Tennessee click here to read or make an observation about this  article
By Ed Einhorn - Louisiana - USA

The Moaning Chair

I am planning to build a “Pilgrim” - a George Buehler designed forty foot somewhat flat bottomed diesel cruiser with a tug-type house

George Buehler's "Pilgrim"

It was to be a long term project in which Love Bomb and I would cruise the inland ways, great circle route etc. when the kids were off learning to conquer the world. These are the scars left by two major spinal surgeries which have forever ended such plans of safely handling such a large, weighty craft.

The Scars

During the year or so I spent recovering from the operations I whiled away the time doing what I’d always done, dreaming about various boats and the adventures I’d have along the way. In a round about way I came to planning trips aboard a small shanty boat so bought plans from Sam Devlin for “Millie Hill”. Twenty feet LOA with a weight I felt I could handle. I was looking for something I could maneuver and which went together in a fashion I could accomplish given my new boundaries on lifting etc.

The Love Bomb

As my dreaminess grew I began to wish for something more maneuverable., more capable of making way with a bit of deep water capability. This gave me that always welcome a opportunity to go thru many issues of old Small Boat Journals and Messing About In Boats looking for that “perfect” cruiser and, doing what I liked best, looking at and thinking about boats. It was in “Coastal Cruising” September “96 “ that I came upon Phil Bolger’s “Retriever”, a 22’ plywood trawler type but with a planeing hull. Once again I had found my ideal cruiser! After a few communications with Mr. Bolger about my situation and future plans (the man should charge for therapy) he suggested I wait until he finalized the plans for a “Delaware Trawler” he’d been working on. This is a similar boat to Retriever in size and style but with a displacement hull somewhat like his “Champlain” design. Being thankful for Phil’s advice, and dubious about my abilities both physically and practically to build such a craft, I decided to put off “the big one”.

The Kids

But what to do meanwhile? I’d sold our big ol’ fiberglass aft cabin cruiser when my back blew to pieces. I had no doubt that messing with a sailboat of adequate size for four would not make my doctor smile , but I needed a boat, and a project for the present. I’d told Phil that musing about boats had been my primary therapy while healing, getting the hang of walking and sliding thru a prescription drug induced fog. I became captivated by the last line in Sam Rable’s delightful book “ Boat building in Your Own Backyard”. In closing he remarks , “I’m going to build me a new boat and feel young again.” Oh, how that line obsessed me.

Going thru the stack of plans I’d bought over the years we settled on “Tennessee” , another Bolger design. I’d had an eye for her for years since I saw Dick Welch’s photo spread on the net and read Chuck Leinweber’s article on building. I’d also read all the material posted on the “Duck Flats” pages and felt here was a project I could realize. I always liked the looks of Tennessee and felt she was a purposeful craft. She reminded me of an old Chevy van we had for many years. Straightforward, rugged, resolute, and with the same heartstring tug like a three legged dog. With my own bend towards the concept of “quick & dirty’ and Bolger’s quote “never spend a lot of money building a design that was intended to look cheap” on the wall, I set out seeking that holiest of holy’s, good cheap ply…to be continued.

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