Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Doing some addition...

We all know that bigger boats cost more but a lot of folks just don't get the scale of the thing. So, here's a quick example...

Our CAL 34 rig calls for a 9/32" forestay of roughly forty feet while, on the other hand, the Morgan 41 OI we were talking about has a 3/8" forestay of about fifty-two feet.

Pricing out the two pieces of wire gives me $247 for the CAL and $754 for the Morgan. Of course, you're going to need some terminals for that wire so add $170 for the CAL and $400 or so for the Morgan and we can't forget a turnbuckle so that's another $100 for the CAL and $200 for the Morgan which leaves us with a total of $517 for the CAL 34 forestay and $1354 for the Morgan's.

Yeah, I know doing the math is often depressing...


Sunday, December 29, 2013

a big cheap boat...

There's a Morgan 41 Out Island for sale over in St Thomas for what seems like forever. I first noticed it when it was selling for around $40K and have watched, with no small amount of interest, as the price has come down (and down) till it's reached it's current sub-$10K asking price of $8500.

Obviously it's a problematic boat and no doubt has some, let us be polite, serious "issues".

Considering its cheap price, if it were closer, I'd take a look at it except it's a Morgan Out Island 41 which, while not being a bad boat, it is a boat I've just never liked so why bother.


Of course, that's what you get with bigger boats on a VolksCruising budget is project boats with some serious issues... It's just the way it's going to be.

I expect, if you like the Out Island design, have a place to work on the boat full time for six-months, do all your own work, and $20K cash for needful materials you'd have a pretty nice boat.

Sweat equity is a wonderful thing...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A quick thought...

Recently, over at the WoodenBoat forum there was some discussion of a newish George Buehler design...


On the whole, I don't like forums as they bring out a certain insecure my-dicks-bigger-than-yours mean spirited vibe that I find depressing to the max. The reason I mention this is if you want to do the VolksCruiser thing you would be well advised to not ask questions about it on a boat forum.

Remember the third rule of VolksCruising is to keep a low profile...


Thursday, December 19, 2013

It's true some people do need a bigger boat...

Obviously little boats are something of a mainstay in the VolksCruiser sailing away on a small budget world. "Little boats have little problems" and all that...

The truth is a single person or a couple can live quite comfortably and voyage successfully in an incredibly small boat... But, what about a family? All of a sudden that 28-foot boat starts looking a lot like a clown car.


The problem is that as boats get bigger so do the costs and associated expenses. Made worse by the fact that bigger boats, systems, and gear are mainly aimed at wealthy buyers so there is no budget sector of the market.

Very few designers these days seem to show any real interest in designing boats for home builders on a budget. In their defense, I have to admit there is not a lot of money in it or, at least, the market is simply hidden because it is underserved.


Tad Roberts with his Future Cruiser series seem to be on the right track with boats at 38 and 44-foot with super simple systems and rigs. Somewhat against the trend of doing a "budget" boat and then speccing out a silly-expensive rig, engine, and other systems whose costs will dwarf the outlay of building the actual boat.


There are also a lot of older designs that make a lot of sense but we'll be talking about a few of those later...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

looking closer at a couple of boats...

TransPac CAL 20 Black Feathers


I've always been a big fan of the Bill Lapworth CAL 20 design and since I linked to another of my favorite designs, the Muscadet, the other day it occurred to me how similar the two boats were...

Muscadet

LOA:  21.26' / 6.48m
LWL: 18.37' / 5.60m
BEAM: 7.41' / 2.26m
DRAFT: 2.46' / 0.75m- 4.10' / 1.25m  
SAIL AREA: 205 ft2 / 19.04 m2
DISPLACEMENT: 2646 lbs./ 1200 kgs


CAL 20

LOA: 20.00' / 6.10m
LWL: 18.00' / 5.49m
BEAM: 7.00' / 2.13m
DRAFT: 3.33' / 1.01m
SAIL AREA 195 ft2 / 18.12 m2 
DISPLACEMENT 1950 lbs./ 885 kgs    

The most important difference between the two boats is the displacement numbers. It's plain to see that the Muscadet is a bigger boat within the same general size envelope but 700 pounds more displacement. Add to this the fact that Harlé was a true master at shoehorning an amazing amount of sensible accommodation into a design which translates into a boat that also feels a lot bigger and is easier to live on.

The other thing to keep in mind is it's a lot harder and more expensive ($5-8K) to find a Muscadet for sale and if you do it will be five or six times more expensive than a CAL 20 and I've seen a lot of good $500-$1000 CAL 20's over the last couple of years...

Me, being cheap and all, there's a lot to be said for the CAL 20. You can always rip out the old interior and do a more Harlé-like one with the savings.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

a great boat...

Here's a great post on Philipe Harlé's Muscadet by 1001Boats that you might want to peruse...



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

So you want to build a boat...

How long does it take to build a box?

Well, to be truthful, it all depends but with any sort of work ethic not all that long which is why square boats tend to be attractive to some people...

T26X7 Slacktide
They're simple, easy to get your head around, and most importantly, people feel they can build them in a short span of time so they actually do.

We're actually talking about confidence...

Now, as it happens, I've built square boats and shapely ones. As far as I'm concerned, there is only a minor speed of building advantage to the so called "Instant boats" but the perceived easier-to-build mantra and non-daunting aspect allows some people to just build the damn thing and go sailing, while others will spend years or decades sorta/kinda getting down to business.

You might want to take a moment and see how Dave Z got down to business building his Slacktide...

Pretty easy is it not?

Truth is, building a boat of any kind is pretty simple and I've seen strip planked, plank on frame, and traditional ply construction go just as fast as long as there is minimal BS and the builder knows what he wants.

Yeah, I know you know someone who spent a fortune building a boat and years/decades later it is still not launched. I hear those stories all the time and, in every case I've come across, it is not the boat design or the method of building but the fact that the builder did not have his/her shit together, did not have confidence, or worse, lost his/her confidence.

You can build a boat. All you have to do is know you can and do it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Well, the thing is it's not just a rally is it...

Just out of curiosity I was looking at the list of this year's ARC Rally boats and it makes some interesting reading...

I'll sum it up this way... Lots of big expensive boats.

Now, I'm on record as being a non-fan of cruising rallies. Partly because I don't feel a lot of folks sailing towards the same place at the same time is safer (the case could be made that it is actually less safe) and partly because I feel that the rallies distort the economics of cruising/cruising areas and insulate the participants from the cultures they're visiting.

That said, cruising rallies are an excellent support tool for those who make use of them. Which is not to say that they are a real support for getting from one place to another like the ARC but more in a way that it supports the socioeconomic niche of the folks who do the rallies while hurting the other niches in the process. Not unlike the way interesting and artistic people move into a low rent area, change/evolve the area so it becomes hip, then find they can no longer afford to live there because, now that it's HIP, wealthier people have moved into the area, distorted the property prices and, as a result, it's no longer affordable.

Shoestring, limited means, or fixed income cruisers find it very hard to cruise and live in areas once those areas start catering and basing their prices and rates for folks with big expensive boats and price-is-no-object budgets. The big problem is that since the rallies are organized that it compounds the problem.

People who do rallies seem to love the experience and it is a good time (for that kind of money it should be) but not so much for those non-participants who have to pay the inflated rates for goods and services or are shuffled aside because the rally folks come first...

Speaking of rallies, Attainable Adventure Cruising has an interesting article and some very good comments on the subject that is well worth checking out.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On the cost of some stuff...

I've always considered one of the most important factors in being a happy camper on a boat is simply knowing where you are... Being lost on the other hand is seriously unhappy-making!

So, having charts is a pretty needful thing on the list.

As it happens, I need to get some charts and boy howdy are charts  E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E these days. Well, actually, make that in a sorta/kinda way.

Electronic charts for our chart plotter (a Hummingbird 785) seemed fairly reasonable when we chose the plotter as full Caribbean, South, and Central America (both Pacific and Atlantic sides) only cost us a couple of hundred dollars. Great bang for the buck!


Now I need to add Europe, The Med, Madeira, Canaries, and Cape Verde islands and a quick look at what electronic charts are available for the Hummingbird is a serious eye-opener...


At $305 an area, my minimal chart outlay for my plotter is at least $1200+... OUCH. Then, of course, there are also paper charts for backup and for areas where more detail might be needful. Paper chart coverage is even more expensive than electronic and that includes copied 2/3 scale portfolios by folks like Bellingham Chart Printers...


Being cheap, I'm actively looking for used paper charts, Navionic Gold cartridges, as well as exploring alternative and less expensive coverage using our tablets rather than our chart plotter...

You'd think, living in 2013, this sort of thing would be easier.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Forget perfect...

Perfection is an interesting and somewhat elusive concept in general, especially when connected to things like boats. From my experience, I put perfection in things of a nautical or marine nature about as likely to exist as honest politicians or pink unicorns...

Need I say more?

Which is not to say there is not stuff that is awesome but the whole concept of having the "perfect"  boat or whatever is really more about bragging rights rather than actual function.

Trust me, f-u-n-c-t-i-o-n is far more important than being able to tell someone you have the best this or that.

We knew a couple who circumnavigated in an Irwin 28 which, while not a bad boat, is certainly not most peoples idea of a long distance cruising machine. Their trip around the world took a bit less than four years and nothing needed fixing rather than the normal expected wear and tear...

Someone else we know with an expensive "perfect" cat with all the mod-cons, bells, and whistles made it all the way from Florida to Panama before abandoning their voyage and chosen lifestyle because stuff mostly did not work and needed fixing all the time.

Of course, in most boatie circles the folks on the Irwin 28 would be deemed to the the crazy ones...


What do you think?

Friday, November 29, 2013

VolksCruising tenders...

Back when we were cruising the Med and West Africa in the early 90's, you hardly ever came across anyone with dinghies bigger than eight feet. As far as outboards went, 5HP or smaller was the fashion unless you had a sailboat larger than 60 feet...

At the time, we had a Bolger Tortoise which, at 6'5", was a bit smaller than most folks dinghies but seemed to carry as much gear/water/groceries as our friends who tended to all have Avon Redcrests or Bombard AX-2's and as our Tortoise rowed well we did not have to use an outboard.

For the record, all these years later, we're using a Tortoise (albeit a slightly longer one) after years of using various inflatable/deflatables and RIBs we were never quite happy with because truth be told I like to row and hate worrying that my inflatable or its outboard are going to get ripped off.

I mention this because if you're in the cheapseats or VolksCruising fraternity what dinghy you choose has a huge effect on your budget as well as your general happiness level. Plus being in the cheapseats mode the only way you're going to have a great dinghy is by getting lucky and finding one cheap or by building it yourself.

So, here's a list of some better than most dinghies you might want to check out...
None of these boats will set you back much over $500, two or three weekends of industrious wood butchery, and enthusiastic epoxy slinging.

As it happens, Wooden Widget has just come up with a new larger Fliptail which has me all sorts of excited as a nine-foot folding dinghy has a whole lot to offer. I expect you'll be hearing quite a bit more about this design in the not-too-distant-future...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Boats for not a lot...

Every once in awhile a reader drops me a line with a good deal he's seen on a boat and yesterday it was an Irwin up in New Haven...


... that was going for less than $3000 and, from the looks of the picture, a pretty good deal.

Of course, there's a catch. Every boat in the world that's for sale at any price has some lurking problem, issue, or something that needs to be fixed. It's just the nature of things that float.

In this case, I doubt seriously that if done right, any needful fixes or repairs could be done for a couple of thousand dollars. Done wrong, on the other hand, it would be a black hole for you to throw money into.

If you need help on the Right/Wrong thang I highly recommend Dan Spurr's  "Spurr's Guide to Upgrading Your Cruising Sailboat" which I still find to be the best source for information on how to best fix up an old plastic boat...

Meanwhile, in my own backyard, there's a clean Hunter 30 with an engine (outboard) that works, wind generator and solar panel for $8K...

Lots of good boats for sale for not a lot of money these days.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

About all wire not exactly being equal...

The current issue of WoodenBoat has a really good article about using galvanized wire for rigging...


I mention this because I just spent a kiss over $50 each for four new 1/2" stainless turnbuckles which, while cheap for stainless, it did not escape my notice that galvanized turnbuckles were a whole lot cheaper. Which underlines the fact that a galvanized rig is going to be cheaper for a stronger and longer lasting rig providing you do it right.

Just to disabuse you of the fact that I'm spouting nonsense, I should point out that Brion Toss makes a rather compelling case for galvanized wire in his "The Complete Riggers Apprentice" which everyone should have a copy of on their bookshelf.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The dollars and cents of DIY...

What a lot of folks forget when discussing cruising budgets is that the more self-sufficient you are the lower the cruising budget is going to be.

As much as I try to keep our food budget frugal and while saving ten cents a pound on carrots or eating cheaper cuts of meat does add up to a chunk of change over the course of a year, by comparison, it is a tiny amount when compared to the savings made on doing all of my own work on the boat.

Take sails for instance. I needed another mainsail as well as a storm trysail. A relatively inexpensive sailmaker I respect quoted around $2300 for the mainsail and a Sailrite kit would go for around $1000...

In this case what I am actually doing is I bought a cheap used but like new sail and recut it into two sails. So for $300 and a bit of cunning sweat equity I wound up with a "new" main and a trysail which saved us between one or two thousand dollars on just one needful project depending how you think about it.

Being able to sew and having a sewing machine able to handle heavy materials and sailcloth allows us to save some serious money on a pretty regular basis. It has even become an income stream when needful.

Same goes for rigging, engine work, being able to do electrical, carpentry, and fiberglass work, none of which is rocket science, because any time you're not throwing $50-$90 an hour (that's a lot of carrots or chicken thighs!) to some guy to fix it for you, your budget is doing a happy dance.

Friday, November 15, 2013

On taking rescue for granted...

The carnage of the current Salty Dawg rally has given me a lot to think about the last couple of days...

For instance, the various boating media coverage seems to think it is sorta/kinda normal for masts to fall down, rudders to fall off or break, and the fact that there are heroic Coast Guard men and women just waiting around to save yachties collective asses when needed.

Maybe it's just me but none of that is normal and it's something we should all give some serious thought to...

Sure masts do fall down from time to time and, I have some up-close-and-personal experience with such things. It's not because the wind blows too hard but because there is something wrong with the mast or any number of small fittings that can fail. In the case of my mast falling down and going BOOM, it was a single little weld that failed on a chainplate (a chainplate, I might add that I intended to replace at my earliest convenience and boy was that ever a big mistake!).

Pretty much the same goes for rudders... Rudders fail because they have something wrong with them and, as rudders take a lot of abuse over their lives, it is something that anyone going to sea further than they care to swim back from should factor into their plans and have some sort of backup system that works that you have actually tried...

I mention this because even in a world of cell phones and EPIRBs there is a very good chance that when the shit hits the fan you won't be anywhere near heroic Coasties or other means of timely rescue and you will, at least temporarily, need to take care of yourself and hopefully make port.

The problem is that most modern boats are badly designed, too complicated, and have too many systems to be easily sorted out when TSHTF scenario becomes a reality. Seriously, how are you going to sort out a problem when you cannot even access half your thru-hulls?

Lucky for us the VolksCruiser by its very nature has minimal systems and the ones it has are simple...

But, more about that later.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Being ahead of the curve...

Can you do simple math?

This mornings post by Attainable Adventure Cruising is a good example of why anyone interested in cruising on a budget should be reading it on a regular basis and it includes a bit about growth that everyone should read and I do mean EVERYONE.

More about that later...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Welcome back...

So...

I expect, since you're reading this, that you're not someone who is going to be cruising on a $60,269.80 a year budget.

So, we'll just assume you're a $6000, $9000, or $12000 a year type of person. Then again, maybe you just want to try and get a handle on the whole sustainable-less-is-more-cruising-on-a-budget thought process. Whatever your reason for reading this I'm glad you are.

Frugal cruising is a lot like "Fight Club" and I'm pretty sure everyone knows that the first two rules of fight club are...
1st Rule: You do not talk about FIGHT CLUB
2nd Rule: You DO NOT talk about FIGHT CLUB
Let's just say that for those trying to get by on less, stealth and a low profile can be a big help.

Something to keep in mind...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Of interest to folks considering cruising budgets...

For someone considering the frugality of a VolksCruising budget it is important to understand how most people think cruising budgets work. For example, you might want to check out this podcast about one couple's experiences of their decidedly non-VolksCruiser  but (in their words) non-extravagant lifestyle budget that averages $60,269.80 a year.

Enjoy...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Doing the need/want two-step...

Yesterday, over at Boat Bits, I mentioned a pretty cool new bit of electronics from Velocitek which has me drooling...

Hey, I may be Mr Cheapseats but I still like really cool stuff!

So, I did some need/want addition and, sadly, it's not really something I need. Even more interesting after doing the need/want calculations I realized that I don't even want it as it's just a machine telling me what my brain already knows.

That said, it would actually be a great learning tool for newbie sailors of the cruising sort to learn how to tack and sail to windward better. So it is something to consider.

Of course, if it were a lot cheaper it would be a whole different equation...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

About that need/want thang...

What do you actually need from a cruising boat?

It's a hard question. Mostly because it varies greatly from person to person and further complicated by the fact that most folks these days never really learned the difference between need and want...

Personally, where I'm concerned, comfort is a big part of the equation and I'm not going to put a lot of effort into a lifestyle that is uncomfortable... Would you?

Take Lin and Larry Pardey's boat "Seraffyn" reading "Cruising in Seraffyn" does not paint a picture of a couple sailing around the world being uncomfortable or unhappy. At just a kiss less than 25-feet, Seraffyn seems to have been a comfortable cruising boat and home.

Of course, a 25-foot boat is not for everyone but it does make an excellent case that with the right mindset and some better-than-average organizational skills it's a doable option.

Just a bit of advice, I'd work on the needful organizational skills set if comfort is important to you.

Friday, October 25, 2013

everybody says...

I get that a lot, the "everybody says" you need a bigger/more expensive/multihull/monohull/long keel/fin keel boat blues.

As far as I'm concerned, all you really need to do is get a boat and whatever you get will, more or less, work out.

I've also been told that saying this is dangerous, sailing is a serious business, and this sort of advice is akin to giving people scissors so they can run the 100-yard dash... 



The important thing to keep in mind is any number of people have gone off sailing on all sorts of boats with shockingly small budgets and if they can do it so can you...

It's as simple as that.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

and about that two-edged sword...

Everyone wants good stuff...

I know that. I want good stuff for my boat and you want good stuff for your boat because good stuff is better than bad stuff and hey, we're not stupid. The problem is that for those in the grip of serial consumerism, it's not about good stuff but all about having the newest bestest good stuff.

Which works out finest kind for folks like me!

Every time I go to a marine flea market I find some guy selling last year's product of the year for pennies on the dollar because he (being a serial consumerist wonk) needs to make room for this year's product of the year.

Seriously, think about that for a moment or two...

In some cases I've even come across stuff that was brand new in the box because the wonk never had time to install the item before the new bestest product came along.

What can I say but being a slave to the consumer god can be a bitch.

So, when outfitting your VolkCruiser all you need is a little patience, a sense of the need/want equation, and the ability not to get sucked in to the consumerist trap. Do that and you can have as good or better than you need at pennies on the dollar...

Nuff said.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

On doing the math...

Bumfuzzle makes a good point about doing your math and it's well worth a quick read...

Face it, being a person of the VolksCruiser non-consumerist ilk means what things cost is always an important factor whether it's the price of oil, what a depth sounder costs, or the damage a few gallons of epoxy is going to do to your bank account. The bad part is that the deck, so to speak, is stacked against us.

Firstly, there is the pervasive old wives' tale/urban legend that you always get what you pay for and the more you spend the better something is. It is just plain stupid because the price of something these days has bugger all to do with what an item actually costs and everything to do with what someone has decided they want to sell it to you for.

Secondly, there is the stigma element. No one wants to be seen as unable to afford stuff and the disdain/abuse you get can be brutal when asking if, perhaps just maybe, there is a less over-priced alternative to the product in question. I might also add that it is often quite ironic as the salesman giving you attitude is, more than likely, making such a minimal wage that he/she could never afford most of the stuff they sell...

Then there is the sad fact that a great many consumers have been conditioned to not do simple math when it comes to buying stuff as in the gallon of oil for  $26.99 versus the four quarts at $6.41 that Bumfuzzle ran into.

Throw in the fact that people who make and sell stuff play very fast and loose with the ethical side of things with inflated list prices, confusing specs, and any number of minor cons to keep you from actually looking too close at the actual product that it is nearly impossible to make an informed choice.

The yachting press used to do real reviews of gear and suchlike but these days, mostly what you get is simply regurgitated press releases from the companies morphed into a "review". That said, for those looking for real reviews that will open your eyes, you might want to check out the British and French sailing magazines who still do real tests and seem not to care if they might offend/piss off their advertisers.

The real trick to surviving in the VolksCruiser world is to do the math on what you need, what you can afford, and figure out how to make those numbers work together happily. The good news is it's not very hard as long as you can cut out the hype because rampant consumerism is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways... but more about that next time.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Why rowing makes sense...

I overheard a couple of people discussing dinghies the other day and it made me realize just how much stuff has changed...

I know it dates me but back when the cruising bug first hit me in the 70's, dinghies were things you rowed. The 98-foot LOD schooner I was working on at the time had two dinghies, a six-foot pram and a 14-foot lapstrake pulling boat. As I recall, we got along just fine without an outboard and as far as I can see nothing has really changed to make it any different.

Personally, I really enjoy rowing 90% of the times and, as for the 10% I don't enjoy, I generally tell myself while I might not be enjoying a particular windward slog back to the boat I'd be enjoying working on an outboard even less. With the lousy fuel available these days working on an outboard is just a fact of life.

The other thing about having a dinghy without a motor is I don't have to worry about it being on the dinghy dock when I'm out shopping or running errands.

Our current dinghy is a Phil Bolger/Payson Big Tortoise (plans from "Instant Boatbuilding with Dynamite Payson") which is the maximum volume and utility you can get out of two sheets of plywood, twenty-dollars of 1" X 2" stock, and some resin/glue of some sort. It works really well, is stable enough that I can fly fish standing up without hassle, and it rows a lot better than anyone expects.

The real advantage is that it allows me to be part of the environment that is mostly missed by the other cruisers flitting from boat to shore in a perpetual hurry with their RIBs and 15hp and over outboards. I get to see rays, turtles, and birds on a regular basis and I like that.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On why you don't have to pay $150K for a 34-foot sailboat...

Every once in awhile I check out what CAL 34s are going for...

One reason I do it is I like to see what others have done to their CALs and I like knowing what the current going rate of CAL 34s happens to be.

For those who might be curious, there are quite a few Cal 34s in seemingly OK to good condition in the $8-10K zone, a handful of straightforward fixer uppers in the $3-5K bracket, and a few pretty awesome examples of Lapworth's genius for around $15-27K.

An $8000 CAL 34 from Craigslist
I expect you'll find the same sort of pricing with most models of US-built, classic plastic of the same ilk from the late sixties and early seventies.

You know what?

This makes me happy because just about anyone can get a decent seaworthy boat and from where I sit that's a good thing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A good example of a cheap boat deal that makes some sense...

A reader of like mind dropped me an email the other day...
"Found this boat on eBay a few weeks ago, I was second bidder, it sold for $260.. I think it may still be available if you know anyone who would be interested. Looks like a pretty easy fix, no sails but a Catalina 27 set of sails are a nearly perfect fit. I have had two of these Watkins 27's over the years, and presently setting up a Watkins 29 now, these boats are nice cruising boats as long as you are not in a big hurry."
He included a screen capture from the eBay auction as well. The downside was that it had a dead engine and no sails while the upside was that it looked to be in pretty good shape otherwise.


I'd say that is a lot of boat for $260!


The Walter Scott designed Watkins 27 is actually a pretty nice boat. Beamy for it's length, it packs a lot of space into that 27-foot envelope. So, while you might not win a lot of races, it will be as comfortable to cruise as any 27-footer.

Obviously you'd need to buy sails and that would run you anywhere from less (possibly a LOT less) than a thousand dollars for good shape used sails to around $3500 for a new set.

As for the engine, I'd opt for a small outboard or, even better, simply use the dinghy and it's outboard parbuckled to the aft quarter for those odd times you need to get in or out of someplace under power. As a bonus losing the inboard chunk of metal will make the Watkins perform a whole lot better and give you some valuable stowage space.

As to the boat itself there are any number of projects, upgrades, and repairs most might want to do but it's only a 27-foot boat and none of them, done intelligently, should cost very much.

Definitely a VolksCruiser contender...

Monday, October 7, 2013

A good sharpie link...

For those of us on VolksCruiser budgets, it's hard to argue with the fact that the best bang for the buck is going to be a sharpie...

So here's a great link to one in progress.

Monday, September 30, 2013

The thing is good deals do exist...

I saw an interesting boat for sale over at eBay...

A Washington State based Coronado 35 for $6500 and, judging from the photos, a boat in pretty good condition considering it's around 42 years old.

Of course, like all boats for sale new or old it will have some sort of problem that needs dealing with but hey, it's a boat and there is always something...

Bill Tripp designed it and I can't think of an instance where Mr Tripp drew a bad boat or met an owner who was an unhappy camper.

I'd say this is certainly a boat worth taking a look at and I've always thought that the Coronado 35 made a lot of sense.

On the other hand, I feel it is also prudent to say that anyone looking for a boat to buy should look long and hard at a boat so be sure to take off those rose-colored glasses for the duration of the process...

The thing is, good deals do exist... it's just that they don't last very long.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A boat you should be aware of...

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Westerly Centaur...

For one, it has that sort of clunky everyman thing going for it which is kind of refreshing. It's not sleek, has zero pretensions, and looks just like you'd expect a budget sailboat for the masses to look.

Which is some kind of beautiful in it's own particular way.

Designed for sailing in and around the UK where drying harbors and big tides are common it has bilge keels and they make all kinds of sense. Frankly, I still don't understand why more designers don't do bilge keels as their advantages in most situations outweigh their disadvantages in most of the places folks want to cruise. So, hardly surprising that it is the most popular production sailboat from the UK.

I know Centaurs have crossed the Atlantic and Pacific so they do have some serious street cred which might, along with their bombproof scantlings and high demand, account for their rather steep resale prices. It is not uncommon to find a 1969 Centaur going for $16-18K or so...

As a VolksCruiser it makes all kinds of sense and in a lot of ways really is one of the prototypical examples of what a production boat for most of us should be.

Monday, September 23, 2013

On money keeping you safe or keeping the riff raff out...

Over at Estrellita 5.10B (always a good read) they have a great post concerning fear and it got me thinking...

As it happens, I was also trying to digest just why a thread about the possibility of a $15,000 bluewater cruiser over at Cruisers Forum irritated me so much.

I've gone on record that I don't think the moniker "Blue Water" should ever be used in conjunction with the words design, sailboat, or gear. I feel boats should be seaworthy whether you sail a couple of miles or a couple of thousand and the idea that it's alright to go somewhere in an unsafe or unseaworthy boat as long as it's "coastal" is somewhat flawed logic.

Also, it goes without saying that sticking the words "Blue Water" and a large price tag on a boat's description does not make it a safe or seaworthy boat...

Looking at the Cruisers Forum thread again with the word fear freshly imprinted on my mind all of a sudden it all makes some kind of perverted sense.

Fear is an interesting emotion and one that will, more than likely, destroy what was once a great experiment in democracy and, if fear can bring a great empire to its knees, just imagine what it can do to people who simply want to go sailing...

Of course, there are many seaworthy boats and a lot of them can be bought for $15,000 or less. For an example take a look at the CAL34 but there are any number of boats in the 26 through 38-foot range with small price tags that will take you safely anywhere you care to go.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The idiocy of the boat buck...

Talk about stuff that gets up my nose...

Boat bucks!

Not so much the fact that we, from time to time, have to spend money on our boats but the fact that we have been trained to think it is natural and proper to pay excessive money for goods and services and be proud of it. Sort of like announcing to the world...

"Hey, I'm stupid and it makes me happy"

Of course, folks in the marine trades just love to hear clients/customers/marks use or think in terms of a phrase like "boat bucks" because it says loud and clear...

"Hey, I'm a cash cow!"

So, hardly surprising that some marine tradesmen and traders might take advantage.

Maybe it's just me, but where I come from a buck is a buck, as in 100 cents, and I suspect most folks of the VolksCruiser ilk tend to agree with me.

That said, some folks would be lost without the ability to bemoan how many "boat bucks" they're spending in a transparent ruse to tell people how much money they have in the ongoing pissing/dick measuring game so popular with a certain kind of boater who actually likes to use the term "yacht" when referring to his/her boat.

As it happens, I just bought a new (to me) mainsail and it only cost me about $400 which included shipping down to the Caribbean from New England. For those who are interested it is in excellent shape with pretty close to new cloth and will easily give a bunch of years of cruising service. For those who keep track of such things, I do have to cut down the sail a kiss to make it fit my needs but we're only talking about a few hours of labor... No boat bucks involved.

I mention this because there is almost ALWAYS an alternative to spending boat bucks or silly money for those of us in the land of frugal sailing and cruising and it's not even a lot of work or hassle...

All you have to do is use your brain before you reach for your wallet.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reality check...

Want to know something that may surprise you?

I wish I had a smaller boat.

Oh sure, to be honest I do, from time to time, want a bigger boat but mostly I want something smaller.

The advantages of a bigger boat (being able to carry more stuff and have a bit more speed) quickly passes whenever I consider the added work and costs a bigger boat (or the one I am currently on) generate.

Fact is, most folks I know with bigger boats never actually use the added space in any needful or meaningful way that justifies the added expense and work.

If you follow the the semi-common practice of purging all the gear you have not used in a year, it's not like you can get rid of that extra berth or cabin that never gets used because you don't have any friends that want to (or have time to) come visit. Though, every time you haul out or tie up in a marina you're paying for all that extra space you're not using.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."   - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An excellent resource...

Anyone considering doing the whole VolksCruiser gig really needs to bookmark Atom Voyages and read it on a regular basis.

Really.

I've lost track of the number of clever and (dare I say it?) cunning ideas and projects I've found there that made all kinds of sense. Which, as you may have discovered, is something of a rarity these days.

As it happens, James Baldwin also has a pretty excellent book which most of you really should get your hands on....

Nuff said.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

More needful stuff...

Did you know that Dung beetles can navigate using the stars? You might want to remember that when someone tells you celestial navigation is an esoteric art too difficult to learn.

So, with that little factoid bouncing around your brain pan, maybe we should look at needful navigation stuff for the VolksCruising set...

Obviously, being on a VolksCruiser budget, the cost of such things is going to be an important factor right along with utility. On a side note, you should easily be able to outfit your boat from scratch for less than $1000 and a lot less if you're canny and take advantage of the perfectly good stuff that came with your boat.

So, first things first, you really need a watch. It has to keep accurate time but does not have to cost a silly amount of money. I happen to use a sub-$20 Casio and it does everything needful.

You'll also need a way to figure out how fast your boat is going. I have to say I'm just not a big fan of paddlewheel log units. I've never had a boat where they did not give me trouble when I really needed them to not give problems which might account why I still feel that trailing logs of one sort or another make a lot more sense than people give them credit for. That said, it is expected you'll have an electronic speed/log and the one that came on your boat, if it works, is as good as you need but take my advice and get something like the Knotstick as a backup (it's what I use).

You also need a depth sounder of some sort and it's not just a tool to keep you from going aground or checking the depth in an anchorage. A lot of folks don't realize just how handy a navigation tool a depth sounder can be for doing stuff like running depth contours and suchlike. Personally, if my old depth sounder were to die (it's a Raymarine so there's a pretty good chance it will sooner rather than later), I'd replace it with a fishfinder (like this one) because they tend to be cheap and add a level of information that is useful.

Of course, since we actually do live in the future and contrary to the popular misconception that I'm a card-carrying Luddite, I'll go out on a limb and say that a handheld GPS is no bad thing to have since you can buy them for a hundred dollars or so. You might even want to buy one for a back up while you're at it...

As long as we're talking advanced electronics for the frugal set, I might as well broach the subject of chart plotters (and I expect dear Ned Ludd is now spinning like a top wherever he rests) because these days with the costs of paper charts so high it makes a lot of sense to invest in an affordable (let's define that as under $500) chart plotter that will run affordable charts or, better yet, some sort of cheap pad or tablet with an navigation application that has really cheap chart coverage.

Lastly, you still do really need a cheap sextant because, as every good dung beetle knows, shit can happen...


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A neat cat and a thought...

Kurt Hughes, a multihull designer I admire, had an interesting post on his blog about a couple building one of his 30-foot cruising cats...

It's a pretty cool cat in the minimalist vein and I like it. Fact is, I can't imagine a better 30-foot cat for cruising in.

That said, sadly, it's not really a contender for a VolksCruiser because like almost all multihulls it's kinda expensive.

The cost of the rig and sails alone would pay for a sharpie with better accommodation, more payload, a better ability to actually sail in skinny water, and be a whole lot faster to build than a cat.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

and somewhere progress is being made...

Like a lot of folks I've been keeping a weather eye on the progress being made on the Skrowl 4.34...

For instance, I know for a fact Dave Z has had something of a eureka moment when he came across the design and, I expect, it's going to be an influence on future Trilo boats...

As for me, I'm less interested in the construction and design of the hull and just waiting for how the continued evolution and refinement of  Yann Quenet's take on the balanced lug goes. It's pretty obvious to me that at last someone is on the right track on bringing the balanced lug into the current century. About time too...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Talking about that list of needful stuff

Not all that long ago, having a VHF radio aboard was considered something of unneeded luxury. Fact of the matter is, I recall quite vividly a certain British yachting magazine doing a frothing-at-the-mouth editorial about how the introduction of affordable VHF would rot the sinews of seamanship...

How times do change.

Today I can still buy a rather decent waterproof handheld VHF for quite a bit less than $100. The one we have has been working finest kind for more than a decade so I expect it will, more than likely, continue to work for at least another and will, quite probably, outlive me.

From where I sit this is money well spent because from time to time it is actually needful to listen in or ask someone a question... So it passes the need/want criteria.

For those of the VolksCruiser persuasion, a sub one hundred dollar handheld VHF is really all you'll ever actually need.

Better yet, a handheld does not require crafty holes or mounting solutions that require running wires into inaccessible places.

I'll call that a slam dunk.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sorta/kinda touching on the whole what it costs to cruise can of worms...

Now here's something (yet another cruising rally) of zero interest to folks thinking about VolksCruisers and frugal cruising scenarios. That said, I mention it because for the fees involved to do an Atlantic circuit with this particular economic black hole, you could cruise quite comfortably or go a long way toward buying or building yourself a very nice boat!

Let's break it down...
  • Eastbound Atlantic passage... $2,331 (and change).
  • Portugal to Madeira... $1,481 
  • Madeira/Cape Verde/Barbados passage... $3,274   
  • Some pottering in the southern Caribbean... $1871 
  • A bit more Caribbean and on to the US of A ... $2,650
Now, math not exactly being my strong point, I'm pretty sure that is nearly $12,000 spent on some highly intangible stuff and nannying. None of that money goes to real cruising expenses like food, fuel, or shipboard expenses. 

You know, I could do a serious lot of mischief with nearly $12,000. Fact of the matter is, I know I could easily do a comfortable year-long Atlantic circle free and clear for that kind of money and have more fun in the process than the rally folk.

 I'm pretty sure you could as well!  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

It's gotta be love...

Back when we were sailing around on our Phil Bolger designed Loose Moose 2, it was not always easy...

Having an unusual boat can be somewhat problematic on a bunch of levels. You tend to spend a lot of time answering (mostly idiotic) questions, you become an unwanted center of attention, and people say hurtful things to you on a regular basis.

"That's the ugliest boat I've ever seen..."

Which, when you think about it, is a lot like meeting someone and telling them that their much loved daughter is a grotesque monster that belongs in a sideshow. On one hand, it's not going to make you a friend and, on the other, it is not going to make dad and mom love their daughter any less.

Just for the record, I've always thought that Loose Moose 2 was a ruggedly handsome boat...

Truth is, I've never had a boat I did not love and I really can't conceive of having a boat that I did not at least like a lot. That said, I've recently come to the conclusion that a lot of folks really hate their boats and it's taken me awhile to get my head around it.

Really, you have to love your boat. More so if you're going to hang out in the wild and wooly VolksCruiser world because, for better or worse, you're married to the craft and if you don't respect and love it, you're in for a world of hurt...

Monday, August 26, 2013

If it ain't broke...

I keep reading about folks who buy boats in pretty good condition and then spend thousands and thousands of dollars fixing and "improving" them.

Which brings me to an important rule for folks of the VolksCruiser persuasion...
If it ain't broke don't fix it!
The thing is, any given boat has a market value and you do yourself a disservice and economic mischief when you pour more money into a boat than it's going to be worth.

Really.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monday, August 12, 2013

if it was simple everybody would be doing it...

Here's a simple boat. It's a scow and it makes quite a bit of sense...
Designed by Reuel Parker it's a lot of bang for the buck and a very comfortable floating home... What's not to like?

Everything is simple, it's easily put together, and as boats go, is not going to break the bank doing it. Parker has spec'd out mostly cheap lumberyard materials (form-ply and construction grade lumber), a simple affordable rig, and auxiliary power is provided by a simple outboard motor.

Someone with enough budget to buy the materials in one lump and two or three months to build full time would have a very nice boat when the dust settled..

Simple.

For more info on how you'd actually build such a beast Reuel Parker's "The New Cold-Molded Boatbuilding" will tell you everything you need to know...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Keeping an eye out for derelict project boats...

I just noticed that over the last couple of days someone seems to sorting out an Endeavour 32 of a semi-derelict nature that was for sale at $500... As things go, the Endeavour is not a bad boat.

Of course, a $500 boat comes with a certain amount of issues. Ya think?

In this case the mast was down and looking at it the conclusion that came to mind is a new mast/rig would be a more than prudent choice.

The engine needed replacing and what systems remained were simply dumpster fodder...

On the other hand, the hull and deck, while cosmetically NASTY,  were still in good shape.

In short, a total wreck or a hull and deck waiting to be turned back into a boat!

I was actually considering buying this boat by the way...

Something to keep in mind is that just in lead scrap value the boat was worth nearly $5000.

My thought process went something like this: Gut the interior and soda blast it before replacing the bulkheads/interior and sort out a new keel set mast step for a free standing junk or balanced lug rig.

Sort out the exterior cosmetics, build an outboard well, and fit it out for cruising then sell it for a reasonable profit. When the dust settled I expected to be out of pocket between $9-10K which, I think most would agree is not a bad total for a kick ass cruising boat in like new condition...

The problem was I just did not have the time (3-4 months of full time work) to devote to a project like that in the current time frame.

That said, I'm still keeping my eye out for a reasonable facsimile project boat...


Monday, July 15, 2013

A boat design worth studying...

Here's a design worth taking a long serious look at...


It's Tad Robert's 28-foot Future Cruiser.

It also has everything someone actually needs to go wherever they want to in safety and comfort...

Of course, not everyone wants to build their own boat but the layout and interior accommodation could be adapted to a great many "classic plastic" sailboats that can currently be bought for a couple of thousand dollars.

Something to think about.



Sunday, July 14, 2013

The needful stuff for a single guy...

The other day someone asked me about what sort of boat he should be looking for in the VolksCruiser mold for a single guy to cruise on for his retirement and then added that he thought he'd need at least a 50-footer.

Yeah, that kind of threw me as well...

Which brings up the question of what exactly does a single-hander actually need in his VolksCruiser? So, as I see it, we're talking about.
  • A seaworthy/safe boat
  • A comfortable interior
  • A workable galley
  • A head with a useable shower
  • Reasonable storage space
  • A comfortable double berth
  • A proper seaberth
  • Enough space to have someone over for dinner or a few folks over for a drink
Am I missing anything?

Now, the whole idea behind the VolkCruiser concept is that it's affordable and sustainable for someone on a tight ($250-$750 per person per month) budget and that's nearly impossible to do for a single person on a 50-foot boat.

If I were single and looking for a boat to fit the criteria, I'd be focused on the 26-30 foot zone though you could go a bit bigger (to 35') if there was a pressing need that actually earned its keep. That said, even with enough tools to provide an income, there are any number of boats that would work under thirty feet.

We'll look at one tomorrow...



Monday, July 1, 2013

What $15 a day gets you...

The other day I was looking at a very nice CAL 28 for sale...

Sure, it needed a bit of work but nothing $1000 and a few weeks of part-time work wouldn't take care of. For the record, it was selling for $1500.

I mention this because there are lots of similar boats just waiting for someone to sort them out and point them towards the horizon. All you need is a little cash...

So, let's say you put fifteen dollars a day away towards your boat fund... A year later you'll have $5,475 cash money.

Welcome to the world of VolksCruiser economics.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

About the "B" word...

I've noticed that, where boats are concerned, folks can be somewhat, shall we say, coy about their chosen budget...

It's problematic.

I understand that in a world where it's often more about what the boat costs rather than the boat, someone on a tight budget might feel disinclined to publicly admit he/she cannot afford what everyone says they should spend...

Just for the record "everyone" is almost always wrong.

Anyway, I mention this because folks write and ask about various boats for cruising but when I ask how much they'd feel comfortable spending I seldom get an answer. Well, as it happens, I do get answers of the non-answer sort like...
"It depends"
"Whatever it takes"
"Something reasonable"
Notice how none of those responses give even a slight clue to what the person wants to spend? Now, what I'd like to hear is more along the lines of...
"Between $7500 and $10000" 
"$15000"
"Something under $25000"
"Less than $35000"
See the difference?

The fact is, you can find or put together a proper cruising boat at any of those price points with some sweat equity and close attention to the need/want equation. But, to be able to do it, the first thing you have to sort out is what sort of budget you have to work with and be comfortable enough with it to actually tell folks what it is.



Sunday, May 26, 2013

SCOW just may be the new black...

Speaking of scows...

Dave Z has some thoughts on the subject and a friend in France seems to have a cunning plan!


Friday, May 10, 2013

Two scows to keep an eye on...

For those who don't think a boat can be built quickly, you might want to check out the small cruising scow currently being built by Yann Quenet and his ongoing photo coverage of the process...


Of course, for our purposes Yann's SKROWL is too small for our VolksCruiser purpose but it would certainly scale up nicely and an 8 meter version would not take very much longer to build all things considered.

Speaking of scaled up scows we're all waiting on some new glimpses of Tad Roberts upscaled Harry or H38...


Cool stuff...

Monday, April 15, 2013

A quick need/want refresher...

Having a couple of boat related blogs that tend to fixate on the less expensive side of things, I get quite a lot of mail of the "how-can-I-have-the-stuff-I-want-for-not-a-lot-of-money" sort.

I'm pretty sure my answers to those folks are almost always disappointing because the words 'want' and the phrase 'not a lot of money' seldom, if ever, play well together.

For instance, a bunch of years ago I really, really wanted a Krogen 38 because it had just about everything I wanted in a cruising boat... Shoal draft, good performance, flush deck, good headroom, and a civilized interior suitable for long term living aboard. In other words, the perfect boat for me!

Well, except for the little fact that back then a new Krogen 38 was completely out of my price range (unless I took up a life of crime and went into politics or won the lottery).

Not having a talent for crime and since my luck is the kind that is sort of reverse to what one wants (the only lottery I ever won was the one for my draft number which I most certainly did not want to win!) the Krogen, as a new boat, was simply unattainable...

Sadly, today a used Krogen 38 is still far more than I can afford or what I care to spend on a boat.

So how to get what I felt I needed (Shoal draft, good performance, flush deck, good headroom, and a civilized interior suitable for long term living aboard) for what I could afford?

An older boat to rehab was my first choice but the search for a possible boat was unsuccessful as there are just not a lot of real shoal draft boats in the used market that actually sail well.

So instead, I built a Bolger sharpie as something of a stopgap because living in Paris was expensive and being able to move on to a boat would allow me to save money towards the sort of boat I wanted (I still dreamed of the Krogen) and we could sail to our hearts content when we wanted to in the meantime...

Loose Moose nestled in its Paris (Joinville le Pont) suburb berth which we paid $66 a month for including water/electric/showers.
We only planned to have Loose Moose for a couple of years but it was so comfortable and sailed so well that we wound up living on it for nearly five years... It may not have been the boat we wanted but it did fulfill our needs.

Loose Moose saved us so much money on Paris rents alone that we were able to amass enough cash to pay Phil Bolger to design Loose Moose 2 to better fill our needs  and build it.


The build and outfitting of Loose Moose 2 came to a fraction of what a Krogen 38 would have cost us and was entirely paid for by our savings from living on Loose Moose. Most folks get and understand the cheap and affordable boat thing but, what most folks don't understand is Loose Moose 2 (and Loose Moose before it) were both awesome boats...

Fact is, in my wants department Loose Moose 2 beat the Krogen on every point except a flush deck. It had a better more livable interior, more easily accessible storage space, good headroom anywhere you actually needed it, and would out sail and show its transom to a Krogen without even raising a sweat. Oh yeah, it could also SAIL in two feet of water!

What Wooden Boat Magazine had to say about Loose Moose 2
Which is a long and roundabout way of saying if you address your needs you just might find you get what you want.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Solving the cost per pound equation one step at a time...

Most people don't realize it but it is really rather easy to make building or rehabbing a sailboat a whole lot more affordable...

For example, let's look at hatches since I recently replaced a few on "So It Goes".

My options were to buy new hatches, try and find used hatches, or build new hatches. Of course, it's really a little more complicated because there is a real plethora of hatches available at a variety of price points and quality levels...

Take this Bomar for instance...
It's a really nice hatch, it's stainless and seriously heavy duty! The problem is it also costs way more than I care to pay at $849 for the size needed.

On the other hand, I could always go with a less expensive hatch but the cheapest I'm going to find is going to be around $300 or so... Not happy making!

Used ones always seem to have issues as people mostly replace them when they leak so there is a good chance I'd just be buying someone else's problems.

So why not build? The material to make a strong and leak-proof hatch are at most (including hardware) $75, it's an easy project well within the abilities of anyone who can walk and chew gum at the same time, and they're more likely to not leak than the various expensive made to order hatches available these days... Do I hear an AMEN!?

The three hatches I recently built for our boat to replace the leaky Lewmars took a half day of less than inspired work while costing a sum total of about $60 for the wood, glass/epoxy, and hardware. So you might say that I've saved between $840 to $2487 dollars.

As far as I know, the best discussion and how-to of building hatches is in Fred Bingham's "Boat Joinery & Cabinetmaking Simplified"...


...It's always worked for me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

but, then again, with a cunning plan and a thick skin...

OK, I think I've made my point that you cannot build a boat with a VolksCruiser budget if you play the game the way everybody tells you it has to be played.

So, you have a choice, you can either play by the rules or go rogue, step outside the accepted norms of sailboat fashion, and scandalize the neighborhood.

Give it some thought... It's really not an easy decision because your choice of boat and lifestyle, if you don't toe the fashionable party line, very much affects how folks relate to you and not always in a positive way.

I know because I built this boat and sailed it to a lot of places...


To say that a shoal draft, scow bowed, free-standing gaff cat rig sharpie upset some people's idea of the proper order of things would be something of an understatement...

Heads may have exploded...


Now if you can live with a bit of negative reaction, really pissing off some folks, and the odd head exploding...

...Stick around and we'll try and sort out the whole getting on the water for less gig!

Monday, March 25, 2013

More than likely some facts you don't want to hear...

It seems obvious to me how costs get out of control when you start thinking bigger boat but, from reading many emails from readers of Boat Bits, a lot of folks think there is some sort of magic workaround that allows them to get around it. I think it has something to do with magic beans or some such...

Bigger just costs more and it's a fact, just like death and taxes, that is inescapable. So, what's a poor boy going to do?

In my own case, I'd really like to have a fifty-foot schooner...

George Buehler's Melquiades is pretty close to what I have in mind. It's a pretty simple and easily built design so why don't I build one?

The simple fact is that just about the best I can do to put a boat on the water as a home builder comes out at around $10 a pound and if we look at the displacement of Melquiades, which is 61,500 pounds, that makes for a $615,000 price tag... Can you spell O-U-C-H?

Being ever the optimist on things non-political, I have a feeling that just maybe, I could actually build a Mel for maybe $7 a pound (hey, I'm real cheap and great at scrounging) but that still leaves me with a bill around $430,500...


So let's take a look at what happens when we get into the under 40-foot zone and, since we started with a Buehler boat, will stick with his 37-foot Jenny design. Jenny displaces 25,480 pounds so that brings my costs to somewhere between $178K to $250K which is a lot better but still way too high...

Obviously boats with a serious chunk of displacement are going to be problematic for the person on a VolksCruiser budget...

More on this soonish!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A quick checklist...

How to tell if a boat is a VolkCruiser...
  1. It's affordable by someone on a blue-collar budget.
  2. It's 40-feet or less.
  3. It has VERY simple systems.
  4. It has a minimal carbon footprint.
  5. It's owner repairable.
More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

About the Adventure 40...

The whole VolksCruiser concept is, you might say, the polar opposite to what's going on over at Attainable Adventure Cruising with their ongoing design riff of the Adventure 40...

The Adventure 40 is an interesting concept but it is most certainly not the sort of thing we're talking about with the VolkCruiser and, I expect, that if you're someone who is attracted to the Adventure 40 idea you're not going to be happy with the whole VolksCruiser thang and vice versa.

Not that I'm knocking the Adventure 40, just that it is simply a very different thought process and mostly incompatible with the whole VolksCruiser mindset and budget parameters.

Just saying...

For one, the VolksCruiser is not a boat design but more a state of mind. There is no one true path and your VolksCruiser can be a design you build, an old classic plastic derelict you rehab, or simply a boat you buy.

If there is any mantra attached to this enterprise it is of the "less is more" sort and that the operative word is sustainable...

I'll repeat that... S-U-S-T-A-I-N-A-B-L-E.

Next time we'll talk a little about what sustainable actually means...


Monday, March 11, 2013

I Might be splitting hairs...

Speaking of VolksCruisers in general, a reader recently pointed out a book and asked me for my opinion and it raised a bit of a question...

What the hell exactly does affordable actually mean?

"Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere" by Gregg Nestor is not a bad book... Fact is, we seem to like a lot of the same boats...

That said, the last time I checked the Island Packet 31's seemed to go for between $35-65K, Pacific Seacraft 31's are around $65-160K, and the Cape Dory 33 from $30k up to around $60k or so.

Which brings us back to the point of what exactly is affordable to you? Personally, I find sliding scale words like affordable, inexpensive, and reasonable pretty useless unless it also includes a key like the words "plastic surgeon" as in the sentence...
"John, a plastic surgeon, found the Swan 80 both comfortable and affordable".
Now, one wonders what sort of a boat would pop up if you were to start a sentence with...
"Fred, an assistant manager at a Denny's..."
Well, I'm pretty sure we're not going to be talking Swan or Hallberg Rassy!

Which is not to say that "Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere" is not a good book, it is. I just found the title rather unfortunate.

For a book that Fred, our assistant manager fighting the good fight at Denny's might find more useful, I'll point you to the really excellent "Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere" by John Vigor of a similar ilk.