When I was young, I spent a lot of time in boats. My Dad owned a succession of small powerboats, and he obtained a free wooden Sailfish that we re-finished and kept at my grandmother’s lakeside cottage.
I enjoyed my time on the water, loved being with my Dad, and developed a keen interest in small craft. Entering college, I talked myself out of becoming naval architect, and then was boatless for many years before deciding that I wanted to sail. I’d get to be on the water again, and I thought it’d be great for my two then-young kids. Ready to purchase a 25+ foot boat, my pragmatic spouse injected financial reality. She wasn’t so hot on the idea.
In the end, I like my life to be really simple, and she was right. Still wanting to be on the water with my family, I began looking for a simple boat, a kayak. When I came across a used Chesapeake Light Craft Triple, I drove six states away to pick it up. Later, I wanted one that I could paddle alone and built a Chesapeake Light Craft 17LT. The Triple was well used and has since been sold, but the 17 is in its ninth season and we’re both still going strong.
Still, the yearning to sail has never left me. Working on a 26-footer with my son’s scout troop made me realize that SIMPLE REALLY IS BETTER, so I began reading Small Craft Advisor (Thanks, Mom!) and looking for used boat. To make this work, the boat should be:
- comfortably carry a guest or two
- able to stand some weather
- really cheap
- launchable in 10 minutes
A year of surfing craigslist produced no suitable craft, but I did find the Mayfly 14 design and expect that it will meet these criteria once I build it. Read this to find out why.