Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cockpits of shame part 2, Transom extensions, and dying boats

,We are anchored today in the bay off the city of Pointe A Pitre Guadaloupe. Our daughter Lillian will be flying in here soon for her spring break visit and sail with us as far as Dominica. 
I love all types of boats, sailboats , multi hulls, power boats, classic boats,pontoon boats, you name it I want to know what the thinking is behind it.
Here in the French islands you get to see lots of one off home made sailboats of all kinds in all kinds of states of decay. The French have lots of great designers that have answered the call for designs to be amature built in steel and aluminum. Bernard Moitessier a famous French sailor sailed all over the globe in a steel ketch called "Joshua". He is a national hero, as he is mine. He was part of the flood of Frenchmen wanting to build their own vessels and sail of to the south seas. Lots of these boats did and have been all over. When looking at some of these photos you will have to consider the fact that all of these boats have at least been built by an amature and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to end up here. For lots of these boats that was the extent of their cruise. As I say" People sail boats about, boats don't sail people about." So the dream for many met the reality of real ocean sailing and living.
It's mostly a downwind sail from Europe to the Caribbean and when here there is lots of mostly hard on the wind sailing getting to a from the islands. You need a good sea boat and crew that can go to weather with ease and no fuss . This fact starts sorting out the real sailors and their boats upon arrival here. Another good sorting out place is in GeorgeTown in Great Exuma in the Bahamas. It's called chicken harbor as its been all day hops from North America to here and when you leave from here all sailing is going to be to weather in deep water with long hauls in between. Lots of sailors return a few days later after their first real sail to weather in 6' seas and realize that's not part of the reality of the dream they had. Lots give up, most just come to the realization tha day sailing and simpler cruising goals will suit them fine. 
I love long off shore passages. My dream is to sail around the world some day on my own vessel taking the long routes. I have a family that does not share this dream so I've done lots of other sailing trips to fit our two different sailing goals. My girls love living aboard and short jump cruising. This works for me. I get my offshore sailing time in by doing deliveries and single handing the HFM down to where it gets easier sailing. Also downwind sailing is sooooo... Much easier on them. Once Lillian is finished with collage and has been launched into the world on her own I will then take off on my around the world sail. Rachel will fly and meet me in a few places. So far in the mean time I have logged 65,000 sea miles keeping us all happy sailing about the Atlantic Basin. Life is good.
Told you they were out there ! 8' stern extension I saw yesterday .
So much room on deck. Been watching too much Formula One racing cars.
Canadian sloop with a ton of stuff . All production boats should just design boats to fit all this stuff on in a more seaman like manner. 
A French designed and built Amel ketch that has figured it all out. So sleek and functual. 
A Swedish  sloopish that has bitten the bug badly. They have a Bimini over the dodger!
All GPS antennas do not need to be put on deck. Mine have always been below right next to the unit.
Radar is the only thing that needs to be up a bit. VHF needs only be on your deck as every thing is line of sight and everyone else has it on top of the mast. 
Why does every body put the solar panels on a separate monkey bar platform when not using the hard top on top of the cabin? Most sails are in stack packs today as you can't furl the sails the old way as the booms are so high now to avoid the deck crap.
Inside the Florida Room... Check. Dinghy hoisted up on monkey bars... Check. Honey what have we forgotten to do? Trust me I do this all the time.
Today's state of the art catamran sailing to weather successfully ..... With both engines running.
Nice sloop with a pile of junk about.
This chin up tower is a third the length of this small steel sloop.
Who needs welders. 
Look at the anchors on the stern . The thing I have found is that you can see the dream under all this rust. So sad. But never doubt the boat as nine times out of ten its owners have been all over at one time or another.
Couple of French sloops having followed the craze. 
More stuff.
Room - Ma-A- Ran .

Using the now defunct mizzen boom.
I like this
Still alive
Ever hopefull
Le French ideal.
I have not tried to sell study plans or my sailboat designs for the simple reason that to make a boat into a reality takes a huge commitment from your life. For me and others it is and will be the only way to go.
For this reason I have not wanted to try and sell my dream. What I am trying to do here on my blog is to give insight, encouragement, to those of you that know you are up to the task and know that you can make it happen. For others I say, go sail on a rough overnight or longer passage with a competent sailor with your partner before you start looking at boat plans. If this goes well then I suggest buying a used boat first and get your own sea time in . Then when you can't stand it any longer then design and build your dream boat and get back out here as soon as possible. Life is short, enjoy the process .

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BOW SPRITS and Yachting PENIS envy.

 Anchored in Antigua this past week has been great to see all the new Yachts and old favorites.
Going to shore in the dinghy I spotted a great big huge blue masking taped penis on the stern of the motor yacht " NERO". Never got the story behind this as yet but I wanted to share it with you all plus some other favorites.
I hope you can see it . It's just under the sheer cove stripe.
A nice phallus sprit 
A new schooner with a modern one
Your basic one
Oh... It's So big.
Modern one
Here's one coming out of the deck.

I'd show you a picture of Hogfish Maximus's bow sprit but it's so small compared to these I will refrain for now. Too embarrassing.

 Oh  , it is. Don't laugh !

Cockpits of Shame

 Blogs are for people like me to express their opinions, share ideas, and to give others a glimpse into their life.
Here I will start posting pictures of different sailboats from all over the world that have taken up the new trend and challenge of trying to carry everything they can with them..... But by stowing it on their decks.
As you have already read I do not like this trend for my own sailboat . I'm old fashioned in I like a clear deck and view of the sails when sailing. I have broken away a bit on this cruise by carrying a SUP paddle board on the side deck. The idea was for using it for exercise and to just paddle around all the inevitable mass of yachts that are anchored here in the West Indies. So far it's made a good spray shield as its on the port side and we are headed south . We will sell it when we head to Panama next winter as the sailing will be rougher and I will not want the extra wind age. It has been a lot of fun for us to paddle around amongst the yachties and shoreline so far .
I call the new design trend of massive catamarans " Room-A-Ma-Rans".
These cats barely have enough wing deck clearance to qualify as a multi hull and not be called a Hickman Sea sled or a big Boston Whaler. Then they just keep on adding stuff to them. A friend of ours sailed his new Lagoon 62' catamaran across the Atlantic last year. He said it pounded so hard and so much the first time at sea all his head liner pieces that are held in place by Velcro would all fall down at once. Trying to put them back on was like putting a pizza back together except all the slices are a different shape. So they just sailed across and figured out where they all fit when they arrived in Grenada. The boat is up for sale now.
Steel Ketch with a weeks worth of stowing away on deck just to get going.
This is an American design and owned cutter- sloop. You can tell the American boats right off the bat because of all the yellow diesel jerry cans on deck. Americans always want to have enough diesel to motor across an ocean with. There is enough diesel on deck and below to motor with what is probably a 40 hp engine over a 1,000 miles there. Coming from Florida to Antigua where this boat is now, guaranteed that that they could motor the entire trip. Most likely motor sailed 90% so far.  I can't imagine that wind wane seeing any air when going to windward. The only place left for the rubber dinghy is the fore deck. Just think of what it will be like going forward in a blow with all this stuff to hike around.
These Canadians have gone one step further and have extended the " Florida Rooms " side curtains all the way out to the sheer. We had some beers with these guys listening to them complain about their slow trip to wind ward. I wonder why? What I don't understand is that the real need for electric power is to feed the fridge and water maker. But if you are powering all the time why do you need all those solar panels ? I have yet to see a water maker that has lasted long enough to pay for itself . I will save my thousands of dollars and just get water ashore . We carry 200 gallons in two tanks that last us 30 plus days. So we have to do this around 12 times a year. No big deal. At a worst case price of $.50 cents a gallon that could come out to $1,200.00 a year but has never been more than $300.00. So try and get a water maker to match that over a ten year period. You will have to include its support team the batteries and engine too. We don't have a fridge either. Another story.

This old classic sloop has been upgraded to a two decker Bimini . Can't figure the logic on that arrangement. Kinda like the stern deck of a Chinese junk. 

I call these Davits that carry huge dinghies, solar panels , Radar,life raft, and all the other things that are sold in the Yachting Magazines " Monkey Bars". I had lots of fun on these as a kid in school.
See all the diesel cans on deck. All this plastic stuff will be useless in a couple of seasons in the tropical sun. I have all my man over board and safety gear stowed below out of the sun till I have people on board . When I'm single handing who's going to throw that stuff to me. If I have to throw it to someone else I want it to be in good shape and not forgotten about in my stern deck garage going to rot in the sun.
Yep.. Another American Sparkman and Stevens designed sailing machine that is totally ruined by all this deck crap that should be stowed below or do not have it at all. These boats are all being used by middle aged to retired aged couples. They are only doing short jumps and then just sit . So why carry so much diesel in a boat that was designed to sail to weather real well? "Honey this is a great sailing boat and I want to ruin it's safety and performance by carrying everything that's for sale in the sailing magazines. Trust me it will be fun trying to get around on deck and good exercise moving all this stuff just to clean up from under it."
This boat gets the prize for having it all . The builder of this cutter in addition to being a welder must have went on a hole saw drilling spree at one time. I wonder if those holes make any noise in certain wind angles. I have a couple of small holes in my old radar post that sound like Peruvian flute players when the wind is up. I cover these holes with tape once in awhile as they seem to only play one melody.
Just imagine putting all the above on this beauty. How they must have suffered all these years with out their Florida Room and garage deck space ! 

To me it's like marrying a super model and then asking her to wear a fanny pack ,a back pack , three sombreros , arm bands, and carry as many jerry jugs as she can and still expect her to draw envious glances from the crowd. Poor girl, sad boat.
I have never asked this of my beautiful wife Rachel . She just sails along as designed and built with me trying to keep up with her.
The Hogfish Maximus I have loaded down on many occasions by over 8,000 lbs of house building supplies and sailed her distances of over 400 miles in this state to get to our island house building site. She is designed to do this with ease.
I do not cruise and live aboard in this state though.

Here I am, in my orange FLORIDA ROOM, in a tropical rain shower sailing in the lee of Guadeloupe. Wild Bird is catching us . We always leave first as they are so much faster than us.
This is the Hogfish Maximus out sailing the first time with our camouflage primer coat on. The boom is orange- red because it's from a broken mast that I salvaged. The kids are on deck sitting in their kayak. The colors have changed, the kids have grown up, but the deck is still pretty much a clear space. We have just logged the 26,000 mile mark on Hoggy and I'm still as opinionated as I started out.
Boats rigged like the above photos do cross oceans but mostly by the easy down wind routes. Traveling to the Caribbean from North America they motor sail a lot staying in the comfort of their Florida Rooms burning fuel, making RO water that's only moisture ( you can't grow a plant with RO water) and having sun downer drinks with ice.( I have to wait for my sun downer ice when I get to port and have one with the locals.) They are seen motor sailing most of the time , and are the slowest boats around when sailing.
 I will be posting more of these boats along with another category which I call the "stern deck extension."I believe this was started in Europe by an Italian that had run out of deck space so he just built on a stern deck. I have seen them sticking out over 8' off the stern with barbecue pits and couches on them .  

Wait, you'll see. A whole new way to improve your yacht.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My love affair with Hogfishes

 People always ask what is a Hogfish and why would you name your boat after one.
When I first sailed to the Bahamas in 1977 spearing a Hogfish was the most sought after goal of all boaters as they are the best tasting fish around. They can be speared relatively easily if they have never been approached before. If they have been shot at and you missed then they can be a challenge to get near for a kill shot. You have to have a kill shot if using a Hawaiian sling or you will loose your spear. 
Spearing them with a pole spear you can just hang on to the rubber and get towed about if your shot is in a solid spot. This has been lots of fun over the years for me.
When I first designed and built the original Hogfish sailing Sharpie yawl I knew it was going to be a different looking sailboat than the norm. I wanted a boat that just fit me with my type of sailing, cruising and lifestyle. With this in mind I needed a good name to go with this new boat. The Hogfish is a goofy looking fish when swimming about the bottom. I has a fearsome looking mouth but these fish are really just big Wrasse's that eat crabs, sea biscuits and what ever comes their way. They can change their
body colors in an instant to camouflage themshelfs. When they die they can be very beautiful, like a sunset. 
Following are some pictures of my carved Hogfish and others that have crossed my path.

Carved for Kim Sands in Abaco out of cedar
Carved from a mahogany tree that washed ashore on Powell Cay in Abaco for an American client.
Carved for Dale and Mandy Roberts in Abaco 22 years ago
A female. All Hogfishes are transsexual where as the dominate female will turn into a male and grow the long snout and take over the female harem. I wonder how all the Christian male homophobic spear-fisherman deal with this fact. Can the fish just decide not to change at any time?
About as big as they get.
A stylized one for Bill Hutcherson
Our house with a neighbor. I love the colors here in this shot.
Mahogany with copper "Spriggs" as they call the three dorsale fins here in Spanish Wells. I have seen up to four at times.
Rachel on our front porch awhile back. The trees and bushes are now 10' higher. Our neighbors that have just built a house next door are always asking us to cut them down saying they are blocking their view. Some people want to sit in the front row and still be able to look at everything on both sides. We just smile at them knowing that all our grey water from our house is watering these native plants that give us shade, privacy, protection from storms and give a place for all the creatures that inhabit them to live. Our neighbours have cut 80% of their trees and bushes down replacing it with grass.
Kalessin with a Hogfish I speared in Exuma 23 years ago free diving in 45' of water. I have used a tracing of this fish for all the carvings you see here.
Back in my ole spear fishing for a living days.
Made of crab wood I found in Bequia a while back. Now in the home of Theo and Kim's in Spanish Wells.

When I designed and built the original Hogfish sailing Yawl I wrote a note to myself naming my design company " Hogfish Designs". This was 26 years ago. I knew back then that the hogfish was going to some day be the "it" fish. I mailed this to myself and keep this  unopened letter as a sort of copyright time frame of when I thought it was cool for me to sail about the Carribean sea in a boat with a huge pink stripe down the side calling itself the "Hogfish".
I like to think I made it easier for men to now wear bright colors .