Jud - s/v Sputnik

Low tech ocean cruisers

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Low tech ocean cruising boats you admire.  No onboard Ethernet network, simple rigs, no engines, etc.  Choose your parameters to define “low-tech”. (They don’t have to be engineless.)  Put your stories here.  My boat is *relatively* low-tech (of budget necessity now and some aspects on purpose, I.e., not integrating electronics.  More on it later?)

Two come to my mind immediately —one more conventionally low-tech, the other certainly much less conventional.

(1) The mighty, classic plastic Cal 20 “Magic”, fitted out by Keith Leitzke as an ocean voyager (from the mysterious front page the other day):  https://sailinganarchy.com/2020/12/24/92013/

A bit more: https://www.kaneoheyachtclub.com/documents/10184/2373627/May+2020.pdf


(2) Kris Larsen’s very simple junk rig, in which he’s made some quite extraordinary voyages, Brazil, East Africa, the Russian Far East, Australia, Japan, etc: https://www.junkrigassociation.org/resources/Documents/Hall of Fame/Hall of Fame, Kris Larsen.pdf

More on his very low-tech approach, a profile of him by James Baldwin (that I remember first reading some years ago): https://www.atomvoyages.com/articles/sailor-interviews/107-krislarsen.html

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2 minutes ago, jdazey said:

Almost any Wharram.

Provide some links/stories to deepen the well here.  I know about Wharrams, have heard of them, but know only very little and would love to read a good story.

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Webb Chiles? No engine, no wifi, no integrated instruments, not enough room to sit, let alone stand in his cabin so sits on the sole, only has a jetboil for heating his freezedry food, minimal dodger, minimal gear. On his last circumnavigation he left Durban and did not stop till St. Lucia, with no weather forecasts along the way, riding out two gales before Cape of Good Hope by lying ahull, losing his wind instruments on top of his mast through knockdowns.

 

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1 hour ago, jdazey said:

Cool, thanks.  I’m in.  I seem to recall having heard of the title.  (I seem to have heard of a fair number of sailing books, but have never seen this one, perhaps because multihulls generally seem to still be a niche thing for many?)

I also just googled James Wharram, to discover that he’s in his 90s and still going.  Sail Magazine January 2019 profile of him.  “Catamaran Man: James Wharram”: https://www.sailmagazine.com/multihulls/cat-man-james-wharram

Very interesting!  On the principle of simplicity: 

From the outset, Wharram sought to make his boats as simple as possible to build. So he eschewed the traditional method of building a solid base first, with heavy cross-pieces at each station. His so-called “backbone and bulkheads” method uses the boat’s own structure as the guide, for a “drastic reduction of pieces of wood, measurement and saw cuts to reach the final ply planking stage”. There were no metal fixings, just glue—urea-formaldehyde at first, then resorcinol.”

The Lapita Voyages in 2008-9 were another such exploit. In an effort to show how settlers could have reached the Pacific islands from southeast Asia, an 80-year-old James and Hanneke recreated the voyage on an ethnic catamaran. “We learned that a simple double canoe with crab-claw sails can make such a voyage and sail to windward,” Hanneke says.

In the course of my research [for this Sail magazine article], I sailed several Wharram boats, but the one that sticks best in my mind was the Ethnic Wayfarer. Launched off the quay at Devoran (England) on a cold, blustery spring day, she has a crab-claw rig with just a mainsheet for trimming and a paddle for steering.

“The helmsperson sits at the back of a hull, where they can reach the water on either side. The paddle rests against the hull on the leeward side—pressed there by the lateral force of the wind on the boat. Lower the paddle a fraction and the boat bears away—raise it and she hardens up, then tacks. Downwind, the trick is to trail the paddle behind you, just touching the water where slight deflections are all that’s needed to steer. The system is at once beguilingly simple and complicated to master.”

The Wayfarer design: https://www.wharram.com/shop/building-plans/ethnic-designs/tahiti-wayfarer

(Separately, it’s a shame his plans for this cost a whopping £350.  It looks like a nice and cheap and really fun and simple 21 footer to own for local sailing.  Just for the experience, I’d like to build something super low-tech like this.  But £350 pounds for plans seems crazy...maybe for ocean sailing in warm tropical Polynesian waters between near islands?)

“By self-making everything, natural spars, sails and even hand carved deadeye blocks, her building cost is very low (the Plans give all details). This is a boat that needs NO hardware! The aim of the Wharram new Ethnic Design range is to study and understand by practical experience aspects of the design of canoe form craft from the ancient sailing world.”

 

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Anything with galvanized rigging.

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More info on the modifications to the cal 20 would be interesting.

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24 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

Roger Taylor's MingMing II is a very low-tech, unsinkable high-latitude boat

 

Very interesting guy. It would drive me nuts going anywhere in a dark grey boat. 

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9 minutes ago, Ishmael said:

Very interesting guy. It would drive me nuts going anywhere in a dark grey boat. 

I like the matt grey deck. The glossy white deck and coachroof of yer average GRP boat is horrible glarefest.

I'm not a fan of the grey interior color, but my main concern down there is the carpet everywhere.  That will get manky very fast.

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13 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

I like the matt grey deck. The glossy white deck and coachroof of yer average GRP boat is horrible glarefest.

I'm not a fan of the grey interior color, but my main concern down there is the carpet everywhere.  That will get manky very fast.

That rat fur is pretty resistant, we have some as hull liner in a couple of lockers. Stops the hull sweating. I would have painted the interior a lighter grey so the rat fur would be an accent.

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45 minutes ago, bridhb said:

More info on the modifications to the cal 20 would be interesting.

I agree.  Be interesting to see how he approached it.

I was infatuated with Cal 20s as budget ocean cruisers some years ago when I was doing what felt like an endless refit on our own “big” boat - being on my property, it was free to keep it there so, while I worked hard on it, I wasn’t in a giant hurry.  So - we bought a cheap 1967 Cal 20 just to have a boat to go out on.  Then, after reading about the Cal 20 “Black Feathers” that did the 2008 Singlehanded Transpac, I began to think quasi-seriously about doing the same, built a windvane for it, etc. and I re-rigged it per a book written by the skipper of “Black Feathers”.  (He also later wrote some articles for Small Craft Advisor magazine detail his prep: http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/publication/?i=47645&article_id=504640&view=articleBrowser )

I kept a Honda 2hp air cooled outboard in a big Rubbermaid plastic that fits in/under the cockpit locker.  Easy to just pull it out and pop it in the cockpit outboard well - another idea from Black Feathers.

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43 minutes ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I agree.  Be interesting to see how he approached it.

I was infatuated with Cal 20s as budget ocean cruisers some years ago when I was doing what felt like an endless refit on our own “big” boat - being on my property, it was free to keep it there so, while I worked hard on it, I wasn’t in a giant hurry.  So - we bought a cheap 1967 Cal 20 just to have a boat to go out on.  Then, after reading about the Cal 20 “Black Feathers” that did the 2008 Singlehanded Transpac, I began to think quasi-seriously about doing the same, built a windvane for it, etc. and I re-rigged it per a book written by the skipper of “Black Feathers”.  (He also later wrote some articles for Small Craft Advisor magazine detail his prep: http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/publication/?i=47645&article_id=504640&view=articleBrowser )

I kept a Honda 2hp air cooled outboard in a big Rubbermaid plastic that fits in/under the cockpit locker.  Easy to just pull it out and pop it in the cockpit outboard well - another idea from Black Feathers.

 

Thanks for posting that.  Interesting publication.  I have not seen it before.

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4 hours ago, Ishmael said:

It would drive me nuts going anywhere in a dark grey boat.

 

3 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I like the matt grey deck

When was refinishinng my topsides, I thought the grey finish primer looked pretty cool.

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4 hours ago, mrming said:

Highly recommend Roger Taylor’s books - a unique approach to sailing. 

If you (Mr. Ming?) happen to be Roger of Ming Ming II, good on you!  If you’re not, good on him! :-)

I’ve never read the books - only just now learning of them, I’m fact.  I’m interested in design considerations when selecting Ming Ming 1, the Corribee 21, or the second Ming Ming, the Achilles 24 - neither of which many would think of as suitable for long-distance ocean sailing...but which obviously have proven themselves quite capable indeed.  Wonder if any of that is covered in the books?

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31 minutes ago, Leeroy Jenkins said:

 

When was refinishinng my topsides, I thought the grey finish primer looked pretty cool.

Yes, I was talking about the insides. The outsides were fine.

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4 hours ago, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

If you (Mr. Ming?) happen to be Roger of Ming Ming II, good on you!  If you’re not, good on him! :-)

I’ve never read the books - only just now learning of them, I’m fact.  I’m interested in design considerations when selecting Ming Ming 1, the Corribee 21, or the second Ming Ming, the Achilles 24 - neither of which many would think of as suitable for long-distance ocean sailing...but which obviously have proven themselves quite capable indeed.  Wonder if any of that is covered in the books?

Dunno if it is covered in the books, but the Achilles 24 has long had a fine reputation as an offshore boat.  See e.g. https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/reviews/yacht-reviews/achilles-24

Long waterline, slim undistorted hull designed without regard to rating rules, bulb keel, built by a yard which the money into structure rather than boatshow appeal.  If you are going offshore and going small, she's a fine boat.

 

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A nice looking boat, Oliver Lee had a great eye. But not one I'd want to spend any length of time on, and Rogers voyages while very impressive are not my sort of sailing either. 

I prefer to be able to sail outside in the cockpit rather than inside a padded box. 

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3 hours ago, MiddayGun said:

A nice looking boat, Oliver Lee had a great eye. But not one I'd want to spend any length of time on, and Rogers voyages while very impressive are not my sort of sailing either. 

I prefer to be able to sail outside in the cockpit rather than inside a padded box. 

I also prefer outside, but I sail in a temperate climate.  If I was sailing above the Arctic circle, the padded cell would be attractive.

The Contessa 26 does lots of offshore trips.  The Achilles 24 has about the same amount of space inside, but it's less of a slug, esp in the light stuff.

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6 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

Dunno if it is covered in the books, but the Achilles 24 has long had a fine reputation as an offshore boat.  See e.g. https://www.yachtingmonthly.com/reviews/yacht-reviews/achilles-24

Long waterline, slim undistorted hull designed without regard to rating rules, bulb keel, built by a yard which the money into structure rather than boatshow appeal.  If you are going offshore and going small, she's a fine boat.

 

Achilles_24_drawing.gif

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/achilles-24

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IMHO in 2020 being TOO low tech is an affection, there is no reason at all not to have a VHF, a GPS, and a PLB. My vote is not a famous person, but the 1001 people heading off in an old boat and just the basics, not making a YouTube fund my vacation channel, not buying the $100,000 worth of stuff you "need for offshore", and pulling up in the same anchorage as the million dollar cruiser and going for a swim instead of fixing 100 broken things.

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1 hour ago, Huggy Bear Brown said:

One of the more interesting 'low tech cruisers' is the Plumbelly.  Built on the beach in Bequia, W.I. she has gone around the world twice and across the Atlantic about 28 times.  Link to an article about her:  The Legend of Plumbelly  Here she is the last time in Bequia about 10 years ago.....

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That is a fantastic story, not least because of all the web of people, from various walks of life, of different generations and countries, who know the boat.  

Certainly a low-tech ocean cruiser —more easily do-able in a tropical climate, I think, (where your comforts, such as they are on a boat like that) are afforded by gentle temps.  Plumbelly doesn’t seem to have many other comforts - her main comforts may well be a confidence-inspiring robustness, important at sea; and the assurance that wherever you go in the Atlantic basin, you may quite possibly be warmly recognized and welcomed, on Plumbelly, as a “familiar old friend” :-) )

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2 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

IMHO in 2020 being TOO low tech is an affection, there is no reason at all not to have a VHF, a GPS, and a PLB. My vote is not a famous person, but the 1001 people heading off in an old boat and just the basics, not making a YouTube fund my vacation channel, not buying the $100,000 worth of stuff you "need for offshore", and pulling up in the same anchorage as the million dollar cruiser and going for a swim instead of fixing 100 broken things.

I think there's often some conflation between low tech and simple. In the past oil lamps and a sextant were both low tech and simple, nowadays LED bulbs and a handheld GPS are definitely not low tech, but are very simple. I think it's really cool how accessible and reliable such powerful and useful tech has become - the trick is to avoid overcomplicating things. 

On topic, I used to own an Aleutka. It was a very "go simple go now" kind of boat complete with deadeyes and lanyards, an aluminum pipe mast, and bilge keels for bottom maintenance between tides. Not great upwind, but surprisingly fast downwind. But the thing that really hit home was how much it was a design from another time and place. When you can buy your choice of used production boats for next to nothing, the concept of a small, heavy, slow, homebuilt cruising boat with oar power just doesn't really add up in any practical sense. 

And to close the circle, during my most recent boat shopping I happened to run into the old Aleutka in sad shape.

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4 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I also prefer outside, but I sail in a temperate climate.  If I was sailing above the Arctic circle, the padded cell would be attractive.

The Contessa 26 does lots of offshore trips.  The Achilles 24 has about the same amount of space inside, but it's less of a slug, esp in the light stuff.

True enough. 
But then I'd want a bigger boat if I was going that far north, preferably something with a nice heater and some sort of deck saloon / inside steering position, big enough to be comfortable after a couple of days ashore on an expedition & with enough space for some decent kit. 

IIRC (long time since I read his site) Roger likes to sail somewhere & back without putting a foot ashore, kudos for doing it & in a tiny boat, but again not my style. It takes all sorts though. 

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3 hours ago, Matagi said:

That's not a knife.

That's a knife:

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A right looker, too. :) Carries its house way forward on deck, yet manages to avoid the beluga effect. Bet that extra inverted buoyancy came in handy when he pitchpoled it! (Boat is a Rustler 36, apparently the model of choice for many GGR entrants.)

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A few Cognac cruised "round the North Atlantic"

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There was one called Oukiva which was well known to Voiles et Voiliers readers but somehow its owner managed not to leave traces on the internet, the one above was called Takari : http://takari.over-blog.com/page/2

I suspect that many people left with low tech boats without leaving traces on the internet... small simple boats are less likely to need sponsorship!

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2 hours ago, MiddayGun said:

True enough. 
But then I'd want a bigger boat if I was going that far north, preferably something with a nice heater and some sort of deck saloon / inside steering position, big enough to be comfortable after a couple of days ashore on an expedition & with enough space for some decent kit. 

IIRC (long time since I read his site) Roger likes to sail somewhere & back without putting a foot ashore, kudos for doing it & in a tiny boat, but again not my style. It takes all sorts though. 

That seems to be what most people choose for such passages.

But Roger Taylor's journeys are about the journey rather than the destination, and about doing it in a cheap-as-chips boat which is small enough to move on a trailer.  He has made tiny-budget solo Arctic sailing a thing.

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1 hour ago, TwoLegged said:

That seems to be what most people choose for such passages.

But Roger Taylor's journeys are about the journey rather than the destination, and about doing it in a cheap-as-chips boat which is small enough to move on a trailer.  He has made tiny-budget solo Arctic sailing a thing.

I like you TwoLegged.  You "get it".  Even if you keep reminding me how much of a slug my Contessa 26 is.

Actually, as I am sure W Chiles has said on more than one occasion, people either instinctively understand why people take on these challenges, or  they don't.  It is fairly black and white, even in a world that has shades of grey (such as the colour of MingMings deck & interior!).

If you are looking an Achilles 24, here is a reasonably famous one for sale, with a starting auction price of NZD$3K.

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The boat is named 'Songeur'.  I paste the following someone (not me) wrote about Songuer on the Achilles association forum:  "In 1976  Songeur, completed from a basic kit by a Kiwi (Rodney Kendall) for the trip, was the smallest entrant permitted that year in the Observer Single-handed Transatlantic Race. It turned out to be one of the roughest races ever, with headwinds, but he finished regardless (as also did Chris Butler in Achilles Neuf the first Achilles 9 metre). Rodney thereafter continued down the east coast of the USA, through the Panama Canal, and proceeded to cross the Pacific too, finishing in his homeland. 
Unfortunately Rodney doesn't seem to have written up his Odyssey, but one titbit that did get back to the UK was that halfway across the Pacific, in open water, he passed another A24 going the opposite way!! He wasn't hallucinating at the time...."

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17 hours ago, Leeroy Jenkins said:

 

When was refinishinng my topsides, I thought the grey finish primer looked pretty cool.

When we bought our Bristol 45.5 it had a very tired dark blue hull that would have looked wonderful when newly painted. Someone drove their boat into ours while we were sitting on a mooring in Plymouth, MA. Their insurance would pay for a repaint on one side of the hull. We paid for the other side and went with a light grey colour since we were going to do some serious cruising in the tropics. The grey worked out very well. We did the deck with almost pure white for the shiny bits and very light grey for the non-skid. Even a slight difference really worked well and did not heat too much.

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As someone mentioned at the beginning of the thread, low tech is a relative term. We crewed for friends from Antigua to the Azores on a Jeanneau 40. The skipper loved his tech and everything was networked to everything else. He spend almost all his time on his computer trying to keep it all working and downloading new grips that were like the old (6 hours or so) ones. If it had been me in charge I would have used the barometer to keep an appropriate distance from the Azores high.

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On 12/27/2020 at 1:05 PM, blurocketsmate said:

I've enjoyed Kevin Boothby's videos, from his gaff-rigged Southern Cross 31 that never had an engine. When he started he used traditional oil lamps, even for nav lights.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTmJcC_Yw3IL7Bvtf_7nTLw

Even Kevin uses a laptop to download gribs and do weather routing.

Also, he uses his laptop to write music and must have an inverter onboard because he plays the electric guitar. 

I don't think he should be disqualified though. 

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23 minutes ago, JRC026 said:

I like you TwoLegged.  You "get it".  Even if you keep reminding me how much of a slug my Contessa 26 is.

Thank you, and sorry for dissing the CO26. Fine boat, as its many passages show ... but like every other boat, it's a compromise.

The CO26 has traded speed for other virtues, and that has worked very well for some people.   Others are happy with very different trade-offs.

Personally, as the years go by, the more I see the merits of applying to boats Colin Chapman's philosophy of car design: "simplify, then add lightness".

 

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47 minutes ago, Ajax said:

Even Kevin uses a laptop to download gribs and do weather routing.

Also, he uses his laptop to write music and must have an inverter onboard because he plays the electric guitar. 

I don't think he should be disqualified though. 

That's appropriate use of technology in my mind. He has a fridge, too. 

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1 hour ago, TwoLegged said:

Personally, as the years go by, the more I see the merits of applying to boats Colin Chapman's philosophy of car design: "simplify, then add lightness".

 

Ah well, I have at least taken the diesel out - so that has lightened her by 90-100kg or so :D

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I met Hans Klaar in St Martin and went aboard Ontong Java, his 70-something wood cat. It's lashed together - no screws. He sails a little pram around harbors with no rudder - he steers with an oar. He has a 40hp yamaha that gets him into close quarters - for those who know St Martin it's got a famously NARROW bridge, and he was on the inside of that when I met him. It's as simple as it gets. He was just back from goat hunting when I stopped by, and had also found a stove on a sunk boat he was going to refurbish and sell. His girlfriend at the time had a Wharram anchored next to him, they were going to sail in tandem back to Europe to flip the Wharram. 

Hans is sort of a feral human. It's an amazing boat that does 2 transats almost every year, and he built it himself on the beach in Africa. My experience with him was fine but there are extremely not-good stories out there that can be found by the curious. 
2009-08-31_7006_1.jpg.d887a7ddd6e4e438669b7e03a1c6604a.jpg

 

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52 minutes ago, robshookphoto said:

Hans is sort of a feral human. It's an amazing boat that does 2 transats almost every year, and he built it himself on the beach in Africa. My experience with him was fine but there are extremely not-good stories out there that can be found by the curious. 

I took the bait,and Google led me to https://mg.co.za/article/2011-01-21-who-is-hans-klaar/ 

 

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2 hours ago, Israel Hands said:

For all we know, that guy may be the seafaring equivalent of Henry Lee Lucas. "Feral" seems like too kind a descriptor...

 

13 hours ago, robshookphoto said:

I met Hans Klaar in St Martin and went aboard Ontong Java, his 70-something wood cat. It's lashed together - no screws. He sails a little pram around harbors with no rudder - he steers with an oar. He has a 40hp yamaha that gets him into close quarters - for those who know St Martin it's got a famously NARROW bridge, and he was on the inside of that when I met him. It's as simple as it gets. He was just back from goat hunting when I stopped by, and had also found a stove on a sunk boat he was going to refurbish and sell. His girlfriend at the time had a Wharram anchored next to him, they were going to sail in tandem back to Europe to flip the Wharram. 

Hans is sort of a feral human. It's an amazing boat that does 2 transats almost every year, and he built it himself on the beach in Africa. My experience with him was fine but there are extremely not-good stories out there that can be found by the curious. 
2009-08-31_7006_1.jpg.d887a7ddd6e4e438669b7e03a1c6604a.jpg

 

Wow - not someone you would let your daughter go sailing with :o

BTW - how the heck did you get -1 with two posts?

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9 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

BTW - how the heck did you get -1 with two posts?

Looks like he was a victim of an accidental downvote that was meant to to be a like. 

The mobile phone gods have turned a +50%er into an Astro :wacko:

 

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2 minutes ago, Israel Hands said:

Looks like he was a victim of an accidental downvote that was meant to to be a like. 

The mobile phone gods have turned a +50%er into an Astro :wacko:

 

I usually don't like or dislike anyone, but I got him back to 0.

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Phil Bolger Centennial II design.

The original Centennial was a banks dory rowed across the Atlantic in 1876 by Alfred Johnson. The design spec for Centennial II was "the most economical boat that could be called fit to keep the sea in bad weather." The basic hull is 11 sheets of plywood. 

The most amazing thing is that people built boats to the design and sailed them. There was an article somewhere by a guy who sail one up the east coast of the US. It's yawl-rigged with spritsail main w/ sprit boom, and a triangular spritsail mizzen. There is negligible headroom, negligible carrying capacity, and negligible anything else except that it does float, and it does sail. Although the rig towers over the very low hull, it's said to be underpowered.

2020-12-29_10-15-16.png

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Given the number of basically intact "normal" fiberglass boats that one could get almost for the asking, has the era of making weird plywood and scrap contraptions faded away?

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5 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Given the number of basically intact "normal" fiberglass boats that one could get almost for the asking, has the era of making weird plywood and scrap contraptions faded away?

No, not entirely. See, for example, the designs of Jim Michalak.

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14 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

I took the bait,and Google led me to https://mg.co.za/article/2011-01-21-who-is-hans-klaar/ 

 

BTW, here’s James Baldwin’s profile of Klaar, referenced in the linked article posted by robshookphoto above.

Hans Klaar Aboard the 51-foot Wharram Cat Rapa Nui

And another one, Hans Klaar on Building and Sailing the Polynesian Double Canoe Ontong Java (71 ft)

Whatever may or may be true about his personal life, I’ve got no damn idea.  But he apparently is a master catamaran builder/sailor.

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I met and got to know Tom and Nancy Zydler many years ago. They yanked the engine out of their 1961 37' Pearson Invicta, installed a scuba compressor and big sweeps, and took off. They crossed some oceans, wrote a lot of articles and published cruising guides. Characters both.

The Panama Guide: A Complete Guide to Cruising Panama and Transiting the Panama Canal: Zydler, Nancy Schwalbe, Zydler, Tom: 9781892399090: Amazon.com: Books

New cruising guides published by voyaging veterans - Ocean Navigator

Below pic is not of their boat Mollymawk, but a sistership

ON / A / BOAT V E S S E L

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1 hour ago, sugarbird said:

They yanked the engine out of their 1961 37' Pearson Invicta, installed a scuba compressor and big sweeps, and took off.

How could that possibly work? How do they power the compressor?

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2 hours ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Given the number of basically intact "normal" fiberglass boats that one could get almost for the asking, has the era of making weird plywood and scrap contraptions faded away?

What you call a contraption is a beautiful boat in the eye of the builder!

Normal fiberglass boat aren't that good at many unusual applications, such as sailing in very shallow waters or surviving a North Atlantic storm on a small boat. On top of this a well built plywood boat will either be stronger or lighter than a production solid glass boat. IMO as long as there will be dreamers, there will be backyard built plywood boats. Brittany seems a rather good breeding ground for dreamers.

93160369_o.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

How could that possibly work? How do they power the compressor?

Maybe it is an engine-driven compressor? YMMV on if you would rather have air or propulsion.

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9 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

What you call a contraption is a beautiful boat in the eye of the builder!

Normal fiberglass boat aren't that good at many unusual applications, such as sailing in very shallow waters or surviving a North Atlantic storm on a small boat. On top of this a well built plywood boat will either be stronger or lighter than a production solid glass boat. So as long as there will be dreamers, there will be backyard built plywood boats.

 

Chesapeake Lightcraft has a show/rendezvous about a mile from my house most years, so I get to see some really really nice home and kit built plywood boats.

https://www.clcboats.com/index.php

image.png.33b0294e8ffbeac4e9a32542df2c4502.png

image.png.e70536147705c7a57d95576adcca63c1.png

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They fill all kinds of niches for light and shallow draft boats. They are not fading away, so you are correct in that. They are NOT ocean going boats and most of them are not even bay going boats on a bad day. What I was specifically referring to was ocean going boats. At one time the odd contraptions that some have sailed across oceans existed because even a used production boat was far out of reach of many.

Now that is not the case at all.

 

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This will cross safely an ocean :

AA6F1868-632E-453E-9107-F37EB2FED764.jpe

4000€ sails included, try this with an old renovated fiberglass boat!

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29 minutes ago, kent_island_sailor said:

Chesapeake Lightcraft has a show/rendezvous about a mile from my house most years, so I get to see some really really nice home and kit built plywood boats.

https://www.clcboats.com/index.php

image.png.33b0294e8ffbeac4e9a32542df2c4502.png

image.png.e70536147705c7a57d95576adcca63c1.png

image.png.86f75420f3e84a2bc032033ce97643f2.png

They fill all kinds of niches for light and shallow draft boats. They are not fading away, so you are correct in that. They are NOT ocean going boats and most of them are not even bay going boats on a bad day. What I was specifically referring to was ocean going boats. At one time the odd contraptions that some have sailed across oceans existed because even a used production boat was far out of reach of many.

Now that is not the case at all.

 


I’d love to see the CLC show one day.  Check out the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Show if you’re ever out this way. 

Ah, don’t forget Rory MacDougal, who circumnavigated on his home built...drumroll...Wharram Tiki 21!  Incredible.  And then completed the Jester Challenge, west across the Atlantic, against the prevailing westerlies, and then back east to England...! http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?119861-Tiki-21-Rory-McDougall-crosses-Atlantic-both-ways-in-Cookie

But such craft are probably better suited (and in the hands of lesser mortals) to things like the Kraken Cup, the epic 500km race in ngalawas, traditional Zanzibarian “multihulls”, on the Tanzanian coast...

https://www.theadventurists.com/adventures/kraken-cup/#3

 

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9 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

This will cross safely an ocean :

AA6F1868-632E-453E-9107-F37EB2FED764.jpe

4000€ sails included, try this with an old renovated fiberglass boat!

The red boat or the blue boat? NFW am I going across an ocean in the red boat and the blue boat looks like a high windage nightmare offshore. I can do better than either one of them around here for that money.

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3 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

This will cross safely an ocean :

AA6F1868-632E-453E-9107-F37EB2FED764.jpe

4000€ sails included, try this with an old fiberglass renovated boat!

Solo and non-stop, Matt Rutherford rounded the Americas -- over the NW Passage, down the ironbound west coast, around Cape Horn -- in a donated Albin Vega. You can pick up a Vega (or even better, an Albin Cumulus 28) for beer money. So many other simple production GRP boats that will do as well: Pearsons, Bristols,  Cals, Irwins, Rangers....

 

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

The red boat or the blue boat? NFW am I going across an ocean in the red boat and the blue boat looks like a high windage nightmare offshore. I can do better than either one of them around here for that money.

The red one.

Free boats don't come ready for an ocean passage.

By the time you have bought new sails, checked the mast (likely changed the shrouds), checked the hull for watertightness (possibly changed portholes, seacocks etc...), checked the rudder (don't want to go cheap here!), checked the keel bolts, removed the engine (refurbishing it will cost quite a bit of money), chances are that you've burnt 4000€!

If not convinced, watch the first episodes of "Sailing Uma", OK you could be lucky and find a good boat but assuming you have the skills, the "barrel boat" is the quickest way to escape civilisation for a few thousands. Also here enough people value small seaworthy boats to keep prices up, so it will be hard to find a decent enough one for less than 5000€.

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1 hour ago, Diarmuid said:

Solo and non-stop, Matt Rutherford rounded the Americas -- over the NW Passage, down the ironbound west coast, around Cape Horn -- in a donated Albin Vega. You can pick up a Vega (or even better, an Albin Cumulus 28) for beer money. So many other simple production GRP boats that will do as well: Pearsons, Bristols,  Cals, Irwins, Rangers....

 

These boats are worth owning, but by the time you've brought them to "Ocean passage" standards, you've burnt at the very least 10 000€!

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26 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

These boats are worth owning, but by the time you've brought them to "Ocean passage" standards, you've burnt at the very least 10 000€!

That's the WHOLE POINT - the low budget cruisers just go. As long as the boat is not obviously sinking as she sits they're happy.

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30 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

The red one.

Free boats don't come ready for an ocean passage.

By the time you have bought new sails, checked the mast (likely changed the shrouds), checked the hull for watertightness (possibly changed portholes, seacocks etc...), checked the rudder (don't want to go cheap here!), checked the keel bolts, removed the engine (refurbishing it will cost quite a bit of money), chances are that you've burnt 4000€!

If not convinced, watch the first episodes of "Sailing Uma", OK you could be lucky and find a good boat but assuming you have the skills, the "barrel boat" is the quickest way to escape civilisation for a few thousands. Also here enough people value small seaworthy boats to keep prices up, so it will be hard to find a decent enough one for less than 5000€.

I wouldn't do any of that stuff if I was being cheap and if the only way I could go sailing was the barrel boat I would find a new hobby I could afford.

 

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4 hours ago, Panoramix said:

This will cross safely an ocean :

AA6F1868-632E-453E-9107-F37EB2FED764.jpe

4000€ sails included, try this with an old renovated fiberglass boat!

I'd classify that as a stunt boat.

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1 hour ago, kent_island_sailor said:

I wouldn't do any of that stuff if I was being cheap and if the only way I could go sailing was the barrel boat I would find a new hobby I could afford.

No doubt about this, but I don't think that you are like the typical budget cruiser,  the initial question was why some people would build an offshore plywood boat despite all the old boats.

I don't think that I would enjoy the barrel boat experience, nevertheless if I had to cross an ocean and had to choose between a free 1970s boat and a barrel boat, I would only choose the 1970s boat if I had the resources to refurbish it properly. The last thing you want offshore is a boat that falls apart. Skint people can be well organised, the owner of the red boat prepared his voyage properly (he sailed from Brittany to New Caledonia, now he's stuck there thanks to COVID).

If I wanted to go on a long voyage on a smallish boat, I think one of these would be on top of my list :

1280px-Armagnac_ni_gris_ni_vert.JPG

That's a lot more boat than Baluchon (the red one) and they will take care of their crew offshore, sadly for amateurs of cheap boats, I am not the only one thinking that these are good sea boats and here they sell for at least 15 000€. Spend 10 000€ on new sails plus preparation and off you go.That's the price to pay to be safe and relatively comfortable... IMO if you can't afford it, it is wise to choose safety over comfort and go for a well prepared smaller boat... the extreme being a "barrel boat" which is a workable solution.

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1 minute ago, SloopJonB said:

I'd classify that as a stunt boat.

Not really as it wasn't the shortest nor the lightest or whatever feature that get you in the Guinness book of records.

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On 12/28/2020 at 2:57 PM, Diarmuid said:

A right looker, too. :) Carries its house way forward on deck, yet manages to avoid the beluga effect. Bet that extra inverted buoyancy came in handy when he pitchpoled it! (Boat is a Rustler 36, apparently the model of choice for many GGR entrants.)

Fore guy moved aft and to windward to reduce pole compression with a trip lanyard on the afterguy trigger shackle 

good way to sail 

 

557F3F1C-4816-44AE-A98E-CFBB345A2B5D.jpeg

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1 hour ago, Panoramix said:

Not really as it wasn't the shortest nor the lightest or whatever feature that get you in the Guinness book of records.


I think he just feels that a small, simple boat works better for him.  Starts at 3:40 - you can translate better than I can:

The boat looks quite well made, in fact.  He’s no dummy.  Clearly, not beautiful by old school yacht design standards, which really pisses of some people (which is quite amusing :-) )  But clearly he’s prioritized lots of volume and light in his très petit boat with very limited 4m LOA.  Not bad!  He’s in New Caledonia...I’m not :-)  

 

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The thread is about low tech ocean cruisers, so why do these type of threads always turn into an endless stream of totally inappropriate boats? None of those CLC boats fit the description, nice as they are or that stupid little red thing. On the other hand, as has already been pointed out, there are thousands of older small boats from the 1960s to 1980s that can be had for peanuts languishing in marinas and boat yards the world over that with upgrade would fit the OPs description well. Most small boats were never meant as ocean cruisers so even when new would have needed some structural upgrades to suit the purpose  but this is the case with larger boats too. The funny thing is that while there used to be lots of suitable production boats built, say, 24' to 30' I cant think of many built today that would be, everything is either too sporty or horrible sailboats. A lot of those older cruiser/racers or racer/cruisers were actually very good sailing boats that will sail circles around most newer boats that would fit that description.

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On 12/28/2020 at 7:41 AM, Matagi said:

That's not a knife.

That's a knife:

yysw236436.jpg

Seems like the “danger” of these old full keeled sailboats — VDH’s from the recent GGR here— is that they’re so old, they seem to take a lot of money to upgrade everything to get them back into cruising shape.  Low-tech, though, yes.  I saw the one for sale from the Aussie who abandoned the GGR after a week or so —in the Canaries I think? - it was well over $100k.  Set up and ready to go, however, with lots of charts and 9 months worth of food too!!

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11 minutes ago, slug zitski said:

No such thing as cheap safety equipment , rigging , sails ....

 

Sure, but we’re talking about low-tech ocean cruising boats here.  $100k+ isn’t that “low-tech”...well, I guess it’s a bit of a false argument since GGR skippers are obliged to dump lots of $$ into their boats to meet race requirements to build in crash bulkheads, etc. etc., and to outfit to survive the Southern Ocean for months, which drives up the cost of their old boat refits.  A regular person buying an old Rustler 36, etc for a trade wind circumnavigation, without VDH’s undoubtedly large GGR refit budget, could probably do it a hell of a lot cheaper and have a good low-tech ocean cruiser.

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On ‎12‎/‎27‎/‎2020 at 6:51 PM, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

I agree.  Be interesting to see how he approached it.

I was infatuated with Cal 20s as budget ocean cruisers some years ago when I was doing what felt like an endless refit on our own “big” boat - being on my property, it was free to keep it there so, while I worked hard on it, I wasn’t in a giant hurry.  So - we bought a cheap 1967 Cal 20 just to have a boat to go out on.  Then, after reading about the Cal 20 “Black Feathers” that did the 2008 Singlehanded Transpac, I began to think quasi-seriously about doing the same, built a windvane for it, etc. and I re-rigged it per a book written by the skipper of “Black Feathers”.  (He also later wrote some articles for Small Craft Advisor magazine detail his prep: http://digitaleditions.walsworthprintgroup.com/publication/?i=47645&article_id=504640&view=articleBrowser )

I kept a Honda 2hp air cooled outboard in a big Rubbermaid plastic that fits in/under the cockpit locker.  Easy to just pull it out and pop it in the cockpit outboard well - another idea from Black Feathers.

7723E7FF-D5F8-4FAE-84AA-443F9204BD12.jpeg

Didn't he lose the rudder in that race?  Dave Martin circumnavigated in a modified Cal 25, good old boats.

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7 minutes ago, Steve said:

Didn't he lose the rudder in that race?  Dave Martin circumnavigated in a modified Cal 25, good old boats.

That’s right.  Amazingly, he had the original mahogany one (which broke).  And he carried a spare fibreglass one (backup steering required by race rules).

Yup - good memory.  There’s a Good Old Boat article somewhere about his complete rebuild/strengthening of the Cal 25 hull.

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@Panoramix, that Armagnac is a very tasty looking design.  I love the bulb keel on a boat of that vintage.

But it's still an old 28-footer.  I don't see how a plywood 28-footer is an inherently better choice than a GRP 28-footer of the same vintage such as an Albin Cumulus or a Ruffian.  In each case, it's a matter of condition

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Bulb keels go back a lot further than the 60's but you are right, its not inherently better or worse than a grp boat but suitable grp boats are more readily available.

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58 minutes ago, TwoLegged said:

@Panoramix, that Armagnac is a very tasty looking design.  I love the bulb keel on a boat of that vintage.

But it's still an old 28-footer.  I don't see how a plywood 28-footer is an inherently better choice than a GRP 28-footer of the same vintage such as an Albin Cumulus or a Ruffian.  In each case, it's a matter of condition

I don't think that it is inherently better than the good GRP boats you mention. It would be top of my list because it is a safe boat, with many left here, I could prepare one to a reliable boat I would trust and it is relatively fast. Bear in mind that I've already built a wooden boat, once a GRP boats starts to delaminate I would be useless whereas I could scarf back plywood to replace a rotten bit.

There are cheap boats in Brittany but those able to withstand an ocean tend to be more expensive. The old Dufour boats which would be the GRP equivalent of these plywood boats go for the same kind of money, may be a bit cheaper but not much.

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