Strange little floating cork with sails

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by jamesgyore, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Good morning everyone,

    I've greatly enjoyed reading the many posts here, with the view of making an informed choice of boat to build.

    As I'm sure we all do, I have a unique design requirement for the ideal boat for my purposes.

    I'm looking for a sail boat with a greater emphases on space, luxurious appointments, entertainment and recreational pursuits rather than performance and speed. The journey is the whole point, not how fast I got there.

    I intend to produce a documentary series about the construction of a sail boat to promote amateur construction projects and recreational sailing.

    I had originally intended to produce a documentary about the construction of an ultralight aircraft, but this project needed to be abandoned in anticipation of the arrival of my first-born child.

    When construction is finished and the boat launched I intend to produce a further series about where this sail boat has taken us as a family.

    Doesn't everything these days start with a google search? I was keen to research boat designs, free or otherwise. I'm afraid, in spite of an 3 week search effort, I found nothing to my liking.

    Until I stumbled upon this rather strange little floating cork with sails on YouTube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaTc8BL82xs&list=WL02E5AD8DA4258556&index=1

    Obviously this boat does not exist but I'm of the view that a 6~8 metre reinvention of this odd little concept is exactly what I'm looking for.

    Key features or requirements are:

    1) spacious with full headroom

    2) sufficient "engineering space" for hot water, cabin heating and cooling, sufficient stored electrical power for a "long weekend", or unobtrusive use of a generator

    3) commodious and comfortable accommodation for 4 adults and 3 children

    4) head/shower with with full head room and vanity/sink

    5) Galley of sufficient size and appointments for amateur gourmet cooking (think master chef at sea)

    6) transom designed for swimming and water sports

    7) cockpit large enough to accommodate "alfresco dinning"

    8) simple and easy to manage sails

    Now for the million dollar question... How would I go about making such a boat a reality?

    I called a few local boat designers and it seems that if it's not a multi-million dollar project for a super yacht, their not interested. Even more frustrating, I could not find a single designer in Melbourne that was prepared to consider designing a boat for amateur construction... Go figure.

    You're thoughts, opinions and referrals would be very welcome.

    James.
     
  2. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Do you have any experience with small boats?

    Your requirements sound more like what is now crammed into a 10 metre long boat, not anything approaching 14' long.

    Get away from your computer, out of the house and go look at some boats.

    Talk to folks who have built boats, and completed them.

    Then think about how much time and money you will actually have to devote to building a boat.
     
  3. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    is this a joke
     
  4. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Hi there DCockey,

    To answer your question in turn:

    Yes in fact, I've built a number of boats over the years. A ridiculously unstable 12' Dory when I was 14 yeas old and at almost 3 year intervals more ambitious projects resulting most recently in a project similar to a Pilgrim 590.

    You're quite right 14' is quite ridiculous, but 6~8 metres makes such a odd design possibly workable... Hence why I've asked. Boat designs do not need to be "conventional". That odd little cork with sails has some very attractive design ideas.

    I'm glad you asked the question. Being a pilot, I had the very convenient luxury of flying to Brisbane, Sydney and Adelaide so speak in real life with several amateur boat builders. I asked about difficulty of build, problems with skills and construction delays, quality of finish and costs and budget overruns.

    Every builder explained issues of cost overruns concerning final fitout and lack of budgeting and mid project changes.

    Only one guy in Queensland had a plan and stuck to it... It seems project planning is lacking in most amateur builds.

    Finally your last question. I have set myself a goal of a two season/year build with a hull and hull fit-out budget of $AU27,000.00. Rigging and sails have been budgeted separately as has birthing and shore services.
     
  5. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Hi there,

    No joke... Just a bunch of questions about an out there design and if a realistic re-assesment of it might make it workable.

    Regards,

    James.
     
  6. Dave Gentry
    Joined: May 2010
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    Dave Gentry Junior Member

    I'll start by saying that the common advice for this sort of inquiry is that you build the dinghy first . . . and that this is truly fantastic advice.

    That aside, sailboats like you describe are colloquially known as "floating condos" and they are quite common, rather than strange. And, note that - for what you envision - the boat would certainly would not be "little!" 35' seems quite minimal for what you want.

    Anyway, there's no need to reinvent the wheel . . . for the last 15 years just about any monohull cruiser by Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter, Junneau, etc has been focused on comfort and luxury, rather than the rigors of circumnavigating, or all out racing. And, most crusing catamarans fit your bill rather exactly, too - better than monohulls IMO.

    If you must build your own, rather than going through the convenience and savings of purchasing a used boat, then I suggest you check out some of the designers who specialize in homebuilt catamarans - many already have well developed plans that would suit your needs.

    I assume you understand that this size of undertaking typically requires several years of committed building time, and vast quantities of cash.

    Edited to say that: I didn't see your 8 meter size limit, or that you had any building experience. But, seeing your size limit, my opinion is that a realistic reassessment of your requirements is definitely needed.

    I'll say that powerboats typically have much more room in them than sailboats. And boxy powerboats, like houseboats, have even more.
     
  7. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Hi there Dave,

    Been there done that. Built quite a few boats to date.

    As I stated quite clearly, I want to build a boat for the purpose of a documentary series designed to promote amateur construction and recreational sailing... Perhaps you didn't read my first post, but rather skimmed it and jumped to an inappropriate conclusion.

    Regards,

    James.
     
  8. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    CT 249 Senior Member

    But James, can I ask why trying to fit the proverbial quart into a pint pot would be the best way to promote amateur construction and recreational sailing? Those who created the vast revolution in home building (Crosby, Spencer, Holt, Herbulot) tended to go the other way, if anything, because they knew that simplicity worked better. They also tended to create craft that were small for their length, rather than big for their length, as a generalisation.

    Given that (all else being equal) it's volume and displacement that determine the cost of a boat, why make a short fat high one? Why not create a much better performer by spreading the same volume and displacement over a greater length?

    As Dave has pointed out, Hunter etc have spent years learning how to cram accommodation into the minimum possible LOA, and unless their designers are complete dribbling idiots (and they are almost certainly not, they are probably smart people like the NAs I have met) it's reasonable to assume that they are not too far off the mark.....in fact a lot of us would say that they have taken the idea of packing a 30 footer into a 25 footer too far.

    That bizarre little boat in the Youtube clip appears to my (non professional) eye to be impossible. For example, the entire lift keel (which is placed well aft, in a position that indicates the boat could not balance) appears to be 5 inches wide at the keel line. The pivot point of the swing keel is a microscopic (figuratively speaking!) 2.5 inches above the keel line. Given that you'd be looking at at least 200 kg of ballast to give any meaningful attempt at self righting, the physical problems created by such leverage are obvious.

    The performance issues are also obvious. While one can say that performance is not a problem when in front of the keyboard, in reality in many places in Australian cruising, one is faced with a reasonable distance between ports. If you leave your home town, for example, your second realistic passage going east (AIUI) is about 700 km (eyeballing Google maps distances) between Westernport and Eden. This is in the notoriously rough Bass Strait.... not a place one wants to hang around going nowhere in.

    Even assuming one is going to trail between ports, why go so slow when one could go for the same space inside a faster shape? If one is taking friends out from (say) Williamstown for a weekend, why sail a boat where one would be pushing to make St Kilda Marina, when one could get down to Portsea? To say that "the journey is the whole point" seems to underline why one would want a boat that is fun to sail, rather than a short fat one that bounces up and down while sliding sideways unless it's under motor.

    There is also no reason why one cannot go al fresco dining on a much simpler vessel. We have 20 spices in the rack of a slender light displacement 28 footer and conjure up nicely seasoned salmon steaks with fennel salad over a two burner metho stove, accompanied by a nice sparkling wine - all without pressure water or cabin cooling. And as Upchurchmr notes below, once you bring in those appointments you want, any boat will cost a bomb no matter whether it's 6m or 60m.

    I know some amateur builders who are very smart and very experienced, who strike unexpected hitches. You sneer at them for poor project planning, but have you considered that your planning may be inferior to the planning of those who have actually done what you want to do?

    BTW, the 27,000 seems extraordinarily low, considering that a 15 foot open dinghy of a fairly simple design comes in at over half of that, without the expensive bits like accommodation. I have what is almost certainly the lowest-budget boat that's raced offshore in Australia for years. She has a second-hand mast (rebuilt largely by me from broken bits), second hand sails, an outboard, very simple interior, and was designed by a remarkable and enormously experienced designer specifically as a cheap boat for amateur building. As an example of my budget, for the past 18 months I have been using an engine mount built from plywood and bits of my wife's clothes rack and two of one of our kid's old Rollerblades. My electricity comes courtesy of a free sealed battery, my wife made the cushions, the timber for restoration comes from old buildings. This is NOT a big-budget boat. And from that experience (but without playing with numbers, I admit) I'd say that 27k is (to say the least) extremely low as an estimate for the price of a hull to your specs.
     
  9. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Jamesgeyore

    Go look at the Norm Cross or Ed Horstman trimarans. They maximize volume so you could put everything you would ever imagine in a boat and still float. I once looked at a Cross 50 and it was like the inside of a football stadium.

    Of course with too much weight even a good boat will become a raft. Did you ever consider the cost of all the conveniences? I would guess that your $27K would just cover all the furnishings. Comparing this to a boat I wanted to build, a 20Ft daysailing trimaran looked like it would cost $20K US if I skimped on the rig.
     
  10. jamesgyore
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Hey there CT,

    You're quite right, $27,000.00 might not seem like a great deal.

    Having built a number of boats of various sizes and of varying complexity, I should have pointed out that I have a rather considerable pile of goodies purchased but never used in previous projects or purchased opportunistically in anticipation of my next project.

    In fact I tripped over a brand spanking new in box recessed Contoure Cookmate double burner while looking for something else in the workshop.

    I'm fortunate that have quite a head start already.

    Regards,

    James.
     
  11. nrg
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    nrg Junior Member

    Get a pre 70's old glass hull for a couple of grand and style her out. I have seen antique boats of this genre that have never seen a blister. Afte 68-69 the formula changed.
     
  12. BATAAN
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Having designed a boat, built it, lived on it with my family for many years while cruising when I could, I can state with authority you are dreaming the landlubber's dream.
    It usually goes like this:
    Sailing along in lovely conditions, dolphins playing under the bow, smells of gourmet meal coming from the galley, the children playing video games in their spacious, separate bunks after having their shower, the boat easily steering itself in the gentle warm seas, how could you do anything else....
    Reality:
    Weather changes quickly, wind switching to dead ahead and freshening, causing a lumpy, cross, breaking sea to quickly arise, a loud crash from below as the dinner hits the floor and slides to leeward, screams from the cook who has just burned herself badly, a child sticks its head from the companionway and projectile vomits all over you, the cheap, make-do, low-budget rigging job pops a strand on a weather shroud forcing you to tack quickly or lose the mast, night coming on and a rocky shore to leeward with huge surf in the dark.
    Advice: Go sailing, a lot. Cruise with others taking your family and see if it is anything remotely like the fantasy you have built in your mind, because it is not.
    Signed:
    Old Sailor
     
  13. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    And another thing, I am a Creative Producer and make films for a living now, usually cheap horror and crime things, but years ago when a film student I made the following pretty crude sailing documentary as a school film. It did not include building the boat, but documents a trip searching for an artist and boat builder/designer named Allen Farrell, the guru of not having much aboard but a wood stove, art supplies and a raincoat.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zw6mdrcDL1o
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFb3AfxxgO0&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIBDOUSd-Ag&feature=related
    Also, my boat. 40' on deck, 46,000 pounds, 1000 sq ft mainsail, and quickly gets small and crowded even without shower, refrigeration, freezer or other amenities.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Good morning Bataan,

    You've got me coughing up my chardonnay!

    You seem to have formed the opinion that I've not set foot on a boat. Rather an incorrect assumption.

    If it's stupid and possibly dangerous, chances are I have caused such an event or been a victim of such an event. Perhaps the most ridiculous event I can share is a failed gooseneck causing the boom to fall, fracturing my right shoulder and causing me to drop an outboard onto the boat ramp. A major injury, a damaged engine and yet the boat had not yet even put to water.

    You mentioned something about projectile vomiting? Yeah... Done quite a bit of that too.

    I'm rather pleased to learn that someone else here is handy with a camera.

    Regards,

    James.
     

  15. jamesgyore
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    jamesgyore Senior Member

    Hey there CT,

    You made a remark about project management.

    The take home message I got from builders I was lucky enough to meet and talk to was that over time, their projects changed in small ways as their projects cam to completion.

    Some were prepared to spend a little more on final finishing touches while others started to skimp as their projects came to completion.

    The importance of this shared insights, is not lost on me. Each of my earlier projects were started for little more reason than having something fun and challenging to do. There was no timeline, budget or standard that I felt the need to meet.

    For the first time, I intend to start a project with a specific goal and commercial outcome in mind. Project management is the key to making it happen.

    Regards,

    James.
     
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