Scene 1 Its 1978 location Eugene, Oregon at a small shop that my Dad and I shared. It’s a fine Saturday with no clouds in the sky but a pall of smoke in the air (a by-product of the grass seed industry in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and the burning of the grass-seed fields just after harvest) and with a bit of a bite to the air with all the smoke. Dad and I are working on the cutout pieces of my first boat, one of my Egret designs, and we still have a few kinks to work out in the system that I had cooked up in my head over the past winter while working on a Commercial Construction job in Sacramento California. Quite of few of you might not know that the first design that I did in my boatbuilding/designing career was the Egret. And what started out fairly simple (read somewhat crude) but efficient has now grown up and matured. My Dad penned the name of the first boat and what became hull number one of the Egret class the first boat that I built to my own design and to the hull shape of the Egret “Zero”. His rational was that you didn’t start the name and numbering of the first boat of what would become a long career, number “One” but started at “Zero” and worked your way up. Now why I never questioned Dad’s sense of humor and his foresight into my 30 plus year career in designing and building wooden boats was accurate that Zero boat always slightly haunted me. Dad only kept her for a couple of years before he sold her to another of my customers who promptly did massive modifications to her with a pilothouse, small outboard motor in a well and other changes that made her almost un-recognizable. She had a long career with Tom Paddock and then finally ended her days at a daycare establishment with little crumb crushers climbing in and out of her hull. Imagine all the sea-going careers that were started with “Zero” putting in her imagination contribution with full gusto.
Scene Two My good friend and co-worker Lee Sandifur was building a boat and chose the “Egret” design as making the most sense for his lifestyle. But with some artistic flair he modified the design by adding some decking on her, a bow and stern stowage area, and a small but efficient centerboard coupled to a Sprit rig with about 75 square feet of sail area. His boat was a fine expression of the boatbuilding art and has been his companion for a good many years. Now time was ripe for me to take a look at this old design of mine and modify it and I am pleased to present this new version for you. She has all those features that Lee did to his boat and with a new set of faired up hull lines we offer her for $65 dollars. Don’t forget to buy a “Devlin’s Boatbuilding book and DVD to help you along the building process but this is a fine little boat and won’t let you down no matter where you go in your own life.. As for me, the memory of that little “Zero” boat never fades and I can just imagine being a kid in that daycare in Eugene and playing on her myself…Share This: