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.