Saturday, November 03, 2012

Need/Want Meets Boat Building

Mind the gap, Kurt Hughes (ace multihull designer) comments on the "Tiny House" movement, and about those zombie ideas...

So, the question for today is why exactly should you build a cruising boat?

It's not really because it's a way to save money as older, perfectly good plastic boats are everywhere and can be had for a song,

Fact is, just about the only real reason to build a boat to go cruising in is because you have some special needs and can't sort them out any other way.

For example, there are simply bugger all shoal draft boats around in the used boat market. Now, by shoal, I mean S-H-O-A-L and that is something of three feet or under. I won't bother to go into the whole superior seaworthiness of real shoal draft boats over their deep draft brethren but if you want a seaworthy boat with a draft of less than three feet the only way you're going to find it is to build it yourself.

Tad Roberts' 27-inch draft Future Cruiser
The same thing applies if you have some special need... Let's say you want to work while you cruise and you'd like to build surfboards or somesuch as you go. Building surfboards necessitates a workshop of sorts and stowage of materials to build surfboards from (because you are not going to find any surfboard blanks in the Caribbean) you really need a cargo type of boat and pretty much the only way you're going to find that is to build it yourself...
George Buehler's Cargo Schooner, Mel
I'm sure you can come up with scenarios yourself of various boat designs that are simply not available to buy because they are too specialized to make sense in a mass production world. The thing is, where it makes sense to build it yourself is when the boat you need, and you really have to apply a rigorous need/want equation here, is simply not available so you need to build it yourself.

Now I'll admit that I've skipped over all those people who simply like building boats and whose idea of heaven is twenty years and a big pile of wood... I get that. Most folks reading this want a boat in the near future or somewhat sooner because they want a boat to go cruising on and being Boat Bits readers that also, more than likely, means they want it affordable as well.

Listening to Guy Clark

So it goes...