Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Summer Slump. And Canoes!


A handmade plywood canoe (see link below)

Well, it's official. Sometime during the last two weeks, my sales plummeted. So far -though my sales have probably dropped by 30%- my sales-ranks have only dropped slightly. That means I haven't lost much "market share," but perhaps a little visibility. This is the phenomenon we Indies refer to as the "summer slump." It's the effect summer has on e-book sales, and from what I've heard, on book sales in general.

This time of year, millions of families drop out of their usual routines to go on vacation. They take time off work and they leave school for summer break. They pack up their things and head for the beach or the mountains. The inevitable result is that sales of bikinis and suntan lotion skyrocket, while the book market takes a deep breath. I personally have been shopping canoes.

I'm not sure where my fascination with boats came from. I'm not into fishing at all, but I love paddling a canoe down the river or sailing a boat across a lake. Maybe it's just the sense of adventure, or the spray of cool water on a summer day. Maybe it's the companionship. Heck, I'd also be happy with a Spanish galleon or a Chinese junk (Who wouldn't!?). Anything that gets me out on the water and away from the routine of life. An added bonus is that larger boats have room to store food and gear, and you can more or less live on them. That's the quintessential adventure... although not at all practical for most of us.

A gorgeous homemade cedar strip canoe (see link for info)


Anyway, I've always wanted to own a canoe. I'd like something big enough for two people but small enough to fit in my truck (which has a 6 foot bed). Such a canoe probably doesn't exist. So far, all the canoes I've found are so long that they require a special luggage rack to carry them, and most are probably too heavy for one person to carry any distance. The smaller ones that might work are plastic garbage and wildly overpriced for what you get.

I found a great deal on Craigslist a few days ago: a used fiberglass canoe for $100! The ad stated that it needed work, and one of the pictures showed the fiberglass had begun delaminating along the top at the rear end.I have some experience with fiberglass, so I went to take a look.

It turned out that the canoe had been damaged and repaired numerous times, and the quality of the repairs was wanting. The owner informed me he had planned on chopping the back three feet completely off and attaching a small motor to make a runabout. For this canoe, that was about the only option. Unfortunately, I don't want a motorized runabout, I want a canoe. I thanked him for his time and went on my way.

I'm still searching, but not finding many deals. Canoes are one of those things that seem to hold their value pretty well, especially right now at the beginning of summer. So I've been looking into homemade plywood or cedar canoes. These home-project canoes can be made by one person in two or three weeks, and when done correctly, they are breathtaking. Of course, they're also a lot of work and can still be expensive, especially if you go with cedar. In the end I may have to forego this little dream of mine for a bit longer. If I do decide to take on another project, I'll have to finish the one I'm working on first. These are the little sacrifices we make to save our marriages :-)


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