Thursday, February 8, 2018

A little more on that CAL 34...

The initial emails on the last post tended to fall into to two categories. The first being  the "You're an idiot" sort and the second is "It just can't be done because you need to buy lots and lots of stuff!" zone.

For the moment, lets just address the "lots and lots of stuff" argument...

How much stuff do you really need?

The fact of the matter is that most boats for sale these days already have an impressive amount of gear aboard and the CAL 34 example appears to come with everything needful in terms of safety requirements, navigation instruments, and other needful gear. Granted, I'm sure something or other might require replacement or upgrading but there is a big difference of fixing what needs fixing and just going on a consumerist joyride because buying stuff is fun or you need to impress the neighbors.

The thing is we're talking volkscruiser here. What we are not talking about is taking an older classic plastic boat and turning it into a work of art, morphing it into something it is not, or turning folks green with envy. What we're doing is just making a good boat good a bit better and a workable platform for going to sea in an acceptable level of comfort and safety.

So, mostly, we only fix stuff that needs fixing and we only replace stuff when it can't be fixed. Which, from where I sit, seems to make all kinds of sense. It makes sense in terms of budget and it makes sense in the overall scheme of things because we live in a finite world and throwing away perfectly good stuff is all kinds of bad for the planet.

I'll be the first person to admit this is not a path for everyone and I certainly don't believe that for a second everyone should do the volkscruiser thing I'm simply saying it is doable if you want to do it. But... and there is always a but isn't there, if your path to happiness involves buying stuff the whole volkscruiser gig just ain't for you.

Worth thinking about...

Next up a couple of really simple things.

Friday, February 2, 2018

On the comparitive cost of yams...

Going shopping yesterday I could not help but notice that the cost of nearly everything continues to go up...

Onions a couple of months ago I was paying $.39 a pound were $.99 a pound...

Yams which I'm used to paying $0.69 a pound are now $1.79...

Scrag end stewing beef I would never ever even consider at $3.95 a pound is now selling for $6.95...

I think I can detect a trend.

On the other hand, boats still seem to be a whole lot more affordable than they used to be. take this 1969 CAL 34 for instance...


...with an asking price of $7K that works out to about $0.74 a pound.

Sure it is an old used boat but, judging from the photos and description, it appears to be floating right side up and is a very doable project that would take you wherever you care to go.

Of course, being that I own a 1969 CAL 34, I am somewhat partial to Bill Lapworth's excellent design but not unaware of its foibles so have a fairly good idea what would go into fixing it up for long term cruising and the hassle factor and costs involved.

Offhand, I'd expect that at a bare minimum, you'd want to replace the chain plates, rigging, deal with the mast support beam (if it has not already been replaced before), maybe replace the bulkhead associated with the mast, get a new (or newer) sail or two, add a self-steering gear, replace some things that don't work and fix a deck issue or three. You might also want to thrown on a coat of paint and antifoul as well. Which does sound like a lot but only really works out to a couple months of work and maybe $3-5K in outlay. Which adds up to a worst case scenario of $12K and about $1.27 a pound.

Which, I should point out, is a big chunk cheaper than the going rate of yams where I live.

All the fixes and improvements needful to put a CAL 34 back into cruising trim are fairly easy with no overly heavy lifting or rocket science involved. No need to pay people silly money to fix or change things and, as such, would be an accessible project for just about anyone with the right inclination.

More on the costs of fixing up such a beast next...


Thursday, April 27, 2017

DIY AIS receiver...

Here's a simple cheapseats AIS receiver over at Hisse et Oh you may want to check out.

Now, don't you wish you'd paid more attention in French class during high school? Not to worry, Google translate is there for you if you need help...

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The 75%/25% rule...

The other day I bought a light and it got me thinking about the cost of things in general and how much money we can save if we just do the needful homework to become educated consumers.

So, here's a number...
75%
It happens to be the number which seems to keep popping up when I compare prices on marine products on a regular basis. So often, in fact, that I'm actually beginning to think that for a lot of "marine" products it's almost part of the equation or rule and, if it is, that means we can use it to our advantage.

Which brings us to another, albeit smaller, number...

25%

If I go to a marine store to buy some epoxy and a little glass cloth I'm always amazed at what passes for the "normal" price and recently, checking epoxy prices, I saw a quart and a half of resin/hardener was selling for $78.99 and a 30 inch by 30 inch square of glass cloth going for $18.37 which together adds up to $97 and change. To me this just  seems a whole lot nuts but, as I never buy epoxy or glass in such small amounts, I checked the prices from my normal purveyor of such things and found a quart and a half of epoxy including hardener was a whopping $39 and a yard  (36" x 50") of similar weight/quality went for $6.90 which adds up to $45.90 or less than half.

Of course, if you were to buy your epoxy or glass in greater quantities you'd spend a whole lot less bring you right up to the that 75% cheaper point. Get a little creative and check out what they have on sale and you , more than likely would surpass it.

The earlier mentioned tricolor/anchor/strobe I bought last week is another example. While I could have spent anywhere from $450 to $800 or so for one but with a couple hours of homework I was able to find a quality light better suited to my needs for $99 or a bit less than 25% of the cheapest light available from the local marine stores.

Another good example is screws, bolts, and nuts of the stainless variety. Do a little research and you'll find it's pretty easy to spend about 25% of the going rate for marine fasteners and that's not even having to buy in bulk. Bulk, of course makes things much cheaper.

Looking at the big picture, if you do your homework, you can pretty much depend on being able to buy the stuff you need for 75% less than you can get it from your local discount marine store. Sure there are exceptions but, generally speaking, for the most part, where you can't get stuff for less there is going to be a workaround if you're the least bit creative. But, more on that later...





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

a couple of links...

Yachting Monthly has a nice article online about a single handed trans-Atlantic voyage aboard a a 27-foot Sadler that is well worth the read...

Meanwhile, over on the HEO forum there's an interesting thread about a crew of three crossing the Atlantic in a 25-foot Sangria.

Under 30-feet works.