Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Why build a boat?
We have outgrown our boat.
After 13 fine years daysailing and camp-cruising in a 70's model South Coast 22, it is time to move on. My wife and I and our two girls, three and five, with their growing bodies and huge spirits, are taking up more room than that little cabin can hold.
Any rational person would just go buy a bigger one. Boats are cheap, right? You can never build a boat as cheaply as you can buy one. Then there is the time spent building it and you don't get all the extra gear that often comes with a bought boat.
True enough. However, my reasons for doing this are a combination of features you cannot get in a production boat.
1. Ultra Shoal Draft.
Our SC22 drew 9". You get spoiled to that kind of accessibility to the world. Boats that stick several feet down in the water are limited as to the kinds of gunkholes they can poke into. Yes, you can get centerboard boats, but that trunk inside conflicts with the next feature I crave...
2. Interior Space.
When the boat is your home, even temporarily, everyone wants to have as much space inside as possible. Most production boat designs have the racer and daysailor more in mind than family camping.
Living inland as we do, we have to either trailer a boat or be an absentee owner of a bigger boat down at the coast, with all the expense and hassle it entails. Not right now, thanks.
4. Quick Setup at the Ramp.
Most trailer sailors take ages to set up and get going at the ramp. This has been my biggest gripe with the old boat. The stays are an unmanageable plate of spaghetti, The mast has to be wrestled about like a dead pig and gets a terrible mind of its own on the way up and down. The mast crutch goes in the rudder gudgeons, so you have to carry the rudder assembly (another dead pig) in the truck to switch places with the crutch after the mast goes up, etc. How I envy those power boaters!
5. Dumbed-Down Sailing.
The labor intensive parts of sailing, like reefing, changing headsails, and tending jib sheets are fun when it's a skipper and and his trusty A.B. but when there are two little kids aboard, they have to either stay below, isolated from the action, or be in the way all the time. I want something that requires a little less from me, even if I have to give up a lot of performance.
Perhaps more important than all these is this: I WANT to build a boat. It isn't rational. It isn't very economical. But how many of the things we want are???