecked, in order to successfully sail his young family back to the US.

He also died at sea some years after his journey around the world.


The “midlife crisis” tag on the BB post likewise raised my hackles. Besides being a tired ageist cliche, it suggests this is just a relatively harmless exercise in vanity rather than a stupid, probably fatal mistake.


Thanks. Added to my list.


Coast guards hate this one weird trick.


Yeah, this is instructive. Building the boat will be the easiest part of this whole story. As someone who grew up sailing, I have a very healthy respect bordering on fear of the ocean. I wouldn’t even consider sailing around the world without taking someone with me who’d done it before. Heck, a friend who is a tremendously experienced sailor doesn’t even like doing the Miami–>Bahamas run without someone else on board. Shit happens, and it happens quickly.


Hm. If it was me, then before putting all my money and time into building a boat and then sailing it around the world, I’d probably spend a fraction of that money and time to go on a trip on somebody else’s sailing boat, just to make sure I know what sailing is all about and that I don’t hate every single second of it.

But that’s probably why I’m not on CBS Saturday Morning.


Not sure where the idea of savings/inheritance came from in this story. His family lived in the same place for generations, and donations/marketing were involved:


It’s available for free from Project Gutenberg as well, if you have an e-reader

ETA: you probably want to read his Voyage of the Liberdade first, which chronicles the above mentioned voyage from Brazil to the US.


Makes sense. I was going to suggest that he could be naming the boat “Bitcoin” for reasons.

Now it’s just “Privilege”.


Given how much information about building a boat is available on the internet, I would be satisfied with building a boat that doesn’t leak. One that wouldn’t leak while sailing around the World would not be my first project, or my ambition, frankly. Having a budget that would allow a complete amateur to accomplish that project – now that’s my ambition.


The story says he’s funding it with donations and income from a YouTube channel along with volunteers and a little 9 year old child labor. I don’t have a problem with the 9 year old as long as they’re being safe.

Someone just donated a CNC machine? These guys have a career in fund raising.

I see he has a wife and baby, there has to be income somewhere. He’s also paying some of the builders that are helping.

I do agree with the do your dream now if you can because life is too short philosophy

My wife and I have always talked about getting an RV when we retired, it was just a dream we talked about. Then a white light heart attack and a stroke got us thinking even more.

What pushed us over the edge was a conversation with my neurologist, she said don’t wait.

Within a month we had an RV.

But, it never occurred to us to ask for donations to fund our dream. We’re thinking about upgrading, anyone want to contribute to our dream of a half million RV? No? Okay, we’ll stick with the old one until it falls apart.

Also, like these boat builders we had no idea if we’d like it so instead of buying a new one, that we’d loose a bunch of money on if we changed our minds, we bought a 25 year old RV from the original owner.

We have zero regrets and if I don’t make retirement I thank God that we were able to do it together.

This guy should have at least bought an old boat and tried a few weekends before committing to his massive project. I suspect once the boat is built the sailing part might not happen. I know a lot of projects for me the fun is in the planning and figuring it out.

For anyone interested here is the location, the only farm attached to the property seems to be a Lama farm. Zillow says it’s nothing worth a lot of money.


He should spend a couple years doing coastal cruising to learn the ropes and make sure his vessel is bluewater capable. Jumping into a worldwide voyage could be dangerous.