Retirement Cruiser Concept
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 or similar).
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,
Does this boat have to be 36' long? It seems to me that you could do this with a 25' to 28' boat just as easily. Please explain why so long for a trailerable boat.
Doing some quick calculations:
Breadth: 2.6 m (estimate on wl)
Length on wl: 9.75 m (estimate)
Draft : 1 m
Block coeff: 0.40 (estimate)
Gives you an estimated displacement weight of: 10.14 tonnes (fresh water).
I think you have to reconsider the size/weight estimates.
The maximum combined trailer weight is because your drivers licence?
For the rest, I love it, although it's not my tast. Specially the remarks about grey water tanks and composting toilet/head. You're thinking environmental!
When looking at the sailplan, you might want to have look at the possibility of sailing with it, saves fuel.
Last edited by Dutch Peter : 08-17-2004 at 05:18 AM. Reason: Fault in calc.
Very Cool boat!
Though the trailer weight seems scary. By my guestimation you would need about 400hp to tow this thing and that's assuming the quoted 17,500lb weight includes all gear and stores. Have you ever towed (on the road) any thing that heavy
For my money, I would add about four or five feet to the length and forget about towing it. With a waterline of 36ft you should have no problem averaging 6kts and maybe more with a good favorable wind and use of the sail. If you and your wife stood seperate watches, you could average about 140 miles per day at about 1gph. That would get you about 1,000 miles a week. This way it would be possible to religate your over land transport to getting from one coast to the other. For this scheme to work, you might have to consider wintering your boat in different states during different years and the trucking cost would not be cheap (maybe it could be shipped by rail). But I'm willing to bet it would be cheaper (and less risky) that way than buying and maintaining an expensive tow vehicle and trailer and trying to launch it yourself.
If you want to go with the trailering concept, I might suggest you go with half as much boat (displacement wise) and twice as much driving.
Best of luck,
More on the SRC - Replies to all
Wow! Go away for a few days and several replies to respond to. So, in order:
Joseph, first it's a matter of comfort and fitting the amenities that we want into an available space. Please look at the stuff we want to help you better visualize why so long. We want spacious beds – 7' long. We want ample clothing storage – 2' long. We do not want a crowded toilet/shower area – 3' long. We want ample room for guests on the convertible dinette – another 7'. A comfortable pilothouse – 7' more and a ample cockpit for both boating fish and lounging – 6' long and finally up front, room for anchors & rode plus fenders etc. - 4' for that all totals 36'
Combine this desire for space with the limitations of trailering size 8.5' wide (2590mm) and 13.5' high (4114mm) and we have to stretch out length-wise because we have no other room to grow.
Peter, That tonnage number is a bit scary – but I respectfully suggest that it's off by 6 tonnes. In my research I've found several other ply/epoxy boats that are in the same size range and they weigh from 9000 lbs. (~4100kg) to ~15000lbs (~6800kg). Obviously I'm shooting for a middle ground and I believe that it's achievable. Perhaps the draft will end up less than 40” (1m) and therefore will throw the traditional guess-timates for a loop. Regardless, my research says it can be done under 13000lbs. And remember that's road ready with nearly empty fuel and water tanks.
Bob, Having driven both semi's and city delivery trucks I'm not at all afraid of the weight or size. Just gotta be aware and drive accordingly. The reason for a trailerable cruiser is time – or lack thereof. The wife has a teaching career that she isn't willing to compromise for retirement's sake – couple that with the fact of our age differences and I'll be “free” nearly a decade sooner than she will be. I'll be neigh on to having one foot in the grave before she's even ready to even >>consider<< cruising full time. And the way she's attached to this house... Well, let's just say a snowball has a better chance not melting in a south Texas summer than our cruising full time.
But we can take 3 months in summer and a full month in winter at Christmas break for cruising. Spring break is another full week for the Texas Gulf coast. So plenty of time, just gotta have the boat to do it.
So that's really the reason behind the Summer Cruiser Concept.
Thanks all for your replies. I look forward to others adding their thoughts too.
Seems like you got your ducks in a row; now all you got to do is shoot them. I would imagine that you are the type of client most designers dream of. Someone who knows what they want, has a reasonable concept in mind, and knows thier own abillities.
I guess backing down a loading dock is little different than backing down a launching slip. I suppose that with the right guides and keel rollers there should be little problem getting the boat to seat on the trailer right automatically. And that would be my main worry.
Your displacement numbers seem well within reason for the boat it self.
Good work and good luck.
Why is it that people who wish to retire aboard small boats want to take huge dogs with them???
With the construction described you can do a trailer weight of 13,000 lbs., even including a small amount of ballast. Ready for sea will be another matter.
The canoe stern means a fairly "pitchy" hull form, be careful to maximize the volume aft to damp out pitching. A light, low powered, high-windage boat can be easily stopped in a short sea and just sit there and fly up and down. The ends need to be carefully balanced, windage and form wise. Personally I would drop the freeboard forward a bit and raise the stern.
The engines you mention are heavy and hard to find parts for, Yanmars are light, smooth running, and parts are available all over. I like heavy engines and if you’re mechanically inclined the Deutz may be the way to go, but it will eat space with air ducting. Keel cooling and dry exhaust are good.
I would move the mizzen mast forward 2-3', it will look better and the aft shroud will not be out on the point of the stern. You can support the roof from the mast base/tabernacle. When folded down the radar scanner will be in your face? Hatch in the top of the pilothouse and crate to stand on?
Stay away from hydraulics unless you absolutely have to have em. Electric anchor windlass is fine for this size boat, manual hyd. steering is okay too.
For Lake Superior and PNW/Alaska you need heat, get a Dickenson oil stove and put it amidships down low. They are simple and work.
She will be a nice boat.
All the best, Tad
You might want to check out the work being done by Mike (better known as Portager around these parts). His trailerable trawler may be different from yours in detail, but the two are very similar in concept
Imaginocean Yacht Design
Logic will get you from A to B... Imaginocean will take you everywhere else...
this ones a little bigger but....
I, living in Alaska, have been thinking of an icw boat and this is what I came up with! bigger than what you were asking for but is of shoal draft and will clear a 12' bridge height. heavy twin skegs for the grounding that WILL happen! This sketch has been tacked to the wall for some time but has an LOA of 50'3' and a nice beam of 13' or so cant remember the draft as I was/am playing with the hull design. been trying to incorporate some Gerrnology (Dave Gerr)or the seakindly traits of the sea-bright skiff. That large box keel would allow you to go up on the hard with no damage. I think I was planning on a pair of Westerbeke 170's in a v-drive config. giving a max of 16 kts and a honest cruise of 12-13. I just figured I would share my idea of what your looking for.
Good luck 8kts
"Gerrnology"...I like that!
Nice boat too - I take it that that distinguished looking gentlleman standing on the aft deck is you....
Imaginocean Yacht Design
Logic will get you from A to B... Imaginocean will take you everywhere else...
That's a Michael Kasten Design (http://kastenmarine.com/) that can be found here (http://kastenmarine.com/gulliver46.htm)
Thanks for the xsw link as I hadn't seen that.
Nay, Thats the broker figuring his cut...... . Kasten has alot of good articals on his site that are well worth the read. I have allways wanted to get a copy of that Benford small ships too...The one with all the pocket cruisers in it. This may be a direction for you to go to there Seaquestor....
Hey Tad, Is your site live yet?
have a good one Lads, off to work 8
The current issue of Good Old Boat has an interview with designer Bill Lee, the Wizard of Santa Cruz. It's worth reading. At the end is a Bob Perry story about Lee. "I was hanging out on a dock at the San Francisco Yacht Club Stag Cruise with Bill and some club luminary. A 40' Pacific Seacraft went by: shiny and blue. The luminary said, 'now there's a beautiful boat'. Bill quietly replied, 'All I see is a boat with no waterline length'.
You can take or leave the ungainly pilothouse styling of the Kasten boat above, but waterline is where it's at in slow powerboats. I like 8's boat, except for the raised aft house. That's got to come down at least level with the forward house. I know, then you will have to walk between engine boxes, but them's the breaks.
Take care, Tad
Is this your latest wish or is it more serious than that?
Looks pretty darn good to me although I'll accept Tad's comments on the aft house. Sort of like a Blanchard on steroids.
The hull is something else. Is that like the slider designs? I've been playing with that for a smaller cruiser about 30' LOA to run in the teens with small power. I won't build it, but it looks like an interesting concept to marry the slender hull with high L/B ratio to a flat bottom aft for stability and lift. What is the displacement fraction carried by each hull component? I'm looking for the keel section to take more of the dispacement than your drawing looks like it carries. Also carry the keel further back with a single prop sticking out and the engine and tankage in the keel.
The first time I saw this hull form was in Japan in the early fifties. They used it on slow displacement fishing boats. For entirely different reasons, of course. Then there's the Jersey shore skiffs and bolger's box keels.
Tad, what do you think of this hull form?
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