Monday, July 26, 2021

Getting ready to build a new self-steering gear...

So, yeah, about that new self-steering gear...

Right now I'm in the process of getting all the bits together to assemble a kit to build the it and the various pieces not readily available on a tropical island paradise are, mostly, currently winging their way to my PO box.

Putting together a "kit" before starting just about any boat project in my opinion is a must because when I do a project I like to do it full on and as non-stop as possible. Having all the needful bits in hand means you don't have to waste time running momentum killing errands.

Another advantage of putting together a kit for your project is that it forces you to get familiar with how it all goes together before you actually get to doing the actual work. Building projects in your head is a great way to see where problems may crop up and sort out workarounds and improvements to the mix. For instance, one part of the design bothered me because I don't enjoy tapping stainless steel rod and while going over the plans again and again while looking at suppliers catalogs I had a serendipitous moment where I came across an easy replacement method to get way from tapping rod which also makes the windvane simpler, offers easier adjustment, and saves some money in the process.

Lastly, done right, putting a kit together tends to save a significant amount of money while allowing a better quality of components. Just buying the various fasteners for the project off island saves me close to a couple hundred dollars compared to the silly pricing of stainless screws and bolts.right now I'm looking at a budget of around $350 for the complete self-steering gear but, when the gear is complete I'll be publishing all the various costs so we'll see how my current estimate holds up once the actual gear is complete.

Next up on the subject is why a chose this particular self-steering gear to build...

Saturday, July 17, 2021

on creative frugality and some coming changes...

There's a cooking channel that I really enjoy by Joshua Weissman and one his features are recipes where he does some established dish adding "But Better" or "But Cheaper" to the mix. It's entertaining and I've yet to come across an episode of his that did not have me wanting to get in the kitchen and get to doing.

For example...

Which has exactly "what the hell to do with VolkCruisers and frugal cruising?" you might ask.

What most people don't get is the whole idea here at VolksCruiser is to make the cruising experience more accessible to those with less disposable income or savings to do it with. I too often get emails to the site saying it's easy to sail and cruise cheap and all you have to do is to simply lower your standards and get into dirtbag camping mode which, to be honest, I find all sorts of insulting.

The fact is there's really very few reasons not to be comfortable cruising these days or, for that matter, thriving on a sustainable budget as opposed to being tarred with the dirtbag moniker as not quite hip or affluent enough to play with the "cool" kids.

Which brings us back to the whole "But Cheaper" and "But Better" additions that Joshua Weissman brought to my attention and morphed into a better way to think about VolksCruisers and frugal cruising...

It's all about doing it better and cheaper!

With an emphasis on doing it better.

Maybe a whole lot better.

So, with a nod to Mr Weissman, I'll be adding a series of articles to the mix of a "But Better" or "But Cheaper" nature and we'll show you examples of how not to just survive but thrive as we get into some serious creative frugality territory.

Since I'm just about to build a new self-steering gear I'll get started with how to put together a better windvane steering system but cheaper.

More soon come...

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Monday, July 5, 2021

regarding a very long voyage in a pretty small boat...

I read recently how Keith Leitzke has returned from another cruise to nowhere in particular and it got me thinking about a few things...

The first being how that Bill Lapworth's CAL 20 is still a great minimal cruising design in spite of the fact that it was never really designed to be one.

While I'm sure the Cal 20 would not be everyone's choice for a long sea voyage apparently Keith Leitzke thought it was just the thing for a four month or longer blue water voyage.

The fact that the Cal  20 has more than proven its blue water bona-fides with numerous trans-pacific voyages to its credit just goes to show that seaworthiness is not dependent on cost or size.

Of course, doing extreme blue water voyages in small boats means that one has to get creative to the Nth degree where space and loading is concerned. Seriously, just how do you store four months or more of provisions, water, and other needful gear?

Just thinking about how to store 120 gallons of water on a Cal 20, for starters, kinda makes my brain hurt! Throw in the provisions of even the most stoic menu for four+ months and you're talking about some genius creative use of space...

Well that or getting into TARDIS territory.

The important thing to keep in mind is that, obviously, it's been done so it's possible and knowing something is possible means all you have to do is figure it out because impossible is no longer an option.

Just sayin'

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