The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dream Sailboat

One thing I really enjoy about the Peniche Marina is the transient dock. 

It's low season now, so naturally the transient dock is full of French boats. Are French sailors cheap or are they simply more adventurous? Another interesting aspect is that they have a tendency to keep to themselves. Maybe that's why they cruise off-season, to avoid the crowds. Who knows.

Polish sailboat
Here's a boat, supposedly made in Poland, that is a complete contrast to mine. The cockpit is huge and inviting. The bow is thin and perfect for slicing through water. I bet it's fast, and I like it. Don't know how safe it would be in a storm, but you'd take your chances, wouldn't you? 

Large cockpit
A partial hard dodger with roll-up side curtains, mainsheet control near the wheels, carbon mast...and an electric roller furler. On the other hand, the interior is probably equivalent to that of a 32 footer, but I wouldn't complain.

On the other side to the pontoon there's an old, but nicely kept and sturdy-looking, 22 footer with a tiny cockpit. It also sailed all the way from France and will probably end up at some exotic port. The trip likely took three times as long but, as one sailor once said, "when I'm on my boat, I'm already where I want to be."

As I stood on the pontoon daydreaming about owning such a boat - the larger one, that is - I got a phone call informing me that I had been emailed work. Work, what a dreadful four-letter word.

Dragged my feet back to Jakatar with its small cockpit and huge interior. Obviously you can't have both, can you? 

I can't decide if my lunch looks appetizing or revolting. It's turkey beef, baked eggplant, zucchini slices, black beans, rice and the white droopy things on top that look like fishing bait are pieces of onion. I forgot to buy wine, ran out of tea and thus had a cup of water. 

Dining aboard
In the morning I decided to give my electronics some exercise to burn up moisture. My inventory consists of 1 fixed and one handheld VHF, hydraulic auto pilot, Magellan chartplotter, computer chartplotter, handheld GPS, depth sounder and an electronic Ritchie compass. That's it. I also switched on the running lights.
Computer chartplotter
Here's my Toshiba laptop I bought about 15 years ago displaying the Port of Peniche. It stopped working once, after having sat idle at home for a long time while I crossed the Atlantic. Somebody told me to whack it hard. I did, and it started working again. Apparently, the hard drive may stick when left unused for long periods. Every photograph I took of it showed that white spot reflecting the flash.


  1. Lovin' the quote on being on a boat where you want to be. It says it all in a nutshell. If your in a hurry, take a plane! Ok, the fast boat probably would be fun, probably get all the ladies pants off, but personal I find it lacking in personality. Or am I just turning into a sexless old fart. I'd like to see that 22footer.
    I like the new "look" of you site. But after the gear list, I'm not to convinced on the naked part (yeah, I'm a bit jealous, but not so much about the laptop. Give it a whack on my behalf). Good tip on running out the moisture. Why didn't I think of that. Now go get that bottle of wine (priorities, my friend) and chuck the phone in the bay!
    Bon appetite!

    1. Yeah, you're mostly right about the fancy boat. But the cockpit...I suppose it all boils down to wishing I had a larger cockpit (hmmm, maybe I should explain what cockpit means for those unifamiliar with nautical terms or for foreig readers!).
      The new blog look is a better portrayal of what lies at the end of the rainbow, isn't it?

  2. I hear ya on the cockpit pun (took a while) (lol)
    I have plans on enlarging my cockpit aswell (for more reasons than one!). It first involves installing a bypass valve for the hydraulics. Then removing the wheel and installing a tiller that will fold up. I'm not sure if I'll be able to operate the tiller with the ram (bypassed hydraulics) still connected to the rudder stem, might have to fabricate a quick release mechanism. The conclusion will be a manual cockpit tiller (which will have the benefit of better steering "feeling") and a hydraulic wheel and autopilot in the dog house. But then engaging the autopilot from cockpit steering would be a funky dance, so I would probably need to buy a tiller pilot..... yadayadayada. Just a dream so far.
    Damn rainbows!

    1. The wheel is definitely an obstruction in the cockpit.
      I have a bypass system for operating the emergency tiller. It works with the hydraulic ram still hooked up but ADDS A BIT OF FRICTION. It's hard to say how much, but it does make a difference. It's been 10 years since I disconnected the ram to compare the force required to steer with the tiller with and without the ram. But I can assure you I can steer perfectly well with my tiller without disconnecting the ram.

      You don't have a bypass valve. Don't you have an emergency tiller system? Those Vikings that built your boat are smart people, they must have surely installed a bypass. What would you do it your system sprung a leak or failed? Steer with your foot?

  3. Probably with my foot in my mouth!
    I do have a backup tiller. I tried it last year and it works after disconnecting the ram (should be fun breaking out the wrenches heading for the rocks!).
    Where's your bypass valve? I read it should be close as possible to the ram-- mines nowhere to be seen--haven't checked the entire hose run yet)
    Your "cap locks" shows alot of friction. Do you think your tiller would feel the "seas" or will it fly from the waves/water pressure?

    1. Nah, the cap locks was just to emphasize the fact, not the quantity. My bypass system is a knob at the bottom of the steering pedestal with 3 positions: on, bypass and feedbak. Never understood what feedback is supposed to do, but I tried and don't like it.
      You can buy a good bypass valve fairly cheap, the hassle lies in installing it. It's gotta be within easy reach, otherwise it doesn't make sense.
      As for the point about the tiller feeling the seas, I have a very strong opinion about that - I can't remembre too well. But seriously, you can feel the water pressure because it's a direct connection and you have to pull on it harder as the pressure increases.
      Alright, maybe I'll try it again when I go for a sail and tell you how it really is.

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