April 30, 2014

Boat Builder Docks At Library

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Let's say you fancy the idea of building your own boat, but aren't too keen on spending months, or even years, crafting the craft – or thousands of dollars. Author Redjeb Jordania buoys do it yourselfers with his recent release, Building The Uqbar Dinghy.

For less than $400 readers can build their own pram-nosed dinghies, thanks to Jordania's easy to follow five-step stitch and glue technique.

A boat builder and designer, Jordania's spent most of his life sailing. As a teenager he developed his love of sailing on the English Channel. He's charted courses across waters of North America, the Caribbean and Europe, and was an associate professor of maritime history and literature of the sea for Southampton College's "Seamester" program. During the 80s he was director of the East Hampton Marine Museum Boat Shop.

At the local boat shop, he recalled, "The focus was to continue and preserve the traditions and skills of boatbuilding." As director, Jordania maintained the collection at the marine museum, taught maritime skills, and ran a sailing program.

Back in the 70s he designed and built his first little Uqbar Dinghy, and "a lot of people liked it," he said. Since then he's guided thousands of boaters through the process of building a small dinghy. It wasn't until recently however, that he was prompted to write an instructional book about it.

His nephew bought a little house on the water, Jordania related. The author, who's written numerous articles on sailing as well as the Pocket Guide to Boating, unearthed some of his old plans and gave them to his nephew. He was the one who suggested a how to book.

A short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges suggested the Uqbar name. The story reveals a mysterious country named Uqbar, which intimates a massive conspiracy among intellectuals to create a world called Tiön. "In much the same way, I imagined, designed, and built a trimaran and its tender, which I baptized Tiön and Uqbar, thus creating my own new world in which to escape the humdrum of our everyday universe," Jordania writes.

For those who love to escape to the serenity of sailing, owning a superlight six to 10-foot pram is an ideal vessel for quick and spontaneous getaways. That DIY-ers can put one together in just a long weekend for around $400, ups the enjoyment ante.

Sound impossible? This Saturday Jordania will host a seminar at the East Hampton Library. From 1 to 2:30 PM, he promises to "show people that with minimal skill, they can build their own boat and enjoy the water."

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