I bought a boat. New-kinda. Home-built. Still a bit unfinished. It is technically a wooden boat but there is so much epoxy and f’glass used in the construction, it is really more of a composite. Mind you, enough of it is bare wood that it would be eligible for the Wooden Boat festivals and will be the focus of much more maintenance than a ‘glass’ or aluminum boat.
In 1963 John Atkin designed a simple dory-style, semi-lobster-boat-looking vessel for personal pleasure use. It was called the Ninigret 22 after a famous coastal lagoon off Rhode Island and, as the name suggests, it is 22 feet long. It is 6′ 8″ wide at the beam and draws only a foot of water. Ninigret has a fine steep entry that will take a mid-sized sea but our area is generally quite protected (by standard nautical perspective) and it will do me very well. The best features for me are that it is ‘easily driven’ and has a large cockpit. Our life off the grid requires that we carry a lot of stuff and that ‘stuff’ now includes two ginormous fur-balls already the size of an adult female passenger. And they are getting bigger.
Typically a modern planning-hull boat 22 feet long, would require at least 200 horsepower to get up on a plane and go 25 knots or so. 200 hp and a helluva lot of gasoline. But to drive a displacement-hull the same size can be done with something around 10 or 12 horsepower. Displacement speed is slower (1.4 times the square root of the waterline or 1.4 x 4.2 or almost 7 knots for this boat).
Niniget is a compromise of those two styles and is, logically, deemed a semi-displacement hull and, also logically, requires a power plant somewhere in the middle. Atkins designed the boat to be powered with a 25 or 30 hp outboard but, over time, people have put on as much as a 60 hp. My new boat has a 40 hp and should do about 20 knots with just Sal and me, 18 knots with a reasonable load and we should still clip along nicely at around 8-10 knots chock-full.
Mike, the builder, is older than I am but he started building the boat years ago and just poked away at it until he got to the point that his age began to inhibit his progress and, at the same time, suggest that extensive future use of the finished boat was unlikely. Mike put it up for sale and I bought it as he puts it: “90% finished“. So I still have some work to do but it will be running within a month (assuming Murphy doesn’t visit) and might be fully finished during the summer – maybe sooner.
Mike built the boat down in Vancouver. And that meant me taking my boat trailer down, loading the boat and (duh) returning home to some dry storage site to finish off what needed doing before putting it in the water. The dogs throw up in the car and, as great a help as Sal is, her accompanying me was not worth the effort and leaving the dogs with anyone else at this time in their puppyhood was out of the question. I was gonna go alone but my nearby friend, SD, volunteered to join me and so two old dorks with ropes and tools headed to the BIG SMOKE to get a boat.
Getting to the Lower Mainland from here is usually a ten-hour trip. If all ferry connections go perfectly (very rare) it can be theoretically done in eight or nine hours but most people (me included) plan for twelve and the whole day is spent in transit.
We stayed overnight in a B&B near Mike’s place and, in the morning, joined Mike and his just-arrived adult children along with Roger, my friend and partner up here, in getting the boat out of the garage and onto the trailer. It went well. But we were all initially concerned that with the trailer being only 16 feet long, and the boat being 6 feet longer, we just might drag or hang out too much.
SD is a retired tradesman with several professional designations to add to his considerable marine knowledge. We all milled about at first humming and hawing, planning and proposing and generally procrastinating and delaying until SD kinda took charge. By noon the boat was on the trailer and strapped down. SD made sure it was loaded right and there was no danger of it dragging. We headed home.
After dropping the boat at the dry-land storage on the neighbouring island, we took SDs boat to my house where he was re-united with his dog (Sal had three dogs to look after for two days) and I with my family of three and it was a reunion at exactly 10:00 pm in a light rain. SD left for his place and, with luck, got dry by 10:30. It was a successful venture in every regard. No Murphy. No hassles. Nothing broke. Everything worked out.
But SD and I were both exhausted.
There will be more on the new boat as things progress. It’s another project!