Nice old English Nobby – BATAAN. New member. New Boat.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by JackeBlack, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Hi Peter and BATAAN,

    Thanks for your input. Much appreciated. Peter I've had a look at the 38' dutch style yacht. Interesting. She's not as elegant and graceful as the Nobby, but clearly a comfortable and spacious cruising yacht. I do value grace, in form and function (and people), which the Nobby personifies. I've had a look at Classic Yacht (thanks BATAAN) and other sites for Nobby's. There are a few for sale right now, of different lengths, quality and prices. I am still a little unsure what size would be best to consider. My own judgement suggests a LOD of 33-40'. I know that in Amsterdam, boats 40' or larger are not permitted to moor (on the canals). Genuine classic boats -- in original condition -- can apply for an exemption. But avoiding this possible problem would best. I suppose I am looking for the smallest sized yacht that could be sailed solo (if needed), with enough comfort to be a genuine live-a-board. No doubt, an answer to these questions are highly dependent upon your ability and confidence as a sailor, and your expectations of comfort and facilities. With no experience I know that my judgement is guesswork. I'd be very interested in your opinion on this. Or the right questions to help find an answer. Especially you BATAAN, if you will, given that you lived so successfully on BERTIE with your family. I'd also be very grateful for the contact for the "nice Nobby" for sale.

    Kind regards.
     
  2. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Another question regarding "Buy, don't build".

    I found this Nobby:

    http://www.theyachtmarket.com/boats_for_sale/118847/

    The seller suggests a "total re-build (possibly) required". Would this require the same, or similar, commitment, time and money as a new build. I'm guessing that it would, and is best avoided. Would you agree?

    Regards.
     
  3. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Much more work to re-build, and you're never done unless you replace everything. Total rebuild means replacing all the planks and frames, the deck, possibly keel and stem parts, rudder and more.
    A wooden boat is like a person, quite fit at 20 years old, way over the hill after 80. A rebuild is a very heartbreaking job, because all the stuff you liked about your boat, you tear out and throw away. Easier to just build a conventional plank on frame boat of simple design.
    Racing Nobby ZISKA for sale in excellent rebuilt condition in Port Townsend WA. Mr. Thompson email <summermoon830@msn.com>
    Since you are going to be in Holland, a Botter has more room than a Nobby and fits the local historical scene well and is suited to local waters.
    A Nobby is a fairly slim and shallow fishing boat, fast but not with a lot of room. BERTIE, being a modified SPRAY type, is basically a fat cargo boat with a close resemblance to Baltic trading craft, and has vast room for a 40' on deck boat since the beam is carried well into the ends, increasing stability as well as volume. Almost twice the volume of ZISKA at same deck length.
    BERTIE was built using US east coast schooner "Essex" sawn frame methods like a Gloucesterman, not yacht construction, so the cost per ton was very low and build was simple with inside ballast.
    Any yacht build with outside ballast etc will cost much more per ton, so don't be in a big hurry to pick a design, but really do your homework and decide what is the right boat for you.
    One of the factors in this decision is 'emotion', as in 'I love that boat'. This is a very bad place to go, as art and feeling, while laudable, do not help a boat in a bad seaway or a breaking bar entrance at 2 am. Here in the Pacific NW some of the ugliest boats spend the most time at sea in winter and make the most money.
    That said, here is a builder of very beautiful boats that are also some of the most seaworthy in the world.
    http://www.workingsail.co.uk/our-boats/hesper/
    Final note: If you can afford it, buy a finished boat and go sailing instead of building. I wish I had been in a financial situation so I could have done this, as BERTIE was my answer to poverty, and built with no assets but my skills and a lot of time. I spent 8 years on and off working on the build and earning money to pay for it, and still haven't done all the sailing I would wish for, again because I have to make a living.
     
  4. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Looks like a 'Nobby Yacht' with outside ballast. May have been built for yacht use with non-ferrous fasteners, but still an old vessel and needing a lot of work but still shallow and not much room inside when you get done.
     
  5. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Thanks BATAAN for your advice and the contact for Mr. Thompson, whom I have e-mailed. I will keep an open mind, and study alternative yacht designs to the Nobby.

    Regards.
     
  6. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Remember, the job designs the boat, anything else quickly becomes a problem.
    A sailboat makes a lousy apartment. The Nobby yacht you linked to was quite small. A modern Beneteau is quite ugly in some eyes, but has room, hot and cold running everything and reasonable comfort and sails well. These boats can be rigged with a tabernacle and some are shallower draft than others.
    A traditional boat satisfies the heart is some subtle ways that go past comfort and a hot shower, so really find deep inside what this boat must do for you, then make your decisions in seeking it.
    Many others have faced the same challenge of design in the past and some good boats are out there waiting for you.
    If it's already built, and it certainly is, you'll find it and not have to go through the very long building/learning/pain process, and can jump directly to getting your new boat off the truck and figuring out what to do next.
    Here's a modern fiberglass line of tradional-ish boats that might be what you're looking for. Their 30 footer has as much or more room than a medium size Nobby with its long and unusable ends, plus it's fiberglass hull with wood in the places you want to see it only:
    http://www.cornishcrabbers.co.uk/index.cfm/boat/Crabber.Cutter30
    And one for sale for 39,500 pounds in UK.
    http://www.rightboat.com/Cornish-Crabbers-Pilot-Cutter/boat-12109298/
    I was once told, "Go cruising now, it is later than you think.", and he was right.
     

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  7. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Hi BATAAN,

    Thanks again. I'm not completely against a modern fiberglass boat, at least not in principle. I've worked with plastics, as an Industrial Designer, and know the material has it's virtues and charms. In fact it can be striking in ways that other materials cannot. But I also feel that it is a material better suited to manufacturing, given the complications, and difficulties working with what is, essentially, a highly toxic and unnatural compound. And as a material to live in and be surrounded by, it seems that its charm diminishes in direct proportion to it's mass. It is unforgiving and resistant to life's patina. Wood ages with dignity. And I like the mark of history which only time can age leave. It also suits my belongings which are older, for the most part, than me. But I will keep my search open. I'm in no particular hurry to jump in and commit to any one boat. So your advice is very welcome. I had an e-mail from Mr.Thompson, and he directed me to an interesting boatbuilder in the UK who first restored Ziska. It was interesting to read that he then sailed around the world on her for 4 years. Perhaps she is accommodating enough. I'm in contact with him to learn more about her, and the Nobby.
     
  8. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Another question. The Ziska has no engine. And as I mentioned, the boatbuilder (Butlers) sailed with no engine for 4 years, and I have read of other sailors doing likewise. This is good for space, no doubt, but what will this require of a sailor. What are the challenges? And how do you navigate in shore etc? With an oar, or two. I did watch your wonderful film, and interview with a lovely old-time sailor who built a Chinese Junk. He managed with a single oar-like-pontoon-pole. Would you recommend this approach?

    Thanks.
     
  9. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    No, I recommend having a diesel engine and a large fuel supply. Allen Farrell was sailing in waters he knew intimately and where there is little traffic, so he managed with a sculling oar and a push pole. Life without an engine means you anchor a great deal waiting for changes, and this is only possible in rather shallow water, so in deep water you are helpless except for rowing, and one soon tires.
    An engine enables you to get out of the way of traffic when there is no wind, avoid being swept into shallows by a strong current, allows you to catch your tide and makes it so you can keep a schedule when needed. It's very frustrating to arrive outside your port and have the wind die away and the current sweep you away from your destination, especially when you are exhausted. Some voyagers go for a small engine and little fuel. My approach is at least 1.5 hp per ton of displacement and enough fuel to power for a minimum of 48 hours. We have 100 gallons of fuel and can go almost that many hours at medium throttle setting and reduced speed, or about 400 miles. Top speed under power is 6 knots but using more fuel. An offset prop is best in a traditional sailing vessel, as it gives the most thrust and by eliminating the prop aperture, you gain a good bit in light air response. Here's a photo of BERTIE's prop and keel cooler attached to the 30hp SABB Norwegian diesel. Our controllable pitch prop is a great advantage.
    ZISKA has never had an engine, so has no aperture. The usual thing in this case when installing one is the offset prop. Read L. Francis Herreshoff's "Common Sense of Yacht Design" for in depth explanations of the above concepts.
     

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  10. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Hi,

    I've been looking at a lot of boats over the last few days. Far too many to choose from. And, like you have all suggested the market must be slow for sellers as a lot of the boats have been on the market for a long time. Easy to buy, difficult to sell. I have seen one boat in particular. A Nobby with a higher freeboard. External renovations complete. A very basic interior:

    http://www.masclat.com/pete/Archives/Prawner-Archives/Lassie.htm

    Do you think that a custom interior would be a manageable build project, for 7-10,000 EUR? And possibly a cabin roof and wooden deck.

    I'm going to keep looking, but it does appeal to me to have some design input, if only one the interior. I also thought that at 36ft she might be the right balance between live-ability and sail-ability.

    Regards.
     
  11. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    If you're set on Nobbies, this is as good as they get. The added freeboard really helps the seakeeping and interior room.
    Interiors can be as fancy as you want to pay for, but I favor plain pine or larch boards, paint and screws, and find it's easy and cheap to change something that didn't work out right. I personally could build an interior in this boat for $2000 US easily if I did not have to pay outside labor, but did it myself. A workboat interior will never be yacht finish, but can be quite lovely and welcoming if well designed and put together.
    This boat has an open cockpit, which means if you are swept with a wave there is a good chance it could sink you, so carefully question where you will sail her and under what conditions. Nice boat and worth a second look.
    36 feet is a good size, not too big to handle by one person on watch but roomy enough to be actually livable.
     
  12. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Hi BATAAN,

    Thank you for your reply. I've added some more pictures. She does look very neat overall. But I am concerned about this open cabin. I hadn't really understood from the pictures, But I see that cabin is completely open to the elements. No door or hatch. I could close it though. With a nicely designed roof. I'll give the owner a call.
     

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  13. Tiny Turnip
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    Tiny Turnip Senior Member

    I've been dreaming about this one myself. There *is* a cabin: the double ledged and braced timber doors separate the large open cockpit from the cabin. Briefly, from the bow, working aft: stove; 2x (cosy) double berths either side of folding table; cabin door; galley in open cockpit under port side deck; head opposite under starboard side deck; blue canvas folding cots under both side decks; engine below cockpit between folding cots; instruments under starboard side deck by tiller. Headroom in the cabin is only 5'2".

    She is completely beautiful, but, as you say, very basic. Liking my camping, personally I'd barely touch her. Sleeping in the cots under the tent would be ace! I also know I'd be on a steep learning curve with the sailing - I think that much canvas would be quite a handful - seven times what my little gaffer carries!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    This is a very nice survivor from another age and it would be nice to keep her that way. One thing to remember when converting what is basically an open traditional fishing boat (nice one!!) to a cabin yacht, is too many have had their rigs cut down, boom shortened and raised, a stout box cabin built over the coamings, with heavy skylight, sliding hatch, handrails, ventilators and more and more topside weight, damaging their performance and making them into cranky slugs.
    Adding ANY weight above the waterline must be done thoughtfully as this vessel was designed and built to be what she is, a very well-performing open fish boat to make money with. Part of the making money was no fuel cost so to work at all she had to sail very very well so has a large rig, minimum windage and deck weight etc. Changing this boat to too great a degree without good pre-design will seriously degrade that ability.
    Also, this is a 'challenging' boat for a beginner, but you wouldn't be the first to go this route. Read the various Gaff Rig books by John Leather and Tom Cunliffe and you'll get a head start on a steep learning curve. Just remember, the peak halyard is your best friend on a smack, as slacking it a little in a bad gust does wonders for the steering, and letting it go in a hurry can keep you upright.
    Also Claud Worth's books 'Yacht Cruising' and 'Yacht Navigation and Voyaging' are full of great lessons in traditional gaff cutter common sense and successful avoidance of embarrassment.
    Speaking of which, any short handed cruiser today should have an electronic chart plotter in view of the helm and a compact 12 mile radar too if he wants to avoid accidents.
    Like many others I have spent my time with a leadline and following a DR course by compass and a lot of hope but it was foolish and I wouldn't do it again if I could possibly avoid it.
    There are plenty enough things to do in our developed waterways with their busy traffic, shoals and buoys, and the peace of mind of knowing in a dense fog, in heavy traffic, what the f**k is going on around you makes having the modern gadgets essential to enable good decision making.
    With simple electronics you can see the boats around you and spot potential collision situations, see your rate of cross course drift error due to tide or whatever, and correct before it sweeps you onto that nasty reef you can now see through the fog and darkness and avoid.
    Those reefs are covered in bits of ships and boats that did not have these things. UK had over 500 shipwrecks in 1850 alone, don't join them.
    To wander blindly these days is amateur, and we all have to be responsible out there or we put others in danger. Of course keeping a running log of position and plotting it on a paper chart is the smart thing to do in case you lose power so you know where to start your DR from. My wife does this at least once an hour, and more often if we're in fog.
    Today you are safest and can cruise the farthest with the least stress and accident with not-too-big engine, lots of fuel, big batteries, GPS chart plotter/sounder combination, radar, VHF radio. Single Sideband is another level and nice if you cross oceans.
    None of the above is essential, but the boat isn't a log canoe either, and modern things can be good sometimes.
     

  15. JackeBlack
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    JackeBlack Yes, No, Maybe.

    Another Nobby to Ponder.

    Hello everybody,

    I have been busy lately with work, but have also spent some time investigating the Nobby and alternatives (I contacted the owner of Lassie, but unfortunately the ad was very old and she was sold). I am giving all the advice, both good and bad, which I have received about the Nobby serious consideration, especially the comments regarding the challenges of sailing single-handed -- even for an experienced sailor -- but I have found, I believe, a promising Nobby for sale in the UK which I would like to share with the forum, and hear your opinions. I have asked the owner some questions which are answered below. I look forward to hearing any thoughts on her. She is the Empress:


    Empress MT73
    Built around 1900 by Crossfields of Arnside.
    Length: 35’ LOD, 30’ WLW and 49’ LOA
    Beam: 10’6”
    Draft: 4’6”
    Hull: Pitch pine on sawn oak frames except the four frames around the mast which were replaced in 2010 with laminated Iroko frames, new Iroko floors were fitted at the same time along with an Iroko mast step. New rudder 2011. She was re-fastened with bronze screws and re-caulked in 2009. Iron ballast keel and lead internal ballast.
    Spars: Boom new in 2009 from Douglas fir, Gaff new in 2011 from Douglas fir, Bowsprit new in 2011 from Douglas fir, Mast from fir year unknown.
    Rigging/Sails: All running rigging new 2009-2011. Main new 2009, No1 Jib new 2009, No2 Jib new 2009, Stays’l new 2009 all by James Lawrence, Top sail in good condition year and maker unknown.
    Below: 4 births with standing room in main cabin, 2 ring gas cooker with grill.
    Engine: Vetus 3-10, 20HP rebuilt 2007. Stern tube, prop-shaft and propeller new 2011.
    NASA echo sounder, Garmin GPS 451 chart plotter, Icom VHF, Plastimo compass.
    Work commitments force regrettable sale.
    Price £22,000

    ------

    Hello Tim,

    Thanks for your e-mail. I'm interested. I'll need some more photos, preferably recent, before I would be prepared to pay for a survey and come to the UK. The photos I need are of the deck, helm, mast, fittings, tackle, bow sprite, cabin (throughout), engine, electrics, heads, inventory, etc. I'd also like copies of any documentation such as, registration, surveys, repair receipts etc which you may have. I understand that this might not be possible while your in China. When will you return? I am back on Tuesday the 22nd

    Otherwise I have some questions (in no particular order) to keep us busy for the time being:

    1) When did you buy Empress; I bought her in 2008

    2) Who was the previous owner and do you/would you give me their contact; I bought here from a guy called Steve Jones who lives in the Wirral, north west England. I don't have his details with me, you could try
    John@jtmiddlebrook.co.uk who is the secretary of the Nobby association.

    3) How long has she been for sale; I put her up for sale in August this year (to be honest I don't really want to sell her but it is a bit stupid owning a boat like this and only sailing her 3 or 4 times a year!!!)

    4) When was she last in the water; She came out of the water last weekend

    5) Does she have any leaks (small or otherwise); There is a small leak in the starboard top sides in the top plank so it only leaks when she is heeled enough for it to be under water, I was going to re-caulk that seam this winter

    6) What is the deck material (including sub-structure) and when was it layed; The deck is a laid plank deck with epoxy over the top. The previous owner epoxied it as he said unless he went out to the boat every other day and wetted it down it would leak.

    7) Is this the same Empress as on: Yes

    http://www.nobbyownersassociation.com/boats2.htm


    8) How does she handle in heavy weather (and what has been the strongest wind rating you have experienced in her); She handles OK in heavy weather, as with all old working boats there is a fair amout of weather helm. I raced here this year in a force 7 gusting 8 which she coped with, with 3 reefs in the main and a storm jib.

    9) What has been your longest trip in her; The longest trip I have made is from my home port of Maldon to the Swale in Kent, about 50 miles

    10) Has she always been named Empress; As far as I know yes

    11) I'm 6'2". Is this standing headroom; I think only in the main cabin with your hear in the sky light

    12) Heads. Please detail; None, there was none fitted when I bought her and I don't like putting holes in boats do I have not fitted any

    13) Cabin accommodations and layout. Please describe materials, condition, etc. Very basic, two berths forward of the mast and two in the main cabin, it isn't very pretty as I have spent the time and money on making sure the hull, spars, sails and rigging are in good order before I started on the accomodation

    14) Has she had any other accidents, other than the one mentioned; Not since I have had her

    15) What other inventory is included, if any (anchors, covers, bouys, lifejackets etc.); There are two anchors; 1 CQR and 1 other that I don't know the name of, 8 fenders, there is a canvas cockpit cover, and a winter cover that covers the boat (on top of a ridge pole),

    16) What material is the new rudder made from; Iroko

    17) What is the sail area; I don't have that here I can send it when I get back from China

    18) How easy is she to sail single-handed; She is OK to sail single handed, probably the hardest thing to do is get the sails down on your own. I sailed her a lot on my own the first year I had her before my work changed.

    19) I have attached plan drawings of another Crossfields Nobby. Do have drawings of her. If no, I will need photos taken directly square on each side/end to check and compare her profile. No I dont have her lines, I think I have pictures you need at home. She is not a fine lined as Laura that you sent the lines os as she is earlier than Laura and Laura was built as a yacht

    20) What is her 'motoring' speed (cruising and top), and her typical sailing speeds; She cruises at about 5.5-6knts I guess about 7.5-8 top and sails at about 6-7

    21) What are her particular maintenance requirements; Just painting really, I have painted here every year I have had her and varnished all the spars

    22) Do you think she is a safe vessel; Yes I beleive she is, I have never been scared of sailing her

    23) The mast, I guess, is not in a tabernacle. Do you think it could be, or is it to large/heavy; The mast is in a tabernacle

    24) In 2009 she was re-chalked and painted. Has she been painted since; can I contact the shipwright who chalked her; I don't have his contact details with me, I will send when I get home

    25) Did you build the rooftop cabin; what's it's condition and material; No she had the cabin when I bought her

    26) Are there any skylights on deck/cabin roof; There is a sky light on the cabin roof and there a two deck lights forward

    27) Are there any improvements or changes to the Empress which you would have liked or planned to do, or recommend doing; Only cosmetic things really, as I said the accomodation is very basic and not pretty, I am going to take the stem head fitting off and have it shot blasted and acid dipped and galvernised as it bleeds rust down the top sides, there are a hand full of the original iron nails that also bleed some rust so they need removing and replacing with bronze screw

    28) What does she have for cabin lights; There are some 12v cabin lights

    29) And heating. Does she have a coal burner; None, there was one when I bought it but the botton of was rusted out so I took it out

    30) What air vents does she have; The sky light opens and there are two mushroom vents

    31) Is she insulated inside; No

    32) Is she dry/warm inside; She is dry, dont know about warm I am summer sailer

    33) Was she a working boat or used exclusively for sailing; She was a working boat, she fished from Mary Port in Cumbria

    34) Can I talk to anybody else who has sailed her, for a second opinion;


    Tim, that's enough for now. But there are two (or three) changes which I imagine I would like to make, and would like your opinion on. The first is the deck. I would want a traditional wooden deck. I understand that the epoxy (?) is practical and easier for maintenance Traditional wood decks are difficult to keep water tight unless they are kept wet as the dry out and the joints open up, if you want a wood deck the best thinng to do is take off what is there, lay a new ply deck with epoxy then put a sort of false laid deck on top, but I would be spending a great deal of time on Empress and prefer the feeling of wood. Can I expose the timber sub-structure underneath or would I need to lay a completely new deck. Has she ever had a new deck? Secondly, I would re-paint her colour. A personal preference. If I did would you recommend going back to wood and looking again at the timbers, and possibly re-chalking I guess it wouldn't hurt to go back to wood but she dosen't leak so I don't think caulking her is a priority. How often would you re-chalk Not sure, when she was done a lot of what came out was original oakum caulking not cotton which is used nowadays? And thirdly, I imagine that I would re-build the interior (unless she is beautifully fitted out, as I have very particular needs). So my concern for the condition inside is not a priority, but the condition of the engine, plumbing, electrics, etc are. So my question is can we see the condition of the hull, and frames already, or would it be possible? You can see most of the frames and the inside of the hull through the slats of the bunks

    Thanks Tim. I look forward to your reply.

    -----

    https://picasaweb.google.com/108417801001559451338/Winter07?authkey=Gv1sRgCOOC6tbjuvz2Xw
    https://picasaweb.google.com/108417801001559451338/Winter08?authkey=Gv1sRgCK-1o9Ww_5yigwE
    https://picasaweb.google.com/108417801001559451338/Winter09?authkey=Gv1sRgCPfsnZmg-LbBaA
     

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