10 Images

Building a dream

Karl Markvart stands on the bow of a friend’s boat at the Boatyard Storage in Costa Mesa where the two men are building the home of their dreams. Markvart, 69, has been piecing his 32-foot Dreadnaught cutter together for more than three decades. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Markvart holds a drawing of “Little Cloud,” the boat that inspired his dream of sailing as a boy in Prague. Though he would later forget the book’s name, he memorized the picture and the names of the parts. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Storage shed
Markvart emerges from a shed he uses to store the handmade parts he crafts for his boat. “When you are an old man in rough seas, alone, you have to have everything well-made,” says the retired aerospace engineer. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
A piece of metal is ground and smoothed in Markvart’s workstation. He uses surplus material foraged from machine shops to build the boat’s hundreds of metal fittings. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
This handmade device will grab the anchor rope on the bow on Markvart’s craft. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Below the boat
The tool shed beneath Markvart’s boat is filled to the brim. He expects his 32-foot cutter to not only be his home once construction is finished, but also his final resting place. “If something happens on high seas, so what? It’s much better than to die in traffic accident, or under surgeon’s knife,” he said. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Markvart, along with a few other regulars, reports to his boat every morning at the Boatyard Storage lot where his decades-long labor of love will some day take float. “It’s like building Mt. Rushmore. It takes a lifetime to finish it,” he said. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
One of the many derelict boats at the lot where owners rent space. When boat builders pass on, their unfinished vessels are eventually hauled off to the junkyard to make room for more boats and more dreams. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
Markvart takes a break in the workshop area beneath the hull of his boat. He’s sailed the Adriatic, the Mediterranean and the Pacific -- though never in a vessel of his own. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)
The sun sets on another day of boat building. “Once I leave this yard and get on water, I plan to stay on water,” Markvart said. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)