The first question we get after describing “The Plan” is “What kind of boat do you have?” The degree of detail in the response is usually based on the inquirer’s level of boat knowledge, sailing experience, boat techy geekiness, etc. I usually respond with a question myself, “are you a sailor?” This is definitely not intended to be a butt-sniffing question because there is plenty of that in the sailing community and I abhor the judgmental one uppers with their comparisons of experience and bona fides. Rather, I ask the question to understand how broad or narrow to craft my description of our wonderful vessel. So, for instance at a dinner party conversing with someone who has little sailboat knowledge I’ll keep it broad: “It’s a 48 foot sailboat. A heavy displacement boat built for open ocean sailing.” After that I am thrilled to drill into the particulars if they want to go deeper but I’m careful to watch for those bored furtive looks for an escape route as well. So, without further ado here’s the boat, from general to specific. You can stop when you get bored or enter geek level nirvana with me.
“Gadabout” is a 2008 Tayana 48 DS (meaning Deck Saloon) sailboat. That just means that she has a raised cabin that has more headroom and bigger windows. “Tayana” is the builder located in Taiwan and the hull is a Bob Perry design. Tayana has been building solid, ocean-going boats for a long time and Mr. Perry is an icon in sailboat design. She displaces about 18 tons and has a three quarter keel and skeg hung rudder underneath. The bigger the keel the more stable the vessel but sacrifices are made in speed and maneuverability. Three quarter keels are a nice compromise in this regard. A skeg hung rudder means that the rudder is attached to a protective leading edge (skeg). This is good to protect the rudder from underwater hazards (see log strike in “Dock Lock Broken” blog post).
Gadabout has two staterooms, each with its own head and separate shower. The forward head is electric and we have kept the aft head manual. It’s nice to have options should the electric ever poop out (yes, pun intended). She carries 250 gal of water and 140 gal of fuel (this should equal about 800 nm depending on conditions).
For sail plan, she is cutter rigged with roller furling on both. The cutter rig seems to offer a lot of options for managing the amount of headsail. We currently don’t have a big downwind headsail. OK, actually we have an old school symmetrical spinnaker that we never use. Just rigging the SOB requires a spiderweb of lines, four strong backs and a PHD in applied geometry. I may be exaggerating, but only a little. Bottom line is that it isn’t easy. In the meantime we’ll keep our eyes open for some sort of asymmetric cruising spinnaker, gennaker, code zero or the likes. Donations accepted. The mainsail is roller furling, as well, on a LeisureFurl in-boom furler. We like this a lot as it allows easy reefing from the cockpit, though it came with a few growing pains. The furler can be really fussy if the angle of the boom isn’t just right when you furl it in causing the sail to walk forward or backward on the mandrel. After numerous test and evaluation periods with lots of ups and downs of the mainsail (and enhanced “adult” vocabulary words) we think we have all the marks in the right spots to ensure consistently smooth furling.
Additional stuff we added:
Solar. I added two super-thin, Solara brand, 115W, semi-rigid (walk-on) solar panels to help out the batteries. The panels are dead sexy (if you’re in to that sort of thing) and have a real nice low profile to them. Of course, all this sexiness came at quite an upcharge but I was in the throes of a spending frenzy at the boat show and kinda lost my head. I am using two Victron MPPT controllers wired in parallel and monitoring the whole mess with a watt wizard power monitor. The panels are mounted on the dodger, as we don’t have a solar arch like all of the cool kids (ran out of money at the boat show). The set up looks nice and works well so far; the only issue is that with this location I almost always have one panel shaded by the boom. At anchor I can sheet the boom out but depending on the point of sail underway we are often not getting full output.
Water maker. When it comes to water makers there are a lot of tradeoffs to consider, especially for a sailboat. The most obvious are water making capacity, power draw and cost. High capacity water makers draw a lot of power so running the generator or engine while making water is usually a prerequisite. But, they can make a lot of water fast, which is nice. On the other end of the spectrum there are low amp, low capacity water makers that have to run much longer but use less power. It’s a tortoise vs. hare comparison. Fast and furious or long and slow. Ultimately we settled on the tortoise. We installed a Katadyne PowerSurvivor 40E which makes a paltry 1.5 gal/hr but does so while sipping only 3-4 amps (see what I did there). Our logic was thus: In a worst-case scenario where the generator croaks, or the fuel tanks get fouled, we can still make water. The solar panels alone can generate the power we need. For two people we should be able to keep up with basic daily consumption but we’ll probably not be able to totally keep up with extravagances like long showers. I’ll keep you updated on whether this was a good choice.
AIS. I installed a Vesper XB-8000 AIS. It was a little bit of a challenge to get it to interface with my 2007 Raymarine E-120 system but most of that was self-induced (since when does a white wire go to a green wire and a green wire to a white wire!?!) Now the two are talking to each other and I can see contacts on my chart plotter and they can see me. I even had a barge hail me the other day based on my AIS contact. He was very professional in asking which side I would prefer to be struck. Overall this was a great purchase and I love the situational awareness it adds.
Dinghy and motor. We went with a 10ft aluminum hull AB brand inflatable dinghy. The aluminum hull is much lighter than the fiberglass versions and is much tougher for rocky beach landings (i.e. every beach landing in the PNW). It weighs about 80lbs and we store it on the foredeck using an extra halyard as a crane. We have our roles pretty well sorted: I am the crane operator, a.k.a. the guy who cranks the winch (no joke there…yet) and Paula guides the dink to the water attempting to keep the soft side of the cheaper little boat facing the scratchable parts of the higher priced boat. For power we purchased a Tohatsu 9.8 hp motor, which lives on the stern rail. It weighs 80 lbs, as well, and we have a small hoist for this with a 3:1 purchase. We reverse roles for the evolution of getting the motor onto the dinghy – Paula lowers it from the safety of the mothership and I manhandle it aboard the dinghy while trying not to go overboard. I need to talk to my union rep because it seems like I come out on the losing side of these roles more often than not.
Mast Height 70’
Ballast 11,675 lbs
Displacement 35,000 lbs
Sail Area 1,316 sq ft
That’s it for now as I’m rushing this out the door while we have a fleeting wifi connection in Prince Rupert, BC. I’ll add more as I get a better feel for what people are interested in. Let me know what questions ya’ll have.