Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Boats in Exotic Places

I find it amazing that our designs are built in so many exotic places, all over the world. Of course, for the person doing the building their place of building is just "home", with nothing exotic about it at all. It all depends on your perspective what is exotic and what isn't. Exotic is normally somewhere far away, surrounded by exotic birds, lush vegetation and beautiful azure blue oceans.

Here is an example. The photo below was sent to me by the builder a few days ago. It shows a Cape Henry 21 being built by Juan Uribe in a place named Sisga Lake, near to Bogota, Colombia, in South America. It looks like Juan is producing a good standard of work in his workshop.
Juan Uribe's Cape Henry 21 taking shape in his workshop in Colombia.
 In North America we take for granted the ease of buying materials and equipment for our boats. Almost anything that is needed can be ordered from on-line suppliers and will arrive on the doorstep within a few days. I imagine that Europe is not much different. In South Africa, where you might expect it to be difficult to source materials and equipment, it is even easier for the buyer. There are multiple suppliers in the main sailing centres like Cape Town, so one can walk into a shop and walk out soon after with most of what is needed. What they don't have on the shelf can be ordered.

Builders in more remote places, like much of South America, Africa and Asia have a much more difficult task to source what they need to build a boat. When they can get local materials they may not be anything like the quality that one would like them to be. Often imported materials of higher quality are simply not available because of high import costs or the government may not permit them to be imported. Some countries are actually a fairly hostile environment for amateur boatbuilding. It is such an abnormal activity in some places that there just is no support structure for those who do want to build a boat for themselves.

Despite these difficulties, there will always be people who will take on the challenge. They will build a boat and they will enjoy the process. And their friends and neighbours will look at them in wonder, intrigued by the process and by the invisible passion which drives that person to do such strange things.