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I’ve been retired about a year now, so I’m in a reasonable position to share what I think of retirement.

I don’t have to get up
I don’t have to deal with traffic
I don’t have to deal with work or the work environment

I miss my co-workers
ummmm. . . . that’s about it.

I knew for a long time that I wanted to retire early. My dad retired at 62, and we were really afraid he would die in 6 months or so because he had nothing to do. Then, one day, somebody brought a lawn mower by for him to work on. Then another. Then another. Soon, he was turning small motor repair work down because he had too much work.

I don’t have people beating down the door for me to do things, but I have the things I wanted to do in retirement here, and I’m enjoying them. Mainly, it’s been working on ship models and real boats. It’s fun. I have no regrets.

Some things helped make early retirement easier to contemplate.
-I worked for many years for one company. And, that company offered an excellent retirement plan, excellent retiree medical insurance, and a generous 401K plan.
-We (my wife and I) took advantage of the 401K plan and the company matching amount early (I was contributing the maximum allowable by 26, and my wife by age 30)
-We chose not to have kids, and both continued to work. There are some times we miss it, but I believe it has contributed to our own health and well being.
-We kept our bills paid and didn’t get buried in lots of long term debt. Our cars and house are paid for, so the only thing we have are credit card and household bills.
-We kept our retirement goals modest. It would have been fun and easy to plan world cruises and trips to foreign lands, but it would drain our retirement savings. That doesn’t mean we can’t or won’t do such things, but we’ll plan them in advance, and make sure they don’t put too much burden on our savings.

This isn’t for everyone. Some people really have to work till the day they die. Some people love children and love to help them on their way. Many companies no longer offer the package we got. But it’s what we wanted and were able to pull it off-and we’re pretty darned happy about it.

Oh, did I mention that I really like being retired?

Let’s try this again

It’s been almost 2 years since I last updated this. So, to get things restarted, I’ll keep it short.
-I retired a year ago
-My wife had Endometrial Cancer that required surgery and chemotherapy. She is cancer-free but suffers from nerve damage to her hands and feet. She also has a disease called Pulmonary Hypertension (look it up).
-One of our kitties (Wochie) is suffering from Chronic Kidney disease.

Despite some of this, I’m doing really well, enjoying retirement. One of the reasons I thought I’d bring this blog out of retirement.

More soon. Stay tuned.

So what’s happened since Amie got back?

It was such a relief to have Amie back in her home waters. Since then work has gotten in the way, but little by little I’m getting back to help Amie along.

On the sail back in August, we broke one of the Gaff Jaws (they keep the gaff boom centered on the mast. Mark quickly got that fixed and we were off and running again.

Then the collar supporting the tiller broke, making Amie unusable for several weeks. Finally got that fixed. Lately, between the wind, the snow, and the cold weather, I haven’t had much desire to brave the elements, especially when nobody else has either. So I’ve settled into some interior work and ship models.

I finally got the inside of the cabin painted. I also started painting the ceiling (planks inside the boat that protect the frames and strengthen the overall hull. With a couple of coats of white on, that really brightens up the interior. I’m going to try to do some more cleaning and painting either tomorrow or Sunday.

Meanwhile, I’ve made some progress on some of my ship models. I finished copper plating the bottom of my model  of the USS Constitution and mounted it on a display board:

It was a lot of fun, but I’m glad I’m done.

The other model I’ve been working on lately is a model of a Friendship Sloop (like ours only smaller)

At that scale (1/2″ = 1 foot) it’s both fun and challenging to make it look like the real thing. I’ve made chainplates for her this week (took me 6 months to get the nerve to do it) and decided to put some strengthening knees on the stem post. That will certainly make her stronger and look more like our boat.

One last thing I wanted to share (unrelated to boats or ship models). I was able to take pictures of my wonderful wife holding our boys.

Here she is with Gabonna (my kitty):

And here she is with her kitty, Wochie:

So, until next time, take care. More boating adventures await!



The Launching (and near sinking) of Amie

It was an exciting weekend-almost too exciting. We finally got the mast stepped and Amie launched on Saturday

2 hours before the mast

Stepping the mast





Then the fun began. We went to the water on a trailer (kind of like a marine railway without the rails). We weren’t even afloat and we were sinking. Our little 30 Gallons per minute(GPM) bilge pump hardly stemmed the inflow. The yard got us a gas powered 70 GPM pump-between the two of them we were able to get off the trailer and to the dock, where they had 2 more 70 GPM pumps waiting for us. For a while we were pumping around 240 gallons per minute out of Amie to keep her afloat.

Think about it-the equivalent of 10 full automobile gas tanks per minute.

Then we started to catch up. The reason we were pumping so much water was that the planks had 2 months (in the middle of summer, no less) out of the water to dry and shrink. It takes some time for the planks to swell and start to seal up.

After about an hour we were able to turn off the gas pump-down to 170 Gal/minute. After about 2 hours we were down to 1 big pump and one little pump-about 100 GPM

Turning the corner

We arranged for a big pump that cycled automatically to stay on the boat. By Sunday morning, we were holding out own with the on board pump. By Sunday night, the little pump was running every 3 minutes. By this morning (Monday) it was every 10 minutes. So little by little the planks are swelling up and the leaks are stopping. We’re keeping the big pump on just in case.

But she does look fine in the water:

End of a long day

One final note. While we were frantically pumping, we had a unique visitor:

The visitor

We don’t know where this little guy came from, but we hope he found his home and is safe and sound.

Looking a Little Better

I spent the last 3 days sanding and painting Amie’s hull. Here’s the results

She’s not perfect, but she is a far side better than a week ago.

Automatic messages

My wife (bless her heart) ordered a ship model book from Amazon yesterday. After receiving the email confirmation she recieved a second email, telling her that the (one) book would be sent in one shipment. It’s nice to know I won’t be getting one page at a time shipped. . .

In other news, Amie’s hull got painted this weekend. The bottom looks good, the topsides and bootstripe will need some work. But the bulk is done, and she looks better. Hope to get some pictures tonight.


It’s been a little while. Fortunately, things on Amie have been progressing.

A couple of weeks ago we got the deck beams in on the cabin sides

The deck beams are laminated oak, and mortised into the cabin sides. They’re put in with epoxy and screws.

A few days later we got the first layer of cabintop on

It’s really nice to have an enclosed cabin again!

Today was a big day-we hauled the boat!

First time she’s been out of the water in 7 years. Nothing big fell off, and the boat didn’t collapse in the slings, so that’s goodness

On the way out. . .

Excuse me while I hide behind the bushes :)

On the trailer

Hull is getting washed. Doesn’t look too bad.

Tomorrow, we’ll finish the second layer of cabintop and get the top ready for fiberglass. Meanwhile, the bottom will get sanded, and I hope to spend the 4th of July painting the hull.  Wish us luck!

Older Ship Models

It’s taken me a week to get the pictures of some of my older models. Here they are in no particular order

USS Constitution Cross Section. I built this about 20 years ago.

USS Enterprise. She sailed with the USS Constitution against the pirates of Tripoli in 1803.

My wife bought this for me over 25 years ago. It was my first wooden ship model, and took me a year and a half to finish.

HMS Endeavor. Captain Cook’s ship. She was a Collier (coal hauling vessel)bought by the Royal Navy for Cook’s cruise. One advantage it had was a pretty flat bottom, so she stayed upright when she ran aground (something that happens when you sail uncharted waters)

Endeavor was started soon after I finished Enterprise. She took 5 1/2 years to finish. She, so far, is the only 3 masted wooden model I’ve finished. A couple are in work.

Herreshoff 12 1/2 (also known as a “Buzzards Bay Boy’s Boat”.  The real thing is 16′ overall, 12 1/2′ on the waterline (hence the name). I’ve sailed one-she’s a fun boat to sail.

Flying Cloud. She was given to me by a gentleman who had started it and didn’t want to work on it any more.  She’s been a fun model, planked in cherry and walnut.

I’ve actually got several other models, but they’re on display in various places. When I get a chance to get a nice picture of them, I’ll put it here too.

More Progress-and ship models

No pictures of Amie at tis time. We’ve been making progress, but it’s been slow.

Since last time, we’ve gotten the side planks tightened down permanently. We’ve taken the flare out of the cabin, and started working on the aft cabin bulkhead. The framework is there, the bulkhead pieces just need to go in permanently. The deck beams are on the boat, but we’re waiting for the rain to stop to start installing them. The plywood for the cabintop has been primed and painted-waiting for the deck beams to go in.

Yesterday, we started working on the spars. We’re sealing in the wire for the masthead light, and putting sealer over the main boom and bowsprit. We’re doing some minor work on the gaff-and finding out that 30 YO galvanized bolts in oak do NOT want to come out. We also found out that the masthead light is defective-looks like another trip to find a new one.

On other fronts, a friend/coworker’s wife saw this blog and noted that I don’t have many pictures of my ship models. I’ll try to fix that tonight. But several of my models are on display in other places (8 in fact). I’ll try to get some pics of the ones here at home.

More soon.