This has to be the most delightful book I have read, a wonderful story of devotion, regret, delight, endurance and much more. I could not put it down, but equally did not want to finish it. If you are worried about the title, don't be, worst comes to worst you could skip read a few of the bodybuilding aspects, but not too much. The complexity of the project is an important aspect. Please buy, read and enjoy.
Wow! How to build a boat. How to show your love for someone – in this case the author’s daughter (and wife) and also demonstrate that the ‘limits of our potential lie far beyond the bounds of expectation’. What I love about this book it that it is as much about travel and adventure as the consequences of taking on a high-risk project, in this case building a boat from scratch. We learn that the 10ft clinker-built dinghy – just like the one that Mole fell in love with in Wind in the Willows – has 1,000 different pieces and requires an eye-watering array of tools to make it. If that was not tricky enough, it’s a job to find any written plans for such a boat and once they are found, there are no instructions. The author is able to laugh at his own folly, which is the source of the strong humorous thread throughout this delightful and highly recommended read. The writing is additionally amusing because its writer admits to finding the language of boat-building baffling, which thankfully means that the book makes complete sense to amateurs with no maritime knowledge. It’s also great to learn about the Essex and Suffolk craftsmen who are keeping an ancient tradition alive, and the four dead experts who speak to the author from their out-of-print books. Clearly, the writer is assisted by many kind characters – from the farmer landlord who provides the space to build the boat to the Essex artist whose work provided inspiration. Johnathan Gornall says, ‘Adventure, as someone must surely have once said, only truly begins when one is lost’. This author writes beautifully of the high highly collaborative venture and will bring smiles to every reader.
This is a delightful book. Through the self-imposed task of building a boat, Jonathan Gornall tells his own personal story. The result is a beautifully written work; it is informative, thought-provoking, humorous and honest. The author’s previous life experiences - all the passions, frustrations, joys and disappointments - together arouse a yearning to create something very special with his own hands – a wooden boat. Jonathan soon finds the process to be far from simple. First obtaining and studying the confusing plans and learning how to use and sharpen his newly-acquired wood-working tools, he then discovers a strange new vocabulary of boat-building terms. Everything to do with wooden boats appears to involve a steep learning curve - whether it's the seemingly impossible task of chiselling the stem rebate into a piece of oak, cutting accurate scarphs to join the larch planking or mastering the dark art of steaming and bending-in the boat's "timbers". Finding enough time to commit to the project proves the biggest obstacle, yet the author remains undeterred and displays a remarkable tenacity and determination to succeed, as he learns from his mistakes and masters the necessary skills.
Throughout the process Jonathan Gornall pays homage to the craftsmen of the past - and to those of the present - and In so doing he recognises that the measure of human success should never be judged purely in monetary or material terms. The author's efforts are finally rewarded with that most romantic of all icons, a wooden boat – one that he has crafted with love for a young daughter, that she too might explore the world.
This is a truly wonderful book. I live in Suffolk, work in wood in Suffolk, it's the type of book I usually read, and I read a lot, so I thought I'd enjoy it. What I didn't expect was to be hurled headlong into the author's life; to feel the things he felt (I won't be specific because it would give certain things away) so sharply. The story is wonderful enough alone, a man with no prior experience building a boat, but the writing is superb and places you right in the shed with him. This is one of two of my favourite books of 2018 so far. I'll read it again in the future. It's a delight in every way. Just buy it, read it, and enjoy it.
I found the book delightful (I AM slightly biased being one of the characters mentioned - and happy not to have been embarrassed!) - slightly off-the-wall, amusing, and interesting, and very readable - JG portrays scenes from an unusual life against the backdrop of his travails building a boat, with asides and anecdotal observations on the craft of boat building.
Yes, he built a boat but this is so much more than a tale of an amateur let loose in a shipyard. Tender, moving, remarkably honest, it is a love story to his four year old daughter who with his wife brought a new meaning to his life. Apparently, the author almost drowned rowing the Atlantic, in this exceptional book he crests the waves.