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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Sailboat

So there have been many comments about the sailboat. Which I do not have yet. Just an idea! No, just a dream at this point. The picture above is close to what I would like to get. This one looks like it is a lot of cabin and just a small open space in the back. But the size looks about right.

I would be looking for something in the 25 foot class. Not too big, not too small. It would need a kicker engine because I can not actually sail yet, so I would need the engine to get the boat into safe water so that I could learn to sail without crashing into anyone or running aground. A manageable boat to learn the ancient art of sail on.

This is what is known as a "full keel" boat. As you can see, below the waterline there is a full keel that is fixed. This adds stability to the boat when it is under sail. It also adds weight. The keel is also a lot of the ballast. There may also be water ballast tanks that you fill or empty depending on the winds. The stronger the wind, the more ballast you need. I think. The reason being that as the wind pushes on the sails, the boat will "keel over" or "lean" to one side. The keel keeps the boat from overturning. So the more keel you have, the less the boat will end up leaning and the better it will track.

Those are the advantages. The disadvantages are that the boat has a fixed draft so you can only run in water so shallow. If you have a 4 foot draft, you must ALWAYS stay in more than 4 feet of water. And if you are in 6 feet of water with 4 foot seas, you could till hit the bottom because the waves vary the depth. Or there could be a rock underwater. If you have to get the boat on a trailer to move it (like when a hurricane comes) or to haul it out for maintenance (keeping a boat in the salt water requires this) - then you have a hard time doing so. You can not just use any boat ramp. You have to use a lift. This is because the boat has a fixed draft.

This is a swing keel sailboat. As you can see, it is on a trailer. With a swing keel, you can retract the keel and run in much shallower water. And you can trailer the boat a lot easier too. But there are drawbacks. You lose some of that stability. You may keel over more in any given wind conditions. There is less fixed ballast.

And then there is the issue of more things to go wrong. The swing keel is a mechanical part that uses either a motor OR a rope and pulleys and hinges and stuff to operate. Any of these parts can fail - and when they do you get pissed off.

I guess it all depends on how and where I will keep the boat at. If I am going to keep it in the water than Ill go full keel. If it is going to live on a trailer than Ill get a swing keel. Really I am leaning to a swing keel anyway no matter what. Even if it ends up in the water, I can store the trailer somewhere. Or haul it out when it is not being used.

The real bottom line is what can I find that fits the budget. When I know what the budget can be. The used market will have more to say than I do about what I get. If I find a good deal on a nice boat with a swing keel - then swing keel it is. If it is a full keel then full keel it is.

The best part of all is the simplicity of a sailboat. If the cabin does not stink and the furniture is not ripped up and/or gross, then that is fine. If the sails look good and the rigging is not ratty than that is good. The wiring will be simple to redo. Drop the mast, run some new wires to the mast light (easy) snake more wire to the side lights (easy) and then if there are any cabin lights replace those wires too. All easy.

And the engine is disposable. The type of boat I am looking at will have a small outboard. No more than 10 hp. You do not need much for a kicker.

When I can do this, I probably will. I am crazy enough. It would be a nice cheap weekend getaway to sail off in the bay, drop anchor, and just chill somewhere. If I have a longer weekend, or take vacation time, then I can take an extended sailing trip to the Keys. The hotel room will pretty much go where I go.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Cheesemeister said...

The one time I was able to go on a boat and not get sick, it's because it was a sailboat that was going nowhere. There was no wind. And no rocking. We sat there for three hours until we all grabbed oars and started rowing.

08:00  
Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I met this guy once at a party who built a fifty foot sailboat in his backyard over the period of several years. When completed, he had it trailored to the Mississippi where he promptly broke the rudder which he had only tack welded and forgot to fully weld. After that was fixed, he boated down to the coast of Texas where he lives during the winter sailing and such. His boat was a Bruce Robert boat. I plan to build one someday too but first I have to buy a house where a large boat can be built in the backyard and then hauled out. I plan to retire and just motor the waterways in the interior and coasts of this nation.

08:38  
Blogger ponder this said...

decisions, decisions.

if you have the money to keep it at a club (either moored, or in a dry storage cradle) i reckon fixed/full keel is definitely the way to go.

i used to sail on a trailerable swing keel and getting the mast up and down was a real pain in the neck.

all that stuff aside, it is an absolute joy to get in your boat and sail off for a couple of days.

(with all your fancy links and gadgets, what would be the estimated sailing time to melbourne???)

15:40  
Blogger Fuzz said...

I'd like to build one too. It would have to use a centerboard or maybe leeboards since it would have to be able to get into really shallow water. But it wouldn't need to be sommething able to go to sea with.

17:05  
Blogger M@ said...

When I was kayaking on the Potomac last summer, I would see small rental sailboats. Maybe I'll try one this year.

19:23  
Blogger The Lazy Iguana said...

CM - Sailboats usually have round bottoms. They rock. And you need wind to make them go. I can easily see getting sick in a small sailboat cabin.

Ed - I do not know if my skills are up to building a boat from plans. I looked that site over and it is cool. I suppose if you were going to take on a 10 - 15 or even 20 year project, then it would be cool to build a 50 footer. But like I said, my boat building skills are not really that great.

Ponder - this is the problem. Right now I do not have the money. I kind of want to join the yacht club anyway, so that would be step one. This would take care of any boat budget I put together. Having the membership gives me more options. Plus, members are always selling stuff. So I may get a good deal. It would take me months to sail to Melbourne. I would have to sail along the coast of Mexico and down Central America to the Panama Canal, and then head across the Pacific stopping along the way at Hawaii and Easter Island (if it is on the way). If I did not use the canal then I would have to sail around South America. It would be an adventure.

Fuzz - As long as whatever I get has a draft of less than three or four feet Ill be fine. But yea, in many waters a swing keel or centerboard makes more sense.

M@ - you should. Why not. You may want to take at least a basic sailing theory class first. Or rent a sailboat that can also be a row boat in case the wind changes direction and you do not know how to tack.

00:14  
Blogger Saur♥Kraut said...

Ooooooooh, talk dirty to me. I think I hear Barry White.

16:31  

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