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A cruising yacht that won't break the bank

Let's face it: Boats are EXPENSIVE.

Assuming you want to own a yacht of an appropriate size for long-term cruising- say 12 metres (40 feet) LOA- you currently have four options:

  • Buy a new, ready-to-go cruising yacht, often with a price tag north of \$350,000.
  • Buy a new day-sailing boat and upgrade it to offshore cruising standards. The basic boat may be under \$200,000, but the design will often be inappropriate for offshore work and may require substantial hardware and systems upgrades.

Making the best of mediocre wood

Boatbuilders like to have really good wood. The best stuff is quarter sawn, vertical grain, air dried two years, felled by ceremonial beaver at midnight under a full moon.

What you actually get, especially when buying in small quantities from lumberyards that are unfamiliar with boatbuilding, is plain sawn, a bit warped, and often a bit wet, like the batch of western red cedar I'm using for various small parts of the Starwind 860 power trimaran.

Outboard motorboat power calculations

Every year, mixed in with the usual chatter around the boatyards, I hear at least a few comments along the lines of "I beefed up the transom of my 14-footer so it can take 60 horsepower!"

Er, no. That's not how it works.

Maximum power ratings for small outboard vessels are calculated according to the size and design of the boat, taking into account the following factors:

  • Length of hull (longer = higher power rating)
  • Beam at transom (wider = higher rating)

Understanding monohull sailboat stability curves

One of the first questions people ask when they discover I mess around with boat designs is: "How do you know it will float?"

Well, making it float is just Archimedes' principle of buoyancy, which we all know about from elementary school: A floating boat displaces water equal to its own weight, and the water pushes upward on the boat with a force equal to its weight. What people usually mean when they ask "How do you know it will float" is really "How do you know it will float upright?"

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