Micro Cruiser

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by d1970, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. d1970
    Joined: Jun 2012
    Posts: 24
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: canada

    d1970 Junior Member

    Build will be quite some time from now,unless my numbers come up.
    I'm quite interested in a micro cruiser design. It's got to be awfully small.
    But at the same time able to go long distances. Can it be done?
    I'm thinking ~ 4-6m long, 1.8 wide, 1m draft. Not a whole lot of surface on top of the water for when big waves hit. Must be able to control sails from inside,don't feel like spending time on the outside in bad weather.
    The 1.8m wide is to have some space,which would probably make it slow.Could I live with 2-3kn max speed? Probably not. 5-6 would not be so bad. More(if possible?), a plus.
    Power wise, a small diesel genny,perhaps 150-300cc and xx gallons of fuel to power an e-motor mated to a slow turning self feathering prop I would appreciate. And wind,it needs help for sure, since I wont have space for a lot of fuel.
    Undecided on materials. I like steel,it's been used forever,though it will probably increase weight. I won't be doing anything myself in the build, except mate the genny to the e-motor(pops' an electrical engineer). I don't mind using cheaper inverter generators you can buy at hardware stores or online, and replace them every year or two,versus spending $$$ on a good one. Unless You guys think a Kubota based generator of 250-300cc will be better off for fuel consumption.
    What say you? Too fat? Too crazy of a idea?
    Thanks in advance!
  2. peterAustralia
    Joined: Mar 2006
    Posts: 390
    Likes: 35, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 233
    Location: Melbourne Australia

    peterAustralia Senior Member

    just dont

    seriously you can buy a boat second hand for modest sum. The boat market is low and there are more boats for sale than sellers, prices are low. Save yourself a lot of money, buy a little second hand boat, when your done, sell it over.

    I was looking at this one today, 2ft draft, bilge keels, put the boat down on the sand, mud at low tide. Two berths in the center, a vee berth forward which is really only good for storing gear. At 22ft its a sound boat. Westerly Nomad 22 or Westerly 22, or westerly pagent 23. Price a few thousand dollars, resale a few thousand dollars. Outboard is better than inboard diesel

  3. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,041
    Likes: 117, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1818
    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    agreed - building is a SERIOUSLY EXPENSIVE EXERCISE

  4. Tiny Turnip
    Joined: Mar 2008
    Posts: 774
    Likes: 203, Points: 43, Legacy Rep: 743
    Location: Huddersfield, UK

    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    or a Corribie... http://corribee.org/for-sale-and-wanted/ regarded as pretty seaworthy by Ellen MacArthur among others...
  5. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 3,156
    Likes: 321, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1279
    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    A dead simple and relatively cheap micro cruiser is already out there. It is butt ugly but a decent sailor and fairly capable in weather. Check out Phil Bolger's Micro.

    I have sailed one of those little beasts and was impressed with its ability if not its looks.
  6. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
    Posts: 2,457
    Likes: 266, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1082
    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    You might want to take a gander at Shorty Pen's website - http://www.shortypen.com/sailboat-guide/pocket-cruiser/

    My favorites are the small boats by Seaward, Compac, Nimble Boats, and the West Wight Potter 19. If you want to build, look at the San Francisco Pelican and its clones. Agree with the others - forget steel and forget diesel inboard in this size. You need a 27 pound Honda 2hp OB, or anything under 5hp that you can buy for less than $100. You can buy a ready-to-go cruiser for about $5000. You'd likely spend more that that on throw away supplies - solvents and cleaners and gloves and rags and drop cloths and masking tape doing your own build. You can figure about $15 per pound of boat as a DIYS. You will spend as much or more on materials buying retail than what a comparable boat costs at the dealership.

    And don't be afraid of a little weather. A canvas dodger and bimini cover can be fitted to things as small as 14'. I cruised in an 16' open wooden skiff I built. It weighed 375# and cost about $5000 in materials in '83. It was a beach camper and I would suggest you spend a couple years coasting before sailing off into the ocean.
  7. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 15,408
    Likes: 999, Points: 123, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    3 knots average would be an exceptional speed for a boat of those dimensions. If you want to cruise long distance in a very small boat, get rid of the generator and anything that uses much power. You have to learn to live with rationed water and food to survive the long times in-between ports. Also, make sure you don't get seasick. Staying inside in any weather more than a strong breeze will rattle your bones and challenge your stomach. Have you ever been to sea?
  8. SaugatuckWB
    Joined: Jan 2014
    Posts: 78
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: -12
    Location: Saugatuck,MI

    SaugatuckWB Junior Member

    I think you need to dismiss the idea of running an engine to power an electric motor. Inefficient. Then also dismiss the idea of buying some cheap used boat because if you wanted to do that then you wouldn't be asking this question.

    A sailboat is probably the only real option. There are lots of small designs out there, so pick one and then either build it or modify the design to fit your needs. A sailboat with an auxiliary electric motor is an option. Lots of solar panels, a wind generator, and a towed generator could all be used to give you some power driven range.

    I'd look at the 6m range to give you a little space for batteries and you. 1.6m isn't very beamy at that length.

    Anything is possible, so don't let anyone crap on your dream.

    3-4knots max
    as gonzo said.
  9. d1970
    Joined: Jun 2012
    Posts: 24
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: canada

    d1970 Junior Member

    Thank you. For peace of mind I would need a small diesel at least, don't trust ob's much. Haven't been at sea,except when I was a wee lad.
    What takes more power to push through the water, a boat measuring 5/6mx1.6m or an 7/8mx1.3m, say weight is the same? The advantage with the smaller boat is that I could potentially tow it myself,legally,on the road,with a 5-10k used truck and trailer.
    Taken note of the supplies issue. Bilge keel design. Used boats in general. Looks don't bather me,do not mind sailing or motoring in the equivalent of a marine AMC Gremlin.
    Also for peace of mind,it needs to be able to take a beating(occasional floating you name it,or dock),thus my fear of composites.
  10. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
    Posts: 3,731
    Likes: 121, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1404
    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    Regarding fineness ratio, the interesting thing is that either extreme has benefits in terms of speed. All depends on where you sail---- the conditions you'll encounter. If the average wind is low enough, a short, wide boat moves faster. If the average wind is more extreme, greater speeds are possible using a long, needle-like hull.
    Most hulls are happy compromises. Multi-hulls have slender hulls but they must have at least a pair of hulls for stability. The kind of mono-hull boat you're interested in building is going to be small enough to need to be relatively wide. This is primarily because unlike a light racer type boat, your boat can't be as easily righted or otherwise controlled as a lighter boat. Fat bilges in addition to your shifting weight is what will keep the boat up.
    Remember that displacement is what costs money. A longer, lighter boat may well be about the same cost if it weighs the same as the shorter version. Lightness can work for you as a long-distance cruiser if the boat is well built and the captain is able. Alternately, a heavy, short boat seems to be a kind of record-breaking type. When given the choice, a longer, lighter boat would always be my preference.
    I imagine your cruiser could be modelled after such boats as the Bolger Micro at 15 ft, or the Long Micro at 19 ft.
    There are far heavier tiny cruisers but boy are they sluggards. If a good portion of your sailing is going to be coastal, I believe the light but longer boat is going to be that much faster that speed alone ought to constitute a plus in terms of safety.
  11. peterAustralia
    Joined: Mar 2006
    Posts: 390
    Likes: 35, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 233
    Location: Melbourne Australia

    peterAustralia Senior Member

    hi D

    I will try and be really nice (no sarcasm intended at all). Lets start talking about your boat,,, and money.

    Prices,, lets get started,,, you want an anchor? money, a VHF radio,, money,,, nav lights .. money.. a bilge pump (manual)... money.. Sails .. money,, shackles,,, money... epirb... money... flares... money.. life jackets,,, money,,, stove... money.... anchor chain... money,,, a mast,,, money.. inspection ports,,, money... pulleys,,, (a lot of money)... outboard auxillary,,, money. And then you have the boat itself to build. Plywood costs money, wood costs money, epoxy costs money. fiberglass costs money, microfibers costs money. Marine paint costs money.. ropes and lines cost money. The little stainless steel ladder at the back of the boat that is used to get on and off costs money. The fitting that lowers and raises your outboard costs money. Portholes cost money. Stainless steel screws cost a lot of money. Fenders cost money. You want one anchor or two (two is better!) Cabin lights cost money. Cushions cost money. You want a depth sounder? You want an autohelm? Have you priced the pintels and gudgeons for the rudder (more money)

    Try and add all that up (just the accessories) gets very expensive before you even start. And I have missed out heaps. Write a list, go to the boat chanders shop,,, write down the price,,, add it alll up, see what it is going to cost you

    A little second hand boat will have most of these things on board. Old fiberglass boats were built very very tough, overbuilt. In later years 1980s they tended to be built a bit lighter.

    Steel can be used for a boat, but its heavy. As a rule, it works well on yachts longer than about 33ft. For smaller boats, wood, or fiberglass is the way to go.

    As to protecting your boat from banging into a wharf. You can use a fender board. Its a plank of wood that you put down the side of your boat, put fenders between that and your boat, will protect your boat being banged around as fenders only work in one spot

    Old second hand boats have lots and lots of these little items on board. They were built well, fibgerglass does not rot. Heaps around the 6m range.

    A little second hand boat is likely to be resold for what it was bought for. Not a lot. No one wants them. When you have a look on board,, you will see so many little items,, usually the all go with boat. Thus your less likely do lose a lot on money in resale

    Its up to you,,, just know how much your willing to spend. A little second hand fiberglass boat is unglamorous,, but very sound. If you want to be adventurous you could change the rig to a junk rig. Sailing a bermudan sloop solo without an autohelm is difficult when you want to reef the sails, you have to leave the tiller to reef the sails, but then the boat spins around. Same with a taking down the jib single handed, it can be done, but its not fun.
    Joined: Oct 2002
    Posts: 4,519
    Likes: 110, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1009
    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    I second the used vessel boat for a different reason.

    You can GO cruising instantly , and decide how uncomfortable you are willing to be.

    What standard of existance suits you. A standard of Living starts at about 25ft.

    IF you paint and polish , low cost tasks , you should be able to sell your first cruiser AFTER you find out if you wish to go ahead with an adventure.

    And actually need to spend 5X the cash and a year or two building.
  13. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 4,980
    Likes: 479, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1485
    Location: Midcoast Maine

    DCockey Senior Member

    Where are you planning to sail - in the open ocean, near the coast, in estuaries and on lakes? Do you plan to avoid storms, possibly by anchoring in a safe location, or will you just ride out storms? Any strong preference for a centerboard or a fixed keel?

    How much experience with boats?
  14. d1970
    Joined: Jun 2012
    Posts: 24
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: canada

    d1970 Junior Member

    I'm thinking to do East Coast to Mediterranean. Not much experience, so taking it easy at first, with small trips along the coast, is a welcome suggestion.
    Portability will matter in-between, else an 8m boat will be welcome,if it has to be.
    You lot are making a very good point about value. Now,are fiberglass boats made in the 70's stronger(today) than those from the 80's? From the links provided, I've seen some nice looking examples in the 5+k range,which would be too good to be true,normally.
    I need sails,for sure, but it's got to be able to motor for long distances as well(balance comfort and fuel storage).
    I'm no able cap'n,very little experience. Aiming high to get something in the middle,results wise. Fixed keel(single or dual) would be my preference.
    Once I have an idea what to look for(size,type,self righting(?),year built) i will get to work
    Appreciate the help.

  15. Pericles
    Joined: Sep 2006
    Posts: 2,009
    Likes: 135, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1307
    Location: Heights of High Wycombe, not far from River Thames

    Pericles Senior Member

    East Coast to Mediterranean at 3 knots via North Atlantic. Intriguing! You like a challenge, that's obvious.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.