Our oldest son Verlon, has been building a little 14' boat in the living room of his Richmond, VA house for the past couple years. This past Sunday (On his birthday) he and friends moved it out in the yard and is now down with it at the bay. He called to say that Harry Kollatz. Jr. with the Richmond Magazine has done a story on it. It is on their web site at http://richmondmagazine.com/news/the-hat/verlon-vrana-boat/#prev. Part of the story is as follows: "A man builds a boat in his Boulevard apartment’s living room. It takes him just over two years. Then on a humid, overcast August late afternoon, he and a few friends lift her off the sawhorses serving as her gantry, turn her on one side and heft the craft outside, over a fence rail and guide her to rest on the grass out front. The builder, assisted by the crew on hand, puts up the 20-foot-mast and rigs the sail. The effort causes some second and third looks by joggers, and a few motorists slow down to make sure of what they’re seeing.
The boat’s maker, Verlon Vrana, a Nebraskan native of Czech extraction, graduated from the arts program at Virginia Commonwealth University 45 years ago this fall. He was, he says, on the five-year plan. Afterward, he strapped on a tool belt and has worked with his hands ever since.Vrana also envisions the establishment of a training program for youth, possibly in the vicinity of Ancarrow's, to demonstrate that it is possible for a person to build a boat. Part of the point of this exercise is to show that a boat can be built within a small space and, with a team (or even alone), it can be assembled and prepared for sailing.
He became adept at building elaborate show kites that earned him a 1980s exhibition at the Science Museum of Virginia. “You build one of those, put 40 hours into it, and you know it’s going to eventually crash into splinters,” he says. He developed an interest in boat building, including large model sailboats that he could take to Shields Lake at Byrd Park and larger bodies of water. And he’s come to a realization: “I like building them almost as much as like sailing them.”