By the measures commonly accepted in the Nineteenth Century this is still a small boat for any useful occupation. We’ve grown accustomed to setting these issues aside and giving precedence in our pleasure boats to basing our choice on what we can afford to build, buy, maintain. When it comes to a working boat we need to add back the factor of utility.
As we consider Boats for difficult times, we need to reassess what we mean by cost and utility. Cost not only in money or even in money at all. If a boat is built outside the money economy many other factors take precedence. Likewise, if we remove the exaggerated cost/benefits provided by fossil fuels – so long as we ignore the so-called externalities – we must measure utility in ways we may not readily recognize.
As with the smaller schooner boat, this craft looks to Nineteenth Century models as a way of approaching this other form of accounting. Robust and even redundant strength achieved using wood and metal in basic and relatively unprocessed forms together with a hull form and rig that is conservative in the very old-fashioned sense of that word; combine to delineate a boat we hope will have a relation of costs and utility that might give it a useful life in uncertain times.
Beyond the boat itself are other factors. One stands out. Designing, building, and using a boat like this promotes the practice and handing down, not only of skills and techniques; but ways of doing things; ways of considering how a life is spent that have become rare in our day.
One of the challenges this brings to the fore over the 32 footer is the way its larger size begins to interact with our sense of the private versus what is best done communally. The 32 footer can be much more readily contemplated as an individual’s concern. Not only its relative costs, but the more limited range of its utility make this relatively easy. On the other hand, with a boat this size or larger, we can begin to see how it might be built by and serve a community.
This post is just a taste. A fleeting glimpse at a potential craft. Also a taste of what might be possible if we look at how such a boat might get built and used. Just another way of looking at how boats can be Vessels of Transformation.
This begins a series of posts exploring a variety of related designs in this size range and delving into the possibilities surrounding such a craft.
LBP 46′ – 0″
LWL 39′ – 9″
Beam 12′ – 8″
Draft 5′ – 10″