Yrvind can write short messages with his tracker. This was received yesterday.
I am on my way. Plenty of food and water onboard. Unfortunatly most have to be stored aft.That immerses the transom. Decreasing severely speed and vindward performance. I have only made 110 miles good since 27 june. A conseqence is that I have to keep lots of distance to Shetland and Färöarna. Its cold here at lat N 62.
Good thing. I have no destination and plenty of time. I enjoy the sail plenty. I have 10 000 books, paper in plenty to draw and calculate next design. She be much faster and have more load capacity. I got already many new good ideas.
After some initial minor problems and very light winds with north going current,Yrvind is now heading west in good winds. He writes heenjoy himself and are very happy to be out at sea again , however a bit cold.
Today I uploaded a video on internet. It is self explanatory but a little clarification might not be out of place.
The praparations are now mostly done. Corona has caused a lit of disruption. I like to start my sail from a place with little marine traffic and close to open spaces. One such place and a beutiful one at that is Ålesund in Norway. At N 62° 28′ it is a high latitude place. The idea is to sail west round the Faeroe Islands and then south down to Saragosso Sea and spend time there until I run out of food in maybee November. Then to find a place to reprovision. Santa Maria in the Azores seams to be a good place. Few plans survive the first contact with the enemy but we will see.
I have a about 20 year old car that have not been running for over two years due to my bad economy. Our gouvernment have imposed a driving ban on her but I will try to start her tomorrow and try to get her past an inspection. Then I trail my boat to Ålesund. Frinds will drive car and trailer back to Västervik and when weather permits I be on my way hopefully within one month.
There is food and water in Exlex for about 120 days. I had hoped for more. Therefore my plan is to build a boat with better range when my economy so allows. In my spare time I scketch her. At present she is 7.2 meters long with a beam of 1.2 meters. Draft is 40 cm. She is a bigger wessel than I like on the positive side she has plenty of stovage and even a bunk for a small lady. There is also a flat space on deck 1.8 meter by 0.8.
She have a small 30X20 cm canard trimrudder that can be adjusted from inside.
She have a new type of ballasted centerboard 2.4 meter long that descends 20 cm to increase her stability a bit for windward sailing and help to prevent leeway.
It is of course a complication but life favors complication evolution is increadible complex. I might get away with it. Anywhay it is fun to experiment.
Thuse equipeded she can sail in 50 cm shallow water.
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To those that already have donated. A great thanks it helps an old pensioner a lot.
This is the story of how I came to realize that bigger and bigger boats is not a way to a meaningful life.
I once had a 13 feet long rowing boat Anna that I had converted to a cruiser by decking her. 1967 I sailed her on the Swedish west coast and in Limfjord Denmark. 1968 I sailed her to England via Denmark, Germany, Holland and Belgium. In most of the fifty harbors I visited the grown ups had advised me to get a bigger boat. It would be safer, faster and make me more happy they all said.
Obediently I went back to Sweden were I found the hull of a 40’ steamboat. She was made of iron 1885. I named her Duga and converted her to a staysail schooner and sailed her to Rio Brazil. On the way in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, a 72 feet Camper and Nicholson Ketch dropped her anchor next to Duga.
She flew a Norwegian flag. It was father and son, his wife and baby. They were on their way to the Caribbean to do charter and wanted the boat to be shiny. I was asked to do the masts. First they had to be scraped, then varnished seven times, a big job that would take plenty of time. As a bonus I was invited to have all my meals onboard. After a few weeks on board the huge luxuries ketch I found her size to be just right. In the evening after the days work was done it felt embarrassing and unfair that I had to row back to my much smaller Duga.
In less than a year my comfort zone had grown from a 13 foot converted rowing boat to a 72 feet ketch.
During the long sail to Rio I realized that I was trapped in the hedonic treadmill. It was a sobering lesson. The grown ups had promised me that I would be more happy in a bigger boat. It was true initially but not in the long term. I had been fine in my 13 feet Anna. After Rio I sold Duga and built Bris a small boat that I sailed happily in for many years.
Most people do not realize that they adapt to the size of their boats so they want bigger and bigger all the time. Science has found out about that and given it the name hedonic treadmill.
It is a consequence of hedonic adaptation. When your boss gives you a raise you will initially be happier. After a time you habituate to the larger salary and return your happiness set point. Even if you win a million on the lottery the same thing happens, first you get happy, then you return to your happiness set point. Luckily this also goes for bad luck. You lose your job and your house burns a thing that happens to many in war but after some time you return to your happiness set point.
In our consumer society most persons waste their life upgrading their possessions to be in the false belief that they will get happier.
2011 in Porto Santo Madeira I witnessed an example of how a family had wasted their life’s saving in the false believe that they get more happy in a big expensive boat. They planned to sail around the world and wanted a new boat from a yard with good reputation.
They had ordered a 36 feet long boat. They had to wait 2 or 3 years for delivery. After a year or so the salesman told them that now there was a new model and that that model would have a better second hand value. The new model was more expensive but the family did not like to louse money so the upgraded. Then the salesman told them that there was problems with fresh water in the Pacific and that they better get a water maker. The water maker was expensive but they liked to have plenty of water.
Then the salesman told them that it would be stupid to run the main engine just for the water maker. He told them they better get a gen set.
At this point the family was about to run out of money so the said that they had to wait and see.
The salesman then told them that it would be far more expensive to install the gen set after the boat was built. The family got the gen set too.
Now the boat was so expensive that they had to sell their house. Not only that they also decided to work an extra year to better their economy, losing a year of cruising time.
Now the boat was so expensive and contained most of their life savings so they decided they better get an insurance.
Now the insurance company said that once they got into the Pacific the insurance would be more expensive because it was so dangerous to sail there. That drained their economy even more.
Also as the boat was so expensive they had to worry about her and the wife told the husband that he had to clean and polish the boat very often so that it did not depreciate in money and the wife had to worry about the inside was shiny and they did not have time to be happy.
I was feeling very sorry for the family. There I was at the same dock, enjoying the same landscape, paying less harbor due as my boat was smaller. I had no expensive insurance and I did not have to polish my boat. I had an oar instead of an engine. I did not have to change oil on my oar nor change any fuel filters on it and so on. I could spend my time enjoying myself.
Even sadder this story is not unique, there are thousands of families like that.
The solution is to have simple habits. With simple habits you can live on a small boat have a meaningful and not worry about economy and other boring things.
It is not easy to live a meaningful life in this world full of salesmen and plenty of advertisement but a simple habits is a good start.
I got my introduction to simple habits in an unlikely place.
The spring of 1962 I was living with eastern orthodox monks on the Mount Athos peninsula in Greece.
The Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain is a region in northern Greece. There are twenty monasteries and different villages and houses that depend on them. Around 2000 monks live there in seclusion, introspection and prayer. The landscape is sometimes called “Christian Tibet”.
I was there to learn from their different lifestyle. I was young and searched for answers to the big questions.
After some time among them I noticed that lived a very repetitious life. Everything was done over and over and again and again. They had fixed habits for everything. As I was walking in the landscape I became friends with an eremite. One time I asked him about all those habits.
”You do everything over and over. Do you not find it boring always having to do the same thing all the time?” I asked him.
Sven, he told me,
”What you are noticing is my worldly life. You do not see my inner life. What I live for is to talk with God. I therefore simplify my worldly life because that gives me more time for God and that is what is important.”
I am an atheist. My passion is to find out about life. That eremite thought me something of value. Since then I have simplified my worldly life just like the monks on Athos. That gives me time to think about the mystery of life and each time I find out something it gives my life meaning.
Many humans are bored, their minds are fettered by worldly things. That prevents them living a meaningful life. Free animals are not bored nor should humans be.
One of my zeal’s is for the good boat. I also try to find answers to the big questions. That way of life is not for everyone. A meaningful life can also be found by gardening or painting or writing or like a bird just sitting on a twig singing all day. The main thing is to be interested in something and not caring to much about consuming.
Yukio Mishima expressed it well when he was asked how come he always delivered his manuscript so punctual. He answered: My fellow authors live bohemian lifes but their minds are bureaucratical. I live a punctual life that way I can write original books
If you like to be a free spirit, live a life of simple habits.
In the sixties people lived simpler lives, boats were smaller and people were not less happy.
One hundred years ago life was even simpler, there was no electricity and people were not less happy.
1845 Thoreaux built a cabin near Walden Pound and lived a meaningful life.
1750 Rosseau urged people to go back to nature.
For thousands of years wise men have urged people to live simple meaningful life’s. Building a small boat and sailing the huge oceans is one of many way’s of doing it.
More beam, draft and lead increase stability and most sailors wants plenty of stability.
Why then do I eschew beam, draft and lead and instead favor narrow, shallow draft boats that lack much ballast?
Everything is a compromise, cruising boats more so than many things. I look at the intended use, the whole picture. I consider many aspects of cruising before committing myself.
Beam increases stability but reduces its range. Beam is very useful at small angels of heel but catastrophic when the boat heels more than 120 – 140 degrees because then the beamy boat gets negative stability it flips over and takes up a stable upside down position. An extreme example of this is the catamaran. A beamy boat is like a floating 2X4 plank it will not come back if you flip it. It is stable on its two flat sides.
Draft reduces cruising range. A boat with much draft cannot cruise shallow water. Same of the nicest cruising is in shallow water. I do not like to end up upside down. I do not like to limit myself to deep water sailing. It is as simple as that. Thats why I like slender boats with small draft.
I also like an easily driven boat. Lead and beam increases resistance. Rules and regulations have for hundreds of years taxed length, therefore boats have become fat rather than long and narrow. The more bureaucratic a society is the fatter its boats are.
When you compare fat and slender boats of equal weight it is evident that the long narrow boat slices through water with much less resistance than the fat one. You can confirm it with a simple experiment. Drag a hull through the water the normal way, then try to drag it with its beam at right angles to the direction of the movement and you will immediately feel how the resistance increases. It’s not hard to understand that the boat with the smaller the cross sectional area creates the less resistance as it has less water to push aside.
Common is to build boats that are 3 beams long. I favor boats that are 6 beams long because when the two boats sail at the same speed the 6 beams long boat sails at a lower Froud number. It is not so close to its hull speed and therefore it creates a fraction of the resistance of the fat one. That is basic fluid dynamics.
In consequence the slender boat needs a fraction of the sail area to propel her. With less sail area the healing moment is smaller thus the long boat needs a fraction of the short boats stability. So there you have it. By reducing beam you increase stability. It is important to look at the whole picture, its basically economy of stability. Its balance between income and expenditure. A few years ago I earned more than General Motors not that I earned much but they were losing money.
If you are not familiar with Froude numbers there is a more detailed explanation of that and my idea of the low energy boat on my website at MANIFESTO.
With my low energy boats I do not need much stability but I am thrifty therefore I like a hull shape that maximize it.
So what is stability? Most people realize that it has to do with beam draft and ballast. They therefore design beamy boats that have a lot of lead low down in a ballast keel.
Thats part of the answer, but only a part.
Stability is a righting moment. Its arm is the horizontal distance between the center of the boats gravity and her center of buoyancy. The force of gravity and buoyancy are equal. The product of the length of the righting arm and the force is the boats stability.
On a catamaran the righting arm is very long therefore catamarans have a lot of stability even without any ballast at all.
I have known many world leading multihull designer including Dick Newick, James Wharam and Nigel Irens. In fact 1975 – 1976 I was Dicks assistant.
I like the way multihulls achieve stability without ballast. I therefore design my hulls to achieve stability by the use of buoyancy rather than ballast. I design my boats so that the center of buoyancy moves fast and far to lee with small angels of heel.
The higher the hulls center of buoyancy is located the further it moves to lee when the boat heels.
From this follows that a square, boxlike midsection with a flat bottom is best for initial stability.
An advantage is that a boxlike midsection gives the most stowage space inside the boat. A further bonus is that the flat surfaces dampens out rolling.
If that idea is so good why is it not used more? The answer is that many boats are big and flat surfaces on big boats is not a good idea. It makes them pound and no-one likes a lot of noise. Big boats are therefore round bilged to move with less noise. Convex surfaces are also stronger than flat ones.
Luckily my small boats makes no noise because the surface of their flat bottom is not large enough also a small boat do not have problems with strength.
Stability has two roles to play on a boat, the one we all are familiar with is to keep the boat from healing too much so that the sails can convert the wind to a propulsive force efficiently. The second function of stability is to provide safety in heavy weather so that the boat can come back on an even keel after a wave have capsized her.
Safety gear is a drag and an expense most of the time, but when they are needed they safe lives. Most production boats have a positive stability range up to 120 – 140 degrees of heel. That is not enough for me because when most boats heel more their stability becomes negative and they end up in a stable undesirable upside down position.
More about that in my manifesto.
A deep keel is no guarantee for a self-righting boat.
Gerry Roufs an acquaintance of mine capsized his boat in the Vendee Globe race 1996 – 1997. The boat never righted herself despite that huge waves were battering her for many months in the Roaring Forties. She had a ballast bulb of several tons and a draft of about 4 meters. The boat ended up on the Patagonian rocks. Gerry was never found. In the same race other similar boats also ended up in stable upside down positions.
As a consequence of the tragedy the boats now have to be built with a convex deck and a canting keels. That gives the desired stability range of up to 180° heel but that technology is so expensive and complicated that it cannot be used on production boats.
I do not agree with deep ballast keels. There is a smarter way for a small cruiser like mine. I achieve a stability range up to 180° with the help of buoyancy.
Buoyancy is cheap it is light and it involves no moving parts. I achieve this by having a beam to height ratio of about 1:1 and by keeping the center of gravity low with the help of a strong bottom and stowing water food and the necessary gear low down. I keep my water in 5 liter jerrycans. If at the end of a voyage I find that I lack stability I can always fill them up with saltwater and store them at the windward side but I have never had to do that.
The idea of using buoyancy to create a self-righting boat is not mine. That is idea much older than the ballast keel. Pulling lifeboats have been using it for hundreds of years. It is a well-tried concept that works well. Today all of the ocean rowboats are using it.
To visualize the idea imagine a hull with a flotation device on deck something like styrofoam or empty barrels.
When you turn her upside down the flotation device displaces water. That rises her center of gravity and she becomes unstable. The gained potential energy then brings her back on even keel with a splash into a position of the lowest energy.
It is simple, childlike engineering, almost everyone understands it. If you do not, convince yourself by do experimenting with models.
I have already mentioned that a slender hull makes for an easily driven boat that do not need much sail area to propel her. By placing that sail area close to the deck the heeling moment is reduced to even less. In contrast production boats have high triangular sails. It is hard to imagine a set up that heels a boat more.
By distributing the sail area along the boat on several masts the healing moment is even more reduced. With that achieved the boat can be made even lighter that reduces resistance further and so on in a good circle.
But the grown ups say that a high aspect ratio triangular sail is more efficient than a low aspect square sails.
To that I answer that the sails efficiency depends on the angle of attack.
One aspect ratio is not optimal on all points of sailing. If your choice is to race and sail close to the wind I agree with the grown ups. At that point of sailing you should chose the high aspect ratio because it is best for a given area.
However my kind of sailing often on a broad reach when I can ease the sheets low aspect square sails shine. With a free wind my sails are 50% more efficient than the tall racing ones.
There is more on rigs in my post: ” Rigs”.
Like most cruisers I have studied the worlds wind patterns and sail mostly with fair winds. Triangular sails are developed for racing boats to get a good rating on a rule when they sail to windward. They not good for small cruising boats. If you are cruising do not use tall rigs.
Buoyancy and shallow draft is lighter and cheaper than deep draft and ballast. It waste less non renewable resources.
Simplify and simplify again because that leads to create cheap functional uncomplicated boats. That in turn helps us in a small but important way to create a more sustainable world.
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Living systems maintain a steady state of internal, physical, and chemical conditions such as body temperature, fluid balance, pH of extracellular fluid, the concentrations of sodium, potassium and calcium ions, as well as that of the blood sugar level. These conditions help organisms to functioning optimally.
When I design and build my boats I try do it in such a way that they keep their internal conditions of temperature and humidity in a steady state whatever the outside weather. Into this, for the sake of good seaworthiness, I also include the orderly, methodical and harmonious arrangement of all gear and stuff including myself.
At sea there is this deal between my boat and me. My boat gives me good internal conditions. That way I can be in optimal shape and navigate her to a safe haven. Thanks to this deal I do not have to worry when evil storms are raging, when waves in their terrible fury are battering my boat I am resting snug in my bunk reading a pleasant book.
Sure my boat and I in her will be tossed around by the waves but animals have since dawn of time been used to such quick movements and adapted. Do we get seasick when we are moving quickly when we run in broken terrain or are engaged in a fight on life or death?
We are not because the motion that causes seasickness is different. It is slow and unnatural. Lots of inertia is involved when a big ship moves in bad weather. Our genes have had no time to adapt to such movements that’s why some people get seasick.
Here are some of the qualities I have designed into my boats:
My boats are so strong that no matter how furious the storm is they will suffer no damage, not to their hulls, nor to their deckhouses or riggings.
My boats are waterproof at all angles of heel. Even when they are 180° upside down no water enters. They are as tight as a corked bottle.
There is a place for everything and everything is in its place, even after they have capsized.
The humidity and temperature in cabins is within a comfortable range.
As my boats have the above qualities I am safer in them at sea than on land. I also feel safe out there no matter what.
Not all sailors feel safe at sea. Same sailors are dead scare. When I 1980 cruised the Falkland Islands the islanders told me about a single hander who had stopped there on his way to round Cape Horn. He had kept procrastinating; there had always been one more thing to do. After months of delay the day to cast off had finally come. He was a nice man and his new friends where there to see him off.
He raised his sails and cast off and sailed away but after only half a mile he run into the opposite shore. The men could see no signs of life so after some time they went to investigate. They found the man dead. He had died of fear.
Death by fear is common in scary times. During world war two many lifeboats drifted ashore with plenty of dead sailors aboard despite fine weather and only a day or so in the lifeboat.
Same thing happened with the airplanes crews that parachuted into the North Sea. When the rescue boats found them a few hours later in their inflatable life rafts they were already dead, dead out of fear.
Over the years I have know several sailors that out of fear have refused to leave port, in Madeira and Canary Islands and other places. Of course they did not say so but they always had some ridiculous reason not to leave just then and so they kept delaying until it was to late.
I do not fear fear because I have my trusty boat to which nothing can happen. That is a wonderful thing.
How do I achieve this? It is a complex problem. It has taken me many years to figure it out partly because I had to unlearn much of what the grown ups have been telling me. Here are a few of my rules.
First rule, small size is fundamental to strength and safety. Science has known this since Galileo who lived from 1564 – 1642. His square cube law says that the weight of a structure increases by the cube of its scale while its strength only increases by the square of its scale. Example, if you double the scale of a structure its weight will increase eight times but it will only become four times as strong. This is why bridges and buildings get more and more difficult to build the bigger they become until it is impossible to build them any bigger. To build a small bridge on the other hand is child’s play. If you want something to be strong, keep it small. Do not trust the grown ups. Trust fundamental engineering.
Second rule, I use my sandwich-structured composite. It gives me insulation, therefore the temperature and humidity in my cabin is fine. It gives me buoyancy therefore my boat cannot sink. It gives me strength and that combined with her small size makes my boat unbreakable.
Third rule. I make my boats waterproof. How this is achieved is a bit more complicated to explain. Here are a few details. All my deck hatches have deep gasket’s and are bolted down in heavy weather. That way even when boat is upside down they let in no water.
My ventilation system is also waterproof. Fresh air is ducted from one side to the other then down to the bottom of the boat were a dorado box separates any water from the air. The dorado box drains into the center board case.
Everything remains in its place, nothing brakes, no water enters, and soon my boat is back on even keel, therefore there is no reason to worry when the boat is upside down.
Illustration Pierre Herve
Fourth rule. I have a place for everything and everything is in its place. This includes myself. In my bunk and at my eating place there are safety belts that I use. They keep my fixed in my desired position.
Fifth rule. My boat has a positive stability range up to 180° of heel. It is accomplished by designing her so that the center buoyancy is always to lee of the center of gravity. Before I set out on voyage I do a rollover test.
Video showing roll over test.
If you pay attention to the above simple rules you can have a cheap and safe boat that can take you to most places in the world. The idea of homeostasis is as old as the beginning of time.
Mitochondria are a good example of how an organelle has found a peaceful life. As I understand it, long time ago there was no or little oxygen on earth. Then cyanobacteria started to produce oxygen causing the great oxidation event, which in turn caused many spices to die out. Oxygen is a terrible corrosive poison. However Mitochondria use oxygen to burn fat and carbohydrates and as a byproduct ATP is produced. ATP is concentrated energy.
A cell once swallowed one of these mitochondria. The mitochondria ignored that she had been swallowed and continued to live inside the cell as if nothing had happened.
As she was eating the dangerous oxygen and producing energy the cell that had eaten her was very happy. The cell got rid of the oxygen plus it got energy. And the mitochondria were happy because inside the cell she had a safe place with plenty of food.
Today you and me have hundreds of mitochondria in almost every one of our cells, still the mitochondria is a stranger to us because she has her own genes.
When sailing the oceans it is important to believe in oneself and not to trust the grown ups. It is important to design for safety and logic instead of rules because the rules of production boats as specified and made into law by the EUs Recreational Small Craft Directive severely limits the seaworthiness of boats. Category A Ocean does not require that a boat be engineered to survive any stronger winds than a force eight gale. It is well known that out on the vide ocean it is not rare for the winds to exceeds force eight. Nowadays an alternative for a safe boat is to call for help, but that’s not my strategy.
I have mentioned mitochondria because I used the idea of homeostasis when designing my boats supply so that they can create a safe environment like the cell supply mitochondria with a safe environment. No person can cross an ocean by himself but with the help of a small functional boat we can live in a safe environment and sail between the continents. We humans must do this in a sane sustainable way.
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Somehow I hope to leave Sweden end of June. How depends on Corona but I find a way. Most of the food and equippment are now stowed.
Below photo of raincollector that will supplement the 125 liters on board. I use about a liter a day.
.I desire simple, rugged and handy boats. They should weigh less than one ton empty because then I am able to tow them my behind a car, to transport and store them in a container.
With a weigh less then one ton I can drag them up on a beach with the help of a winch. That’s extending my cruising range because.
I have had boats made of wood, steel, aluminum and sandwich composite. Steel is stronger than sandwich-structured composite but I prefer sandwich composite because besides being a structural material it also gives flotation and insulation.
A composite can be made as strong as desired and still be light. To obtain the wanted strength just pick the right fibers, cores and resins.
For decades I have been lucky to be sponsored with epoxy from Nils Malmgren AB, with Divinycell core materials from DIAB and carbon fibers from Svenska Tanso AB. Not only have they been supplying me with the materials but they have also and that is very important given me the necessary technical know how.
There are many varieties of sandwich-structured composites. I have designed one combines, great strength, positive buoyancy and excellent insulation. My formulation differs from more normal ones in that my core is extremely thick for a boat my size. Its core is often 50 mm or 2 inches. If you have a 6 meter long boat with a beam of 1.2 meter and a height of 1 meter the hull surface gives you more than a cubic meter flotation. That volume will float a ton. It is nice to know that your boat cannot sink whatever the circumstances.
Yes, a thousand times and more, people have been telling me that, that was what they said about the Titanic. Still there are millions of surfboards and similar devices around the world that do not sink and cannot sink.
As a Swede I spend much of my sailing time at high latitudes. Today my boats have good insulation. This has not always been so. I have learnt that it is important to avoid condensation because it leads to molds. Molds are no good, they present health hazards, gives allergic reactions and cause respiratory problems. They also give of a bad smell. Molds turn a nice boat into an unpleasant one.
In May 1980 I was sailing south from Mar del Plata, Argentina towards Cape Horn, I had an aluminum boat. I had insulated my boat as best as I could but there were still plenty of unavoidable thermal bridges at odd places where cold leaked into the boat and caused condensation points. Such places were around windows and hatches.
After a week at sea I saw the first green slimy things. It was so cold that I was in sleeping bag most of the time with a cap on my head and gloves on my hands. The molds soon started to grow on my sleeping bag. After a month in those conditions the bravest of them had even invaded my beard.
There was no heating in the boat. The cabin temperature was about 7° centigrade. I tried to get rid of the condensation and the molds but they were growing all the time. In the end I had to ignore them as best as I could. After 40 days I docked and could clean the boat and myself.
In contrast 1989 I sailed from Ireland to Newfoundland. That part of the Northern North Atlantic Ocean must be one of the world’s foggiest places.
Outside humidity and dampness was everywhere.
In my cabin it was warm cozy and snug. That was due to the 50 mm Divinycell and uninsulated widows that were acting like condensation plates absorbing the dampness drying the air. Even the salt was enjoying the dry atmosphere and was happily running smoothly without any lumps. Compared to the aluminum boat the difference was like day and night.
An alternative is to have a heating system burning all the time. I do not consider that a simple cheap alternative, nor is it environmentally friendly.
In September 1962 I sailed into Kopenhagen with Blekingsekan. I tied her up in Christianshavns kanal outside an old Baltic Trader. Most of my time I spent in libraries studying boatbulding and mathematics. When the last library closed at 22:00 I went to a cheap café to seek more information and advice from the city’s many university students.
Usually I was not back to my boat before one or two a clock in the morning.
One December night when it had gotten very cold and damp in my uninsulated boat I fired up my kerosene stove to get some heat in my cabin. A curious thing happened. My kerosene lamp started to dim. I turned up the wick but within a minute it started to dim again. I checked the reservoir I had just filled up.
It was full.
This was mighty strange.
Why did my lamp not work?
Conscious or unconscious I must have opened the cabin door a bit. Fresh air entered the cabin and my lamp started to shine brightly.
A lesson: If you burn fuel for heat bee sure to supply oxygen.
Ten years passed. September 1972 I was on my way south through the Danish islands in my first Bris, a wooden boat. The topsides and deck was 10 mm plywood. The nights were cold and the condensation so bad that it started dripping on me. To cure it I covered the ceiling with 30 mm Styrofoam. It worked fine. Later in the spring when I trailed her back to Sweden from Holland to fix the centerboard and rigging I also did a better job on the insulation.
The winter 1975 – 76 I worked with trimaran designer Dick Newick on Martha’s Vineyard. During the winter I lived in Bris on Daffy Ducks boatyard where we built the Val trimarans. At a thrift shop on the island I had bought a small bread toaster for 1 dollar. It kept me warm the whole winter despite some cold northerly winds
An insulated plywood boat is an alternative to sandwich-structured composite, but it is not nearly as good. The composite boat has an inside that is much easier to keep clean, as there are no crevices and hollow places that hide cockroaches’ bugs and molds. Every surface on my boat is accessible to clean.
Besides that and this can be very important the composite boat is far stronger than a wooden one. It is good to have extra strength for the unexpected.
1979 I was navigating Brittany’s inland waterways in Amfibie – Bris together with Olga. We had left Redon and were on our way to La Gacilly. I had been sculling Bris up the Aff, a small river. We had tied up at the dock at Glenac in an etang a small pond.
It was the end of March and we were the only boat at the long dock.
Olga had started to prepare the evening meal when we saw a canal boat, a small steel barge entering the etang from the other side. Everything happened very slowly until in the end when everything happened fast and all at once.
The barge was slowly coming closer across the pond and heading towards us despite all the empty places on the dock. In Sweden people are keeping their distances. We do not so much mix with strangers. Well I thought, now we are in France and here people are more sociable. The barge was headed straight for us. They did not slow down. They rammed us broadside on.
A steel barge even if it is not big coming with the moderate speed of 3 knots will give a very big impact; especially as our case we had the dock at our other side of us acting as an anvil. There was a big bang as.
Shaken I rushed up on deck. On deck of the barge there were two French couple “ Excuse nous, nous sommes debutants” I heard they said unison. Excuse us we are beginners.
A good enough explanation.
Any ordinary boat would have sunk, not so Bris, her rubrail got a bit deformed but that what they are there for.
I like the French, but they sure are a bit odd. Another time now in Paris, 1964 I think it was, I was driving my Volkswagen when I had an accident at slow speed. This time the driver came out and said, “ Excuse me I was looking at my wife”.
On two other occasions during the same voyage Amfibie – Bris was unexpectedly hit in different ways but not as hard as the first time. It is good to have a strong boat.
Other small boats do not have 50 mm closed foam cores. At most they may have 10 mm. Strength increases very rapidly with thickness. When a boat gets hit the outer laminate gets compressed and the inner one is stretched, compression and tension. In the middle there is the neutral axis.
If a boat has a hull that is 5 times as thick as another boat it takes a force 5 times as big to break her inner laminate. The impact is distributed over an area of inner laminate that is 25 times as big. To increase my boats strength even more I use carbon fibers in NM-epoxy for the inner laminate, the skin that takes up the tension. Also the volume of the Divinycel core that takes up much of the impact energy is 125 as big as the thinner composite.
The materials I use are all expensive but a boat with a displacement of 600 kilos uses less than 5 % of the amount of the material that todays cruising boats in the 40 to 50 feet range uses.
In conclusion, a small boat built with high quality materials is much cheaper than a big boat built of cheap stuff. Besides other expenses on a small boat is also small.