Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Keeping It Simple

We have a little boat we keep down in the harbour here in Mission.  We take her out on the Fraser for day trips, but in reality we could take her just about anywhere in coastal BC.  Rosebud is a Volvo powered diesel mini tug/trawler that I bought in an unfinished state without interior or systems, though she was usable.  I spent about a year of spare time finishing her out and equipping her.


She is a novelty boat.  Overall length is 15 1/2 feet but she has all the gewgaws.  I put in a head, woodstove, galley, shore power, GPS/depthsounder, anchor windlass, vhf, remote control spotlight, LED lighting in and out, custom electrical panel and engine control, wiper, fan and probably other stuff I can't recall at this point.  She could sleep the two of us if we were inclined but we haven't done any trips with her yet other than the day outings previously mentioned.  We'll be selling her one day.

She has been an exercise in the complexity I simply don't want in another boat.  Everything is new in Rosebud so it will be a while before things begin to break down.  It's just a matter of time.  And doing all of this wasn't cheap to begin with.

Other boats that are kept here in Mission have at least that level of complexity and for most of them quite a bit more.  A neighbour of ours down the dock has a trawler with two heads, two steering stations, two sets of electronics, two engines, central heat and so on.  He runs his engines regularly at the dock and found one seized up recently.  Water got into the crank case through the exhaust due to waves and a faulty flapper valve.  Fortunately, there wasn't any damage and upon cleaning her up, fixing the flapper, and replacing the oil the engine was fine.  But I don't ever want to experience the stress I witnessed the day it happened.

No sir, our boat is going to be simple.

For starters no inboard.  We are going to put a high thrust outboard on our boat.  Yes, it will be gasoline powered, and yes it will be way more expensive to run.  All the more reason to sail whenever possible, and when we are in calm water like Harrison lake we'll use the Yuloh.  The advantage with an outboard is when it breaks, out she comes and we fix it it in a warm shop.  If it's too far gone then we can replace it with another abundantly available outboard motor - any brand - because there are no compatibility issues.

No complex plumbing.  We will use a simple 'composting' head that is basically a nicely dressed up Home Depot bucket lined with a bio degradable bag and cedar chips.  No smell, a pleasure to use.  Simple.  But we don't pee in it if possible.  That gets collected separately.

Potable water will be in large jugs.  I'll have a spot to put the current one in under the sink with a tube/ footpump arrangement to a spigot.  I will also install a larger water tank - probably RV surplus - for water for showers.  Technically that will be potable as well, but we don't have to be worrying about it since we will not generally be drinking it.

Hot water for showers:  Aforementioned water tank will be accessed with another foot pump to a spigot.
Said spigot will be able to fill a dedicated water vessel made from S.S. - say a gallon or so - that sits permanently on a single propane burner on a galley counter (I have the space!).  This vessel will have another spigot at its base so that no one will ever have to handle a vessel of this size.  We don't want to get scalded.
So showering will involve foot pumping desired amount of water into the heating vessel, heating it up with the propane burner, draining said vessel into a pump up garden sprayer (modified with a hand held shower nozzle).  The 'shower' it self is a water proof sit down tub in under the 'chart table' forward of the head.  Just lift up the cover and there is your shower or a place to hang wet gear otherwise.  It gets drained overboard with another foot pump.

So we WILL have propane.  I thought a lot about this and it makes the most sense for heating water and cooking.  And since we both really like to cook, the next most complex thing on board besides the engine will be a Dickenson range with an oven.

We will heat the boat with a wood stove.  Simple.

Electrical:  We only need it for lights and electronics.  So a couple of deep cycle batteries will do.  There are a bunch of simple ways to keep them charged which I will explore in the future, but my plan is to keep electrical demand as low as possible.  So LED lighting inside, and LED nav/anchor/steaming lights.  We will want a receptacle to charge phones and computers and a handheld VHF.  That is as far as I'm going with electronics - we simply don't need any more than that.  GPS and depthsounder are not required.

In the meantime, I'm still building away.  Here are the four main bulkheads going together.  I'm hoping to finish them up by next week.  I'm really liking those plastic nails.  They are incredibly strong in tension - way more than a metal nail would be.  They actually bond to the wood from the friction of being driven.






17 comments:

  1. Don't forget that there are hand held GPS units, completely waterproof, that run off AA batteries. I have one that's designed for hiking, a Garmin 60, and it will tell you your location to look up on a chart, and has a small screen to show basic charts. I am sure that there are newer units that would be more appropriate (mine is several years old). Glad to see your progress

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    1. Thanks Dennis. What I mean is eschewing permanently installed 'marine' electronics. Same goes for music..we can have a portable battery operated 'ghetto blaster' as well without committing it as part of the boat wiring wise.

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  2. I lived on a Chinese Junk for about 10 years. You are correct about keeping in simple. It sound like you will not have any through hull fittings which is a major advantage. Will you have stand up room on the boat, that is a major factor on a boat subject to Northwest rains. My Junk had a raised aft deck so there was plenty of head room and a large deck to be upon in the nice weather. It also had two steering stations a wheel inside and a large tiller on the aft deck. Good luck with the build

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    1. Thank-you Teri for the reply. There will be 6'4" of headroom down the centre of the boat. And you are correct - no thru hulls (below w.l. at least)! I'm kicking around the idea of some sort of inside steering...need to develop the idea a bit more yet...

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    2. did you see Daves post on inside steering a while back?

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    3. I've read it quite a while ago. My thoughts lean towards a bubble in the main hatch, with some seat that attaches to the companionway steps so I can comfortably sit with my head poking up into the bubble. I like tillers and will use one outside, but inside I think I would have a wheel that I could de-couple when not in use. For the most part, I don't see needing inside steering a whole lot but if have to get somewhere in the snot (to be avoided as much as possible) then I would have the option.

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  3. Luckily tons of used hi-thrust 10s in your waters. Some 8s too. Really amazed me while up in Sitka that, unlike Florida boaters and their overall reliance on paid subscription towing-rescue services (SeaTow, etc), that AK boaters took responsibility for themselves (for the most part anyway) and almost all small boats had a back-up kicker. Lots of used 10s!! A really good thing when you need parts or just a new kicker for your trilo. Re peeing somewhere else: that's one of the joys of boat ownership, going over the side (sorry ladies). Apparently how a lot of bluewater guys go missing too. If we do find the SHTF this year, or soon, and the grid goes down awhile how about a simplistic but robust way to string up a longwire antenna from stem to stern for SW listening? Nice construction pix and thanks for the documentation. Through journalistic efforts like yours some confused kid in Iowa might just say "Dang!! Forget becoming a college debt slave next year. I can have a paid off home pretty darn quick, learn some carpentry to boot, and not have to live with mom and dad once I graduate due to no freaking jobs available. Whooo-eeee. Jiffee-keeno!!! My bills will be so low maybe I will have the time to learn to play the guitar like Hendrix after all! Damn!! This is gonna be COOL!!!!!!!!"

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    1. We can only hope. I wish this blog and others like it had been around 30 years ago when I was in "Iowa".

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  4. I've got some ham gear ready to go. I still remember my Morse code too but I'm damned rusty with the receiving. If I wind up needing it I'll get my chops back in a hurry. Sorry to see your blog going away Robert. Hopefully I'll see you here now and then. Take care.

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  5. Thanks... but rebooted into a second incarnation (with new mission statement too). Hopefully more edgy with true anarchistic overtones and slant. Many reasons for deleting past entries but sometimes one must destroy to then build (hey... right out of the movie "Prometheus"). So, blog continues and even put in some really older entries. Friends came out of the woodwork asking why I'd closed the blog and with really nice comments. Something we all need as we write and share with others. One reason I have vowed to support others with good feedback. Nice to know you are appreciated in your efforts. Guess I better turn my comments section on and actually check my stats page. Best wishes in 2016.

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  6. Just looking at your stuff now. Comments enabled is a good idea for sure! Great to see you still posting and Good Luck yourself for 2016! Might be a ride for us all...

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  7. At the risk of looking like a comments section hog thought I'd comment on your morse code knowledge (also known as "CW"). Really affordable low power shortwave transceivers now (transmitter-receiver combos). Not voice able but in a pinch able to communicate with others quite clearly and effectively on 5 watts and less transmissions. In short, you and I could communicate even if the web went down. Or you and Dave Zeiger. Or me and Putin.... well... In addition to also being able to get news and continue to see how these magnificent world events we are all privy too right now continue to occur.

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  8. In my desk drawer I have a kit for a Rockmite QRP transceiver... look it up. It will go together some time after the boat I guess. I'm probably going to buy something off the shelf as well. But I suspect if the web goes down the radio spectrum will be a mighty crowded place. No Candy Crush though.

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  9. And you are welcome to be here as much as you like!

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  11. Do you still have Rosebud? If you ever sold her, how much? I am a retired teacher in SC who has fallen in love with her. My email is burnysmom@yahoo.com

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