The following letter was received in early 1994 by Glen-l Marine. It was written by a member of our staff and while the letter is dated the sentiment is up to date. The author of this letter still talks about this boat with found memories. He still thinks the Gypsy is the best family boat you can build.
Dear Friends of Glen-L Marine,
In 1986 I bought a small runabout to use on local Florida lakes. It wasn’t long before I found that a boat capable of larger waters and one in which I could get out of the sun would be really nice. On a visit to an inland waterway lock, I saw a cabin-cruiser with a husband and wife crew. It was then that I decided that someday I would have a boat that I could go inside of, maybe have a cup of coffee, or just relax in as I would at home.
I soon found that buying what I wanted was really prohibitive. I remembered having seen an advertisement for your boat catalog, so I found the ad and ordered your catalog. Like a kid with a Christmas wish book, I poured over the designs. My family and I discussed boat lengths. We all made promises that if I would buy the plans, the whole family would build it. My boys and I would do the “grunt” work, and my daughter would design the inside. So after debating over such a big project, and which boat would be best for us, I ordered the GYPSY plans in April 1987. I still remember laying out the plans in the yard with my children. We sat in our fictitious boat and talked about the day we would sail our boat through the locks and into the sunset.
The building of the GYPSY (Fair Havens as we dubbed her) truly became a family project. My boys learned not only about boat building, but about woodworking, electrical, etc. The boat became the subject of school papers, and a source of conversation for my children, (as well as for me). Many times their school friends (who couldn’t believe anybody could build a boat) came over to help us. During the project my nephew became interested and came over after work to help. My sister and her husband volunteered to make the cabin cushions. Other friends made curtains.
In spring of 1990 the Fair Havens made her maiden voyage up the inter coastal waterway from Cocoa Beach to St. Augustine (about 230 miles round trip). A vacation we still talk about. Since then the Fair Havens has made four Florida Key Cruises. The fifth Key cruise has been planned for this June, and another St. Augustine cruise in August. Local water day cruises are a normal event throughout the year. We have found that vacations on the Fair Havens are not vacations… they’re ADVENTURES!
The Fair Havens is built to specs., except the side windows and an extended front roof. The roof top is a sun deck so I added a support post for the extra length. In smooth water she trues out at 32 mph. with a Johnson 140 engine. She has cruised on a plane with nine (some HEAVY) adults on board! In the Atlantic she has been in rougher water than I can take! Inside is per the plans. She carries 32 gals. of fuel, and 25 gals. of fresh water. The cabin is air-conditioned for those hot nights in Florida ports.
The children are grown now and, like so many families, have gone their ways. Recently I made a video tape of movies, pictures, and videos of them growing up, which included the Fair Havens. My plan was to give it to them, and watch it when we got together for Christmas. The part that drew the most excitement, and tears, was the building and cruising of the Fair Havens.
Little did I know that the building of the Fair Havens would play so rich a part in our family history. When I look at her I see a family member. Though she can’t talk, she reminds me of precious memories, and beckons of new adventures in the future.
Thank you for all your fine plans, your help, and the encouragement that made the Fair Havens possible. If you need recommendations to customers thinking of building their own boat, put my name on the list.
Included is a picture of Fair Havens during a day of snorkeling near Alligator Reef, in the Florida Keys.