Thinking boating

Another week, another umming and aahing about boats. Thinking about boats, watching videos about boats, drawing boats. It’s a new hobby of mine. Soon I will actually get to sail a boat!
Can you imagine the hilarity if I end up hating sailing…

What was I thinking about? It was about my lovely little design for the Salmo 19′. I spent a long time looking at the plans for the boat, sketching out bits and pieces and working out how much it was all going to cost. Including any modifications that I would need to make to help it fit onto the most economical amount of plywood. Turns out I would have to reduce the sides by a hundred milimetres to fit all the pieces on the fewest plywood sheets.

Then I imagined living on it. Seems stupid that after all this time I never actually considered living on the boat I was hoping to build. Turns out I think it would be pretty horrible actually, like perpetually camping in the rain. Salty rain at that. With nowhere dry to go. It turns out that the most boat I can build for my budget is just not enough boat. Three thousand pounds is a lot of money to spend on somewhere I cant even sleep comfortably in (At least it seems a lot when I am trying to save it up!)

I want a boat that I could comfortably live in for months and months. I am just not going to be able to manage that. I think there has been another use for my hundreds of hours thinking about and drawing boats, even if I am not going to build one at the moment. Even the hundred or so pounds I spent on the plans and Junk rig book were well spent because I feel now that I have  a greater appreciation of what some of the different aspects of a boat actually mean.

I used to think that a boat was basically a little box with a sheet attached that got blown around by the wind. Now, after all that effort learning I can appreciate how little I actually know about boats. If it seems like a bit of a long way round to realise that you don’t know much then think again. If I were to think that I understood the full amount of anything immediately it means that, either it is really simple (and therefore hardly worth devoting effort to), or I have failed to grasp the subtleties of something that, in this case, cound actually get me killed!

Even though I will not be building a boat for the forseeable future does not mean the time thinking about it was wasted, because now I feel a little over prepared for the rather more simple task of merely choosing a boat to buy.

If only it were so simple….

I have been scouring trademe.com (The New Zealand version of ebay) on a regular basis. Turns out the turnover of boats is pretty slow, which is good for me if one catches my eye. Follow this link if you are interested.

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/CategoryAttributeSearchResults.aspx?search=1&cid=31&sidebar=1&rptpath=1-348-&222=&224=&47=5000&47=9000&153=&52=0&52=15000&searchRegion=100&sidebarSearch30_keypresses=4&sidebarSearch30_suggested=0

My parameters are a yacht between 5 and 9 metres and up to $15,000. My actual budget is more like $6000 but there is not specific option for that. It is good to see that there are around fifty boats within my price range, so a good bit of choice. What I am mainly considering at the moment is the correct balance between condition and size. Within my price range there are the full range of boat sizes, but of course the larger ones are the ones that require the most work, and I don’t want to have to do any work at all.

So do I want a slightly smaller boat in excellent condition or a larger one that will need more maintenance?

I am leaning towards the small but sound option. I find myself a averse to complication (no doubt one of the things that makes me want to try this lifestyle in the first place) and I have absolutely no interest in gambling. A small, good condition boat with a swing keel and enough foredeck to strap a kayak or two to is preferable to roomy yet leaky (or one of the other potentially infinite repair jobs a yach throws up constantly)

My thinking is this. Plus sides: if the boat is cheap then I will have more money and be able to cruise for longer. If the boat is in good condition then it will require less time and money in repairs so will be cheaper so I will have more money to cruise for longer. If my boat is small (between 18 and 20 feet long) then it will be cheap and in good condition. You get the idea.
Down side: If my boat is small then I can fit fewer friends on it.
Thats the only downside as far as I can see it. Looks like ‘they’ might have to get their own boat…

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