Monday, December 21, 2015


I've been dreaming about a different boat.  Altair and I have gone many miles that she hasn't always wanted to go, and I have been frustrated by a number of things in my boat.  I've come up with a list (and checking it twice) of things I'd like to have in a dream boat.  Would you like to hear?
Ericson 27 drawing on
1) Space for toys.  Altair is small, and so there isn't much space for anything, but I have found that in pretty much every boat I've seen cruising around, the original designers put a bunch of space in for people, but not for toys.  Altair was designed to sleep 5 people!  I think there needs to be a reality check there.  In this picture you can see the different berths for people to sleep in, and I have changed the boat around a huge amount in order to make it more usable for cruising. I made the double berth in the front into a storage spot, the Setee berth on the port side (upper in the drawing) is all part of the galley, and the starboard settee is now a bigger berth for two.  In addition, I have a kayak hanging off the port side of the outside of the boat, and three surfboards hang off of the railing on the starboard side.  Then we have a dinghy that goes on the front deck.  So toys basically have taken over the whole boat from the outside view.  Ericson didn't include a place to put things (like a dinghy) in the original design.  OK, so I want more space for toys.

2) An Engine Room.  Altair has the engine crammed under the stairs and if there is a problem, the oil drains down into the bilge to smell up the whole boat, any exhaust leaks go into the cabin to asphyxiate any humans there, and it is really noisy.  I can imagine an engine room that has its own bilge, lots of noise reducing insulation and a separate air ducting that keeps any smell or carbon monoxide away from the living space.  A CO2 fire system could also be installed and if you set it off, it would flood the engine room with CO2 and put out a fire, but not make the entire boat un-livable.  So I want an Engine Room.

3) Easy to put things away and go sailing.  I like sailing, so I want to be able to do that, and quickly.  Right now on Altair I have to put the dinghy away (or leave it behind) and that is a pain in the butt.  Also, the surfboards on the side are not the most seaworthy, and it would be nice to have them safe from getting hit by big waves.  The solution is really the first goal: Space for toys, but easy to get in and out from.

4) A diesel Electric system.  I want to have an electric drive motor to push the boat because it is easy to maintain...  There isn't much to break on an electric motor.  The diesel generator can then be put in an engine room and into a box to keep it quiet, and out of the way.

Ok, so I have these goals, and I have been thinking about a design that would accommodate them.  First of all, a super wide transom has the benefit of having lots of room in the back to put a dinghy garage (a little compartment in the back that you can stuff all your goodies into)  Here is an example of a wide transom: (from
Also to note is that there are two rudders on this boat (an open 60 race boat) and so there is lots of room in between the two rudders for stowing stuff.  They aren't using that room at all on this open 60, but just keeping it open for walking around.  I would make the cockpit nice and high, and have a cave under the cockpit that would be completely watertight and have a nice big wave-proof door on the back and lots of fun watertoys inside.

Forward of the cockpit I would put the living space, in the shape of a rectangle, with a wall (bulkhead) that completely seals off the space in front and behind the living space.  So there would be three sections to the boat; the Aft compartment which includes the garage, the living space in the middle, and the forward section which would include the engine room, the head, a storage room, and then the chain locker (as you go forward).  The Engine room would be right over the keel, centrally located and well insulated from the living space, and also it would have one of those waterproof doors to go to and from the living space.  The head (bathroom) would be next to the engine room, and have a shower and also a waterproof door, so you could take a shower and not worry about steaming up the boat or filling the bilge in the main cabin.  I would hope the bilge in the main cabin would stay completely dry.

I'm working on this design and thus far I have a plan for building it out of aluminum, so it would be all chunky and lots of flat surfaces, but I can also imagine it being made of fiberglass.  Unfortunately, I don't want to build it myself, nor do I have the funds to do so.  I'd rather find a hull that is acceptable for my goals and modify it to work, but I don't know if that is possible, since this wide transom design with two rudders is a more modern idea.
Here's a screen shot of the basic shape, but there are no rudders, no keel, no deck, no cockpit deck, and not back garage door.  It wouldn't have a giant open cavity on the back, but that is just for showing how big I'd like the garage to be.

Fire twirling in Virginia

 I'm not in Mexico right now.  In fact, I'm not really that close to the ocean at all...   We flew up to Lindsay's hometown, in Richmond, Virginia, for Christmas.  It is packed full of food and family and last night.... Fire!  I got a few pictures and figured I could share them.