Friday, October 17, 2014

Some quick thoughts on designing a VolkCruiser that makes sense...

I was recently involved in a discussion about what features a boat should have to be a successful VolksCruiser... It was a problematic enterprise.

The hard part in discussing an enterprise of frugality in a consumerist world is that there is almost always a certain disconnect of logic. Face it, anyone with a consumerist mindset answers to all problems is to spend money...

For instance, I was advised that to save money on water (we spend 10 cents a gallon) I should spend around $5000 for a good watermaker (plus an unspecified amount for maintenance and replacement parts) and that would save me loads and loads of money. Then again, if you were to factor in the amount we actually spend for water a year (less than $200) the idea of a watermaker actually saving us money becomes a rather ludicrous endeavour.

Sadly, far too much of the "you need this/that to go cruising on a budget" advice tends to fall into the ludicrous category.

So let's look at a boat that actually seems to get it right...

Today we'll look at the rig and see how not spending money helps it be a better cruising boat.Tad Roberts chose the balanced lug for this design and it makes a whole lot of sense

For starters it's a free standing rig which done right is, as things go, inexpensive simply because you're deleting a lot of expensive standing rigging from the picture. There's no wire, stayloks, or $90 an hour riggers to contend with. Even better, no standing rigging means no standing rigging maintenance or failure while you're cruising. On the performance side no standing rigging means less wind drag (or noise) with the downside being a couple of points less performance to windward.

The schooner rig with lug sails is small enough in area that you also don't need any deck jewelery of the winch sort... Another huge savings of money. With a few blocks, any healthy person should be able to raise the sails and trim them without any added mechanical advantage, That said, a couple of small (say size 10) winches for the halyards picked up at a swap meet for cheap would be no bad thing but the bottom line is they simply are not needed just a nice touch.

Lug sails (whether junk or western lug) are fairly easy to home-build, easy to repair, and don't require any expensive sail-handling gear purchases. In terms of horsepower to dollars ratio, the western lug rig is nearly at the top of the list (FYI for those of a Bermudan rig bent the Bermudan rig can be found way down near the bottom).

Last, but not least, the masts, booms, and yards are all DIY friendly so you're not going to to have to pay high marine pricing for the rig.

So, in essence, Tad's put together a very seaworthy, powerful, and affordable rig by getting rid of stuff you don't really need.

This rig makes a lot of sense.

Next we'll be looking at some more choices made on this design...