In this posting we continue with the design concept, why and where. Because it is a hard chine boat with no active stabilization like a traditional, full-displacement trawler, we had to keep the high weight to a minimum for maximum stability at rest. I really wanted a flush foredeck but rather than raise the overall height of the hull, I chose to have a slightly raised cabin trunk to accommodate standing room in the stateroom and head/shower area. The reason was styling and less windage.
Another factor to consider in planning hulls, the best ride is sitting on the transom cap rail and every foot forward is a compromise. If you think of the house as a rectangular cube, we moved the house as far aft as possible then ‘sunk’ it into the hull with just enough front windshield glass to see over the bow. Every possible effort was made to keep the weight as low as possible, including choosing a special marine gear on the back of the engine that allows the 1,300 lb engine to be dropped another six inches.
Power will be a 450hp diesel with enough horsepower to give us the speed we want and not so large to be heavier and thirstier. I toyed with propulsion from a traditional straight drive and surface drives, but settled on a Konrad military-grade outdrive. The weakness of a traditional outdrive is an internal gearbox built into the drive itself, as well as exhaust corrosion and a short service window. The Konrad drive is massively constructed with no internal gearbox or exhaust, and the gear is a bulletproof marine gear bolted to the back of the engine. The drive itself has a 250-hour service interval window, which I can do myself in less than an hour. The engine has a 500-hour service interval.
The Konrad drive allows much more maneuverability than conventional straight drives and considerably more than a surface drive. The outdrive coupled with speed, power steering, and an oversized autopilot motor will allow the boat to handle following seas, the traditional nemesis of slower, flat-transom boats.
Other than the initial design concept, basic interior and below deck layout plus systems placement, I had run out of ability. Enter Jim Gardiner, my former Egret Boat Company partner who is a real boatbuilder. www.compmillennia.com. Jim in turn hired a naval architect to draw the lines and put the lines into CAD.
Finally e-mails weren’t enough. Mary and I flew to North Carolina to meet with Jim, the naval architect. and Bill Parlatore, the former owner and founder of Passagemaker Magazine and currently the driving force behind the www.followingseas.media site. Bill has long been a proponent of long, narrow and simple for years. Adding a planning bottom and genuine speed to the equation, Bill was chomping at the bit.
The afternoon Mary and I arrived in Washington, North Carolina we sat down in Jim’s office and with scissors cutting shapes, taping, and a little magic marker work, Jim came up with the first basic look at what was to be.
The next day the five of us sat in Jim’s office, and for the rest of that day and most of the next we talked, listened, pushed, pulled, and went through all sorts of "what if." In the end, we came up with something close to the final design. During this time the design grew another foot to 41 feet, with another foot and a half beam increasing the transom waterline width to 11 ½ feet. Including the rub rail she will be slightly less than 12’ overall.
We wanted the beam under 12 feet so it may be trailered without special permits in case we decide someday to trailer from the East Coast to the Pacific Northwest.
It is interesting how designs evolve. From the house forward, a queen berth dictated the entire forward design. Mary wanted a side space around the bed to make the bed without kneeling on the bed itself. The side space was the reason to add an extra foot in length. Forward of the stateroom bulkhead is a smallish storage area built specifically to carry four empty jerry jugs for fueling in out of the way places, a parachute anchor for an unlikely loss of power at sea, and lightweight Spectra dock lines and stern lines. Access is through a deck hatch. The windlass and chain locker is forward of the storage area. Forward of the chain locker is empty except for collision bulkheads and the outlets for the water jet bow thruster.
The next posting will be the final posting of the initial design process. I know it has been difficult trying to read between the lines with hints of the design but you will be rewarded with four plan view drawings that came out of the meeting where the five of us were together a short time ago. As we make changes, we’ll share them with you as well as explain why we made the change. You will have the privilege of watching this design evolve in real time. Won’t that be fun?
Coming soon will be the first interior drawings. We’ve spent the past couple days going back and forth on the salon details including the windshield and side glass details.
In the meantime we’ll share some photographs of ice taken during Egret’s voyage from Iceland and return. When I sent these photographs to Bill, I told him that neither Mary nor I had ever done drugs. Never even puffed, much less inhaled. However, once you have been in the ice, you gotta have more. Gotta, gotta. There were several times when Egret was surrounded by very heavy ice in a no wind situation. The air seemed perfumed by the air inside bubbles trapped under pressure for thousands of years being released as the icebergs melt.
Scott and Mary