Bob Holcomb Sailboat Builder/Restorer
I can’t explain why I’ve always had this need to be near the water and to have a boat alongside but it is real and I can’t walk away from it.
My 50 + years of messing with wood boats is either a love story or a disease or both. If I’m walking a dock somewhere and see a new shiny new craft, I ignore it. But if there’s an old timer that has some pedigree under the dirt, mold and wood rot, that’s the one I want to bring back to the barn and start restoring. A small sketch or a set of old plans for a beautiful hull makes my heart leap and I start thinking of what’s needed to take some wood, make some sawdust, and end with pure joy on the water.
The poet John Masefield comes close to my feelings:
‘I Must Go Down to the Sea’
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.