Thursday, December 12, 2002
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Holy Moses! Gigantic Gilbert Is Totally Doomed Issue!
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Reader Rants

You know the story on opinions. Everyone has one. I invite your rants and raves, your comments on any aspect of this site, and indeed, anything all, all of which I will try most faithfully to reproduce here. You may even include HTML tags in your rants and I will include them so as not to diminish one iota the beauty and perfection of your well-crafted pearls of wisdom.

I should point out that because I don't have any control over the host web server, I have to accept your letters via an email process, so it may be a while before you see your post, but I guarantee you, if you send it, it will be posted here.

Posted 2004/08/18 , by Mike!!! , entitled, " Handbasket "


This damn website is falling apart, it still reads like kaka in Netscape, there's no new boat, no report of the use of the first boat, no new newness, no recent reader rants, dammit, what's going on!!! Forward, harch!!!

Kevin Responds:


Okay, I'll accept the criticism. Yes, I haven't updated in a long time. No, Netscape doesn't work. Don't know why. Don't care. Looks great in IE, though.


Posted 2004/08/12 , by Dave , entitled, " Your Boatbuilding Epic "


Dude, I just came across your site. Fantastic boat building journal. Did you finish it in the end? Any chance of a final picture?


Kevin Responds:


Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I finally finished the boat, and it is now languishing in my new boat building shop on my farm in Brown Branch, Missouri. I'm in the process of moving out to the Ozarks, at which point the story of the boat, now named Petunia, will no doubt continue. How I came to own a farm is an entirely different story, but you can see a video of the boat's launching from the link on the front page of this site.


Posted 2002/10/17 , by Cap'n Joe , entitled, " You should write a book "


I just stumbled upon your site this evening. So glad I didn't have to wait for installments. I really enjoyed your writing, and the boat is beautiful! As I read through your pages, I thought - this guy should write a book....but then I guess you kinda have, haven't you.

With regard to the project, I've been there dude, having built an 8' cedar strip dink from Compumarine plans. As you're finding out, the work seemingly never ends. Then it does and its kind of bittersweet. But one can always start anew.

Great work!

Cap'n Joe
Glenville NY

Kevin Responds:

Cap'n Joe,

It's fortunate that you didn't have to wait for installments; those who were have just about given up on me. But just when they write me off as a bad bet, I come roaring back with new updates and more progress. I suspect that, other than the guy in Maine who restored a Pearson Triton (Glissando, I think it is) my site is the longest running boat building journal I've seen out there. Of course, this says very little for my skill, my focus, my passion and my desire, but hey, I can live with that. I've often thought about writing a book, but I have yet to come up with anything more worthwhile to say than what is on this web site, so it's just as well that I haven't. Maybe someday, and I thank you for the kind complement.

I have been wondering what it is I'll do with this site once it's done. Perhaps donate it to the Smithsonian, or beg Duckworks Magazine to take ownership of the content, or transform it into Fat Guys Flossing Teeth, or Fat Guys Grouting Tile, or some other such thing. Or maybe I will build another boat, an even bigger, much more ambitious boat... or an airplane! Or a steam engine! Or a cotton gin! Or...


Posted 2002/10/15 , by Ken , entitled, " Welcome back! "

I'm the guy next door in Chandler. I'm very glad to see your back at it. I did not give up on you, but my visits to your site have steadily decreased until today. To my surprise and relief -- you're back! I will be a regular visitor again. Nice closet poles, er, spars I mean. When you are ready to launch your boat, post a notice. I'd love to witness the maiden voyage. (Tempe Town Lake?, the Islands in Gilbert?) I am chugging along on my Minicup. (Not nearly as ambitious as your project) I hope to have it finished by the end of the holidays. The boat is of the type where you usually get wet sailing, so I likely won't launch until the spring. When I am ready though, I will drop you a note!


Kevin Responds:


Thanks for the note, and the faith! I'm currently working on the main mast, and I'm going to document that process quite a bit more thoroughly than the other two spars. I've also done quite a lot of work on the interior elements of the boat, and I've placed the order for the sails, so the end is really, finally in sight. All of this will be expanded upon in the construction journal as I progress. A big part of the problem was that my digital camera has been broken, and I had it sent back to the factory for repair. It's fixed now, and I can now honestly say that I've actually sent some product back to the factory, something I curiously had never done before.

I will certainly let everyone know when and where the launch will be, and readers of this site will be allowed a spin or two about the lake, if they dare. Good luck on your boat, and be sure to let me know when you're ready to show it to the world!


Posted 2002/10/02 , by Brother Yet Again! , entitled, " Good to See an Update "

Kev! I was going to berate you on the lack of a recent update to your site, but, luckily, decided to check back before doing so.

Very sorry to hear about the asteroid. Does that mean you'll be visiting the Midwest again soon? We can sail the great Loose Park Lagoon!

I did notice that the Construction Journal hasn't been updated. How disappointing. I happen to know that you and Dad took your Acorn on her maiden voyage this past summer (don't worry-I won't divulge any of the gory and amusing details).

Also sorry to tell you that I've made no progress on the St. Pat's float, except for a VERY nice drawing - after all, that's what I'm best at - and a theme. I'm missing some essential components. Do you know where I could lay my hands on 12 pairs of mannequin legs and 12 pairs of clogging or tap shoes?

I also noticed that Kelly and Maurice (the gangster of Love) were featured in the Mandisa Chronicles. I had never seen Maurice before, despite being just 10 minutes south of him. Does Kelly ever go to work anymore?

I'll be in touch.


Kevin Responds:


Thanks for the sympathy on the asteroid, but Gilbert is getting too big anyway. I think it gives us a great opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over again, and like the Pope, I look forward to the wonderful lake that will be created once the devestation is cleared away. I am dreading the freeway construction that will tie up traffic for months to come, but everything has its price. Even if it misses and hits someplace more deserving, say, Mesa, the experience will be worth the thousands of dead, I think. (Note to humor-impaired: the asteroid thing is a joke; it's not really going to happen. Don't start hoarding food or digging bunkers. And straighten that tie.)

You really need to get to work on that float, and maybe we can do something about your need for materials. This is where the internet comes in. If anyone can get their hands on 12 manequin legs and 12 pairs of clogging tap shoes, please let my brother know. You won't regret it.

I haven't been doing much construction, and what bits I have done, I couldn't photograph because my digital camera has been broken. I just got it back from the factory yesterday, though, so you should see some more updates soon. And I have been doing stuff. I've put together the rudder, two of the three spars, the floor boards and have been slapping varnish about with almost criminal disregard for the environment. I'll post updates soon.

One last thing: Maurice has changed his name to Morris. Yes, I know, it's not as cool a name, but he was intransigent on the subject. He is, by the way, a great guy. Kelly seems to have found the balance between working just enough to keep from getting fired and not so much that she is a slave to her career, leaving plenty of time to grow 100 times more tomatoes than she or the residents of North Kansas City could ever eat. I hope to figure out what she has someday.


Posted 2002/10/02 , by Chris Walsh , entitled, " Insert "Nice Title" here "

As I emerged from another drunken stupor this morning, I saw that for some reason I (or one of my drunken companions) was looking at your web site. I don't know why as none of us ride on boats, sail or other wise allow ourselves to be jettisoned, propelled or transported across water of any kind (The only place water has any business being around booze is in the ice). So...I was wondering if we were drunk surfing and if we said anything stupid while we were comitose? Oh and by the way, that Maurice aka Morris aka Kelly's-what-ever-she-calls-him looks amazingly like a guy who walked out on a bar tab I was running for a customer a while back. Next time you see them, would you mind asking about that? Dad says hi and some other things I probably shouldn't write here, too. Oh! Along with those manequin legs and shoes we're also going to need large amounts of Jameson (to fuel the float) so any help in getting hold of that from your dozens of readers will help a bunches! Great site, cool boat and enjoy the asteroid!


Your Inconsiderate Basta*d of a Brother,


PS: I didn't want to write anything offensive to the little tikes out there who are no doubt flocking to this informative site. How's that for considerate? Hmmmmmmmm?

Kevin Responds:


What are you doing awake so early? And sober too? No, if you're awake, you're certainly not sober. In any case, I can only assume that since you were browsing this site, you had an uncharacteristic fit of good taste, which, as everyone knows, leads ultimately to Fat Guys Building Boats and Gilbert, Arizona. Don't worry, though, it was probably a higher class of booze that did it, and I know you hardly ever touch that stuff, so this somewhat frightening fit of refined tastes will almost certainly pass and you can get back to your usual fare of NASCAR and Bud Girls.


PS: Love ya, dude.

Posted 2002/09/24 , by Inspector Theo Kojak , entitled, " Inspector Theo Kojak "

What about those fat AND bald guys building boats? Haven't we heard just about enough of fat guys that aren't even bald?

Sapristine was saying just the other day, "Crocker, look, I don't mean to tell you your business, but, I've had enough of your musical choices and I've got to protest." He's starting to make a stink in the 13th Precinct.

Following that link only leads to madness, not baldness, not the way I obtained mine, anyway!


Inspector Theo Kojak

Kevin Responds:


I include this rant only as a public service. Perhaps someone, somewhere will recognize you as their missing senile grandparent and do what's necessary to find you and return you to the institution.


Posted 2002/03/21 , by Cap'n Nemo , entitled, " Short and Sweet "

Name your little craft Quip. Suits your humor, and may suit your sense of irony since she certainly wasn't just some sharp little thing you tossed off. If she capsizes, her upturned hull will look like Nessie's prehistoric hump on the water, and the transom will appropriately read "dinO" - well, almost.

Thanks for your stylish, clever and informative site.

Kevin Responds:


Quip is a fabulous name! I especially like the idea of a readable message for when the boat turns over. 5.9 for technical merit, and a big 6.0 for style points! Thanks for your comments on my site. One of these days I'm going to have to get around to updating the front page, but as usual, very little of interest is happening these days in Gilbert if you ignore the Great Watertower Controversy. By the way, I want you and others to know that the reader rants form works just fine, even though you may be getting error messages saying otherwise. Another one of these days I'm going to move my site to a place where I can take much more control of what happens on the backend of the web site, at which point you'll be able to read your posts right away. Until then, we'll just have to live with this goofy mailer system, as well as my apology to you for the problems.


Posted 2002/03/11 , by Myles , entitled, " Suggestions for the name of your boat "

How about Voice of Unreason? Or Four Fingered Sally?

Kevin Responds:


Thank you, dear brother, for making it seem as if readers out there still cared about this site!

The single hardest thing I have faced in my short boat-owning career is the prospect of divining a suitable name for a boat. Naming children is easy. Everybody has an opinion. Entire books are written on the subject, and in the worst case you can just pick some of your favorite relatives and be done with it. Dogs are equally easy. My technique with dogs is to simply ask them. Turns out that, unlike humans, they already know who they are at a very early age, so just spending a few moments with them will reveal to the more sensitive among us exactly what their names are.

But boats! There is a conundrum. Not only must the choice of name please you and anyone else closely associated with you, but it must also please the boat itself. It's well known that a boat has a soul, and I believe that the nature of the soul that chooses to imprint itself upon the boat has a great deal to do with the name selected for it. And then there are the various gods of the sea who, upon the selection of an unfortunate moniker will certainly make their displeasure known. A daunting challenge if ever there was one. Believe me, the debate for a name for this little boat goes on and on. Current leaders in the race are:

  • Sweet Pea - This name reflects the fact that the boat will be a tender for Mandisa, which means Sweet in some language or another.
  • Spike - I like the idea of a tough name for this diminutive craft. Mugsy and Rex are also pretty good.
  • Katy O'Shea - A recent entry, this is the name of the woman whose affair with a leader of the Sinn Fein party in Ireland killed any chance at Irish independence for several years. This name is unlikely to stick given the source, but it reflects my sense of irony.

This writer would dearly love to hear any and all opinions from the denizens of the net. I assure you, all entries will be given due consideration.


Posted 2002/02/17 , by Shane , entitled, " Flamin great job mate!! "

Gidday from downunder mate!

Wanderin around I came upon this site of yours through another boatbuilding one and thought this sounds fair dinkum so I wanders in fat guys?? flaminheckmate!! Your a skinny runt! but hey she'll be right your buildin a boat so your a mate skinny and all no worries! :o)

I admire the pages although the only ones that lead anywhere are at the top the others lead back to... yeah the home page! No that was a flamin waste of flamin time wasnt it?!

Now bein of the writing sort meself I have to give vent to a rant about boatbuilding seein as youve given me carte blanche to do so... its a rant thats sorta driving me as mad as a goanna on steroids in the middle of the simpson desert and that is this crazy thing with the "bug".

We men being usually pretty simple fellas that like nothin better than to sit around drinkin beer and swappin yarns and other BS, but it comes to boats and its a whole mess of troubled waters were headin into!

Mate! I began lookin at boats, plans, study plans, lines offsets and books... got books comin out of the proverbial bung hole! geezzzz talk about a galah whos lost his way and has that dazed and bewildered look in his eyes as the semi trailer headlights and spots hit him just that few seconds before the massive squash road kill moment... thats what its like right? Well it was for me! Bloody stone the flamin crows Kev! Boats??? flamin fellas gotta be a drongo to wanna have anythin to do with buildin the things!

I started out about 12 months ago with a simple clear mission from "she who handles the wallet gifts", her words are quoted "get some plans for a 40ft Wharram Catamarran some thing nice and simple you can build yourself bein the handiman sorta joker you are"... Sounds easy doesnt it? Well finding Wharrams site was findin the plans was and even contactin them was gettin on their forum was too but then it happened.

Along comes flamin Simpson with his designs, Jones with his, Shuttleworth with his flamin mega buck things and about a gazillion other designers! It was enough to crush the ego outa a rabid emu on heat!! I tell yea I got lost and utterly confused by all the choices!

I gave up on the mega cat well 40ft is to me mega! hell the two hulls could just fit along side the house but then we would have some problems gettin in and out maybe through the windows but SWHTWG and the kids would get a bit jacked of with that after a couple of years. So I began to look at something a bit smaller and then along comes Mike Waller, Wharram again Kelsal and Hughes along with legions of others to flamin muck that bright idea up!

So I figures I'll go flamin smaller, shouldnt be hard just a little canoe should do the trick... oh yeah they make it easy, only a zillion sites for flamin canoes aint there! So I think to meself, I'll get flamin smart here and go for kayaks no buggar uses them long skinny things do they so they'll be easier to sort out, cant get confused can I? Bullflaminshite!

So now where the hell am I compared to 12 months ago? Totally and utterly flamin buggared is what I am! Ive got plans out the kazzoo Ive got Wharram 21ft, Ive got Wharram 30ft, Ive got motor boat plans x 5, Ive got canoe plans x 3, Ive got Kayak plans x 2, Ive got dingy plans x 3, Ive got plans fair up the rabbit proof fence mate! AND Im still flamin confused!!

BUT.... I will build a boat! As I can see youve done it Kev, and mate if you can do it then so can this little fat guy in downtown nowhere West Aussie!! Too flamin right!

I will just have to sit down sink a few flamin cans of the amber liquid of the gods waste an hour or more cogitating on the habits of insane boat designers and get up go "eenie, meenie minee mo catch a roo by the tail if he hits ya let the bastard go if he dont that buggar there will do" and build whatever it is my empty can lands on! When I get to it I will let you know how I get on so you settle back mate and have a tinnie or two!

Oh Ive got another rant for ya... nah I'll do that later when theres more space on your site!!

More power to ya whistle!


Kevin Responds:


I sympathize with your perhaps Fosters-induced inability to settle upon one boat design, and I have to confess that I waffled back and forth for a bit too. Let me offer you some guidance, which is worth exactly what you pay for it, and that is this: there is no reason whatsoever to settle upon a single design. All you have to decide is which one to build first. The purpose here, after all, is to get out on the water, and just about anything will do the job nicely. Let me know what you decide to build, and we'll crack a tinnie to celebrate. Thanks for the rant, and I look forward to more from ya, mate.


Posted 2002/02/15 , by Jack Sanderson , entitled, " I can stop anytime I want "


Congratulations on completing the boat but you must cease publishing this site. You are giving hope to all of us with delusions of grandeur to take on projects for which they aren't the least bit qualified. My particular Napoleonic psychosis started several years ago when I was stricken with the urge to build a 19.5' cedar strip sea kayak in my 20' wide basement. Not only did it take much more skill than I possessed at the time but it required a complex topological math problem to figure out how to get it out the hatchway once it was done.

My wife was not only dismayed with the 300 hours I spent filling up the path to the washer and drier with cedar shavings but more so by the fact that I frequently choose to retire to the basement at 10:30PM for long intimate sessions with the boat rather than to join her in our bedroom. She began to refer to the boat as my "long curvy mistress" in basement. Others (who subscribe to Freudian thinking) looked at the kayak shape, dismissed the female theory, and concluded that I was overcompensating for something.

Either way the whole process is quiet addictive. I am sure that scientists somewhere are conducting studies with boat building lab rats who forgo food and sex only to push skinner levers which dispense mahogany from which they build traditional lapstrake boats while the control rats waste equal amount of time playing golf. Lets hope that the FDA finds no adverse affects to boat building because I'm starting to figure out if the Acorn Tender would fit out the hatchway.



Kevin Responds:


I hate to tell you this, but I'm nowhere near finished with the boat yet; I've just finished the outside, and I now have the entire inside to occupy my time for the next few months. This includes inwales, breasthook, risers, thwarts, floors, mast step, mast, cleats, sail, rudder, centerboard case and centerboard. Then I have to paint/finish the whole thing. So I have lots and lots of stuff to do, and as a result, I have lots and lots of web site updates to do. Then, once I'm finished with that, maybe I'll start another one, or maybe I'll just think of something else to do with the web site. I'll think of something, I'm sure, but you can rest assured that whatever I come up with, it will be a complete waste of your time and mine.

I'm sure that you could find some way to get the Acorn out of your basement. It's only 8 feet long (if you build the Tender version) and 4 1/2 feet or so of beam. Turn it on its side and push it through the door, or better yet, dig a great honking pit next to your house, then construct a nice ramp down to the foundation and knock out the basement wall. Tell your wife it's a fire escape route or a special Radon ventilation system. From one lab rat to another, whatever you do, you can be sure that if I can build this boat, anybody can, so go for it.


Posted 2002/02/14 , by David Beede , entitled, " Kevin, shameless self promotion, Kevin "

Hey Kevin,

I'm a fellow Boatbuilding Webring member, and my site is on Tripod too! (plug plug)

I'm also NOT a fat guy, and I build boats too!! Other than that we don't have much in common. Your boat is fancier and you are funnier. Your writing had me laughing so hard I had to congratulate you on your site and your boat. (If that skeptical ranter who thought your site a sham last April could only see you now!)

I design and build very simple boats... hence the name... and cautiously admit my admiration of and influence of Mr. Bolger. I got to meet him last summer both in Mystic and at his home in Gloucester - a charmingly curmudgeonly fellow. The guy has designed a gazillion boats including square riggers, power yachts, and sleek sloops, but for some reason he is famous for his "ugly boxes." Go figure.

I built musical instruments for years and there exhausted my addiction to fiddly detail and fine finishes, so instead focused my urge to make stuff, on boats. I chose plywood skiffs with latex paint finishes. "50 footers" I think they're called cuz they look pretty good from that distance. I blame my boat building style on my goal to stage a community boat building event "this summer" (been saying that for 3 summers), but have yet to pull it off. I actually fear my skills are just devolving. I started with spruce, walnut and lacquer - went to plywood and the last thing I made was some stick furniture with rope seats and no finish. I fear that soon I'll be turning circles in tall grass laying down and calling it a couch. But that's all beside the point Kevin - (I learned that from a car salesman. If you're afraid folks suspect you are merely motivated by self interested, you say their name a lot.) So, Kevin, on to the shameless self promotion part. I am, (oh so modestly and humbly) announcing my recent win of the Duckworks Magazine design contest. So far my 15 minutes of fame have caused a computer geek friend to gift me the domain name! It looks like you, Kevin, are also a Mr. Dot Com who is not using it to make any of dot money. What a small world! (Or if you are please share your secret.)

It appears dis rant has been more of a ramble. I do have a boatbuilding rant on my site, Kevin... What can I say? (less?) You are the victim of my 3rd cup of coffee. Besides, I'm suffering from the dope-ler effect - tendency of stupid ideas to appear smarter when they come at you faster.

Thanks again for your site. I'm going to link to you even though you aren't simple!

Sheers and chines....

David Beede (the simple)

PS - We demand more pictures of Tucker! You know that no chew colar cone thingy really just helps Tucker link to the mother ship.

PSS - Tell the Pope Dave Carnel swears by anti-freeze for toenail fungus. I'm not making this up, it's on his web site!

Kevin Responds:


Wow, you've built a great site! I've bookmarked it and plan to spend to "free" time there soon. I appreciate your appreciation, Dave, of my web site, Dave. No, I make absolutely no money on the site, but being a frustrated writer forces me to seek a low-cost publishing outlet, and the web is the best thing around for that. Click to see a full-sized view I have lots of pictures of Tucker, also known as T-Man, or the Whirling Dervish. One of these days I'm going to write up something about this dog as soon as I figure out the physics of how he packs the energy of a nuclear power plant into his 50 pound frame.

Regular readers of my site know that the Pope visits Gilbert often, so I'll be sure to tell him about Dave Carnel's toenail fungus remedy when next I see him. I'm sure that Prestone would be happy to hear about it too.

Your move from the fine woodwork required to build musical instruments to less demanding endeavors is one I appreciate. As I get older, I find that working at McDonalds becomes a more attractive career alternative as time goes by. It must have something to do with shifting about one's priorities in the face of a clock determined to wind itself down to zero.

I suppose I'm going to have to break down and add a links page to my site, because there are so many really good resources on the web for amateur boat builders, and that's at least one way I can pay back the people who put up sites like this for no monetary gain whatsoever. Congratulations, by the way, on your winning the Duckworks contest. That too is one of my favorite sites, and you join the ranks of many quite talented folks. I look forward to seeing more of your designs in the future, say something like a nice 22 to 24 foot cruising boat...


Posted 2002/02/01 , by Another Fat Guy , entitled, " Snap goes the gunwhale!! "


As another fat guy building boats (really I'm currently building 2 dorys) I congratulate you on joining me in the snap the gunwhales brotherhood. Building the Lark 9' dory I was able to convince the first gunwhale to go on by leaving it out in the rain overnight before clamping. The second, somehwhat drier snapped as I wrestled with it.

P.O.'d at haveing to hand over one more chunk of cash to Lowe's I got smart. I purchased a 10' section of 1 1/2" schedule 20 PVC pipe. I also picked up a glue on cap a threaded connector and a plug. Ten minutes after I arrived at home I had a poor man's soaking box. A cup of ammonia in with the H2O and the next two rails and the caps came out of the pipe convinced they were well cooked spaghetti. They slipped right on with minimal fuss.

Your boat looks great. I too cannot understand why anyone would actually build a boat that looks like a refrigerator box.

Keep up the good work.

Kevin Responds:

I had to let the hysterical fit of laughter pass after reading your refrigerator box comment (with all due respect to Mr. Bolger and his army of fans) before I could formulate a proper reply to your post, and now that the tears are dry, here goes.

I'd love to see pictures of your boats, so feel free to send them to me at I haven't yet decided whether or not I'm going to put a rub-rail on the sheer strake below the gunwale, but if I do, I may give your poor-man steaming method a shot. I do have a couple of questions, though. First, what purpose does the ammonia serve? And second, assuming you are using epoxy as a fastener, doesn't the soaked wood interfere with the bonding properties of epoxy?

Thanks for the compliments on the boat, and here's hoping I can get back to it really soon.


Posted 2002/01/29 , by Jake Langthorn , entitled, " Nope, I am fresh out of originality "

Not venting. Just thanking. I enjoyed your site very much. I first ran across it yesterday (1/28/02) and came back again today (1/29/02) to read a little more. It was as much a pleasure the second time as it was the first. I hope you have the stamina to keep it up for a while.

You might add in more about the Mandisa. This is, however, only a suggestion, and you seem to be doing just fine, up to now, without my suggestions.

You must not be an engineer, whatever else you do, or you would better appreciate PB and his designs. Howsomever, it takes all kinds.


Kevin Responds:


Thanks for your kind words! I hope I have the stamina to keep going too. I really do enjoy hearing from folks who stumble over these pages, and it's comments like yours that motivate me to continue. With respect to Mandisa, I regret that I've not finished my travel log yet, but now that I find that someone is interested in reading further about it and the boat, I will be more likely to add to the Chronicles. Thanks for the motivation.

It's true that I'm no engineer, but I do appreciate the engineering Mr. Bolger has applied to his designs to solve the problems he sets his sights on. His writings, aside from being very informative are highly entertaining. I do know that lots of people that would not have otherwise build a small craft have done so largely because of his work to simplify (and lessen the expense!) of the process, and for that we should all be grateful. All that being said, I find that his designs make a lie of the notion that beauty follows form follows function. Thanks!


Posted 2002/01/29 , by Another fat guy who builds boats , entitled, " Philosophical Wandering "

I came across your site today 29/01/02 and I am awed by your presence. I love the site, I must admit I was looking for a site to link to but I will give that a miss. However, I will be back (didn't one of your generals say that once?) it is immense fun. As to others saying that you have chosen the wrong boat to build and that it is too complicated and you should have built a Bolger Boat, if you want to sail your boat stick with Iain O; if you want to make gin in your boat go with PB. I have a solution; sail your Iain O boat and drink gin, or better still have nice warm workshop think about building a boat and drink even more gin.

Kevin Responds:

Thanks for your appreciation of this site! I'm not sure what you meant by saying that you considering this site as a site to link to, but gave it a pass, but somehow I'm disappointed by that. In any case, keep coming around. I plan to modify the structure and content of the site soon. I agree with the spirit of your assessment of Bolger/Oughtred, and while I'm not a gin drinker, I think I'll manage to find a reasonable substitute. (Where does this gin thing come from, anyway?)


Posted 2002/01/25 , by Thipsamy Chantaphone , entitled, " Rant From The Past "

Spleen! Spleen! Steam! Vent you say? Hah! Radon has nothing on me....

So here's the deal, the time: decades ago, the place: The Heart of the Evil Empire, the focus: The Moscow Olympics Long Distance Walk. The even being viewed as long since over and done with, not too many people were sitting in the stands, milling about and waiting for the next big thing, when lo, down at one end of the stadium come the lanky frame of a long, long, long overdue Long Distance Walker, the New Last Place Finisher. Being hours later than the penultimate finisher, he nonetheless, when the crowds twig to his existence and the fact that he is a participant in an event that everyone thought was finished ages ago and burst into huge applause, he *STOPS AND TAKES A BOW!!* adding to his already world-class-horrible time. God bless, says I. His memory will last forever... His name, by the way, was Thipsamy Chantaphone (unless I've spelled it wrong, but it's Laotian, so you have to cut me some slack....
On to the Rant
Sick! Sick! Sick! No, not the Jules Feiffer book of that name! I mean sick is what I laughed myself reading your boatbuilding journal! What the hell do you *do* besides spend way too much time on your website and boat? Whatever it is, you're spending too much time on it, and you need to spend more time on the website and boat, which will bring you the support and laughs of millions, and which will guarantee you a cup of coffee free and at no charge (do you throw away any envelope that promises a "free gift"? I do) for the rest of your life or until the Great Salt Lake overflows its banks and comes knocking on your door, whichever comes first.
WHY you chose one of the harder boats out there to make I can't imagine-- what, you never heard of Phil Bolger? Or Platt Monfort come to that? We all love Ian O., but migosh, why not just build a Piccolo and be done with it?! Talk about doing things the hard way....
On the other hand, your approach to the difficult task of acquiring a workbench was handled masterfully!
Anyway, enough with all these Other Tasks-- get back to the boat. And no, you can't post my real name or email address, you think I want to risk hearing from the other crazies who are lured to your website by its name??? Hah, not in this life or the next! All the best,

Name withheld by request

Kevin Responds:


Yours was a highly refined and entertaining rant, bringing as it did obscure Olympic references offset by glib asides about hip political cartoonists, and if you lacked the artistry to combine them within a single sentence, no one here blames you a bit. I really look forward to future communications from you, hopefully with some links to your boatbuilding work. I am always ready to resort to theft when the currency is boatbuilding knowledge, and I somehow think you know your way around a rabet plane.

I chose Iain Oughtred's designs because I frankly find Bolger's designs hideous to behold, in spite of all their acclaimed utility. Perhaps I just don't get it, but those boats are simply ugly to me, and I'm sure Mr. Bolger and his legions of fans will get along quite nicely without my adding to the burgeoning population of Micros and Bricks. In truth, there comes a moment when building a boat in which the plunking down of great wads of cash becomes necessary to proceed any further, and were I to build a Bolger just because it is presumed to be easier, I'm not sure I'd have bought the wood even now. Contemplating the easy lines and elegant sheer of the Acorn made parting with the funds much easier and even now compels me to proceed.

With apologies to the Bolger faithful,


Posted 2002/01/17 , by Ken Willmott , entitled, " Pointless, almost "

Recently, I noticed your website on the boatbuilder's webring. What drew my attention to your site was not the interesting title (which I will comment on in a bit), but the description that said you were building a boat in the low Arizona desert. As a resident of the aforementioned precipitationally challenged area, and a person who has the irrational desire to build a boat, I wanted to see what my neighbor was up to.

I must admit that your site is not what I expected. First, it was much more professional looking than I expected given the quality of other homemade sites about homemade boats (later I read on your site that you are a professional website maker type, which explains the quality). Second, I was mislead by the title "fat guys building boats." I found neither obesity nor plurality on the site. Your site had one guy, certainly not fat, building one boat. Did I miss something?

My rambling has taken me away from my true task. I have heard that once you begin building a boat you immediately think about your next "project." Did this happen to you? Have you thought about building another boat? Perhaps something a little more ambitious? The reason I ask is that I plan to start building a boat within the next 8 months and would love to bounce ideas off of you (figuratively). You see I reside in the neighboring patch of urban blight immediately to the west of you, Chandler Arizona (in fact I am right on the border of Chandler and Gilbert). Besides the similarity in location we have "the garage is a mess" thing in common. I would have e-mailed a photo, but I could not fit the camera in the garage to get a picture.

I would like to build a small (very small 15-17 foot) sailboat with a tiny cabin for the kids to sleep in while daysailing. I was thinking about the Minuet by Glen-L. It is built in sheet plywood which should simplify the building process somewhat. I like the look of lapstrake and love the idea of having a boat with traditional planking, but for my first project I would like to be able to complete it before I am eligible for Medicare. You see, I am a CPA/Attorney whose woodworking experience is limited to chewing on the sticks in popsicles and corndogs. My long-term goal is to build a sailboat that is capable of circumnavigation and then do some serious cruising.

When I get started I could e-mail my progress to you so you have more crap, er, I mean, more material for your site. So what do you say? Want to watch a grown man cry when he ruins a gazillion dollar piece of wood?

Kevin Responds:

Ken -- Except for that bit about being a CPA/Attorney, this letter could have been written by me. I am, as always, astounded by the curious rules of sociology which drive us inexorably toward long periods of bitter frustration with only the promise of some ill-defined happiness that we might derive from sitting in a cramped, half-swamped vessel with bored, angry family members chewing stale, water logged crackers. O cruel fates!

Thank you for your comments on the quality of my site. While it is true that even the basest of efforts does the job, I found it hard to settle for less than what I could do, and so wasted even more time putting it together than I might have otherwise. A happy outcome given the charter of the site, I might add.

It is true that I am not obese, only somewhat overweight (and not irredemably so) and it is true that there is but one of me, and but one boat. The perennially cruel fates have found it fit, however, to offer an escape from the curious contradiction posed by the title of my web site by bringing you here. I would be most pleased to devote space on this site to your noble undertaking, and look forward to doing so in the very near future.

I have found myself considering more ambitious projects than the one in which I am currently engaged, but I also retain a determination to finish this one first before I become too serious in my musings. I have a tendency to let the next new thing distract me, so I'm not allowing myself to review study plans or anything of the sort until I put the final touches on the finish of my current boat. Like you, I considered a sheet-planked boat for my first effort, but I kept finding myself drawn back to the beauty found in classic styles typified by Iain Oughtred's designs, so I compromised by building his smallest, simplest boat, the Acorn.

A quick note; I removed your email address from your post, which is I think prudent, given the nature of this medium. I'd be happy to put it back should you desire me to do so.

Good luck, and happy new year!


Posted 2002/01/10 , by If I had a boat , entitled, " I'd sail it on the river "

Ahh lahk pahs tew

Kevin Responds:

I had to think long and hard about how to answer this rant. You pose an interesting philosophical quandary for which I have no answer. Indeed, Aristotle himself had little to say on the subject, so I won't even try.

Good luck, and happy new year!


Posted 2002/01/03 , by Gerald Fitzgerald , entitled, " Apropos or no? Which way to go? "

Thanks for the entertaining site. You have given me a high mark to aim for with my own boatbuilding page at (I'll never hit that mark, but what they hey, hey?)

My rant is.... I firmly believe that a homemade boat must be christened with the appropriate type of booze according to the level of construction difficulty and relative cost of the boat to be christened (hereafter known as the "Christenee") For instance, a cheap canoe should be set off with a hearty heave-ho and to the smashing of a mini-bar blended scotch in the 50 ml bottle. If the Christenee was, for instance, a 20' sailboat like a Redwing or a AF3, maybe a King can of Budweiser would suffice, or perhaps a cheap Chilean Merlot.

I am, of course, opposed to wasting good booze and further suggest however that we smash those insipid "alcohol-free" wines and beer that are so ubiqitous at the local shopping market. Hell, fling a half-empty can of diet pepsi at the bow and call it even! Thanks again! Mike .. I mean Gerald

Kevin Responds:

Gerald/Mike -- O, the quandaries with which life burdens we hapless fools! On the one hand, one does dearly hate to fling perfectly fine alcohol of whatever form toward any place but where it belongs; down one's throat. On the other hand, Neptune knows perfectly well the difference between say, O'Douls and Dom Perrignon. Neptune's wrath is unspeakably poweful when experienced in its full fury, regardless of the type of vessel with which one braves it. Neptune does, however, completely understand the economic realities that drives one to baptise a newly born craft with Colt 45 rather than a champagne that costs more than the vessel itself, and will grant a boon to builders and sailors whose hearts are in the right place. Just don't try to chintz him; like Santa, he'll know.

I just checked out your web site, and it does very well the job it was intended to do, very much like a well-found boat. My site looks the way it does because I do this for a living and have lots of tricks and tools available to me that most folks don't have. On the other hand, no site, gold-plated or otherwise, can make up for the lack of skill one needs to make a fine water craft with his own hands, something I'm working hard at trying to acquire, but it's slow, so slow. Have fun with your projects, and watch those fingers and toes.

Good luck, and happy new year!


Posted 2002/01/02 , by Anita Bryant , entitled, " Oh My God!!! "

There I was, sitting with my 7 year old grandson (who by the way is decidedly NOT homosexual!), doing research on the Internet on how to build a sailboat for his Boyscout troop when I unwittingly mistaked your website for one which might provide the young (straight) man with specific instructions on how to go about the task when suddenly I find myself reading letters from your readers concerning leaking and squeaking what-have-you's! Have you no shame? Have you no conscionsce? How could you subject a young and impressionable heterosexual boy (and I dare to even THINK about the young non-lesbian girls who may stumble upon this atrocity!) to this type of "alternative life style" dribble? I hope you rot in Hell!

With Love and Prayers,
Anita Bryant

PS His boat turned out lovely in spite of your Communist, gay, un-American, subcersive site! (God bless, Happy New Year!)

Kevin Responds:

Anita -- Hold on to that passion. It will serve you well when that orange juice gig goes under.

Good luck, and happy new year!


Posted 2001/12/31 , by Neil , entitled, " Good job "

Happy New Year, Fat Guy - which you are obviously not - and good work over the last few months. How can you keep the work going at such a feverish pace. Anyway, I recognise so many of the emotions and frustrations that you describe. Good luck to you.

Neil, Scotland (Lang may yer lum reek, lang may yer sporran squeak!)

Kevin Responds:

Neil -- Thanks for the words of support. I admit to being very pleased that someone from Scotland has meandered onto my web site, and I'm glad you found something in it that resonated with you. There's no doubt that I could easily step up the pace of construction and had I done so, I would have been long finished by now. I find that working at the pace that I am, I enjoy the process much more thouroughly, so I have no plans to change things at this point. Besides, once I finish the boat, what the hell else would I use this web site for? Perhaps I would use it to reek my lum or squeak my sporran.

Good luck, and happy new year!


Posted 2001/12/31 , by John Doe , entitled, " Ughh "

This has got to be the biggest waste of time ever perpetrated on the innocent web surfing public!

Kevin Responds:

John -- While I set my sights high with respect to making the Fat Guys Building Boats web experience a complete and utter waste of time, I'm afraid that I haven't quite hit the mark yet. I refer, of course to the site in which a Magic 8-Ball is disassembled and the contents examined. Please check out this site and let me know if you still feel this way. By the way, I do take issue with your blithe assumption on the relative innocence of the web surfing public. I'm not certain that web surfers are any more innocent than any other group of people, and in many cases I know for a fact that they are a damn sight more guilty than most.

Good luck, and happy new year!


Posted 2001/12/28 , by Brother again , entitled, " Nice progress! "

It's really looking like a boat! How many fingers do you have left?

Sorry we didn't "stop in" while in LA--I was sick of driving my family across the nation and back, and couldn't see adding anothr 1200 miles of sheer agony.

Q: Do you know why Utah is called the Beehive State?
A: It sounds better than the Dust and Rocks State.

We sure didn't see any beehives!

I'm beginning to feel a twinge of jealousy concerning your vessels. I want to build something in my garage, too! What would you recommend, an airplane or a St. Patrick's Day float? Each is daunting in it's own way. And either way, I only want to learn to turn the damned thing.

Kevin Responds:

Brother Again -- Thanks for the kind words. I have managed to retain tenuous possession of all my fingers, and as an added bonus, my toes remain firmly attached, too. There have been some moments in which the issue was in doubt, and my table saw remains a fearsome reminder of the power of Darwin's Theory to which we all are subject.

I'm afraid you have Utah unfairly characterized. Arizona is the Dust and Rocks State. Utah is the Dust, Rocks and Mormons State. (No judgement there, just fact.)

I think building a float is a wonderful idea, but I caution you to start modestly, say with a Root Beer float, then work your way up. The only problem I can foresee is the distressing lack of midgets available to man the float during the actual parade. But if there is anything I have learned, it's that persistence always overcomes lack of skill, money, talent and plain Good Common Sense.

Good luck!


Posted 2001/12/01 , by EF Hutton , entitled, " Fess up, Noah "

You like, live in the middle of a desert, right? And you bought a boat and you're building a boat.

There's something you're not telling us, right? I'll bet you got a message from God. Come on, tell us. No fair.

Kevin Responds:

EF -- Yes, it's true, I do live in a desert, and yes, I am building a boat, and I bought a boat too. On the face of it, these actions might not seem to be those of a sane man, driving the rational, thinking person to conclude that a) I've gone whacky, or b) God has directed me thusly. Well, the first and last time God spoke to me was when He pointed out that the striped tie I was going to wear to a particularly important meeting was inferior to the power solid, which, while saving me from a fashion faux pas of biblical proportions, ultimately had no bearing on my interest in boats.

I'm afraid I can't blame God for this particular psychosis, so I'll just have to chalk it up to being crazy.


Posted 2001/11/20 , by Bob , entitled, " Come on! "

You just can't be anywhere near as big a dickhead as your web site makes you look, can you?


Kevin Responds:

Bob -- Oh, yes I can!


Posted 2001/08/11 , by A Fellow Dick Head! , entitled, " Who Else But Kevin.... "

Dear Favorite DH:

How nice to see that you're so productive! Will that boat ever sail to the Caribbean...where we can sit around all day... sipping cocktails, smokin' cigars and figuring out how to not get a drop of sun on us?! Humm...

Kevin Responds:

Hi, Larry! That sounds really good to me, but since when do you need a boat to do what you do best - sit on your ass and drink?


Posted 2001/07/02 , by Eric Raits , entitled, " I'm not that fat! "

Just put my 12-foot combination sailing/rowing/outboard dinghy in the water last week. It's a Fred Shell boat built from plans and I'm delighted with her. Am naming her Hannah Smith after a hermaphroditic 300-lb woman who adventured into the 10,000 Islands area of SW Florida around the turn of the century at a tender young age. She was well liked and ended up murdered in spite of that. I made all the mistakes you mention in your construction chronicle and more. Fortunately epoxy not only sticks well but covers peccadilloes and more major sins. Building Hannah took seven months of after work hours and many boxes of cheap wine. Cheers!

Eric Raits, Miami

Kevin Responds:

Eric -- The kind of person it takes to do what we are doing -- building boats out of wood when perfectly serviceable craft made from high-tech, ultra-reliable materials are highly available -- is eloquently underscored by your choice of names for your fine craft. Wonderful choice, and I heartily congratulate your blessed launching. If you have a photo, send it to, and I'll post it!


Posted 2001/07/02 , by Brother , entitled, " Not Building a Boat "

Hi, Kevin, this is your brother. Guess what? Bill and I threw a refrigerator out a third-story window yesterday. It was great fun and did no damage to the stairs and landing directly below. However, the stove took out the railing. Just thought you'd like to know.


Kevin Responds:

Brother -- I don't know, it could be that you're one of my brothers. I have several, and any one of them (myself included) is capable of this kind of childish destruction. Still, I don't believe you are one of them, since I don't know anyone named Bill, and none of my brothers would dispatch a refrigerator that way, especially if there were any possibility that food resided somewhere within.


Posted 2001/07/02 , by Brother , entitled, " Refrigerator Redux "

I am indeed your brother. You have met Bill. And you may be certain that there were neither food nor beer in that late fridge.

Kevin Responds:

Brother -- Brother!


Posted 2001/07/01 , by Ruiner of All Things Wood , entitled, " Why just Mahogany? "

I think you should stop discriminating against non-mahoganistic wood. You should be ashamed of yourself. It is just as easy to piss off your spouse by ignoring her in favor of ruining cheap (in comparison to your precious mahogany)plywood or other knotty materials. In fact, I have lost several key appendages
ruining all kinds of crappy wood. So in my book, it's just as painful as mutilating ones self with mahogany. In fact you don't need wood at all, even an old crappy power saw (or not) will do the trick nicely. So fuck up some different wood you bigot!
Thank you for the insightful content of your page. (except the mahogany thing).


Kevin Responds:

Stubby -- I have nothing against Mahogany Americans, or indeed any other types of woods. I'm simply working with Mahogany at this moment, so it has earned an honored spot in the the Universe of Things Kevin Screws Up. And don't worry about losing those appendages; they're always found in the last place you look for them.


Posted 2001/05/09 , by Painwatcher , entitled, " I can't believe you're building a boat "

Sitting from a far, noting your site and personally knowing of one who has the desire to build their own boat has driven or sailed me to give ranting a try.

Hearing (not watching) the activity that occurs behind the door to a once organized room that was designed to house automobiles gives me the uneasy feeling men really have a thing for power tools and sawdust. The amazing observation was/is the chemical ability it takes to create the "just right" consistancy of epoxy and what house hold kitchen utensils can be destroyed in the process. But my vote for the scariest part of a boat building project is when the builder of the vessle is making no noise at all behind that closed door to the garage.

I wish you luck and a lot of humor....

PS: a few more hits on your site and I will be investing in Home Depot and the Medical Field(s).

Kevin Responds:

Painwatcher -- I feel you feeling his pain! The truth is that men are driven not by some strange compulsion to operate heavy equipment or the need to create sawdust, but by equal measures of the need to create and the need to destroy. We create as a result of the Darwinian drive to leave something behind that will live on long after we've departed this earth, and we destroy simply because it's really fun.

Indeed, both of these compulsions are so ingrained into the male psyche (the only gender for which I am qualified to speak; for all I know women feel the same way, but I don't) that we attempt things for which we possess no qualifications whatsoever, like mixing highly toxic chemicals and running wicked, flesh-rending machinery at preposterously high speeds. If we survive, we can consider ourselves experts; if we do not, more the better for the overall health of the herd.

I further counsel you to not worry about the silence that frequently punctuates the constant whine of tools and the screams of pain behind the door. This is only a strategizing session in which the male ponders the next item on the execution block.


Posted 2001/04/30 , by K , entitled, " My Rant "

You ought to be a writer!

Kevin Responds:

K -- Ever since I picked up a pencil lo these many years ago, I've been writing one thing or another, whether it's a note to the judge explaining why I had a Great Dane in a no-pets-allowed apartment complex that sued me, or pleading for a mortgage. So I guess I am a writer after all! Thanks for the feedback!


Posted 2001/04/30 , by Speechless , entitled, " Your Pain "


It is good to see that someone else has taken it upon themselves to jump head first into the unknown. I thought I was the only one foolish er wel um well ambitious enough to attempt an endeavor of this magnitude. I feel your pain … well not really but you can pretend I do.

Kevin Responds:

Speechless -- I must first apologize for taking so long to get your rant posted, but it couldn't be help. If you think about it, whatever we try to accomplish in life, the only thing for certain is that problems are preordained, so why not try to mix in some good stuff to perk up all that bland agony? Life has a funny way of spinning curve balls at us when we most expect a fastball. All we can do is swing for the fences with each and every pitch and hope an anvil doesn't fall from a passing airplane and land on our heads.


Posted 2001/04/29 , by Bill Reardon , entitled, " An Enigma "

I confess to being puzzled by your web site. It professes to be about building boats, and yet I see no links to other boat building sites, no tips for boat builders, only a title that implies that some building will take place, and a half-baked journal in which precious little construction is actually accomplished. I tend to think this whole thing is a sham. Please explain this to me.

Thank you.


Kevin Responds:

Bill -- I know it's a little confusing, but hey, life is full of little inconsistencies. Take for example the existence of margarine. I mean, what does that name mean anyway? And who the heck thought the Yugo was a good idea? Thanks for the feedback!


Posted 2001/04/20 , by Emma , entitled, " Pahs is rill good "

I lahk pahs. Pahs is rill good. Ah mean, rilly rilly rilly good.


Kevin Responds:

Emma -- This is exactly the kind of cogent, intelligent correspondence I was expecting from my readers. Thanks for the feedback!


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