With apologies to all native Texans that just love summer in south Texas – I don’t, haven’t and most likely never will. I grew up north of the 45th parallel and living south of the 30th is just a tad too warm for me. But only in summer. Now I do love south Texas winters. Just enough chill to need a jacket but not so cold as to need a parka and snow boots.
Retirement is fast approaching. I’ve got no great desire to golf, play cards at the retirement center or make my grass the greenest and most weed free in the neighborhood. And I’ve no great desire to be a part time greeter at our local super Wal-Mart store. So what to do after I stop getting a regular paycheck?
I guess I can go fishing – that, in my opinion, is a worthy pursuit for retirement. But to be most effective I need a boat. Combine my woodworking skills with the desire and I can build a suitable boat. Hmmm… Is a small fishing boat enough?
(A) Well maybe not. If I’ve got a suitable boat I can escape the torrid south Texas summers and explore the sort of climes I want to avoid in winter. Places like the Inside Passage to Alaska. The northern shores of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. The coasts of Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. A suitable boat would open up the inland waterways of mid-America. The entire Mississippi and Ohio River systems along with the TVA system. Perhaps the Sacramento River delta. Let’s not forget the entire inter-coastal waterway from the Texas/Mexico border, around Florida and north to Long Island Sound. The Erie Canal, the Rideau Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterway in Ontario.
WOW! Such diversity. Such opportunity. But what boat? Well, there are lots of boats suitable for all those places. What? What’s that you say? How does one get a boat suitable for a passage to Alaska from south Texas to the Puget Sound without accruing a tremendous trucking bill? And then the next year across country to Maine and the following year to Lake Superior, and always back to Texas for those wonderfully mild winters.
One answer is independent wealth. Nah, no long lost rich uncles in my family tree. What about the lotto? Maybe, but I ‘spose I subscribe to the idea that it’s mostly a voluntary tax on the dim-witted. How about using retirement savings? Nope. That’s not a good idea either.
So how can we afford the seemingly mythical Summer Retirement Cruiser? In my mind it’s simple, design a boat in collaboration with a professional designer and build it ourselves over a 3-4 year period just prior to retirement.
But before I start bugging the pros AND spend money on design fees I’d like to know if my idea is feasible. Having looked at lots of designs on the various designer web sites and in their catalogs it appears to my very untrained eye that it is doable. But there are lots of folks here that (I hope) can provide coherent feedback as to the viability of the idea and design that accompanies this missive.
So, please take a look at the concept, gaze at the AutoCAD rendering and (gently) critique away.
With apologies to the folks that have worked on both “Option One” and “Portager”, they just don’t “float my boat”.
The principals of the SRC are:
An overview of our “ideal” Summer Retirement Cruiser, SRC.
1. Designed as a legally trailerable displacement speed power cruiser with foldable masts suitable for a cargo boom, steadying sail(s), and electronics mounting.
2. Built with epoxy/ply construction.
2.1. Finished between workboat and yacht standards. Nice, but not ostentatious.
3. Designed for cruising protected and semi-protected waters. (See paragraph “A” above) With suitable weather conditions a Gulf Stream crossing to the Bahamas. But not designed nor intended for extended open ocean passages.
4. Accommodations for a couple with occasional guests sleeping on the converted dinette.
5. Access when on trailer for “road camping”.
5.1. Access for folks in their 70’s and 1 or 2 large (125 lb, 56kg) dogs.
5.2. Door through stern for both dock and trailer access.
5.2.1. Suitable folding aluminum stairs carried aboard the tow vehicle.
6. Trailerable behind a 2 wheel drive medium duty diesel crew cab truck.
7. 5th wheel custom built triple axle trailer.
7.1. 9’6” (2.9m) max width, boat and trailer included.
7.2. Maximum combined trailering weight, ~17,500 pounds (~8,000kg).
7.2.1. Trailer weight, <4,500 lbs. (<2,000kg)
7.2.2. Boat weight, <13,000 lbs. (<5,900kg)
7.3. Maximum trailering height, less than 13’6” (4.1m)
7.3.1. Minimum keel to road distance, ~16” (406mm)
7.4. Maximum trailer and boat length, ~45’ (~13m)
7.4.1. Max rig length, <58’ (~17.6m)
8. Maximum boat length, 36’ (~11m)
9. Shoal draft, ~40” (1m) to bottom of skeg.
10. Self launch-able and retrievable from trailer on deeper ramps and/or with auspicious tides.
11. Designed to be independent of marina’s.
11.1. Anchor out.
11.1.1. Heavy ground tackle.
11.1.2. Easy handling winch.
11.2. Electrical solar panels.
11.3. Wind generator.
11.4. High-output motor alternator.
11.5. Large capacity battery bank.
11.5.1. Use for interior ballast.
12. Displacement hull form.
12.1. Canoe style stern (purely aesthetic – memories from childhood).
13. Maximize waterline length.
14. Masts, in tabernacles.
14.1. For steadying sail(s) and cargo/dinghy boom.
14.2. For mounting electronics and wind generator.
15. No underwater through hull fittings.
16. Low RPM diesel inboard with variable pitch propeller
16.1. Duetz air/oil-cooled industrial diesel engine.
16.2. Sabb 2 cylinder marine diesel engine, (second choice).
16.2.1. Engine beneath Pilot House sole
16.2.2. Plentiful sound insulation.
17. Fuel capacity for ~1500 miles at S/L of 1.0.
18. Fresh water tankage of ~110 gallons (500l).
18.1. Hand pump from main storage tank(s) to smaller gravity tanks.
19. Sufficient gray waste water tankage.
20. Composting toilet (http://www.cetsolar.com/marinemar.htm
Layout (from bow, moving aft.)
1. Anchor and chain locker forward of a water tight collision bulkhead.
2. V-berth bunks, storage, tanks and watertight compartments under.
2.1.1. Sitting headroom over bunks
2.1.2. 75” (190cm) standing headroom at entrance.
3. Storage drawers and lockers.
4. Head compartment.
4.1.1. Composting head on one side.
4.1.2. Full-sized shower room on other side.
4.1.3. 75” (190cm) standing headroom in shower
5. Galley and dinette compartment.
5.1.1. Dinette makes into a double bed for guests.
6. Open pilothouse.
7. Covered stern cockpit.
There are our initial thoughts on the SRC. I’m sure that someone is going to ask why not just buy a used boat. Primarily because I >enjoy< the building process. I’ve built 2 houses, barns and assorted out buildings, furniture, cabinets and various knick-knacks of all kinds. I worked as a Journeyman Machinist and Millwright for 20+ years. Even though I now sit behind a computer screen earning my living thinking and typing, I still enjoy the physical process of creating something from scratch.
Besides, the satisfaction of someone asking what kind of boat is that and then my telling them I designed it with lots of help from Nathan Naval Architect and I built it myself will give me all the swelled head pride that I can stand in my doddering old age.
If there is a professional (or even a talented amateur) that might like to help bring this concept to fruition, please drop me a line privately.
Blessed be to you and yours,