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Old 15-07-2014, 10:43   #1
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Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

G'day folks,

Nice to be back, though it's astounding how little has really changed. I festered on the fringes of the fogbank encircling Cruiser's Forum a little while and am daring the foaming reefs and sea monsters again.

Problem/Opportunity.

I've seen a boat I fell in love with. Logic is out, though lurking ominously.

It's a 1950's Atkin's Mink Atkin & Co. - Mink with 2 1/2 circumnavigations, and has been a family home, and was refit late 2013 (why refit if it's a junker). I'm upgrading from no boat, and sooner or later it will be done, even if they have to shove a seaworthy coffin off the shore with me in it and the tiller lashed.

I realise an old wooden gaffer has maintenance as its middle name and would need to be treated as the stately old lady she is (I'm hoping she isn't also a harridan in dire need of combustion).

Originally I was set on self-building junk-rigged in steel; which still would not be out of the question, but that has potential to remain dream/wish morphing to regret, easily. This vessel is attainable, NOW.

So, thanks to the wise counsel of experienced sailors (yes, here; and some of us listen to the salty old elves of the sea, so keep speaking, dear old elves) to buy used rather than build, and to "go small, go now"; I'm seriously considering snapping up this boat or another suitable one, and preparing her and myself for the life afloat.

The temptation to rip the stick out and stick in a junk yawl rig (hull is 30 feet long so junk schooner rig is not sensibly suitable, and yet the versatility of balancing of two junk sails hasn't been driven from my mind) is dying fast, since it would be akin to sacrilege to defile this old gal like that. I'd mutilate a GRP Folkboat or similar seaworthy hull like that, but then I wouldn't be the first to repurpose a Folkboat even though I'm certainly not in the same sailing galaxy as the late Col. Hasler. So, I'd stick with her ballgown as she's been wearing it so well so long, and adapt and learn. Oh, how I'd learn, britches down and birch switches aplenty...

Next to last thing before the sledging begins; I've tried to anonymise it as best as possible but seeing as how Minks are not numerous, anyone with a little bit of time could easily find out which one and where, and I don't want the current owners' privacy infringed, nor do I want some other scoundrel snatching her away if avoidable (I have an auger bit and am exceedingly jealous about my woman, so think about it). So, until better advice comes through, let's keep the precise identity stuff out of it. You've got more than enough fuel to singe my beard already, so have at it for better or worse, after I've said

I'd be buying with a survey but sight unseen, and maintain her at her moorings or vicinity for a year or two until I get loose ends straightened out here. Imaginary shades of unscrupulous brokers, desperate sailors, deathtrap boats, the neutral cruel sea, and the ever-hungry shore bandits of every stripe haunt my dream; and yet, what is adventure without risk, courage without vanquished fear, and freedom without cost? Illusions and traps and hypocrisy, and the crowd that flocks to those hollow sideshows will die anyway, probably on Facebook even. My life is in The Lord's hands, but would this be tempting Him too far?

(cringes into No.1 bucket, souwester on and marlinspike at the high port)
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Old 15-07-2014, 10:53   #2
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

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(cringes into No.1 bucket, souwester on and marlinspike at the high port)
That's a very, uh, venerable boat, and is by implication of "2.5 circs", well-used. I would question, other than a daysailing curiosity, how much life is left in it for enthusiastic sailing. I would also question yourself if you have the semi-advanced carpentry skills (and the specialized tools...caulking iron, anyone? A source for oakum?) needed, as I consider wooden boats beautiful, but essentially in a permanent state of slowly sinking.

If your last name is Pardey, of course, ignore the above as you already know what you are in for. Were it me, however, and I liked wooden boat lines, I would simply get something from the first 10 years (roughly 1960-70) of FG boat construction, when most pocket cruisers maintained the lines (along with overgenerous layup) of their wooden predecessors.

Now, if it's being given to you, along with a shipwright's toolbox, that's a different value proposition.
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Old 15-07-2014, 11:49   #3
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

Thanks for the near-instant reply, Rhys. And I was just reading your blog too, after I tripped over the link in one of the threads here; how about coincidence! Must be all those electrons you've been herding about.

Yes, I'm iffy about the wooden boat, that's why I posted. It would certainly be an adventure, but I'm not keen on suicide, or throwing money into a hole in the water without it staying acceptably near the surface long enough to sail it without going loopy (/ier).

The prudent part of me also says get old-school GRP and modify that, but this Mink (Minx?) cropped up unexpectedly. She would not be fast, and was never meant to be; I'd love to hear from an experienced wooden boat sailor/shipwright about the pros and cons. I'm long sold on steel, and would be delighted to take Alchemy off your hands if you have a sudden fit of generous insanity. I've seen a steel boat or two in my budget range that have the desired specs, but also with an annoying "SOLD" sign, that I didn't get to put there.

Still, the Mink is there, and would it be reasonable to expect her to continue coastal sailing, or is she best kept as carefully and cautiously as possible (swimming distance from shore and weather to match)?
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Old 15-07-2014, 14:58   #4
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

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Thanks for the near-instant reply, Rhys. And I was just reading your blog too, after I tripped over the link in one of the threads here; how about coincidence! Must be all those electrons you've been herding about.

Yes, I'm iffy about the wooden boat, that's why I posted. It would certainly be an adventure, but I'm not keen on suicide, or throwing money into a hole in the water without it staying acceptably near the surface long enough to sail it without going loopy (/ier).

The prudent part of me also says get old-school GRP and modify that, but this Mink (Minx?) cropped up unexpectedly. She would not be fast, and was never meant to be; I'd love to hear from an experienced wooden boat sailor/shipwright about the pros and cons. I'm long sold on steel, and would be delighted to take Alchemy off your hands if you have a sudden fit of generous insanity. I've seen a steel boat or two in my budget range that have the desired specs, but also with an annoying "SOLD" sign, that I didn't get to put there.

Still, the Mink is there, and would it be reasonable to expect her to continue coastal sailing, or is she best kept as carefully and cautiously as possible (swimming distance from shore and weather to match)?
Unless one is a hobbyist boatwright, I personally would hesitate to get into 60 year old wood at any price. A guy I know has a 1924 R-Boat that he has redone EVERY frame on...and this is in freshwater. He builds a vast supported and heated tent every winter and just does glasswork...I don't know how much original tree is left in it, but he does beautiful work.

Alchemy's not for sale: I haven't finished rebuilding her. How about a 1973 Viking 33? Still a bit of a hotrod, but gradually becoming surplus to my needs.
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Old 15-07-2014, 15:07   #5
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

You must not wander off and leave a wood boat on its own. If (like me) wood is mandatory to your happiness.. Make a plan you can accomplish and stick to and take the plunge. Be prepared to eventually be overmatched in the end, but its bliss while it lasts. You must understand what your getting into.
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Old 15-07-2014, 16:04   #6
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

As a toy and an endless project, I would go for it.

If the intent is any serious offshore sailing, I would not touch it.

b.
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Old 15-07-2014, 17:12   #7
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

Micah, if I understand your proposition, you would be buying her and leaving her some distance away from your location... for a couple of years.

If this is so, I'd be against the purchase, for one truth about traditional woodies is their need for continuous appraisal and maintenance, even if not sailed frequently. Worm and other woodivores are always hungry, and small breaches in your antifouling can lead to disaster. Caulking can fail without warning, fresh water ingress (from rain or leaking tanks) can introduce dry rot with major repercussions... and so on.

I'm not against wood, not at all, for I own a boat made of it (albeit of modern construction and not carvel planked), but I fear that your sense of aesthetics and tradition might lead to the demise of this old gal.

If you can't get her to your immediate location, leave her for someone else.

good luck,

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Old 16-07-2014, 10:04   #8
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

Thanks guys, you've been a great help.

You're right: if I bought the old gal right now she'd be left to her devices too long and likely suffer an accident. She's been around the rock 2 1/2 times and had untold adventures and kept her crew safe, and deserves a quiet retirement paddock and tlc from an expert; not be put through the wringer by an amateur woodwouse.

I'll mull it over a bit and get back in contact with the folks and let them know exactly why the sale won't be to me, and wish them and the old Mink and her future custodian the best. She's one in a million, but the wise old sea elves are correct and it would indeed be foolishness (though they were very polite not to state it so openly) and an injustice to the old boat; and there are more millions of boats to choose from, at the right time and place.

Ok, since you scruffy lot aren't about to hand over your fine costly boats to me gratis (correct me if I'm wrong, I'm happy to help an ailing sailor in his hour of need), and have saved me from inflicting calamity upon myself and a piece of cruising history, I'll hold this against you and hit you up for more advice when the time comes.

The current owners are upgrading, so if there's a proper salt willing to keep this veteran alive and help fellow cruisers along the way, here's the ad that got me so close to a conniption:

Boats for Sale, Yachts for Sale

Dagnabbit, I need a boat!
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Old 16-07-2014, 12:01   #9
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

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Dagnabbit, I need a boat!
There's no shortage of boats on which you can learn how to a) sail and b) do maintenace, particularly at the 30 foot or under level. One of the very few advantages of being a young person today is that the Baby Boomers who will negate your pensions are leaving sailing on foot or via coffin at a rapid rate, or are just able to afford that 40 foot trawler that is more comfortable for geezers. Hence, boat yards and clubs are littered with "make an offer" Good Old Boats full of brown plaid interiors and dodgy looking Atomic 4s and even more suspect gate valve seacocks.

They are, if unsunk, generally fine. They are, if methodically repaired and upgraded, perfect for a guy just getting into sailing.

Make an offer. But here's the thing: they aren't broker-vended, because a) they don't sell and b) there's little margin if they do. Some old sailors are not going to grasp Craigslist or other means of sailing: they DO grasp a little orange FOR SALE sign and photocopied notices on yacht club corkboards.

So look and see if you can't get a 26-30-footer from the '70s in worn, dirty but functional shape for $3-4K. There's a couple at my club right now.
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Old 17-07-2014, 09:47   #10
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

Rhys, Valiente looks very tasty indeed. A question; does that lovely curvy coachroof make for slippery footing wet and heeled, or is it better than the more usual squared off style? I imagine one could find a very comfy spot in the angles. The folding dinghy looks very neat as well.

Here's an boat I'd certainly go for right now:
Westerly Centaur for sale - Yachtsnet Ltd. online UK yacht brokers - yacht brokerage and boat sales

I particularly like the presentation of the ad, with plenty of info and pics. Having seen enough boatyards and boats to guess at some of the, er, interesting objects in some ads I've seen of late, there's a lot of caveat from this emptor. Now, I'll be investigating the various places and ways of getting such a boat, and importing it to NZ or Australia (preferably NZ). One interesting cunning plan would be to put all my stuff in storage and crew on OPB's and save money and learn, and also use that travel time to collect contacts and look at a boat for me. Can one find Centaurs in NZ???

Also, I'll start looking at how to convert to junk yawl rig; on the Centaur above, my initial impression would be to restep the mainmast to just forward of the existing fore hatch, add a mizzen with a wraparound cage/boomkin off the stern, and beef up the rudder and skeg. It would be tricky getting the CLR/CE right, but junk rig is so adjustable so it is not as finicky as the standard NATO marconi.

There are a few steel hulls ready for fitout that I've come across, but nothing I'd consider owning. I wonder if the diesel on a boat like the Centaur could be used to drive an electric motor for use as a generator, and also have that electric motor hooked to the propshaft; diesel/electric. That would make a handy portable generating unit for working on the next boat in steel.

But, one thing at a time. Perhaps Jetski Man could be persuaded his profligate waste of cashiola on that dock is obscene and that the funds would be much better spent. I'd be happy to assist in brainstorming solutions.
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Old 17-07-2014, 14:15   #11
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Re: Micah's Folly...why not, and why anyway...

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Rhys, Valiente looks very tasty indeed. A question; does that lovely curvy coachroof make for slippery footing wet and heeled, or is it better than the more usual squared off style? I imagine one could find a very comfy spot in the angles. The folding dinghy looks very neat as well.
The folding boat is coming to our passagemaker, alas. Too handy to leave behind. The curved coachroof can be a touch slippery, but one gets used to it!

The Centaur's a decent boat. I can't recall if it has bilge keels, but that's useful in more places than just Europe. Germany, France and Holland are where the best metal boats come from, so don't give up hope you won't find something good enough for Cape Horn.
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