Resident Finds Joy in the Process of Boat-Building

Thursday, November 29, 2018
By Kate Anslinger

Since 2002, local resident, Rich Honan, has been building boats. While most people don’t have the patience to tend

Richard Honan holds what will become part of the stern of a sailboat he is currently building. Honan has been working on this particular boat since September. When finished, this will be his 11th built boat.

to such a laborious and involved project, Honan revels in the process and celebrates each small step on his journey to a completed boat. His latest, which will be his 11th boat, is a 13-foot sailboat that will require nearly 400 hours of work. Having started the project in September, Honan spends on average, four to five hours a day, several days a week, and he is estimating the project will take around two years to complete.

“I like the process of it, I just enjoy building them,” said Honan, who has perfected the system involved in boat building over the years. “It challenges my mind.”

Honan, along with his first-ever boat-building employee, 14-year-old Christian Buonopane, started out by constructing the main components of the boat, including the mast, rudder, centerboard, and stem, and works from a detailed plan. Buonopane assists Honan after school and on weekends a few hours a week.

“I am learning a lot of new traits and skills that I never would have learned before,” said Buonopane, who manages to fit in some woodworking hours when he can. The middle schooler also plays soccer and is a member of the STEM Club, Drama Club, Student Council, and a member of the Middle School’s Select and Advanced Bands, going on his fifth year playing the saxophone.

“I was 60 before I built my own boat, and Christian will be 14 and learning how to do this,” said Honan, who credits his grandfather for his patience and his father, for his mechanical mind. “It’s a lot of patience and problem-solving, and I like to teach what I know. The thing that is difficult is that every part of a boat is curved, not like a house, which is level and lots of right angles.”

The boat, which is made out of Atlantic white cedar, will be able to hold up to three people when it’s complete. A friend of Honan’s supplied him with the rough-sawn pieces of wood, after they were purchased for a project that he no longer had the time to complete. The knot-free slabs come in 12” x 12” slabs that are one inch thick and cost between $5 and $10. The total cost of wood to build his 13-foot Peapod Rowboat was between $800 and $1,000.

Like every major project, a boat takes an immense amount of detailed planning. Stay tuned as we keep tabs on Honan’s various stages of the project throughout the next several months.

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