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Thread: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

  1. #36
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    George, good to hear from you again. I have not seen Colvin's web page before, so I spent several hour reading every single word on every single page. He has some very compelling ideas. But I wish he would give us a drawing of each boat so that we can see exactly what he is talking about. As it is even the drawings that are on the web site are so small that I cannot read any of the notes or clearly see the details. I wish he would jump in here and give us his thoughts. Capt. Z.


    I was also hoping that Tad Roberts would stop in and lend us his wisdom, too. Z.

  2. #37
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Tom Colvin:
    Getting on in years and not sure how he is doing. He has written quite a bit and that is one way to see what he is about.

    Cruising as a Way of Life:
    http://www.amazon.com/Cruising-Way-L...=thomas+colvin

    Steel-Boat-Building-From-Launching: Vol 2 of 2
    http://www.amazon.com/Steel-Boat-Bui...=thomas+colvin

    Cruising Designs from the Board of Thomas E. Colvin ( 7 seas press , several editions )

    Cruising Wrinkles ( 7 seas press , several editions )

    Boatbuilding with Steel Including ( 'Boatbuilding with Aluminum' by Thomas Colvin ) , ( International Marine Press )


    Info on his popular Gazelle and Colvin related chatter:
    http://www.wavetrain.net/boats-a-gea...-cruising-icon
    http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/f12...lles-3652.html
    Last edited by George Ray; 08-14-2014 at 03:10 PM.
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
    E. Cayce

  3. #38
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Zatarra View Post
    George, good to hear from you again. I have not seen Colvin's web page before, so I spent several hour reading every single word on every single page. He has some very compelling ideas. But I wish he would give us a drawing of each boat so that we can see exactly what he is talking about. As it is even the drawings that are on the web site are so small that I cannot read any of the notes or clearly see the details. I wish he would jump in here and give us his thoughts. Capt. Z.


    I was also hoping that Tad Roberts would stop in and lend us his wisdom, too. Z.
    Capt Z it's not that I'm smarter than you! It's just that on and off I've harboured similar thoughts since I spent 6 months cruising Tonga and Fiji when I was 12. That was 40 years ago. A couple of years ago,I worked for a while in Papua New Guinea, and when we shipped home with our 20' container personall effects allowance, the floormwasmpretty much lined with some beautiful PNG Rosewood. To sell or to use, or just to sustain the idea? I don't know. When we flew home we had about $1000 of local currency to get rid of. We bought bags and bags of dried vanilla beans and filled our carry on bags. So cheap there, so expensive in Australia. We are using them in our cooking to delight our friends,and also selling them bit by bit to friends. We've recouped our investment and still have some to sell. It vacuum packed and seems to store well. You mention coconut oil which is now very expensive in the West, but still,cheap in the tropics, and seems to be the latest "healthy fat". I don't know how long it keeps. Vegetable oil degrades with time and oxidation. In PNG I was working ona sustainable oil palm plantation (no destruction of rainforest, strict standards on pollution, social impact yada yada) degradation of the oil was always an issue which basically translated to time to market.

    I blame my Dad, he has a plan at the moment to build a sailing trading ship down in Tasmania, and ship honey and wine up to the mainland. I reckon it could only work as a set for a tourist experience. Crew pay to come along, including loading etc, and sell from the dock in Sydney or Melbourne. As sustainable transport I think sail is too slow, too unreliable and too labour intensive. I think his business plan is based on romance rather than reality.

    Every now and then I see a sailing cargo schooner or whatever for sale and get to thinking.....Fortunately so far I haven't been able to see a way to make it work as a business! I also have kids in school, which introduces a whole nuther set of limitations.

  4. #39
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Oops quoted the wrong post, but anyway..

  5. #40
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Zatarra View Post
    Wizbang, daft or not Nicaragua is where I broke down, some things you cannot choose. So I'm playing the cards that life delt me. Unfortunately for me this little fiasco played out only in the marina I was in, all the others in the country it was life as usual. Some times your the rock and sometimes your the window. As to staying in the stinky ports and such. I don't see the need for that, I pictured it more low profile, I think the idea that is developing in my head is to still look and act like a cruiser but collect high value items at their source where they are cheap, and sell them where they are expensive. A couple of cases of rum here, a couple of cases of vanilla in Mexico, Cinnamon in Sri Lanka, silk in Thailand, essential oils from almost every where, black pearls from Tahiti, rugs from Kuwait. Like the sailor who was moving exotic wood, it seems to me that it is best if someone doing this could sail completely under the radar. If that is the case the boat would need some storage space without looking a like a cargo ship, perhaps it should look like a Sail training ship..... But it sounds like you lean way over on the keep taking wanabe sailors out for the wine and fine food route of augmenting the cruising kitty. Also the idea of going in after a hurricane with some cash sounds like it could have some real potential.

    Larks, I'm not sure this is the plan yet! This is about exploring this option to see if it is the plan. Heck maybe I'll get one of these and sail the simple life.

    Super simple no rigging, flat sails, easy single handing, only 2 sheets to the cockpit, what's not to like. Z.
    What is this boat?
    "A man builds the best of himself into a boat- builds many of the memories of his ancestors." -Steinbeck

  6. #41
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by potomac View Post
    What is this boat?
    Its a Michael kasten design; http://www.kastenmarine.com/

  7. #42

    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Hello Z. I love your attitude. If you could bottle it and sell it, I would buy by the case. It is very late and I did not read all the posts, so please forgive me if someone else has already mentioned this.

    You are looking at rather large boats. A cargo hold on a boat of that size will not be wasted space. It will open up many possibilities, transporting cargo only one of them. I would definitely not try smuggling. It is full of pitfalls and potential catastrophes. I know nothing about the cargo business and so I can give you no advice there. There are at least a few people who make money at it, so it is possible, although not as likely to turn a profit as some other possibilities.

    A boat that size would make a great day charter boat. Carry paying passengers on excursions aboard a "pirate ship", wine 'em and dine 'em (for a nice price!), kick the bums off the boat at the end of the day, open a beer, watch some TV, and then get a good nights sleep.

    Another possibility would be scientific research expeditions. The hold could carry plenty of equipment, and even be set up to do some lab work. You are an experienced skipper and should be able to attract clients by making friends in academia, and advertizing in the right places.

    Keep that great spirit and best of luck with whatever you choose to do. - John

  8. #43
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    My long time personal favorite:
    (Chapelle's American Small Sailing Craft)
    Always wondered about scaling it up and gaining depth in the hold so accommodations could be done with flush deck, . . . probably not practical to get flush deck.







    http://portaransasmuseum.org/farley-...scow-schooner/
    Last edited by George Ray; 08-15-2014 at 09:59 PM.
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
    E. Cayce

  9. #44
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    That is an inshore boat too, not gonna be world trading with a scow.

  10. #45
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    I'm afraid I'll bring considerable pessimism to this discussion.

    Tom Colvin is certainly the father of small craft commercial operations under sail/auxiliary power. He has written an interesting chapter on the subject in Steel Boatbuilding (Volume 2). All his books are worth having if you are interested in the subject of commercial (non-yacht) sail.

    I know of only one local freight/passenger ship that steadily makes enough to stay in business....these guys.... http://www.marinelinktours.com/index.html No sails in sight.

    Just as in the past when Slocum not only sailed Aquidneck, he bought and sold (profit or loss) her cargoes as well. The modern cargo skipper must also combine those skills, sailor and salesman, I have a feeling it's a rare combination.

    Something like the Metacomet is possible if you buy an existing vessel.... http://sailingtexas.com/201101/sgloucester75100.html

    Every week I have people inquiring about building a big charter/freight/fishing schooner. Invariably they know nothing about building boats or commercial marine operations. They have only two questions. 1) "How much will it cost to build your xxxx design?" and 2) "Can I make a living carrying freight in Vanuatu?" I've developed longer stock replies but my general answer is 1) As much as you have, and 2) I have no idea. I never hear back from these people, which I regret. I also hear from groups doing things like hauling vegetables under sail (Puget Sound) or contemplating building a big schooner to operate along the west coast (California - Washington). These folks have a bit more knowledge but invariable come up short of money for new building. And as they necessarily operate with higher profile, their projected costs are far higher. The Hudson River Freight scow project of last year was certainly a positive development, but with (one year) insurance costs surpassing the initial build cost, financially not viable. They also learned something about the real problem of sails and schedules....incompatible.... thus the outboard was used a lot.

    Despite all the pessimism I'm currently working on a big freight schooner for a family member. She is wooden and of the simplest construction possible, given the required appearance. Double-sawn frame, inside ballast, trunel fastened, clear flush deck with no breaks, 56' on deck by 16'8" beam and draft around 6'0". She'll carry a Wharram style lashed on outboard rudder, Wizbang (Caribbean) type shroud posts (rather than chainplates), and softeye rigging rather than mast irons. We're minimizing the metal work and thus the stuff that must be purchased, there will be some galvanized bolts and drifts, but as few as possible. The rabbet won't be quite as shown in the profile, it will come to a point aft down low. And there may be a cut-out in the deadwood for a propeller, unless I can convince him to go with the prop shaft offset out one quarter.

    The windows and pilothouse door are not yet complete. The deckhouse is about 4' high so you can stand aft and look over it. The deck line follows the upper edge of the whale strake.

    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
    http://blog.tadroberts.ca/
    http://www.passagemakerlite.com

  11. #46
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Z,
    I woke up this morning thinking about your idea. I did a bit of math in the shower. The details were tailored to my location and interest but here it is:

    I was assuming hauling tropical hardwood specifically for the boatbuilding industry, like the Gannon and Benjamin venture.

    Initail cost of building the schooner: $1M You could spend many times that but I was building it rough with a couple cheap laborers and myself. Maybe in Nicaragua it could be done for less.

    If I can sell the wood for $4/bf I would need to sell 250,000 bf to offset the cost of the boat

    If I haul squared off baulks 24"x24"x30 feet each one contains 1440 bf. My imaginary cargo hold can hold 16 such logs. That is 23000 bf/ voyage.

    I'd be picking up the timber in central america and selling it via J. Madison's Great Pacific Sailing Timber Co in San Francisco or Seattle.

    The first 11 voyages paid for the boat, but not for buying the timber in the first place, the marketing costs, crew and operation costs.

    Climbing up the pacific coast with a heavily loaded schooner is not exactly the easiest sailing on earth.

    So basically I consider my venture to be a failure, unless I wanted the boat anyway and considered the sailing a hobby. As a business it doesn't work out.

    It seems like you would need a much higher value cargo, coupled with shorter runs to make it possible.

    It also seems like once you find a good source for a cargo and a willing buyer on the other end for a profitable run, the temptation would be to repeat that over and over. Not very exciting cruising. But otherwise you have to find new suppliers and new buyers and deal with new and different customs requirements with every single passage. Kind of a pain.

    I want it to work, but it just doesn't seem to in my mind. If it is only to supplement "fuel money" then it could probably be done, but actual profitability is another thing.

  12. #47
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Some guys were hauling wine under sail from France to uk.
    Such a short reaching hop might seem fesable if the wine exchange rate is high enough which it could be? But certainly not as high as it was.
    James

  13. #48
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by jak3b View Post
    The schooner John F. Leavitt was designed by Pete Culler.There were changes made by the owner and builder.As Wizbang noted her abandonment was a topic of much debate.
    Comparing her design to that of the old coasters shown in plans available from the Smithsonian, I'd say the vessel didn't have sufficient carrying capacity. Anyone wishing to design something similar should look at the plans in this book:

    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?i...iew=1up;seq=89

    Go to page 73 and look at the schooners.

  14. #49

    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Here is something important to consider, debt. If you own a vessel outright, then you are really working for maintenance/insurance and some spending money. In that case you are not under the same sort of pressure as someone who is paying back borrowed money. That gives you considerable freedom to try earning a living in different areas. If your plans involve borrowing money, then you had best be looking at charter work. I again bring up day charter. It is much cheaper to enter that business than having people stay on board for a week at a time. You don't have to spend nearly as much money finishing the interior of the boat with queen size berths, multiple heads with showers, and all the luxury gadgets and conveniences. A well equipped galley, a large and attractive dining area, and deck space for lounging under way are all you need for comfortable day charter work. It would be wise, in any case, to build your boat to be suitable for this option. Good luck with your build and your commercial endeavor. - John

  15. #50
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Tad you say you are bringing pessimism to the discussion, but all I saw was that you've turned away a bunch of dreamers, but are going ahead with just such a scheme for a member of your own family. Just humouring them, or serious stuff?

    JMadison, I think your outline is spot on and exactly the scenario that faces most of these schemes, and why they fail, particularly if you add the cost of getting the boat to commercial survey standards and the cost of insurance. A real deal killer.

    But I think Captain Zs idea is slightly different? More along the lines of scraping together the funds to build the boat as he goes along, so he starts the venture with a stout and simple boat, like Tads design, low maintenance costs and no debt. He's going cruising and wants to supplement his kitty along the way with a little trading here and there. If he has a canny head for a business deal, on the buy cheap, sell dear model, I imagine there would be a few or several thousand dollars a year to be made this way. When I studied law I met a guy who paid his way through law school buying carvings in Indonesia, shipping them down to Australia and selling them. And this was before the days of the internet and ebay.

    I can see that a flitch of teak here, a drum of coconut oil there, some bags of dried vanilla somewhere else, could turn a small profit. A lot of ports around the place are now tourist traps. If you were able to identify the ones with the right setup, specifically a craft or produce market aimed at tourists, I guess you could turn a profit on handicrafts brought in from a developing country. When we lived in PNG we had a visit from a guy from Texas, who was absolutely stunned at how cheap he could buy a nicely carved hardwood crocodile/alligator. He bought a couple to ship home and leave on his front porch. Maybe there is stuff in South America, other than drugs, you could ship up to Florida and sell to the people there. Not huge quantities, this is a boat you want to live aboard and enjoy, you don't want to turn all the prime space over to bulky cargo. You really want to carry compact, high value goods in a small space aboard. Who wants to have a 60'foot boat, but only live in a tiny bunk in the focsle?

    To be honest though, I reckon CapnZ you'd be better served, given your skills, by having a small metal shop aboard. You could do nice metal sculptures which you could sell at markets wherever you go in the developed world. Either small indoor stuff, or bigger garden ornaments. Gardens are the new living rooms in suburbia, people spend crazy amounts of money decorating their patch of soil. And you could make some money building Bimini frames, solar panel frames, dinghy davits, targa arches, boarding ladders etc etc wherever you go. You'd need to carry a small motorbike with a trailer to get your stuff to the local market.

  16. #51
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    CapnZ you might change from "trying to operate under the radar" to trying to serve niche markets. Apparently the wood carrying cruiser you met found a niche, maybe you can too.
    Yachting, the only sport where you get to be a mechanic, electrician, plumber and carpenter

  17. #52
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Tad you say you are bringing pessimism to the discussion, but all I saw was that you've turned away a bunch of dreamers, but are going ahead with just such a scheme for a member of your own family. Just humouring them, or serious stuff?
    Phil,

    I try not to turn anybody away, but I'm not going to tell them they can build a 60' schooner for a song and make a fortune in la-la land. I really do not believe that is possible. When they ask about cost and I tell them they need 42,000 pounds of steel at $1.25 lb, and $25k in paint, and $10k in insulation, and an engine and steering gear and a rig and sails and 5000 hours of free time.......they never do ask about actually buying plans. Producing a book on the subject might be far more profitable......

    I think (as I mentioned above) it takes a very specialized set of skills to a) build a relatively big wooden schooner for small money, b) successfully sail this vessel wherever the cargo takes you, c) buy and sell said cargo with the occasional profit. Only a few people have the required skills, Capt Z has already demonstrated he has them. But it's still a big undertaking, and older means wiser as well. When you are young taking on a 10-15 year project is not a problem, but for us old guys time is a bit more finite. Thus I would go smaller, perhaps 40-45' on deck. Or buy an existing vessel and modify to suit. Every foot shorter she is, it's one less deck beam and frame set you need to build. The cargo hold can be living space in the off season, or it can be workshop space, or passenger cabins as required. A key is versatility, which to me means adequate power to get up a river or through tidal rapids, and moderate draft. I argued long and hard that the 56' design above should have a flat bottom and a big centerboard so she could dry out......but the owner/builder wanted something simpler and (IMO) somewhat limiting.
    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
    http://blog.tadroberts.ca/
    http://www.passagemakerlite.com

  18. #53
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    my wife's, who is a seamstress and a massage therapist, need room for a sewing station on the boat, and storage space for the massage table. If your going to take your Lady out on the high seas and never come back you better make sure she has what she needs and room to have it in! I, on the other hand, am a metalsmith and woodworker, I decided to sell my metal fab equipment, mig welder, plasma arc cutter, etc. when we took off, I thought that what would I do with metal fab equipment on a wooden boat. Boy what a mistake. The lost opportunities for some extra work on other boats. In short I need room for tools and a little work space. All of this translates to mean ,we need a little more space then the cruising couple who are writers or photographers.

    Why don't you both ply your trades on the boat for that extra cash? A 50' boat could have a nice little decadant massage room that would double as a spare bedroom for the occasional paying passanger. You could have a small metal and woodrworking shop on board, as well as a compressor to run air tools and refill scuba tanks. You could do all cash jobs working on fellow cruisers, so you would be working under the radar of the locals.

  19. #54
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    I'm afraid I'll bring considerable pessimism to this discussion.

    Tom Colvin is certainly the father of small craft commercial operations under sail/auxiliary power. He has written an interesting chapter on the subject in Steel Boatbuilding (Volume 2). All his books are worth having if you are interested in the subject of commercial (non-yacht) sail.

    I know of only one local freight/passenger ship that steadily makes enough to stay in business....these guys.... http://www.marinelinktours.com/index.html No sails in sight.

    Just as in the past when Slocum not only sailed Aquidneck, he bought and sold (profit or loss) her cargoes as well. The modern cargo skipper must also combine those skills, sailor and salesman, I have a feeling it's a rare combination.

    Something like the Metacomet is possible if you buy an existing vessel.... http://sailingtexas.com/201101/sgloucester75100.html

    Every week I have people inquiring about building a big charter/freight/fishing schooner. Invariably they know nothing about building boats or commercial marine operations. They have only two questions. 1) "How much will it cost to build your xxxx design?" and 2) "Can I make a living carrying freight in Vanuatu?" I've developed longer stock replies but my general answer is 1) As much as you have, and 2) I have no idea. I never hear back from these people, which I regret. I also hear from groups doing things like hauling vegetables under sail (Puget Sound) or contemplating building a big schooner to operate along the west coast (California - Washington). These folks have a bit more knowledge but invariable come up short of money for new building. And as they necessarily operate with higher profile, their projected costs are far higher. The Hudson River Freight scow project of last year was certainly a positive development, but with (one year) insurance costs surpassing the initial build cost, financially not viable. They also learned something about the real problem of sails and schedules....incompatible.... thus the outboard was used a lot.

    Despite all the pessimism I'm currently working on a big freight schooner for a family member. She is wooden and of the simplest construction possible, given the required appearance. Double-sawn frame, inside ballast, trunel fastened, clear flush deck with no breaks, 56' on deck by 16'8" beam and draft around 6'0". She'll carry a Wharram style lashed on outboard rudder, Wizbang (Caribbean) type shroud posts (rather than chainplates), and softeye rigging rather than mast irons. We're minimizing the metal work and thus the stuff that must be purchased, there will be some galvanized bolts and drifts, but as few as possible. The rabbet won't be quite as shown in the profile, it will come to a point aft down low. And there may be a cut-out in the deadwood for a propeller, unless I can convince him to go with the prop shaft offset out one quarter.

    The windows and pilothouse door are not yet complete. The deckhouse is about 4' high so you can stand aft and look over it. The deck line follows the upper edge of the whale strake.

    Tad, forgive me but I'm going to gush for a second, "YOU ARE THE MAN, YOUR INCREDIBLE, I BOW DOWN TO YOUR AWESOMENESS" I knew you were going to bring something really good to the table. And you did!! there I said it, I got that out of the way, I can now converse like a sane human being...... If you remember at the beginning of this thread I wrote that becuase I was having to start over, I was making a list of all the "if only"s that accorded during my build and apply them to my new build. Well it feels like you found a copy of my list and decided to see how much you could incorporate into your design. Below is some of that list now, in no perticular order,
    Longer then my last 50' on deck
    More beam
    Trunel fastened
    Simplified rudder(mine used a system of cables and pulleys that ran halfway around the boat.
    Soft eye rigging
    And then including the changes that I was making to the original such as
    Pilot house
    Flush deck (is it still a flush deck if the aft deck is raised) I got rid of all the dog house and cabin tops.
    Turn buckles replaced with dead eyes
    It really looks like we are talking about the same boat!
    The idea of offsetting the prop shaft is something I had not though of, but as I think about it I can see several advantages. I plan to have a diesel electric system, this way I can put the diesel engine someplace where it is easy to work on and better able to isolate it's noise. If I were to put two off set shafts one port and one starboard, I would have infinite control while docking. Redundant power in the event of damage to a prop, and twice the regen capability. Hhhhmmmm, I'm going to think more about this.

    Now a couple of questions about your design.

    Will she be able to carry topsails for those calm days of two to three knot wind? I have no patience for a boat that depends on the motor for light air days.

    Also I was wondering if she could be rigged to fly a square on the fore mast for my transocean crossings, and down wind sailing?

    Is there room inside the hull for an aft cabin? Kind of like your 60' cargo schooner.

    And finally since I know that you do this for a living, what is the procedure for purchasing these plans when their done, and or working with you to fine tune them for my needs? For example I would like to see a little more rake in the mast.(I realize that something like changing the rake of the mast changes the whole balance of the schooner and I would expect such changes to come at a price for all your hard work.)

    On the subject of mast rake, I am under the impression that if the mast is raked enough the rigging can be significantly lighter and the forward shroud can be eliminated. As seen on the Baltimore Clippers. Do you concur with this idea?

    So my pessimistic friend, you came through for me again, you may not remember that you gave me some drawings of your mast knees from your boat several years ago, on my old build thread. Thank you for then and now.

    I feel i should say something about the first part of your post, I do understand what you mean with the people who approach you for all the answers. The big difference between you and I appears to be that people approach you to ask your advise, and in all the years I have spent in boat yards and on wooden boats people have approached me almost weekly, to give me their advise.
    I have already learned that building a boat takes all my money, no matter how much I have. And it takes twice as much time then I think it will, and double that in a third world country.


    Thank you again for sharing your design, and I look forward to your answers to my questions. And seeing what this current schooner design will look like when your done.
    Capt. Zatarra

  20. #55
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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Landlockedvoyager View Post
    Hello Z. I love your attitude. If you could bottle it and sell it, I would buy by the case. It is very late and I did not read all the posts, so please forgive me if someone else has already mentioned this.

    You are looking at rather large boats. A cargo hold on a boat of that size will not be wasted space. It will open up many possibilities, transporting cargo only one of them. I would definitely not try smuggling. It is full of pitfalls and potential catastrophes. I know nothing about the cargo business and so I can give you no advice there. There are at least a few people who make money at it, so it is possible, although not as likely to turn a profit as some other possibilities.

    A boat that size would make a great day charter boat. Carry paying passengers on excursions aboard a "pirate ship", wine 'em and dine 'em (for a nice price!), kick the bums off the boat at the end of the day, open a beer, watch some TV, and then get a good nights sleep.

    Another possibility would be scientific research expeditions. The hold could carry plenty of equipment, and even be set up to do some lab work. You are an experienced skipper and should be able to attract clients by making friends in academia, and advertizing in the right places.

    Keep that great spirit and best of luck with whatever you choose to do. - John
    Hay John I have done the day charter, and the live aboard week long charter, i find that the day charter clients/guest have much less respect for the boat and have a tendency to thrash the boat, where as the week long clients/guest show much more respect for the boat. The wear and tear from an average group of ten people who are trying to squeeze as much partying and drinking into their next four hours is really different then the four people cruising with you for a week who usually settle in and get comfortable, and live my lifestyle for the next week. Plus I really like to sail from one place to another and then another, as apposed to the sail out for a few hours and return. If push came to shove I know that if I was in a tourist town I could hustle up some day sailing gigs pretty quick, but if I can help it I would rather have the more personal one on one relationship that comes with the extended cruising.

    If I can digress here for a minute. An other sailor who I met while cruising told me about how he was making a little cash on the side. He had a sailing blog that he posted his travels on and always signed off letting any of his readers know that for a donation of a particular amount that was to cover food and fuel and ware and tear of the sails, rigging, hull, bottom paint, anchor rode, bed sheets, etc, etc, etc, you get the idea, they could fly out to where ever he was, and he would pick them up and take them sailing for a week and then he would drop them off where they could catch a taxi back to the airport and then home. This seemed to work very well for him all over the world. Until he got to French Polynesia. While dropping off the third couple at the public dock in about as many weeks. He noticed the Jon dome (local French police) watching him and as he motored about a mile down the coast to the fuel docks he noticed that they were driving along the sea side road keeping a matching pace. When he tied up to the fuel dock they came up to him and the conversation went like this.
    Jon dome: you are running an illegal business here!
    Sailor: no I'm not, what are you talking about?
    Jon dome: we have observed you picking up people on your boat and dropping them off.
    Sailor: those people are my friends from back home coming to visit with me.
    Jon dome: you have too many friends. You will have no more friends visit you for as long as you are here.

    So I ask my friend, "What did you do then?" and he replied that it was time to get the hell out of Dodge, and find a more friendly place.

    So that's his story and he's sticking to it.

    Now about this idea of scientific research that is absolutely wonderful idea, I am defiantly going to save that idea for the future. That is what I was hoping for when I ask for ideas that I might not have thought of. This is what makes this forum so great, sharing ideas.
    Capt. Z.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    On scientific research we have a friend down in Tasmania who is trying to keep things together running charters on his Baltic Trader type boat which he has pretty much rebuilt. Earlier this year he got a gig sailing the east coast of Australia sampling the water to assess the amount of plastic floating around. I think it might have been a couple of months charter. Fantastic, but rare I think. He mostly does day or several day sails out of Franklin, on the Huon river. www.yukon-tours.dk

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Capt Z
    Following my previous post about Irene, she was going along the route of eco trade with fairly high value cargo, but the crew were paying passengers.
    People like to sail traditional/traditional looking boats, brings out the pirate in them
    The other thing to look at is surfaris. Surfers are always looking for new breaks and a boat can be a great way to get to them, not to mention the "waterman" culture is a big part of the scene.

    Guess what I've been planning/dreaming of for a long time......

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    Z,
    I woke up this morning thinking about your idea. I did a bit of math in the shower. The details were tailored to my location and interest but here it is:

    I was assuming hauling tropical hardwood specifically for the boatbuilding industry, like the Gannon and Benjamin venture.

    Initail cost of building the schooner: $1M You could spend many times that but I was building it rough with a couple cheap laborers and myself. Maybe in Nicaragua it could be done for less.

    If I can sell the wood for $4/bf I would need to sell 250,000 bf to offset the cost of the boat

    If I haul squared off baulks 24"x24"x30 feet each one contains 1440 bf. My imaginary cargo hold can hold 16 such logs. That is 23000 bf/ voyage.

    I'd be picking up the timber in central america and selling it via J. Madison's Great Pacific Sailing Timber Co in San Francisco or Seattle.

    The first 11 voyages paid for the boat, but not for buying the timber in the first place, the marketing costs, crew and operation costs.

    Climbing up the pacific coast with a heavily loaded schooner is not exactly the easiest sailing on earth.

    So basically I consider my venture to be a failure, unless I wanted the boat anyway and considered the sailing a hobby. As a business it doesn't work out.

    It seems like you would need a much higher value cargo, coupled with shorter runs to make it possible.

    It also seems like once you find a good source for a cargo and a willing buyer on the other end for a profitable run, the temptation would be to repeat that over and over. Not very exciting cruising. But otherwise you have to find new suppliers and new buyers and deal with new and different customs requirements with every single passage. Kind of a pain.

    I want it to work, but it just doesn't seem to in my mind. If it is only to supplement "fuel money" then it could probably be done, but actual profitability is another thing.
    J. I like the way your thinking, BUT (there's always a 'BUT', right) what's with your numbers. 1M? I assume you mean $1,000,000.oo as in one miilliooon dollars. let me break it down third world style. On my build I spent about $1,000 on all my ribs that's a hundred twenty four ribs, the sixty three deck beams and assorted carlins and bits ran about $500 or so. Enough two inch thick planks to cover the entire hull and deck, $7000. After I bought it I met another wood broker who said that if I needed more he could supply it for 20% less. and if I built on the east coast of Nicaragua instead I could have saved on the shipping cost as well. The eastern half of Nicaragua is divided into two autonomous regions, different rules over there. better place to build. As in privately owned shipyards. The keel and dead wood(I replaced about 1/3) $300. Labor cost, a shipwright cost me twenty dollars a day, skilled carpenters, seven dollars a day, laborers five dollars a day. A years worth of labor for a crew of five, one shipwright, one carpenter three labors, fifty weeks of work $9,000. I watched a crew build a fifty foot wooden fishing boat in less then eight months, near where I was working on mine. (let's assume the sailboat will take a whole year because,,,it just will! Iron cast in any shape I want for ballast about eighty cents to a dollar, theres a discount for volume, so I'm not up on the current discounted price. It's all made out of melted down engine blocks and stuff. My schooner had 16,000 lbs of ballast. If I work out something with Tad and buy his plans for that stunningly beautiful schooner he is drawing up, then it looks like I might need as much a twenty thousand pounds. So assume twenty thousand pounds of ballast at $20,000. There might be some savings but we'll assume for sake of this exicersize there's not. Another $1,000 for masts, booms, and bowsprits. And we're up to $39,500 another $20,000 for paint, $10,000 for rigging, less if I work at it. Let's say I don't. We're at $69,000 for a engineless 50' schooner ready for sails. I just realized that I was mixing my old schooner numbers with the new schooner ballast. As you can see adding a little length will not impact the cost by very much I'm estimating maybe $1,000 a foot, but that is really just off the top of my head. This leaves me with $31,000 to buy a motor and finish the interior, if I had set a $100,000 dollar cap on my expenses. Completely doable if you continue to use the local carpenters and the local hardwoods. That puts us in a finished schooner for $100,000. Some may want to quible over some of my numbers, but what ever you do we are still a long way from ONE MIIILLLIIOON DOLLARS.

    Since I will pay for the schooner build up front(I will not go into debt ever again) and the schooner is my home I do not need to look at how much business it will need to do to break even. It is my plan that this will be my last build and it will last more then fifty years, by then I think that by then science will have nanobot paint where the nano robots will scour through your hull looking for rot or fractures and repair it on the spot, it will do this by digesting barnacles and other unwanted nasties on the bottom of the boat and converting it to cellulose to repair the hull, there by keeping your hull clean and your boat sound. Anyway I kind of went of topic there, sorry. Where was I.

    The point of buying product low and calmly and at an enjoyable cruising pace, sail off around the world till I reach a part of the world where that product is now eight to ten times the price I paid for it. Does not envision slogging up the coast in an over loaded schooner. Maybe you should sail out to Hawaii and then in to Seattle, much more comfortable, and who knows maybe teak sells for more in Hawaii, and then you could pick up macadamia nuts to sell in Seattle. Your absolutely right four dollars a board foot for teak just will not cut it.(by the way assuming that your selling whole sale to a retailer and he marks up the teak 100% and sells it for $8 per bdft, is that what teak is going for up there now?)

    Here is an example of what I think might work. Recently I have been searching Nicaragua for just such an item. In the spa business that my wife and I have been doing for the five years that we lived in San Juan we used lots of essential oils and sold a lot as well. Well, recently we have found a source for a certain essential oil that cost us $16 dollars for one ounce. The market price is currently at ninety dollars for one ounce. That's a 562.5% mark up. So a gallon cost me $2048 and sells for $11,520. That's $9,472 profit for the space in the cargo hold the size of a gallon jug. $520,960 profit for a fifty five gallon barrel. In other words I could exceed your 1M quota in one trip with two fifty-five gallon barrels. Now that is what I want some cargo space for. (Honestly by the time we package, and discount for volume buyers and other expenses we will probably be closer to 400% markup. That also assumes that I had the money to buy two fifty five gallon drums and the suppliers could produce that much, which at this time they absolutely cannot)" But it is not just the mark up, it is the bulk space. So in your example of hauling a load of teak that will have to use up sixteen feet of the schooner you'll make $92,000 (minus what you paid for it). This load of teak will weight 82,800 lbs. or 41.4 tons can our theoretical schooner carry that much? We would have to ask Tad if that would work. But by comparison my load of oil would weight 770 pounds. So I will make in one trip what you will make in eleven trips, with a fraction of the load.
    So would you consider my venture a success?
    Also with essential oil, I can market it all on line, so that most of my buyers will contact me by email and buy on line, Typically in quantities smaller then 16 oz. So I can ship them their product from any reliable postal service. Given that scenario, I could be sailing the med with my gallons of essential oil safely stored in my cargo space aboard my schooner, ready to mail out at the nearest port of call. I guess I could look for a single buyer and sail to them and unload the whole thing if I needed all the money at once. But the point is to sail around the world and search for the really rare and cool items, and weather it comes all at once or divided up over the year, it makes no difference. The ultimate example that I can think of with the highest value for the least amount of space would be gemstones. But then they take up so little space you don't need any cargo space at all.
    I realize that you said in the beginning that the ideas were tailored to your area and interest, so what do you think of my interest and the whole world as the area. Take a shower and think it over.
    Your post really made me think and I actually spent a lot of time calculating and thinking through some of my ideas to then reply to your post, so thank you for helping me look at this more in depth. Capt. Z.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Like a lot of people the thought has crossed my mind but not in the Caribbean but around the coast of New Guinea and the Solomons and using not a carvel schooner ( much as I love them) but a 50 foot Wharram cat that could run up onto a beach and take 20 passengers to the next island, prably for $3 each... plus their pigs and cococnuts . It could be a good life.

    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Peter the buggers would steal every last shackle, knife and fork on the boat and leave nits behind!

    Z I worked as a lawyer (attorney) for a time in Australia. I remember one time I acted for a woman who thought she'd bring some extra jewellery into the country which shed got cheap overseas. Got checked at customs counter in the airport, for some reason the customs officer was suspicious. Dumb lady had the receipt in her luggage, it was $25,000 or so. Deemed to be trading rather than personal use. She lost the lot, confiscated, plus court costs. Not saying your plan isn't good, I think it is. I think you are definitely onto something with the essential oils. Gemstones might be a bit riskier unless you do it all absolutely above board. Declare them and pay the duty. Your competitive advantage with the essential oils is you know the business and have contacts on the supply side. As you say, cruise around, bottle it off at your leisure, sell it on evil bay, post it to your customers and you have an easy and handy income stream to keep you going. The trick will be to get the boat built without ending up the wrong side of corrupt third world authorities again. Hey maybe you can crowd source your build funding. I'd love to own a share of a sailing trading company.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Probably Phil , but I'd employ 3 or 4 local lads and pay them well. It could work and it's the only place I can think of that a genuine trading schooner could work.

    The amount of gear aboard would be hippy minimal, things like a handheld gps that lived in my pocket.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    It's just such a tribal and dangerous place. We know, well friends of friends, the woman who ran the black cat trail treck. She did everything right, by the book if there was a book. Employed locals, looked after locals,all the way along the trek, it was all great. Until someone got stroppy and decided to hack her team to death. You might have seen it on the news.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Jamesh
    I read about those guys, they are inspiring that someone is making it work. I like to think I will join the ranks of successful trading sailors.

    Artif
    I like the idea paying passengers that help sail the boat and stand watch. In looking at the boats that are successfully trading they all have paying deckhand/passengers. I wonder what percent of their revenue stream that amounts to?

    Tomlarkin
    Your question about my wife and I plying our trade aboard while cruising? We did. My wife massaged on board, usually on the foredeck. Not as frequently as we had hoped. And I did some woodwork as the work came along. Not very much really, the cruising crowd is a hard place to make money from. About 90% are on a pretty tight budget, and are always looking to trade for services, as apposed to paying cash. The other 10% that seem to have money dripping from them, you can tell them from the others 90% because they are the ones who will put their boat in a marina, or put it out on the hard, while they fly off to Thailand or Chicago or europe somewhere for their second cousins wedding, or their third grandchild's first birthday, and when they return they will have a suitcase full of the newest sailing gadgets that they will want you to help them install, oh, and build a couple of little wooden mounts to hold them in place, "nothing really, just a few pieces of wood screwed together, oh yeah and do it so that the screws don't show and you might as well router the edges, and sand it down nice and smooth and varnish it with 4 or 5 coats, I'm sure you got some scrap teak your not using somewhere, and oh yeah I think I have some sandpaper somewhere so you won't have to use your own sandpaper, you do that for me and I'm sure someday I'll be able to do something in return for you."

    My reply. "I'll help you install the new dudads and gewgaws but you know that I do the woodworking stuff for pay, if you want me to build you something I'll work you up a price we can both be happy with."

    10%er's reply. "No, you don't understand this is about cruisers helping cruisers. You do this for me and then someday I'll do something for you when you need it."

    My reply. "So what did you do before you took off cruising? What skills do you have?"

    10%er's reply. "Why I was chief of security at Boeing, and before that I retired from the army with 20 years as a military policeman."

    My reply. "So I'm scheduled to haul out in three days to scrape and paint new bottom paint, can you come over to the boat yard and help me with that?"

    10%er's reply. Oh NO. I never do that sort of thing myself I always hire that out. I know, let me take a look at your stock portfolio, I bet I could give you some good tips"

    My reply. "I don't own any stock, and the only portfolio I have has my watercolors in it, if you like that sort of thing I'd love to show you my paintings. But I just don't see how we can work this out so that we're both happy. So I'm going to say no to building the wooden stands for your doodads and gewgaws, but I'll still help you run the wires and stuff."

    10%er's reply. "You know it's guys like you that are ruining cruising for everyone, you destroy the camaraderie and the tight nit community of sailors, by making every thing about money. You really disgust me."

    Capt. Z.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    Like a lot of people the thought has crossed my mind but not in the Caribbean but around the coast of New Guinea and the Solomons and using not a carvel schooner ( much as I love them) but a 50 foot Wharram cat that could run up onto a beach and take 20 passengers to the next island, prably for $3 each... plus their pigs and cococnuts . It could be a good life.

    Peter you crack me up sometimes, let's see 20pax times $3 equals $60 minus what ever you pay your three of four deckhands. It does sound like fun, I'll give you that. But I think it's like farming. My older brother is a farmer, and he likes to say "FARMING IT IS SOMETHING TO DO WHILE YOU SLOWLY GO BROKE" Z.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y
    The trick will be to get the boat built without ending up the wrong side of corrupt third world authorities again....................... Hey maybe you can crowd source your build funding. I'd love to own a share of a sailing trading company.
    Rest assured I will have some sort plan for the first part before I start...... And I have thought a lot about crowd sourcing, I still have not come up with a solid idea that I think would work. I got some ideas but nothing really concrete yet. Who knows??? Z.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    You'd be selling romance, forget concrete.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Other than some straight-up charter businesses the 'trading' enterprises I knew of all seemed to remind me of Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22. They'd go from port A to port B to port C, trading do-hickeys, for widget and thing-a-ma-jigs. I never understood where cash entered into the equation.
    Living in the FL Keys for a number of years honed my skepticism. Odd enterprises would go on for a while, the owners flaunting the lavish fruits of their success ..... right up until DEA or ATF introduced them to their new wrist jewelery.

    It's best to avoid behaviors that lead to Imperial entanglements.

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    A key is versatility, which to me means adequate power to get up a river or through tidal rapids, and moderate draft. I argued long and hard that the 56' design above should have a flat bottom and a big centerboard so she could dry out......but the owner/builder wanted something simpler and (IMO) somewhat limiting.

    Tad
    I have a serious question for you. I have been under the impression for many years, that flat bottom boats made very poor blue water sailors, that their flat bottom gave them a rough ride in over waves and chop. That they sort of bashed about, where as the deeper Vee shaped keels sliced through the waves and chop, making a much smoother way. Also that flat bottom boats had a real tendency to slide sideways like a catamaran. Are these characteristic true, or is this another example of the many myths, and generalizations that become cold hard facts in the waterfront bars? Is this another example of compromising blue water characteristic for shallow water access? Capt. Zatarra

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post
    Other than some straight-up charter businesses the 'trading' enterprises I knew of all seemed to remind me of Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22. They'd go from port A to port B to port C, trading do-hickeys, for widget and thing-a-ma-jigs. I never understood where cash entered into the equation.
    Living in the FL Keys for a number of years honed my skepticism. Odd enterprises would go on for a while, the owners flaunting the lavish fruits of their success ..... right up until DEA or ATF introduced them to their new wrist jewelery.

    It's best to avoid behaviors that lead to Imperial entanglements.
    Bregalad
    Speaking for myself, in using the term 'trading', I don't think of it in terms of swapping wampum beads for beaver pelts, or in the context of Milo Minderbender, or Corporal Klinger, your classic fast talking huckster. I see it as counter point to freight. Hauling freight is when you pay me to move your stuff from point A to point B. I get paid a flat rate. I have no financial investment in your stuff, and I have no risk involved in the profitability of your stuff as point B. Trading on the other hand is where I buy the stuff at point A and I ship it myself, and at point B, I assume all the risk, and reap all the reward if there is a reward to reap.

    Another aspect of the Freighter verses the Trader, is the Freighter is under the obligation to meet the clients reasonable expectation to arrive when and where the client desires. Where as the Trader is under no such obligation to anyone other then himself. Capt. Z.
    Last edited by Capt Zatarra; 08-18-2014 at 01:41 AM. Reason: Spell check blunder

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    Default Re: Is a Cargo Schooner right for me?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Zatarra View Post


    Will she be able to carry topsails for those calm days of two to three knot wind? I have no patience for a boat that depends on the motor for light air days.
    We did intend a main topmast (doubled) and a foretop would be fine. Winter time/hurricane season or high latitudes the top masts come down.

    Also I was wondering if she could be rigged to fly a square on the fore mast for my transocean crossings, and down wind sailing?
    Yes, square sails are the answer for old men sailing big boats short-handed. A big course (probably brailing into the mast) and raffee above would be about right.

    Is there room inside the hull for an aft cabin? Kind of like your 60' cargo schooner.
    Our intention is a chubby-hole skipper's cabin under the aft deck. In this version the space is tight because there is no break, and no raised aft deck. But a break is entirely possible, creating a much more roomy aft cabin. Our idea is that living goes on in the deckhouse, with helm, navigation, galley and dining space there. The pilothouse floor is about 11' long and 10' wide, plus a big dashboard forward. The aft cabin will just be an athwartships double berth against the transom, and storage space with a companion way up to the pilothouse. The engine room is under the pilothouse with tanks port and starboard. A watertight bulkhead between hold and engine room, with hold access through a hatch in the dash at the forward end of the pilothouse. Then another watertight bulkhead just aft of the foremast dividing off the foc'sl, the head and about six bunks can be up there.

    And finally since I know that you do this for a living, what is the procedure for purchasing these plans when their done, and or working with you to fine tune them for my needs? For example I would like to see a little more rake in the mast.(I realize that something like changing the rake of the mast changes the whole balance of the schooner and I would expect such changes to come at a price for all your hard work.)
    Contact me off forum, my email is on the website or there's a contact form.

    On sailing balance, that's the reason for building a schooner. Yes you need to follow the general rules, but as compared to a typical triangular sloop with fin, this boat will be far more forgiving and versatile under sail. With 4 lowers, 3 topsails, and a couple of squaresails you have numerous options for getting the boat to balance.

    On the subject of mast rake, I am under the impression that if the mast is raked enough the rigging can be significantly lighter and the forward shroud can be eliminated. As seen on the Baltimore Clippers. Do you concur with this idea?
    I don't think I agree with this thinking. Generally the shrouds are sized to not break if the boat is knocked down, so sizing is based on stability and sail area/mast size/beam. Perhaps as the shrouds move aft (on the deck edge) the boat gets wider and shroud angle increases? I don't think, in this type of boat/rig, that the difference will be significant. The rigging safety factor will just be larger.

    The forward lower shroud will be eliminated so that the square sail can be braced around further. But you will still have 2 or 3 lower shrouds, probably 1/2" galvanized wire. I have nothing against increasing mast rake.
    ___________________________________
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