Choosing a Plan
To the bystander (wife, friends), choosing a boat to build
seems like a simple process. In fact, I’ve even heard
some make silly statements like “How hard can it be? Just
Well! That just shows how little they know about our love (addiction?).
You can’t “just choose”. Choosing one boat
means that you exclude so many others, and after all, every
boat has its strong points and fans, even if the only fan is
only the guy who designed her.
Take my dilemna, for example. I want to build a boat. I enjoy
building boats. And the one that I have is too little. By the
time I get my lady, cooler, dog, all the sailing gear, the radio
and the little things that one absolutely has to have, my poor
14-foot sharpie is down to the gunwales and there isn’t
room to swing a cat. A larger boat is needed.
So I decided that I should look at what the boat is intended
to do. I want to sail on the local lakes, in a boat big enough
to be safe when thunderstorms come up, with enough room for
the entourage, maybe even a friend or two. Simple enough. Maybe
a 18-20 foot trailer-sailor? That seems like a good idea.
But, wait. The in-laws live in Florida, on a canal with a dock.
It’s a great place to sail! I’d love to take the
boat down there. If I’m going to build something, it ought
to be big enough to take them out. They are older, so it needs
to be pretty stable. Maybe a 24 to 26 footer.
I’d also like to make the Great East Coast Circumnavigation
one of these days. You know, start in St. Louis, down the Mississippi,
across to Florida, up the ICW to New York, the Hudson to the
Great Lakes, back down to St. Louis. If you are going to spend
that much time on a boat, you need some more room. I’m
not a huge fan of powerboats, but you have to admit they have
lots more living space than a sailboat. There are several nice
cruiser designs, easy on fuel with good accommodations. Maybe
something in the 33-35 foot range?
But, I love sailing. What do you do to stay entertained on
a powerboat? Maybe I should build a motor-sailer, so I can get
the best of both worlds. Have you seen those big pilothouses?
Boy, a 30+-footer is a big project. It’s going to take
a long time, lots and lots of hard work. I don’t think
I want to wait that long. And where would I keep it?
Maybe I should build a little boat that I could throw in the
truck and carry to the water. I wouldn’t have to keep
up a trailer, and they say that the smaller the boat is, the
more you’ll use it. And how often do I really take someone
with me? See how hard this is?
Anyone got plans for a 20 foot sailboat, that can stretch to
35 feet, with a strong yet economical diesel engine, that folds
up into a one-sheet dinghy?