What Does This Build Mean to Me?

“So much wasted time.” – The final words of the actor and singer David Cassidy.

What do I want from a boat?  Well, let’s set the stage.

There is a time in your life for building dreams for the future, to think big, a time for your ambitions to push toward a universe of grand possibilities of beauty, adventure, awareness, and connection.  Journey far beyond the mundane.  Experience life fully.  Express. Create.  Explore.  Be aware.

But before you know it, there will be a dawning awareness of the limits of time, a sense you will never accomplish more than a fraction of your dreams and longings.  You will age.  Don’t cripple yourself with regret.  Pause, but for just a moment. Reflect, re-prioritize, then push onward into the beautiful glow of your possibilities and the absolute wonder that is life.

So what does that mean for me right now?

Within ten years or so I will be at a point where my passing will no longer be met with the sad lament of, “He died so young”.  This December I will fully retire from my 44-year career in classical music radio.   At that point, I will be two years older than my father when he died and twenty years older than his father when he died.

It is time to reflect.  Then… push forward for my next challenge.

To that end, as a part of that adventure, it’s time to build another boat.

Why?   I love the thrill of exploration in a boat I made from scratch.  I made this, and look where it’s taken me!  I love it as I drift off to sleep in a beautiful cove, or when I turn a corner on an unexplored river or slough.  Total bliss.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear, for newer and richer experience.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

«It is within us all, it is our mysterious longing to accomplish something, to fill life with something more than a daily journey from home to the office and from the office home again. It is our ever-present longing to surmount difficulties and dangers, to see that which is hidden, to seek the places lying away from the beaten track; it is the call of the unknown, the longing for the land beyond, the divine power deeply rooted within the soul of man; it is this spirit which drove the first hunters to new places and the incentive for perhaps our greatest deeds – the force of human thought which spreads its wings and flies where freedom knows no bounds». – Nansen

But which boat?  I’ve spent way too long on that decision and it is clearly time for me to act.  What is the holdup?  In part, it is because there are so many boats and so little time.  In the end, for a decision, I need to answer these questions:
  • Where do I want to go?
    • Calmer rivers and sloughs
    • Puget Sound, Columbia River, San Juans – I live in a boating paradise and want a boat that can give me access to it.  Maybe it can still do sloughs, but if not, I’ll get a kayak or something.  This means a boat that would be close to off-shore capable, ideally.
  • Power source
    • Sail – probably this, with an outboard.  I love the quiet beauty of a sailboat.
    • Power
      • Electric – I like this, but know from experience that batteries don’t like to sit.  I drive electric cars and I did in the early 80s.  I support them, and I know that a boat with enough batteries is VERY expensive.
      • Gas
  • Style of boat
    • Dinghy Cruising
    • Enclosed – probably enclosed.  See “level of adventure” below.  Also, I want to sail in the rain.
  • How do I transport the boat?
    • Trailer – my existing car isn’t rated to tow.  But, I would tow up to 600 pounds, or so.  Or, I have to borrow my son’s truck.  Or rent.  Or buy.  This all means, ideally, I would build a boat my Prius could tow.  But I won’t let that limit me if I find an otherwise ideal boat.
    • Car top
    • Moorage
  • Level of adventure/Boat capability
    • Calm and clear, then run for shore if the weather changes
    • A Boat capable of withstanding a good blow – I feel better if I can venture out knowing my boat can take what comes.  I’d prefer a boat that can handle a modest Puget Sound storm.  Honestly, one of my best memories of boating was aboard a friend’s sailboat when a wind storm came up.  He was worried about losing his mast, I was having a ball.  Ever since I’ve loved the idea of going out in a strong wind KNOWING my boat and I would be OK.  There’s a certain thrill in that!  And did I mention rain? 😉
  • Level of detail in the construction
    • Quick build
    • “Oh, my god.  That is amazing”… build. – It’s not in my nature to do things this way, but there is a part of me that wants to try.

OTHER GIVENS:

  • Needs to hold at least two people.
  • Needs to sleep at least one, ideally two.
  • Much of the build should be able to fit in my one car garage.
  • I have to love the very idea of the boat.

CANDIDATES:

At this point, I am down to two options.  That may or may not change. Sigh. 😉

In every kind of dream purchase, there is an array of options ranging from the economy model, something along the lines of a used 6-year-old Nissan Leaf.  Then there is the dream vehicle, perhaps a top of the line Tesla.  Let’s look at the Tesla of my boating dreams first.

SOURICEAU 4.75m

The designer says: In 2012, she has crossed the Atlantic ocean from Canarias to French West Indies! We can say she is a seaworthy micro-cruiser. But the aim of the project is more to be used as a pocket coastal cruiser for 2 persons. About 500 hours are required to build her. Souriceau 4,75m can be sailed with your family in coastal navigations.

Duckworks says: Anyone can master the simple and strong construction method used for Souriceau. The boat is plywood built over a form using fiberglass and epoxy resin. Optionally, the boat can be built over her bulkheads. The entire boat is covered with a thin epoxy/glass coat. The hull is made with 9mm panels – with the option of chines for a more classic form. Build her in your garage and then put yourself in the videos above.

Souriceau roughly translated means “very young Mouse”. Eric Henseval has designed this singular boat with micro cruising in mind. Microcruising can be thought of as sailing in small, seaworthy boats with simplicity. Whether the route is short or long, these little boats always provide wonderful voyages in an economical and simple way. Souriceau was designed to go anywhere, whether it is the Chesapeake Bay, the Danube River or the Gulf of Morbihan. You could even cross an ocean by way of the trade winds (with much more comfort than the Berque brothers).

Souriceau Specifications

Lenght over all : 5.00 m – 16′ 5″
Hull lenght: 4.75m – 15′ 7″
Lenght at DWL : 4.75 m – 15′ 7″
Beam max.: 2.20 m – 7′ 2.5″
Draft max. : 1.35 m – 4′ 5″
Draft min. : 0.57 m – 22.5″
vertical and retractable keel
2 Berths
Galley and chart table
2 coupled tillers: one inside and one outside
Displacement : 530 kg – 1168 lbs.
Ballast keel : 120kg – 265 lbs.
Sail area : 18 m2 – 194 sf
TRANSPORTABLE, unsinkable
Built in glass-epoxy-plywood

BoatBuilding.Shop Editor says:  Wow.  That is one sexy boat.  Clearly capable.  Meets all my requirements listed above, though it could be a bit heavy for my Prius, which would mean borrowing my son’s truck.  It could really be towed by any car that could handle 1500 pounds or so.

Slightly Less Sexy Beast.  More… adorable:  Guiclemanac’h, which about a year and a half ago I KNEW I was going to build next.  It is still a top contender, maybe even number one.

Guiclémanac’h, My Next Boat Build

In the end:  I need to move forward.  I WILL decide soon.

And the odds are I’ll have second thoughts no matter which way I go! 😉

That’s OK, there are no bad choices here.

 

4 Comments

  1. Great read Bryan! Thanks for sharing. It certainly gives us all food for thought as we contemplate these things.

  2. If you really believe either boat will be fine, then toss a coin. It seems most people, when it comes down to it, find they might actually be rooting for one over the other before the coin lands. If thats not the case, you win either way.
    The Souriceau probably has a better righting moment and sailing performance, i have looked at both. I already have plans for the Hartley TS16, and i had a drop daggerboard keel drawn up for it with ring-frame support. They are well known for the ability to plane off-wind in the right conditions, and have a good carry capacity. Good luck with your build, whatever you decide.

    • by... Team Boatbuilding

      I hear ya, though last night I went to bed and it was Guiclémanac’h. This morning, as I woke up, it was Souriceau. They have similarities, but some significant differences. Life will go on, whichever way I go. I do need to decide before too long. Time is a wastin’.

  3. Your Prius will tow 1500 lbs — I towed a siren 17 long distance with mine, and tow a stand-up travel trailer with it too. No problem.

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