In 1977, a young sculptor from Scituate named Bob Kingsland was feeling restless after breaking his leg skiing, and while he sat around in a cast up to his hip, he made a grand vow: He was going to build a sailboat and sail it around the world.
Kingsland spent 30 years working on his grand creation, a 50-foot pilot-house cutter with a steel hull, and finally launched his sailboat in front of a cheering crowd in Scituate Harbor in 2007. He called it Restless.
But Kingsland never completed his dream. Restless was never fully finished; it could motor around, but was not yet fully equipped for the grand sail he’d built her for, and when Kingsland died in 2012, his unfinished masterpiece went back into his family’s backyard.
In 2021, a young rancher from South Dakota named Dave Galdo was feeling restless so he sold his 517 acres, his herd of cattle, his house, and his pickup truck so that he could pursue his dream: Buy a sailboat and see the world.
For years, as he’d worked long day after long day, and especially on those winter nights when he’d stay up all night with calving cows, he dreamed of the sea, read everything he could about sailing, saved every penny to turn that dream into a reality.
At age 36, he realized that his body was deteriorating rapidly from the strain of ranch life and that life was not that long after all. So he went searching for his sailboat, a quest that took him – through luck or chance or fate – to a backyard in Scituate.
On a sunny day last week, at a mooring in East Boston, Galdo stood on the deck of Restless, putting the finishing touches on the dream that Bob Kingsland began 44 years ago.
“He was an absolute genius,” Galdo said of Kingsland, pointing out the painstaking work that has long made Restless a marvel for sailing aficionados. “He didn’t take the easy way on anything. He added all these little meticulous things, things that nobody else would have done.”
As Kingsland wrote on sv-restless.com, a website where he documented his work (which remains active after his death), “I realized quickly that I could either build a rough but operative boat, or build the best boat I could figure out how to make — and I chose the latter, no matter how long it took. One of my primary objectives was to see something that made me smile every place my eye came to rest.”
Looking around Restless today, Galdo is constantly smiling as he sees those touches — such as the 18 inlaid stars that function to join the woodworking together — and the hard-to-describe way that craftsmanship connects these two men who never met in life. For Galdo is also a hands-on guy, a do-it-yourselfer (in addition to the ranch, he ran a septic business on the side). He had found his way to Restless specifically because he was also a welder and wanted to find a steel-hulled boat he could work on himself.
“To be able to take what he started and continue it is an honor. And the name he gave the boat fits me perfectly,” Galdo said. “It was waiting to be finished by someone who was restless.”
Galdo purchased the boat this summer, and since then he has been living aboard while racing to get her ready to sail south – that’s his only real plan – before the weather turns. Restless, which was listed for $349,000, still needed all of its electronics, new plumbing, some engine work, refrigeration, as well as a furling system and lazy jacks.
“All I know is that I’m heading toward Florida and dreaming of crystal clear water and palm trees and sandy beaches and fresh food,” he said. And he plans to document it all on a YouTube channel called “The Restless Sailor.”
But before he can get to margaritaville, Galdo needs to address his biggest obstacle: his lack of sailing experience.
He’d sailed smaller craft on lakes, but a 50-foot sailboat in the open ocean was another story. Luckily, his brother is a captain who worked out of the docks in East Boston, so they have spent many hours training and working on navigation. But when he sets sail — any day now, if the weather cooperates — there will be plenty of unknowns.
“I’m definitely scared,” Galdo said as he rubbed his dog, Jade. “I was good at what I did. To go from that to having to learn all new stuff is spooky, as well as exciting.”
But what already feels good, what has drawn humans to the sea for millennia, is that feeling of absolute freedom, of leaving it all behind and setting off into the unknown.
“It’s amazing the amount of stuff that was in my life,” Galdo said after getting off a call about some final paperwork involving the sale of his house back in South Dakota. “Now it’s just this, which is a freeing feeling.”
And he can’t wait to raise his sails to see where the wind takes him.