A boat built in a Tulsa man's front yard is setting sail in the next few days.
Doug Jackson has been building the 74-foot-long steel ship, called “SV Seeker,” for more than 10 years. It will head to the Gulf of Mexico in less than a week.
Jackson spent most of his life working behind a computer inside a cubicle. Now, he's getting ready to set sail in a boat he built in his front yard.
"Had an apartment at my house and we are building this thing in my front yard, and I have learned so much from so many people with so many skills and trades,” Jackson said.
Jackson calls this project "The Boat the Internet Built” because he's documented his journey through hundreds of YouTube videos.
Jackson had people from all over the country give advice and some have even come out to help, like Greg Cotton.
"I was up and down I-35 quite a bit for work, so on the way home usually, I’d stop a few days and work on the boat," Cotton said.
Greg is from Minnesota and met Doug through a submarine group.
He was a submarine sailor in the Navy, flew planes and now he's trying his hand on the water.
Greg turns 75 this month and said this project keeps him young.
"About 20 to 25 percent of my high school graduating class is gone already and the rate will pick up,” Cotton said. “So gotta keep moving!"
Doug and his team are combining different backgrounds and skill sets to put together a ship unlike any other.
"She's twin-keeled,” Jackson said. “She's Chinese junk rigged and she's a motor sailor. I mean, she's got an engine down below for repulsion.”
One of the engines came from an old school bus. The dragons on the outside of the boat were made of Styrofoam. The quotes on the wood floor panel were paid for by YouTube subscribers.
Because the boat was mostly built by people giving their skills, labor and donating parts to make it happen, Jackson wants to use the boat to give back.
Once it hits the Gulf of Mexico, he's planning to use it as a free of charge research vessel for students or anyone who wants to come on board.
"So we are thinking like a college student who is starting a grad program or something like that and needs to look at jellyfish or bottom sediment or something incredibly boring but no money to get a boat,” Jackson said. “We're the boat.”
More than 10 years of hard work with thousands of dollars invested are finally paying off with the adventures that lie ahead.
"You don't get to take any of this with you when you die,” Jackson said. “It's the experiences that we get.”
Jackson said they're planning to head toward the port of Muskogee on March 8. It will then head to the gulf.