Starting with a crazy dream...

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Oneday Sailor, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. Oneday Sailor
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Oneday Sailor Junior Member

    Like the title says, I am beginning with nothing more than a dream. My dream is to build a sailboat large enough to hit the open seas yet small enough to handle alone. Now I know, buying a boat is much more practical than building one today, but hey this is a dream. I have kicked this idea around for the last 20 plus years and have come up with a few basic starting points.

    Since I expect to be doing this alone, reality will limit me to a small enough boat to handle. What is the largest boat one person could realistically handle all alone?

    Refrigeration will be a major consideration for me, do most sailboats use a propane fridge like an RV or camper? Do any designs allow for solar electric or hybrid solar and gas fridges? Is there something else I haven't heard of?

    Low maintenance will be an obvious consideration, but "boat" and "low maintenance" doesn't exactly go hand in hand now does it? So I guess "lowest maintenance" will be the key.

    Next, open seas all alone is dangerous and requires a lot more awake time than most humans are capable of, so I will likely not be sailing from Florida to France. Florida to Mexico and along the coast south is more realistic.

    Speed is not an issue, I do not plan on having any particular place to be so I can pretty much take my time. I expect supplies to be my main limiting factor, only so much supplies can be kept on board a boat.

    I have looked around enough to know that one could sail around most of North and South America pulling into a port every three or four days for the most part.

    Like the title says, it's just a crazy dream for now. And unlike us mere mortals, dreams have no limitations. Reality will no doubt change things drastically over the next several years.

    I plan on spending the next 5 years researching boat design and building techniques, while saving up as much money as possible. When I get ready to actually take the plunge, hopefully I will have a substantial amount more knowledge to draw upon. In 5 years if it doesn't look at all realistic for me to build my own boat I can always continue to save money and buy one when I am ready.

    Any ideas, pointers, criticisms, or warnings welcomed.

    Dale
     
  2. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Don't do it.... I am doing it. It will cost you more money than you think by 5. Your wife will threatened to leave you once a month. Mine hasn't left me yet. Your kids will think your crazy. Better and cheaper to start with a smaller boat and trade up. Bought hull of motor boat when diesel was $1.78 a gallon still working on boat. Good luck happy dreams...
     
  3. Oneday Sailor
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    Oneday Sailor Junior Member

    Well I am on my third wife and were in the middle of a divorce so that isn't a consideration. My kids, and everybody else for that matter, already think I'm nuts, looks like the sentiment may well be the same around here.
    Thanks for the warnings.
     
  4. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Buy a smallish boat... Remember a boat doubles in cost every 10 feet
     
  5. Oneday Sailor
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    Oneday Sailor Junior Member

    What exactly qualifies as a "smallish boat"? I am thinking 30 to 35 foot is about the biggest one would attempt alone.
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Most novices think they need a fairly good size boat and all the amenities. In reality, experienced cruising sailors find they need much less and that this very approach is less costly, easier to live with (less to break down or maintain) and attainable financially. The bigger the boat, the bigger the costs of ownership. Everything goes up, from insurance to equipment to work effort to the spanking the wallet takes.

    Pick up a well used 22' to 26' trailer sailor. In fairly rough condition these can be had for a song. You'll quickly learn about engines, sails, through hulls, rigging, electrics, plumbing, electronics, just by working with the boat. As you gain experience sailing her, you'll learn about navigation, boat handling, reefing, storm tactics, mooring, anchoring, reading the weather and sea state, etc.

    After a while you'll have a reasonable grasp of the skill sets necessary for solo sailing across oceans. For what it's worth, not many are capable of ocean crossing solo. It's one thing to putter around near shore, within a day or so of a hot shower and good meal. It's another thing completely, to be several days best travel time away from anything, let alone a place you might actually want to visit. Only certain personality types can handle the isolation, work routine and have the self discipline to successfully survive conditions like this. Even the most recluse among us, are still social beasts by nature.

    Research is a wonderful thing, but nothing like actually getting on a boat and having at it. You need "sea time" and to get the crap scared out of you a few times to let the realities of your dreams set in.

    In other words, little steps "grasshopper" before you can fly. The only true way to take these steps is to sail and sail often, in all kinds of weather. With each butt kicking slosh to windward, you'll gain valuable information about the future "dream" come true yacht. In the mean time you can bash a well worn trailer sailor into pilings, rocky jetties, you ex-wife's new husband's boat, etc., without busting up you dream boat.

    Eventually you'll get to a point where you know what you like and don't like about most aspects of the life style and sport. This is when you make plans for the bigger, ocean crossing cruiser, which will very likely be considerable different then you thoughts at the moment.

    I used to solo a 63' wooden ketch with healthy draft, all around the Bahamas. It's not size so much as mind set, skill levels and boat setup.
     
  7. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Oneday,

    Where in Louisiana are you and how much sailing experience do you have? What you are proposing is a huge undertaking for even an experienced sailor with lots of sea miles behind them.

    however if you are sure... I would recomend a 30ish foot boat for solo passage making. You should probably give up on the idea of refrigeration and assume you will just be using a well insulated ice box. The amount of fuel it would take to keep a box cold for any period of time is just not reasonable on a boat of this size. Particularly once you have given most of your available space to carrying the amount of equipment, food, and water you will need.
     
  8. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    No warnings, just go for it..
    For starters some basics and good reading:
    Dave Gerr, The Nature of Boats
    C A Marchaj, Seaworthiness the forgotten factor
    John Vigor, The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat.
    And then some more about design:
    Ted Brewer, Understanding Boat Design
    Larsson & Eliasson, Principles of Yacht Design
     
  9. Oneday Sailor
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    Oneday Sailor Junior Member

    Thanks PAR
    You have given me exactly the kind of information I seek. The electronics is the least of all the issues I see. I have been an electronics tech for 25 years and better than 12 was in marine electronics. Engines are not a problems either, been fooling with motor boats as long as I can remember. The only real amenities that are a must for me is some form of sleeping quarters, bathing facilities, and refrigeration, beyond that I am completely open.

    I am most interested in sailing around the US, but would like the option to go to the open seas. I would love to go to Scotland and then on to the Mediterranean and back to the Caribbean, maybe South America. I am not really looking to spend enormous amounts of time alone or anything but I am fairly certain I can handle it as I have in the past. Not sailing but I have been on solo hunting trips up to 4 weeks alone with no problems. Granted I did not have the same view those 4 weeks. Besides, I never really had any sanity to loose,:D .
     
  10. Oneday Sailor
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    Oneday Sailor Junior Member

    I am in the Alexandria area and I have zero "sailing" experience. I have been on numerous power boats from a 12 foot John boat up to a 400 foot ship.

    Exactly how much fuel is required for refrigeration? This is one thing I literally can not live without, I am diabetic.

    I do realize that there are numerous limitations here in the real world that will require modifications to my dreams, but for now I want to at least entertain the idea of building and sailing my own boat. And as I said, nothing but research will be happening for at least the next 5 years. I got plenty of time to allow this to mature to something that is reasonable.
     
  11. Guest625101138

    Guest625101138 Previous Member

    To enjoy boats you need time. They can be quite demanding with your time but they remain one of the last areas of almost complete freedom if you do it right.

    Rick W
     
  12. Oneday Sailor
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    Oneday Sailor Junior Member

    Thanks Rick, sounds like good solid info.

    The reason refrigeration is so high on the list, I am diabetic. Since I plan on living on the boat, I have to have refrigeration to store my insulin. The insulin can go up to 30 days without refrigeration, but if I am going to travel around the world I will probably have at least 6 months worth with me and it will not last without refrigeration. So this is one special need on a boat that is not really something I can just dismiss, it is a must.

    I will see if any of the local lakes have yacht club or something similar. Maybe get some time sailing on lakes and then jump to the ocean when I get away from here.

    Keep the info coming I have already learned more in a few short hours than I did with the last 5 or 6 weeks of just reading.
     
  13. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Be very carefull if you start to hang around racing sailors.. they tend to deminish anything that doesn't plan, haven't high aspect ratios and light displacement etc.. the point of view opposite of a solo cruiser :rolleyes:
     
  14. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Fanie Fanie

    Well what do you know... another Fanie :D

    I have a similar background and seeming similar experiences wrt boating. Only took up sailing recently.

    If you have the guts to see this through then don't listen to those that say you mustn't do it. There are ways to do things, which just again proves that us electronic guys can do everything :D

    I'm am building myself a trailable foldable catamaran that is 10m LOA x 7mBOA with 2 masts and a cabin. Quite a challenge. I make mine for 2 people to handle. I'm sure I would find at least 1 person dumb enough to venture on the water with me.

    The first thing to do is research research research. And when you think you know enough you have to gain some more knowledge. Late nights and much time. Only when you know enough can you begin to gather stuff to put together.

    I'm too poor to just go out and buy the stuff like these rich buggers on the forum, so I mostly design and build my own things.

    Why don't you just buy a boat ?
     

  15. Oneday Sailor
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    Oneday Sailor Junior Member

    Mainly because I have yet to give up on the silly romantic notion of building my own. I am going to be saving as much money as I can over the next 5 years or so before I start anything. I'll do research and learn some at the same time, after that time, well I guess I will have to commit one direction or another before I start. For now, things are just taking shape from a dream to an idea.:D
     
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