I was once in a conversation with a psychologist who casually asked what I did to relax? I replied that I worked on my radio controlled model boats. She said, "That's nice..." and then asked how many I had? I replied, "58." There was a moment of silence and she asked, "Don't you think that's a little unusual?"
Not for me.
The majority of my current fleet
My fleet dwindled down to 42 lakeboats by the time we bought our house by the bay in late 1999. Shortly there after we had our first child and I quickly found that finely detailed model boats and little kids do NOT go together well. By 2008 we had two kids and needed a house with more room- so we had the old place bulldozed (why give up a perfect location eh?) and a new, much bigger one built. In the process of moving out I carefully packed all of my boats into assorted boxes and handled them personally. When we moved into the new place I stored all of the boxed boats as far back in our storage wing as I could get them. I figured they'd be safe there until the kids got older... I was right. In 2018, a full decade later I transferred the production of my model rocket company to another company and thus cleared out all of the parts needed for that process. This left a lot of open space in my work area... the boats came back out! For the record, my wife LIKES the look of the boats as opposed to the clutter of model rocket parts and boxes. (Japanese people are like that... they loathe disorder)
|Get Wes' books autographed and personalized HERE!|
I was happy to see that time had been good to the fleet while it was in storage. Sure there were a few dings, but only two were damaged to a great extent. The bow rigging of the WILLIAM CLAY FORD had been smashed, as had the stern quarter of the SACRAMENTO. The SACRAMENTO was the worst off and required some major surgery. Additionally her pilothouse canopy had been smashed and 2 of her 3 spars had their peak snapped off.
Her bow canopy now fully restored
Today, she's looking good again and ready to sail again some day... more likely to gather dust on the shelf, but at least I feel better.
Note the dime in the photo for scale.
What's interesting about my model of the SACRAMENTO is that her two lifeboats are carved from wood from the actual vessel!
YES... several years ago, Great Lakes historian Don Comtois showed me that he had in storage some knees from the old boat that he had rescued before the city of Bay City bulldozed and buried the remains of the historic vessel in the mid 1970s.
Remains of the SACRAMENTO before she was bulldozed by the city. Yeah, in the mid 1970s the city politicians were really big on preserving their maritime history... not.
He gave me a whole knee and from it I had several pens made (one of which I gave to Don, of course). Yet the wood was, after all of those years of exposure, so fragile that it was more difficult to mill than balsa wood. From the remaining chunks I carved the lifeboats if the R/C model of the SACRAMENTO.
Thus... the original steamer lives on.
Now- it is on to repairing and finishing the rest of the fleet... as well as writing my next book of course.
|Get Wes's Books HERE|