Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Should be Easier

"Should be easier," our friend Smoke emailed me the other day.  "Need boat, find boat, buy boat."

He hit it perfectly.

I remind myself that we are searching for a yacht, after all, and that there are much harder fates out there.  But, really, talk to people who have particular ideas about what they want and a limited budget, and again and again you will hear stories of long, hard boat searches.

We're still very excited about Taiko, the steel boat in Sausalito.  But a talk with a surveyor has identified a couple of issues that might be real problems.

First, the engine really does seem to be too small for such a big boat.  I had resigned myself to the idea of getting along with 50 HP, but the surveyor pointed out that this particular engine will only deliver 35 HP or so at cruising RPM, which really might not do the trick at all.

And then there's the issue of insulation.  Both the surveyor and the aforementioned Smoke, who knows a few things about steel boats, get very serious when they talk about the suitability of a metal boat with uninsulated frames for the sort of high-latitude work that we have in mind.

Stay tuned!


  1. Thanks for an interesting blog. I hope you find your dream boat soon.

    I thought I needed to comment on the insulation issue, because we have a steel boat and also plan to do high-latitude sailing. The insulation that Taiko has would seem to be perfect for a steel boat - if you insulate the boat underneath the waterline as well, the moisture that condenses inside the insulation has nowhere to go, and will cause serious corrosion issues. In fact, for this reason, it is advisable to check that the insulation (even above the waterline) isn't attached directly to the hull.

    So before you get too concerned about the advice you have obtained, look into the issue some more.

  2. Yep, as with all things boat, we get conflicting advice. For fiberglass and all the sorts of gear that we've used on Pelagic, we have our own experience to rely on. But we've never sailed on a metal boat, so we have to sort through the conflicting advice.

    The warning we've gotten in this case is that since the frames are uninsulated, they will be the source of continuous condensation in cold conditions, which will contribute to internal corrosion, the bane of steel boats, and also to soggy, mildew-y living aboard. Our friend Smoke, who knows more about steel boats and cold-weather living than anyone else we know, maintains that any uninsulated metal above the waterline is unacceptable for the kinds of use that we have in mind...

    So what kind of boat did you end up with?

  3. Yes, there are always as many differing pieces of advice as there are givers of advice :-)

    I may have misunderstood the issue. I now realize that your concern are uninsulated parts above the waterline and not below it, as I understood at first. Perhaps it is an issue, but how many small sailboats are there out there that have insulated frames?

    Our boat has insulation above the waterline, but no - the frames are not insulated. In our six-month search for the "perfect" (for us) boat, I don't think we ever came across a boat that had the frames insulated as well. Not to say that they couldn't exist of course.

    Good luck in trying to figure out what the right decision is. Stressful and challenging, but you will eventually find your boat!

    - Matthias (anonymous above)