Spring is always slow to arrive in the Rocky Mountain West. And for amateur boat builders, it seems to take forever! Progress on the fleet flagship, the S/V Wawona has been slow, but steady. No one ever mentions how long this process can take. Sometimes the bit you're working on goes together in a few minutes. But then there are those bits that the preparation alone can take hours! But it is so gratifying to go out and just do a little bit. Last night I found the Buildaboat blog about a gentleman in many respects very close to myself. In reading of his construction of one of my favorite small boats The Weekender I've learned I'm not the only one sailing by the seat of my pants as I follow this dream. Plans are like the Pirate Code, more guidelines really. The important things are the ability to think on your feet and improvise as you go. In Kenpo we call it formulating. Here in a nutshell is the formulation formula
Prefix a strike or block with an off angle body positioning (i.e. step out of the way of the weapon!).
Suffix your strike with one or several more.
Rearrange the order of a technique. Instead of block-chop-punch change it to block-punch-chop (don't forget to block however).
Insert a move, perhaps simultaneously, such as a check of another weapon.
Delete
a move to prevent unwanted injury to yourself, your opponent or to prevent unnecessary time spent engaging and less time leaving!
Adjust the range or angle of the weapon.
Regulate your weapons speed or force and you may get a very different reaction.
For you non karate people it's a way of looking at a technique not as a rigid set of motions, but an idea that once you understand the technique and what it teaches can be formulated to work for you, your attacker or your environment. For boat builders it's a great way to think of the plans. Sometimes you have to do what feels right as opposed to what the plans say. Skip ahead a step, rearrange the order of steps, try something not in the plans, add your own twist or see if it can be done a different way. So far I've noticed my craft is not at all worse for wear when I have formulate a different way of getting something accomplished. 
The most amazing thing is that the Wawona LOOKS like a boat. Sometimes I just marvel at how I, with some help, turned lumber, adhesive and nails into what will become a water going craft. It's truly a joyous retreat from the everyday mundanity*. And every little steps helps to aid in that small bit of escape.
During the process of construction a huge gap had formed right at the bow and the plans said nothing about that. I had fretted over it and figured that I'd just fill it up with PL Premium and hope for the best. So today, after being sick for a week, I tottered out to see how it was holding up. This lead to the use of my jig saw to improve the hydrodynamics of the stern and bow, as well as make a pattern for the "cruising rudder". Took about half an hour and by the time I was done I was coughing like one possessed and felt I could hardly stand. But as I flipped the boat back over and began to put my tools away I glanced back. The removal of the bow "chin" and the cutting down of the transom had transformed my boat. Most would not notice it but in my minds eye I could see how she would cut more cleanly through the water now, adding a 1/32 of a knot to her cruising speed. My thoughts turned instantly to the next project I would tackle and smiling to myself I went inside hoping the weather hold tomorrow.
At this point I figure a list of remaining tasks may be of help for those of you building along or following along with the plans. So without further ado and in some sort of order here are my next two months of work:
1. Drywall tape all the exterior seams and PL Premium them for maximum water tightness.
2. Float test
3. Construct and attach the upper mast parter and the lower mast receiver
4. Reinforce the transom for rudder installation
5. Construct and mount the rudder.
6. Construct and mount the leeboard and brackets.
7. Install bow spray rails and a short deck of some kind.
8. Construct and install a more comfortable seating arrangement.
9. Get all rigging, masts, spars, and sails ready and installed.
10. Install oarlocks and find oars.
11. Sand the entire craft inside and out.
12. Prime and paint
13. Launch
14. Learn to Sail
15. Don't drown.
*I'm not sure if that's a word but I like it. Feel free to use it as well!