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Project Log:  Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In early March, 2015, I went public with my decision to put Momentum on the market and sell her.  (original for sale page is here).  While this announcement was surprising and seemed out of the blue to many, the decision had been in the works for some time--over a year--and, while I had mixed feelings, I had no doubts about the choice.

After only about six weeks on the market, I sold the boat to a local buyer who would keep the boat in Maine.  We came to an agreement that included me completing certain existing projects on the boat and adding a few others, which I'd work on in due course aiming for a launch date in late June 2015.  For continuity's sake, I'll continue to post the last stages of the project here on this site through launch time.

The events leading to my decision to sell the boat after investing much time and money were essentially simple but might seem complicated or questionable to casual readers who, of course, were not inside my mind during the last few years.  (You weren't, were you...?)

What happened, and where did it all go wrong?  Well, it didn't really go wrong...but things definitely changed.   It was a gradual, yet inexorable--and, with the benefit of hindsight, obvious--process that started back in 2010 with my decision to seek and purchase a different type of boat after years of sailing various other boats.  For a while, my focus was entirely on the project, perhaps to a fault since, without other diversions, I was spending all my time in the shop--during the week at work, then on weekends "for fun".   And it was fun, but I pushed myself hard because I didn't want the project to linger and take too long.  I liked to finish projects, not work on them forever.  All well and good, at least to start.

Looking back, what really changed everything--though it took a while to truly manifest it--was a vacation we took in fall 2010, stopping at Prince Edward Island and Cape Breton, Canada.  The boat project was still brand-new and fresh at this point, but what stuck a bee in my bonnet was revisiting PEI--my family used to travel and camp there in the summers back when I was little--and noticing plenty of beautiful land for sale. 

On a whim, upon returning home, I looked online and found property prices up there to be very reasonable and affordable, which sparked the idea that we should buy some.  But those thoughts died off for a while, and it wasn't till summer 2012, the first summer after selling our boat Glissando, that I returned to the real estate and PEI disease with a vengeance.  At the time, we owned a fifth wheel trailer, and my idea was to find some of that inexpensive waterfront land on PEI and use the trailer as a cottage.  Great idea, right? 

During the summer, I spent a lot of time researching property, soon coming to the realization that (of course) there was a reason that much of that land was inexpensive:  it wasn't very good (or at least not good for our purposes).  Inevitably, this led to me increasing the price range of my searches, which in turn started bringing in not only raw land, but also land with PEI cottages.  Before long, I'd abandoned the idea of buying undeveloped land in favor of a search for a cottage property.  We sold the fifth wheel.  Buying a property with a cottage seemed do-able, and for the time being, when the whole mess was theoretical, I could ignore the obvious conflict between the boat and a seasonal property.  This was partly because I was pretty sure that we'd have to rent out a cottage in order to offset the costs, which would limit our time up there and somehow make it all work, not that I really detailed the whole idea out to that extent:  I just knew what I wanted, and we went for it.  The point is that even at those early stages, I thought there was a way--and, more importantly, a desire--to juggle both pursuits.

In the event, during another trip to PEI in September of 2012, we bought an old waterfront cottage.  In my typical way, I was most attracted to one that was full of potential, but needed updating, despite telling myself all along that I didn't want a project.  Ha.  But the purchase price--despite, at the time, an unfavorable exchange rate thanks to the depressed US dollar--was so low that it seemed we'd no choice but to buy it:  perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own some excellent waterfront.

2013 was a sort of landmark year for me, and for the whole works that eventually led to the sale of Momentum.  I was involved in a major work project at the time, and this complicated and lengthy job had forced a work stoppage on Momentum for much of the spring and summer, as I needed the time to get through my work backlog.  Although we managed many long weekends up at our new place--along with an ongoing project there to update the interior--I was pretty swamped at home with work, and even later in the summer when things calmed down, I found I had no desire to rush into the shop and work on my boat.

Now, I named the boat Momentum for a reason:  losing my momentum on the project was a major blow, but between work commitments that year, plus the new cottage, it wasn't till September that I really returned to the boat, and was able--with some difficulty--to get back in the swing of things during that fall and winter, with my eye on launching in 2014. 

During that fall and winter, I made a lot of progress towards that end, but after a while it started becoming a chore as I pressed harder and harder trying to get enough done to launch the boat, working through a never-ending list of "must do" projects, facing the usual frustrations involved with boat work,  while at the same time worrying about some of the outfitting costs and logistical issues that I'd have to face at launch time...and all the while all I really wanted to do was get away from it all and relax at our place on PEI, where I'd found a level of pleasure that I'd not experienced in some time.  I think it was because it wasn't a boat that I found it so relaxing.  But I'd been all about boats ever since I was 9 years old...how could I possibly feel that way?

How I could feel that way was the internal struggle I dealt with for most of 2014 and into 2015.  Throughout, I felt pretty sure about my thoughts, but it still was sort of hard to admit to:  the boat guy needed to get away from boats.  Boating as a hobby and lifelong obsession had led me to a successful and enjoyable career in the business, but that had also led to my becoming oversaturated with a good thing.    Never mind that I couldn't (nor did I wish to try to) divide my free time between two such obviously conflicting destinations.  I've always been the type that prefers to do one thing and do it as well as possible, rather than one of those who has to have their foot stuck a little bit into 47 different things (which always seemed to unsatisfying to me, watching such behavior from my perspective).  All in, or all out:  that's me.

Looking back as I worked my mind around what was going on, I came to realize with the clarity of hindsight that it was this issue as much as any other that had led me to buy the motorsailer in 2010 and to sell Glissando in 2011, and was apparently also the mechanism that, still unsated, led to the weird out-of-nowhere decision to seek and buy a waterfront cottage in another country 8 hours away from home.

Frankly, the struggle I mention was more about justifying to the world, as it were, my thoughts and not much about how I actually knew I felt.   Honestly, I'd been sure about the need (and, importantly, the desire) to sell the boat since spring 2014, but it was hard to admit even to myself that this was the case.   But my boat-related energies had to go towards my livelihood, not my supposed pleasure--and in fact that's where I wanted to expend them.  I wanted and needed a different sort of release from work.  Too much of a good thing is, well, too much.

The boat was far from complete, and whatever else, I knew I had to complete her.  A second long break from the project during summer 2014 was re-energizing enough to motivate me to work my way through most of the remaining project list before putting the boat up for sale--and exposing my betrayal to the world.

The hard work and effort and thought I've put into this boat are not wasted.  I learned a lot--I do every time--and greatly enjoyed the project.  I'm proud of the boat.  The new owner feels fortunate to have her, and I'm glad on his behalf.  While I was "all in" on this project from the start, I never formed a particularly emotional connection to the boat--perhaps because I've become necessarily more clinical and detached since I do this work every day; perhaps because all I ever knew her as was a project; perhaps for other reasons. 

My heart lies in PEI now.  My wife loves it; the dogs love it.  But the point is that I'm neither sad nor overly gleeful at this turn of events.  I'm happy to sell the boat and see her go to someone who will use her often and benefit from the comforts I've built into her.  The circumstances of the sale mean that I get to see the boat go in the water, for which I'm glad.  I'm also happy she's no longer mine.  I'm happy to have had the opportunity to do this project:  perhaps a life-changing experience in every sense of the phrase.  I regret nothing, but obviously if I could have known five years ago how things were going to turn out, I would have made different decisions.   I look forward and don't waste time on reliving the past; after all, it's the past.  Learn from it, but don't pick it apart.

So there you have it, whether you wanted to know or not.

From this point on, these logs may change somewhat.  Now, I'm working on someone else's boat, and while I've striven always to maintain a professional tone to these writings, now it clearly will be.  But it makes sense to maintain and complete the record of this substantial project here on these pages, rather than at a different location, and so I will do. 

Total Time Today:  NA

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