Retiree builds 50-foot sailboat in his yard

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Retiree Earl Rentmeester of Green Bay, Wis., has constructed a 50-foot, ocean-rated sailing yacht that he built himself.

The project started in his garage in 2006 and the boat was recently launched.

Rentmeester, 64, a retired general contractor who spent his life building upscale homes and advanced into commercial construction, decided that he wanted to build something for himself, according to a column in the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Rentmeester had never been on a sailboat. He knew nothing about building a boat and depended on information from more than 50 boatbuilding books in his collection, information on the Internet and help from Lee Patterson, who built a 42-foot trawler many years ago, when he got stumped.

His plans for the all-plastic encapsulated vessel were designed by naval architect Bruce Goodson. "Every piece of wood in the vessel is plastic-coated, so it should be mostly maintenance-free," Rentmeester said.

The boat, named Driftwood, is a dual-helmed pilothouse cutter-rigged ketch with an estimated top speed of 10 mph, either by sail or by diesel engine.

Rentmeester and his wife, Mary, will spend the summer learning about sailing in preparation for a trip on the Great Lakes next summer and sailing in the Caribbean in the fall of 2013.

Click here for the full column.


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