Design suggestions for a turncoat sailor

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Eric Odle, Aug 3, 2010.

  1. Eric Odle
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Eric Odle Tugboat Mariner

    I recently sold my 33' sailboat, with intentions of going boatless for a few years. No sooner is it gone that I am already cruising forums and searching for a new boat. I already spend half my life working on tugboats in Prince William Sound, Alaska, and such is my condition that when I get home I find ways to be on the water again.

    Approximately 10 years of cruising in the Pacific Northwest has taught me a few things about what I want out of a boat. To the shock of some of my sailor friends, sailing is not a necessary part of this experience. This is mostly because the winds in the PNW are sporadic, creating those beautiful peaceful anchorage sunsets that we all love. The sail part to me was a practical matter involving lots of trade-offs, but in reality I ended up motoring at least 75% of the time if not more. In other words, the trade offs really aren't worth it to me. In a few weeks time I'll pick up an 8' El Toro sailing pram, which will satisfy my occasional need to sail as well as provide a tender for the next boat.

    So, as an ex-sailor used to cruising at 6-7 knots, and rarely in any kind of particular hurry during my 8 weeks off, I am looking for design and production boat suggestions to research further. Cruising grounds are the PNW inside passage. In order of priority, here are some design parameters:

    1) Economical operation. During the last fuel crunch my peers were amazed and delighted by the dearth of power boats on the water. Fuel prices went up, gas hogs stayed home, and places selling gas hogs went under. Fuel prices since declined, but rest assured they will be back. I believe efficient and economical pleasure craft will command the better future resale values, and get used a lot more than the gas hogs. Wasteful is out.

    2) Quiet operation. Believe me I'm used to a noisy diesel environment. On my own time, the quieter the better. At the very least, a normal conversation should be possible at cruising speed. Generators at anchorage are definitely out.

    3) Seaworthy and safe. I've been in enough hairy situations, tide rips and stiff headwinds and such, to have a good understanding of the importance of seaworthiness. The inside passage is mostly protected but can get snotty in a hurry when wind and tidal currents are opposed.

    4) Durable and dependable. If I'm down to one means of propulsion, better make it a good one. I like some of the marinized Kubotas out there. I also like some of the hybrid concepts, but a conservative diesel approach with good soundproofing is likely the best way to go. Durable hull materials such as aluminum are also worth considering. Steel might be a little heavy though.

    5) Two double berths. Each berth doesn't necessarily have to have its own cabin, but the idea is for two couples to cruise together. Convertible spaces are fine.

    6) A salon cabin. Sometimes it rains in the PNW, so it would be nice for these two couples to be comfortable below decks when there's weather. One of the double berths can be in the salon, of course. The second "couple" in my case is more likely to be children, but the potential to entertain pairs of friends or family would be nice.

    7) Trailerability. I'd like to store this boat out of the water when not in use. Boats that go out for an afternoon need to be in marinas. This boat will go out for weeks at a time, and will be launched as needed. Best case is a beam of 8'6" for permit-less trailering. Less desirable but possibly adequate is a beam closer to 10' where permits are required. I realize there is a spectrum of difficulty here, so let's just figure the more easily it can be towed the better.

    8) Beachability. Pie in the sky? Not so, as I'm discovering here in these forums. There were quite a few instances I can recall where I squeezed into a crowded anchorage and looked longingly at empty basins that dried at low tide. It would also be nice to easily inspect the bottom, prop, and rudder while cruising. This is almost a revolutionary idea to to me that opens up all kinds of exciting possibilities.

    So far, I have been looking closely at vessels with box keels such as Gerr's DR Northwest Cruiser. I wouldn't mind discussing the merits and drawbacks of this design. How would it handle in a beam sea? Anyone know of this or similar boats in use? And why aren't there more of these on the market? Some of the Atkins designs using the Sea Bright skiff concept are also appealing. I would love to hear about people experiences with box keels in general, they are a new concept to me and seem almost to good to be true so a healthy dose of reality is in order here. Are there any production boats with box keels?

    Production boats might include some of the Albin designs, like the 28 foot family cruisers. Not too may of those on the west coast it seems. I suppose I could truck one from Florida. Some suggestions for suitable west coast boats would be welcome. They might be worth considering from a cost and resale perspective.

    Thanks in advanced from all the experienced hands out there, you probably hear from a lot of guys like me searching for the right boat.

    The journey might be a thousand miles, and it might begin with a single step, but it's a good idea to start off in the right direction!
     
  2. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Location: Australia

    Willallison Senior Member

    Well, based on your list of requirements, it seems unlikely that you will find what you are after in the production boat arena. The list isn't all that unusual, but it's fairly uncommon, so there aren't likely to be too many stock designs out there either. Dave's design is one of the few that spring's to mind.
    That will pretty much leave you with the custom design option. The goals are certainly achievable - though inevitably there will be some compromise required along the way.
    Which begs the 1st and most important question... do you have a budget?
     
  3. Eric Odle
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Eric Odle Tugboat Mariner

    Not yet, I don't even know what's realistic at this point. What would it cost to build one of Dave's designs, anyways? Would it be possible to stay below $100k?

    Used I would prefer to stay below $50k.

    My tastes are not extravagant, and I'm quite used to small spaces.
     
  4. Pierre R
    Joined: May 2007
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    Location: ohio, USA

    Pierre R Senior Member

    Oh, now you hada throw in a budget. I had the perfect production boats that meet your criterion in mind but at three times your budget. http://www.mjmyachts.com/

    I think Gerrs DR Northwest Cruiser we be a fine boat for the PNW and could be built for less than $100k and not scrounge around for used stuff.
     
  5. FAST FRED
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    A totally different concept might be a boat that exchanges speed for seaworthy.

    Most motorboats , even up to quite large sizes are in no way as seaworthy as the usual 30 ft sailboat.

    While slugging along in a 6K rock crusher boat may be OK, the trailer requirement will keep the weight to under 10,000lbs , or the tow vehicle will be huge.

    While the deflation is continuing , gas costs half , houses cost half and boats, lumber and aluminum are even cheaper than ever, the deflation hasn't yet reached to wages so a custom built boat will still be expensive.

    Perhaps a really 3rd world spot like Viet Nam might have the skills and wage scale to afford a custom boat , but it would take lots of your time on scene .

    The "best" choice for AK and the inside passage for a trailer boat , was a question I posted to a trawler forum, here is the response.

    tolleycraft,

    Bayliner

    http://www.northpacificyachts.com/

    C-Dory www.c-brats.com.

    SeaSport.


    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1992/Maple-Bay-Yachts-Maple-Bay-26-2088094/Seattle/WA/Unit
    ed-States

    Also, Rosborough makes a well regarded 24 footer.

    Tomcat....a Catamaran version of the C-Dory.

    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1988/Commander-Boats-Command-Bridge-2215214/Courtenay/Cana
    da

    Another is the Tollycraft.

    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1977/Tollycraft-Command-Bridge-2081904/Ladysmith/Canada

    http://www.rosboroughboats.com/sedan_cruiser.html

    In noodeling on the web , (few are here on the Right coast) the Tomcat cat looked like the best choice.

    These are fairly new , outboard powered so no expensive time consuming diesel maint at out of service time, and the "Round Trip" (cost of purchase vs cash returned on sale) should be reasonable.

    Sure an old Gardner thumping at 1200 , in a mobile brick is comforting , but for your needs perhaps a different direction?

    I do love the Atkin box keel reverse deadrise designs , but I believe the attributes would be better used in a larger say 40 ft and up boat. The Atkins seem to do best at a SL of under 3 , on a 40 ft boat that could be an 18K cruise.

    But down in the 25-30 ft size pure plaining will be needed to get somewhere with good dispatch.

    Many of these smaller boats will get up to 5nmpg at speed , so fuel use for a 200 hour year is not that bad .

    FF
     
  6. HJS
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    Location: 59 45 51 N 019 02 15 E

    HJS Member

    Could be done.

    I am working on a similar boat in aluminum for a client.
    An other with hybrid power is under construction.

    js
     

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  7. Eric Odle
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Eric Odle Tugboat Mariner

    I've not been on a boat that travels at planing speed quietly, so that might involve some tradeoff in that area. But really though, speed is not that important. I would think 8 knots is hauling the mail in my own boat.

    The best analogy I can think of is to try riding a bike or walking though a place you've been driving through for years. Even a place you think you know looks completely different when you slow down. Also, I'm the kind of guy who will drive the speed limit in my VW TDI just to see how low I can get my fuel consumption. I just have a hard time feeling the need to rush things.

    FastFred, I would agree with you on the maintenance aspect. It's a lot easier to take an outboard to the shop for repairs than getting at an inboard. Thank you for all your suggestions though. They've been making those SeaSports in Bellingham where I kept my sailboat, and see that style of boat everywhere both at home and in Alaska.

    Mr. Sass, I'll be watching your website and on these forums to follow the development of your efficient hull design. Interesting hybrid approach, too... What will you use to store energy? LiFEPO4 seems to the best out there but pricey still.


    -Eric

    So Gerr's DR Northwest Cruiser is probably the right path then. Anyone know of any that have been built? I sent an e-mail to Dave but haven't heard back. I don't know much about the design besides what he posted on his website. Maybe it's time I give him a call.
     
  8. FAST FRED
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "So Gerr's DR Northwest Cruiser is probably the right path then."

    I believe the DG does have a box keel for grounding , BUT I don't think the box carries the weight or the reverse deadrise of the Atkins.

    To me the reverse deadrise is important for a number of reasons.

    The stern when pushed does not squat , with trim tabs and a Flo Scan some really low fuel burn should be possible.

    The prop is partially above the water with the boat at rest.

    By using a simple well and prop with outboard style shaft mounting , the prop could be easily and quickly optomised for the days cruise.

    No puller , just a nut and sheer pin.

    Although a CPP is easier to change underway , only the pitch can be changed , not the diameter or blade number or area.

    At under SL 3 or so the Atkin looks like the right way to go, not a copy.

    FF
     
  9. Eric Odle
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Eric Odle Tugboat Mariner

    Yes I've been looking over some of the Atkins designs, particularly the Naiad. Gerr's design looks suitable but is on the upper end of the trailering spectrum, legal size but quite heavy, and worth considering trading something else for better trailerability. I don't believe that weight is for an aluminum version, either. The Naiad calls for 2k lbs ballast, which might lend itself to a heavier aluminum version.

    I haven't been able to find much comment about building Atkins boats in aluminum... Maybe this just isn't done?

    Besides the obvious choice of steel for larger vessels, all of the workboats running around here are aluminum Kvichak, Rozema, and Munson builds. Probably has a lot to do with durability, which seems to me a good attribute for a boat that will go aground and get hauled and trailered often.

    Fred, do you have any links clearly showing what you have in mind with the reverse deadrise? Looks like Mr. Sass's design incorporates the reverse deadrise aft. I don't quite see it in the Naiad drawings, but I don't have much of an eye for those things yet.
     
  10. Pierre R
    Joined: May 2007
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    Pierre R Senior Member

    What you have to keep in mind about Gerr's displacements is that it is the design weight with stores, people, water and fuel aboard. Many of the other design you will compare it to are light ship weights. Particularly if it is a production boat. Light ship is the boat less fuel, oil stores and people. Be careful when comparing weights.
     
  11. tspeer
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    Location: Port Gamble, Washington, USA

    tspeer Senior Member

    I'd say all your criteria are met by a used F27 trimaran. It motors very efficiently, they are seaworthy and well built. There's an aft cabin with a double berth, and a V berth. You can also make the saloon up into a double. They are trailerable and beachable (daggerboard, kick-up rudder, draws less than 2 ft).

    Probably the main area where they fall down is in the quiet operation. However, the outboard is in a well, and you could add additional insulation to quiet things down. However, it is still possible to carry on a conversation while motoring, even without the additional insulation.

    They will sail when you would have been motoring with your old cruiser. You'll still motor a lot in the PNW (been there, doin' it), but you'll sail more and when you do, it'll be a lot more enjoyable than the sailing you used to do.

    An F27 can probably be had for around $50K.
     
  12. Eric Odle
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Eric Odle Tugboat Mariner

    What do you figure is a realistic light weight for trailering this boat? I still lack a lot of detailed info on Gerr's design, I have his Nature of Boats coming so hopefully that will help shed some light on things.
     
  13. Eric Odle
    Joined: Jul 2010
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    Location: Prince William Sound, Alaska

    Eric Odle Tugboat Mariner


    Thanks Tom, I did a preliminary search on it and it would meet quite a few of those criteria. I'll look into it further, like I mentioned before I'm not dogmatic about sail vs. power, I'm just up for the most practical solution.
     
  14. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    Go for a sail on one - there's bound to be a multihull club in your area with some F27's in it (NW Multihulls meets first Tuesday of the month at Puget Sound Cruising Club on Lake Union). Just one word of caution - as a former monohull sailor, once you've experienced the dark side, there may not be any going back for you!
     

  15. Willallison
    Joined: Oct 2001
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    Willallison Senior Member

    I wonder about the sense in making what will probably be significant compromises in order to make this vessel trailerable. 1st up - why do you want it to be tailerable?
    Is it so you can transport it from one place to another?
    Or to cut down on marina fees?
    Perhaps so you don't have to antifoul...
    These are all valid concerns, of course, but depending on the answer, they may not be significant enough to warrant making the compromises of such narrow beam, especially as you will be spending extended periods on board.
    You also need to consider whether you want this to be:
    a) a trailerboat (one that you hitch up to the back of the family 4WD and tow down to the local ramp) Tom Lathrop's Bluejacket 24 is a good example of this type. http://bluejacketboats.com/
    b) Trailerable (a boat that can be towed, but which sacrifices some of the ease of trailering a smaller rig, for more room onboard) This is the route I took with one of my designs, Graphite. http://imaginocean.net/index1.html
    c) Transportable - where the boat really needs to be moved by truck and it only goes in and out of the water occaisionally.

    Just food for thought...
     
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