Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Voyage the Yacht-The Galley

The perfect boat discussion usually is centered around sail area to displacement ratios and designer/builder characteristics.  How about the galley and provisions stowage?  Very important stuff, food.  No food, no cruise.

Along the same lines as the cost of cruising, cooking during a cruise is going to be similar to the way you do it at home.  There are two big differences:  dry storage space (cabinets and shelving) and cold storage (refrigerators and freezers).  The smallest apartment or house has more stowage than almost any cruising yacht a couple can easily handle.

The resource:  http://theboatgalley.com/pressure-cookers/  Pressure cookers are the best.  Lots of great tips.  The author of this blog covers the subject well.

Reducing the galley discussion to simple terms:  
The drawers and cabinets must hold the utensils and cookware you use and the foods you cook.  
Pots and pans must fit on the stove burners when the yacht is sailing, heeling.  I prefer saute pans and pots without long handles.  A small stove top pressure cooker is almost essential.  However, if the pots are hard to stow and don't fit the stove, they are useless.

You know how you cook.  Now, you can start looking for the most suitable galley propelled by the appropriate sail area to displacement ratio.

Here are some views of two similar plain vanilla 38 footers of about 16,000 pounds displacement.  The galley is small with little workable counter space unless the navigation table is called into action.    I had a similar setup on the C&C 38 Mk 3 I skippered for years.  Using the navigation station as a surface is practical in port, count on it.

 Space behind the settee cushions may be suitable for some galley equipment.  The first thing to notice is that the storage space is going to need some sort of "lee cloth" to keep items from falling out.  this is a typical retrofit.  The PFDs demonstrate the amount of space available.

When you start voyaging your house, little things make the biggest differences.  House or boat, same, same.  Ashore, we can nip off to the nearest big box store for another set of shelf systems and set it up in the basement.  The rule of available space:  Parkinson's Law.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Retire and Go Sailing- The Boat

The perfect house?  The perfect boat?

As a result of reading a lot of blogs and forums about "the perfect boat" I did some thinking in an effort to reduce the answer to something simple and straightforward.  Here's what I came up with and two images that demonstrate the point.

A lot of time is spent at anchor so that should be comfortable.  Some hull shapes are quieter than others.  Pick a comfortable shape where the transom overhang does not slap the water.  The images of two models of C&C 38s follows.  The older model has a nicely sloping counter the newer one has a flat counter that slams hard in even the gentlest chop.  I have sailed both types and like them both.

A jarring "slap" with each passing wake or chop makes sitting in the cockpit or sleeping forward unpleasant.  Since half your day is either lounging in the cockpit or sleeping, the slapping issue is very important.  The rest is really about taste.
A superb resource for sail boat details and drawings is www.sailboatdata.com

A reference for boat relative speed, another article for later, is www.phrfne.org

This shape rides gently at anchor and under sail

Four cruisers rafted with a racer

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Retire and Go Sailing

Retire and go sailing.  A great idea from my point of view.  Some people actually do it.  A lot more talk about it in terms of can it be afforded and what is the perfect boat or how do I start?

I like this blog:  http://www.frugal-retirement-living.com/index.html

A very pretty Bermuda 40 yawl all tricked out for voyaging.  This picture was taken during a training cruise.  The students got a chance to look at the B-40's details and discuss the features.  A lot of learning happens when you go on a training cruise, even if it is just a few days in duration.

There are always a few basic questions as noted above.  There are always a few too-short answers as follow!

Short answers:
The cost of cruising is the same as the cost of doing anything else, it can be as expensive or cheap as you like.  Mostly, the way you live ashore is the way you will live aboard so those costs are going to translate pretty well from house to boat.

There is no perfect boat.  The proof is that when you are out there, you'll see a lot of different boats each with a happy cruiser aboard.  What about the unhappy cruisers?  They quit and it isn't the boat that does it.
Cruising yachts rafted to pontoons in Camden Maine, Inner Harbor.  Each on a "perfect boat."

Where to start?  Start with sailing school, Take courses up to the most advanced level possible such as:
Maybe charter a few times in a couple of different places on a few different types of yachts.  The instructors, charter captains, and other professionals will provide barrels of useful information.  Sailing with a professional will help the student acquire a library of best practices.

One dinghy has its oars stowed improperly!

Continuing education?  Consider the USCG Captain's license sometimes called the "six-pack."  Even if you do not have the time required for the full license, the course of study and tests will boost your capabilities greatly.  Racing is a practical way to get in some sailing time and improve one's skills.  Two types of races that are really good for cruisers are pursuit races and double handed races.  They don't feature the crazy maneuvering tactics of small boat fleets.  In fact, most of the participants are cruisers trying to improve their boats and the owner/couple's skills.

A Gulf 32 with a new suit of sails finishing well up in the fleet during a large pursuit style race.  Good sails and a clean bottom made a big improvement in the performance of the yacht.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Solings in Storage

A nice image of a fleet of Boston Sailing Center Solings in winter storage.  Beautiful boats to sail.  Even sitting on jack stands in a cold boat yard with the masts down, they look fun.


Our Aphrodite 101, Averisera, is a design based on the concept of the Soling.

Voyaging the House: Cost of Cruising Parts 3 and 4

A recent book by sailor Jackie Parry got me thinking about this parallel between house and boat, maintaining the people and the home.  Her book, Cruisers AA, really brings it all into focus.  She writes about all the little parts that go into a successful voyage.  Curiously, no one writes the same book about living in a house.

Jackie Parry has a couple of web sites relevant to voyaging sailors.




The old house West Medford (Boston area) in winter.  We could get guys to come over and install a fence, paint the house, mow the lawn, mulch the vegetable beds and trim the trees.  When it snowed, we were on our own with shovels.  Now, in Harwich, we have a snow blower and we now have to do everything else, too.

Part 3:  Maintain the Boat or House:  What a home costs is not just the outright price paid for the dwelling be it a house or a boat.  It includes the cost of keeping said dwelling in shape.  Many of the newer yachts designed or adapted for the voyaging circuit seem better set up for ease of maintenance.
Watching the newer homes being built on Cape Cod and other places to which we travel one can only wonder what the cost of ownership for the manse must be.  Homeowners are able to choose from a wide and competitive range of contractors.  Trade money for self sufficiency by hiring contractors?

Yacht owners have to do it themselves.  The impact of self sufficiency on voyagers makes the choice of yacht prove, "less is more."

Part 4:  Maintain the People:  Basically, entertainment is the big difference for voyagers versus house dwellers.  Voyaging is rich in experiences which have long entertainment value.  There is no room for "things" on board so the trip quickly becomes one of collecting "experiences."  Food, clothing, health care, and travel  pretty much vary within a narrow range wherever one is living or cruising.

Long on experiences and short on things keeps the voyaging life inexpensive.

Cross reference the Nov 10 2014 Wall Street Journal article cited earlier in this blog.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Voyaging the House: Cost of Cruising 2

Been studying the cost of cruising and comparing that to the cost of "housing."  Is cruising expensive?  Dunno.  Compared to what?  First, one has to compare the house to the boat.  Talk about an asymetric comparison?

A small boat is not the same as a small house.  Some things are easy to cross reference as being the same or very similar, food and entertainment, for example.  Look up the cost of a small house on the Cape and you'll find most are in the $300-400 thousand range.  Monthly expenses including mortgage, taxes, utilities, food, travel, entertainment, and maintenance are going to run in the $7-10 thousand per month range or $85 to 120 thousand per year...

A small house on Cape Cod that got pretty small last winter is pictured.  For the price of that house, one could buy a heck of a nice 50 footer.  For the cost of running the house: mortgage, taxes, utilities, food, travel, entertainment, and maintenance one could have a pretty plush cruise in the pretty plush yacht.

OK, this is a little ridiculous.  No head room and some other privations such as no running water or refrigeration, etc, etc.  But, it qualifies as small.  (And, boy, is she fun to sail.)  Let's say a typical 34 footer is going to not break the bank.  I read that sailors routinely purchase and fully refit yacht for under $100 thousand dollars and cruise for years at a monthly rate around $3-4 thousand a month or under fifty thousand bucks a year.  

Basically, every year of cruising is so much less expensive than living ashore one "buys back" the yacht in few years.  After that, the cruiser puts money in the bank each subsequent year... compared to living ashore.  If you aren't tethered to the doctor's office with a chronic ailment, cruising is a pretty nice way to partake of retirement or a sabbatical.  Obviously, if you have a day job, voyaging is out.

On one hand, why detail the advantages of cruising lifestyle.  That's just going to clutter up the harbors.  Let's face it:  life aboard is just not ever going to cut it for a vast majority of the population.  For the cruisers among us, it is a practical way to live compared to life ashore.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Voyaging the House: Thetis

The top image is of the family home, Thetis.  We lived aboard from 1961 through 1963 and made three ICW trips and sailed the Bahamas and South Florida.  The bottom image is the sloop I skippered and lived aboard in the Caribbean during the 2004-2005 sailing season.  The family home was way more comfortable.  The lower image was way more fun to sail.  Choices about the perfect boat all really hinge on purpose, same with houses ashore.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Voyage the house: reading lists

Been reading some books about cruising.  The type where the clueless couple buy a sailboat and go sailing.  There are not any books about clueless person buys house and lives in it.  I suppose there are some and I just haven't found them.  Corresponding with one of the writers, he said, "If you really want to go you make it happen."  I suppose that sums it all up house or boat.

Ya gotta wanna do it.  Re-lay stone walkway so it drains better, bed down vegetable beds with sea grass from Pleasant Bay, and chip up dead fall.  Voyage the house.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Voyage the House

Voyaging the House as if it is a sailboat... sort of...

Let's assume I was out cruising.  Upon reaching a port, launching the dinghy and going for a row would be a normal activity.  We don't cruise anywhere so we load the dinghy onto the back of my pickup truck and drive to a scenic place, launch and go for a row.  Missing from the cruising experience is the pleasure I derive from working on the boat.  Instead, we have the pleasure of working on the house.  Houses and their grounds are a lot of work made easier by the number of stores selling house maintenance goods.  Also, houses are more standardized in design and construction, building codes are helpful in that regard.  Boats require more ingenuity and imagination and, I believe, are much less work in the end.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Compare and Contrast

One of the interesting things about boat yards is "compare and contrast."  Here are two images of boats about the same size and design era, a Seafarer 34 designed by McCurdy and Rhodes in 1974 and my Aphrodite 101 designed by Elvstrom and Kjaerulf in 1977.  They were designed for similar purposes, racer/cruisers.  The design style of the Seafarer represents the shape of boats typically considered "good sea boats," and they are.  The Aphrodite is a bit more radical.  Its shape follows the design innovations of the US West Coast Cal 40 and later the Peterson 34.  The Aphrodite is a Danish design, modern even today.  The Seafarer is pure US East Coast.  The style is still favored in that area.  Go anywhere in the world and one will view the two types (and many others, as well) activly being sailed.

Geographic regions usually have a home/house design-style, or a few typical styles.  They seldom transplant well.  A California modern house is out of place on Cape Cod as is the reverse.  Boats, on the other hand, travel pretty well and are often transplanted.  That's their purpose.  At a boat yard one gets to see what many designers and owners consider the best interpretation of a suitable yacht.  Drive around an area and one doesn't see nearly the variety in home design.  And, once built, the home seldom moves.

Another thing about house vs boat.

Check out this blog.  The writer owned a Seafarer and writes about voyaging it.  Also writes about life aboard, house vs boat.  http://www.sailingchance.com/chance

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Pro-Tip: Don't overdo it!

August 2015:  Just another boat bottom.  What's the story?  Stripping paint from a sailboat bottom is a hard job.  By comparison, at the new house, a lot of landscaping and hardscaping is required.  Pulling weeds, spreading gravel, building lawns, and laying flagstone patios is harder.

Doing most of the work by hand resulted in some debilitating injury to a 65 year old body in what I had thought was in pretty fair condition.  Pro-Tip:  Power Tools.  Slow Pace.  Low impact.

Some years ago, I started this blog with the thought that it would continue on line the sailing instruction work I had done and loved for so many years.  I had moved ashore reluctantly.  I find it is now an "interesting-to-me" way to track a comparison of life on the hard with live on the sea.  No kidding, hard is hard.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sailing and Voyaging with Children

A recent blogspot post by Henry Lane (http://bluewatermystique.blogspot.com/) raised the question of sailing with children.  Consistent with the theme of this blog, I will look at it from the point of comparison with raising children ashore.

The central difference between the sea and the shore is that for kids under sail: every day is a field trip.  Kids like field trips.

So do teachers, especially when the teacher is the home-schooling parent.

Truth is, the work done in a day in a classroom is able to be accomplished way more quickly by a kid on board than that same kid in a classroom.  As a schooled aboard kid during the sixth and seventh grade years, I had no trouble with eighth grade at a competitive prep school after the family came ashore.

My two biggest problems were: studying for tests and time management.  Thanks to my room mate, Phil, I learned how to prep for a test and get to class on time.  That's what I missed by sailing for two years.

An added benefit, more so in this era than mine, is quiet time.  On board, children have time and opportunity to observe and reflect quietly.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Cost of Cruising: Figured Out!

We had a brutal winter, snow and serious cold.  Meanwhile, worked like demons on the house.  The thought of being on board and in the tropics was never far from my mind.  Came to realize that the cost of cruising is the same as the cost of living in a house:  you live according to what you can afford.  People who lose their way and over spend may lose their home.  Same with a boat.

The choice isn't governed by how much money one has it is governed by what one wants to get out of life.  If you like life in a house with property to garden, or whatever, live in a house with the accouterments you desire.  It will cost what it costs.  Same with boats and cruising.

Having worried the question of "what does it cost" to death, I now have an answer.  The answer every cruising blog gives:  it costs what you have.

What kind of boat questions have similar answers.