|A single-handed selfie. Who's got the tiller???|
Even so, I managed to get out alone a few times last summer and fall, and once or twice this spring. A couple of times I even went out with winds blowing 20 mph, and whitecaps on the water. The Lido was up to the task, and I came home each time without having capsized the boat. After twenty outings and no disasters I started to feel like I might call myself sailor.
But after each successful outing I also grew more and more dissatisfied with the Lido. There had to be a boat design that better served my purposes. For more than a year I had been looking at various boat plans to find the Ideal Boat. I wanted something that would not be too terribly difficult to build out of plywood with limited tools. A boat that could row, with oars in oarlocks, would simplify the process of leaving the marina. I wanted a sail rig that offered simplicity, and easy reefing when the wind piped up. And of course I wanted it to be cheap.
After more than a year of dreaming and worrying about the Ideal Boat (an oxymoron to be sure) I settled on the Gypsy, a design from the prolific naval architect Phillip Bolger. It seemed to tick all the boxes, and the plans were dirt cheap. Don't get me started on plans. Some boat designers charge $200-$300 for plans to build a boat that will fit in the average garage. But the Gypsy plans were only $40! Too good to be true? Only time would tell...