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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sailing on a desolate shore



Looking over the destruction to the Northeast waterfront gave me a few ideas. We’ve all seen the boats piled up on shore, the devastated marinas, and the debris pulled out to sea. The destruction is bad, and a Northeaster is currently churning up the debris.

Imagine being in a sailboat and looking for a safe harbor. Good luck. Most modern sailors use plenty of shore services. Many cruisers rely on marinas heavily for fuel, water, food, and electrical power.

Fortunately, there are relatively few cruisers traveling the Northeast coast this time of year. I did read a report from one brave soul and things are pretty much as one would imagine them -not good.

What if things keep getting worse? The sea rises, storms become more frequent, larger, and building near the waterfront becomes a very bad idea. Different sorts of boats than what we have now would travel the coast. People would still travel on water, in spite of the risks. Hundreds of years ago mariners braved stormy uncharted coasts for adventure and profit.

There’s no need to reinvent the past. Rugged coastal sailing ships like the Crystal River Scow, would do the job nicely Maybe something based on Dave Z’s Triloboat. Squarish, flat bottomed boats with simple rigs would not need a lot of shore support.

A boat that can safely sit flat on the bottom during low tide can go places no deep keel boat can travel. Simply constructed of ordinary materials, they are independent of marinas and boat yards. No need to wait for a specialized carbon fiber and stainless steel do dad when a chunk of wood and a bit of line can do the job.

Smaller boats of similar construction would get in and out of tight spots not accessible from land. My active imagination can picture a small crew in a rugged little boat doing a lot of unofficial salvage.

Hopefully, my dystopic futuristic vision remains Science Fiction. There are less developed parts of the world where cruising in such a boat makes perfect sense. In fact, some of those areas still have traditional boats that meet their needs quite well.

Even in regions with fully equipped and staffed marinas, the budget sailor would do well to have a boat that doesn’t need those facilities. The coast gets a lot bigger in a boat that can go places others can’t.

The recent storms and coastal destruction got me thinking what kind of boat could most easily travel such a coast. Then I got to thinking such a boat doesn’t need a disaster to make sense.

-Sixbears


12 comments:

  1. I was fortunate to be able to build and live on such a yacht... called Shoestring. A shallow draft long keel that could be sat on in the mud or sand, a junk rig, no plumbing, an outboard motor in a well. It was built on a shoestring too... I very happily lived aboard her for six years before I took to the road...

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    1. That's exactly it! I've given the junk rig some study and like what I see.

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  2. Makes perfect sense for those who can swim and have sea legs.

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    1. Some of us are just naturally water people. It takes all kinds.

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  3. We had almost identical scows down here in the 1800s, used for fishing and coastal shipping.

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  4. That Warami catamaran described in Scott Williams book PULSE really sounded good to me. Shallow draft for bay waters and wide base to decrease yaw and pitch in the deep blue sounds good to me. I am a total Son of the Soil though - I know bupkus about boats.

    Sounds like a great way to get away from zombies. 8^) Thanks Six Bears

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    1. Those are great cats. Good well proven design. I really enjoyed PULSE, but it was sailor porn. :)

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  5. I'm OK on white water in a kayak. I soloed a catamaran off the gulf coast in Fla in a dead calm sea. But Lake Erie broke me of deep water. They called the conditions "swells"....No F'ing way... November on Erie is rough. I'll go under the water in a submersible, but deep water, top side in rough weather, nope. I'd rather do the Colorado,Ohio Pyle, and New River Gorge in the worst conditions, one after the other, than brave the deep stuff again. My hat is off to you guys, who can hang out there. All that said a little boat would be cool on some of our rivers round these parts.

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    1. I grew up a river rat on canoes and kayaks. My lovely wife grew up in big water on small power boats. She thinks living on a 19 foot sailboat is an upgrade.

      I enjoy it out there when it gets a bit lively. Good fun.

      We taught ourselves to sail only a few years ago in the Gulf of Mexico.

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  6. The trouble is you can't switch boats in the middle of he Gulf when bad weather suddenly comes up, so you have to have a boat that is a compramise.

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    1. Scows are underrated, but yes, you've got to pick the right boat for the job.

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