Lawrence Cheek is a free-lance writer and journalist living in the Seattle area. Despite being a self-professed klutz, he succumbed to the desire to build a small sailboat, having previously built a kayak with reasonable success. He purchased the plans for a 13 foot Zephyr from Devlin boatworks in Olympia and began his one year endeavor. It actually turned into an 18 month endeavor, but in the end he had a usable boat, beautiful in its own way, that he named ‘Far From Perfect’.

This was a big learning experience for Cheek - learning about the specific techniques for building a wooden boat of course, but mostly about the interplay of mind, attitude, emotion, and workmanship. He talked to other amateur boat builders, and found one or two whose level of craftsmanship and perfectionism were far beyond his own. But in the end he found that, despite imperfections, he had done a worthwhile thing. He learned a good deal about mindfulness, hard work, and caring.

This is an inspiring book. Not inspiring in the sense of making you want to go out and build a boat - in fact, it had the opposite effect on me. But it will make you want to be more focused and caring about whatever work you do.



Book cover

Metadata Info

  • Title: The Year of the Boat: Beauty, Imperfection, and the Art of Doing It Yourself
  • Author: Lawrence Cheek
  • Published: 2008
  • ISBN: 1570615446
  • Buy: Amazon search
  • Check out: Seattle library
  • Rating: 4.0 stars