View Full Version : Back to basics cruising
12-28-2009, 01:14 AM
I'm interested in getting started on some boats of my own, and one of my ultimate projects is a contemporary/modern interpretation of how sailing was back in the early 19th century. No engine, just sails and a little bit of electrical amenities (mainly to provide good music of the era ;) ). It'll also be made of natural materials with as little complex or modern parts as possible.
I thought it would be interesting to bring this up for open discussion amongst fellow wooden boat lovers. What kind of boat designs would be ideal? I have been looking at lateen rigs in particular, but cannot for the life of me find anything larger than the 5 or 6 meter feluccas! I also really love xebecs, but cannot find any other type than the warships of the Barbary Coast and the French and British navies.
Does anyone have any good ideas/boat types/input? All would be much appreciated :)
12-28-2009, 07:30 AM
Gaff yawl. Handy and traditional. I cruised one locally just as you describe.
12-28-2009, 07:57 AM
What kind of water and weather will you be in?
A look around this forum will find you lots of people doing what you describe. (without the music maybe)
12-28-2009, 10:32 AM
Where will you sail, and how big a boat are we talking about?
By choosing to go back as far as the early 1800's, you're going back to a time when regional differences in hull design, rig, materials and gear were huge. What "tradition" suits your taste? British, French, Mediterranian, American, Eastern, Northern?
12-29-2009, 01:37 AM
And you are probably choosing a time when pleasure boating on small yachts did not exist?
01-02-2010, 02:43 PM
Hi all - you have posed some good questions! It's good to get me thinking. I'm in a very temperate climate, by Los Angeles and Catalina Island - and possibly up for sailing to my school in the north end of San Francisco Bay, or going south towards San Diego and Baja California.
I am Swedish, and have sailed much in the Baltic with the Danish style "smakke jolle" squarish spritsails, and a little with gaffs. I love northern and Dutch boats, but another passion of mine lies with the Mediterranean boats that are the forefathers to the ones we have in the Bay. I love workboats.
Yes, pleasure boating was definitely not common in the early 1800s, but I realize this. I am studying for my mechanical engineering degree as well as my Merchant Marine 3rd Assistant Engineer's license at California Maritime Academy. My passion for boats lies not in the "luxury" end of things, but for its practicality. The uses that man has put all sorts of sailboats to throughout time are of most interest to me. Even working with a rough-cut boat such as a fishing or cargo boat, I am perfectly at home; that labor of love is true pleasure for me.
01-02-2010, 03:20 PM
You'd be better off to consider a small "camp cruiser" for use on SF Bay and up the Delta while you're at the Academy in Benica. If you like the lateen rig, consider a "Dago fish boat," or "San Francisco fellucca." There are the lines for a couple in Chapelle's "American Small Sailing Craft" and one of those was built as a replica and is now at the National Maritime Museume on Hyde Street Pier.
You can forget your fantasy of something you can sail up from LA. It's "uphill" all the way (to windward) against a lee shore, much of which is inaccessable from land and sheer cliffs. I wouldn't want to take a "primitive" boat (no engine, no radio, etc. etc.) around Point Conception, even on a good day! Prudence is an important adjunct to survival at sea.
01-02-2010, 05:33 PM
Coastal CA ain't the Med. Forget those types. Look for rough water northern types. Maybe a channel cutter.
01-02-2010, 06:30 PM
The feluccas, or sirenas, are excellent, sweet, and full of wonderful history. I've seen the one at the Maritime Park many times, I love it! That is definitely a possibility.
The mighty Pacific is definitely not the Med, and there are many boats much better suited to it, I agree. I wouldn't even be adverse to sailing a proa; but proas do not offer much in terms of space or cruise capability. Færings, of the slightly larger variety with cabins, are also another possibility, definitely. Perfekt för en gamla viking ;)
I also want to make clear that I'm not looking for a completely literal "primitive" boat, but am open to a modern interpretation of the time, if you will. This means that most amenities for living aboard will be basic, like those of the time, but equipment such as for radio, navigation, lighting, and emergency or safety will not be left out simply for the sake of fantasy.
01-05-2010, 11:37 AM
On proas: I am not sure how much you know about them, but here are a few ideas:
You can get a cabin on a proa or a tacking outrigger if you can stand sleeping in a tight bunk. Look at the fine Berque brothers tacking single outrigger (about 20 feet) with which they crossed the Atlantic recently (though under, uh, "roughing it" conditions: they go for hairy-chested-man adventures and make things difficult for themselves on purpose, like gaffing fish at sea and eating it raw to eke out their stark provisions ;-). They had interesting narrow cabins with squatting headroom and giant plastic bubbles to look out of.
Also Look at Chesapeake Light Craft's Mbuli proa with its tiny cabin reminscent of the Berque's outrigger. That boat is only 20 feet long. A longer proa can offer better, especially if you extend the cabin over to the lee or windward platform. Extended to lee, the cabin provides additional capsize resistance (Russ Brown proas, like Jzero and Jezerro). But "the proa does not suffer fools gladly," as we say, meaning, a proa generally will not take care of you during a moment's inattention or some blameless inability. Without a lot of proa experience and without a crew simialrly comfortable with a proa, it does not make a great cruising boat in a tough ocean.
But if you are open to a less traditional form of proa, you ought to look at Rob Denney's designs, sometimes called "harryproas" (long story). Instead of a small ama that relies on crew weight or movable water /other ballast to windward, he puts his comfortable crew accomodations in the ama (ie, a hull that will always be kept to windward) and uses the efficient and easily shunted Baelstron/aero rig placed in the leeward hull (or sometimes a shunting schooner rig), now made very skinny indeed. Though this proa is not made to fly the ww hull *ever* (which is not a great cruising mode anyway), it will rise a little to reduce wetted surface. Harryproas in a cruising design thus make the proa as stable and safe as it is going to be, but much lighter than a comparatively sized monohull. It is probably more kindly to the cruising sailor than a more traditional (Russ Brown type) proa, but don't quote me on that, as I'm am no expert, having just gleaned info from reading and hundreds of discussions on the proa list. By all means, check them out. There is a yahoo group list devoted to harryproas, I believe, and Rob Denney is a nice guy. --Wade
01-05-2010, 11:46 AM
...I also want to make clear that I'm not looking for a completely literal "primitive" boat, but am open to a modern interpretation of the time, if you will. This means that most amenities for living aboard will be basic, like those of the time, but equipment such as for radio, navigation, lighting, and emergency or safety will not be left out simply for the sake of fantasy.
--- Making that gorgeous Viking-inspired wooden boat (the one I keep seeing in Wooden Boat mag ads) perfectly appropriate, melding tradition with modernism. Of course, for most of us that's a real fantasy boat, but doable smaller versions based on that design concept (decked over for safety and accomodation yet with flowing lines that complement the overall aesthetics) are possibilities.--Wade
01-08-2010, 04:11 AM
Wade, thank you very much for that wealth of information on proas. They are some of the most intriguing boats to me, and I can foresee that I will someday be having some experience with them. The more knowledge to arm myself with for that time, the better!
Also, the boat type that I posted a picture of, called a "fembøring" in Norwegian, is becoming more and more appealing to me. It seems to be a forgiving, simple sailer, with tons of history; just what I love. The exact design itself first appeared in the late 18th century, and continued on for a very long time. They all share direct roots in Viking ships.
I especially love the cabin in the aft; it looks like a small house Norsk house! And it looks roomy. Scroll down on this page, and you will see many wonderful pictures of the fembøring:
Also, does anyone know of any nice, very traditional Sampan or Junk plans?
If you really want something that can be sailed safely without an engine, is a modern interpretation of traditional designs and build and is an achievable project, then build a Folkboat. Rick
06-02-2010, 11:09 AM
Commenting on TheSwedishFish picture: I'm member of a club that owns the boat to the left. The boat type is "fembøring". We sail this boat during summer, not bringing an engine, only sailing and rowing. This year we sail in Trøndelag, but we have toured most of Scandinavia. If you would like to participate, contact Båtlaget Braute – Boat Club Braute.
06-02-2010, 11:34 AM
If you want Lateen you might consider a Dhow...they get a bit bigger than 6m!
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