Hello Wendy and all
Early in our conversation I made the outrageous statement that modern “cruising yachts” are grievously under-rigged because they aren't really cruising yachts at all, but mere racing
yachts doing the best they can to serve in a rôle for which their genetic inheritance makes them ill suited.
Building on that theme I thot I'd post a clip of a Galway hooker racing
off the west coast
. These hookers are so absolutely lovely to look at that they bring tears to my eyes :-) And as you will see, they carry a huge amount of canvas
and do it well. Later, I'll put before you some thoughts about “rigs for cruisers”.
The hookers are relevant to what you wish to do for a number of reasons: They evolved to handle the waters of the Irish west coast
, the coasts of Connemara and Galway. The water
there is as unforgiving as are the waters off the Hebrides and off the coast of Norway
. Hookers are about 40 feet in length, i.e. they are the very size that you are contemplating, though they are of a rig and of a “model” (hull shape) that it is unlikely you will have contemplated heretofore. They are commodious because their purpose was to carry cargo. Obviously, if they can carry cargo enuff to earn their keep, they could, if decked, easily carry all the furniture and clobber that a cruising woman needs :-).
Apart from being open boats, sans a deck
, they differ significantly from “modern cruisers” by the fact that they DON'T have keels, in the sense we've become accustomed to thinking of keels, and they carry their ballast within their hulls rather than bolted on underneath. This makes them able to “take the ground”, i.e. to be run up on the beach, wherefore they don't need travel lifts and other fancy, expensive boat
for such simple tasks as scraping barnacles
and bottom painting. You do that right on the beach at low tide. This is a time-honoured method called “careening”. If you don't finish on one tide, you just wait for the next. I have bottom-painted many a boat
on a “tide grid” which comes to the same thing. Surely, if you are wanting to go cruising on a budget
where the coconuts grow, the ability to “take the ground” would be a boon?
However, as hookers are open boats, you can obviously swamp them and have them sink under you. The remedy for that is obvious: Just deck
the boat! I believe that one of them has, if fact, been decked over and fitted out for cruising, though I haven't been able to find pictures of her. Well now, if you do do that, then in many respects you have something that approximates the “pilot cutters” of yore, such as the Falmouth Cutter
of which Larry and Lin Pardy's Seraffyn is the best known modern example. The working Falmouth pilot boats were also 40 feet in length or a little better. Seraffyn is a scaled down, modernized version, designed by Lyle Hess. The Pardys took her around the world in the 1960s, as you probably already know, and they did it without an engine
. Seraffyn's progenitors, the pilot cutters of the English Channel
, had evolved to keep the sea in any weather
on one of the worst coasts anywhere. So does that not speak well for the Falmouth Cutter
as a generic type for cruising?
And, similarly, Colin Archer's famous “Redningsskoite” (“rescue vessel” in English) of a hundred and thirty years ago (also a tad more than 40 feet in length) was in essence a decked hooker. These boats had the dual purpose firstly of taking pilots to “windbags” (big square-rigged cargo ships) that were waiting off-shore to be guided into harbour, and secondly (and even more importantly on THAT coast!) of standing out to sea, pounding, close hauled, into wind
and wave, to rescue
people from merchantmen in trouble on the craggy Norwegian coast when the wind
comes tearing down from Iceland
howling like a thousand demented banshees! A yacht designer
by the name of William Atkin, a modest man who didn't claim to be a “naval architect” by styled himself as a mere “yacht designer”, produced a number of crusing yachts based on the Redningsskoite. Of these, his “Ingrid” design may well be the one of which the greatest number has been built, and “Ingrid”s are frequently available for a modest dollar.
All the above, and the clip of American Mor, is support of my contention that modern cruising boats are under-rigged or, as I like to say, “permanently reefed”. You will note that all the types I have cited have, in their full sail-plan, substantially more canvas
than do modern boats. In further support of that contention, I will, in the next few days, as opportunity affords, post for you some sail plans of representative vessels.