Scott and Mary Flanders are back! After their disappointment with their new design of the Lightspeed Adventure Series, they have taken a break, but not left the scene. They now have a new project boat that with go from a super tough chase boat to a versatile cruiser for two. We, of course, will follow the process by a veteran boat builder in Washington, North Carolina. Curious what those changes might be? Stick around - BillP.
For 14 years, my wife Mary and I chugged around here and there in a 46-foot Nordhavn named Egret. If you are interested in world cruising or any type of long distance cruising, the Voyage of Egret blog – Captains Log - will help you get started with 9 years of information and photographs.
This posting has nothing to do with world or long distance cruising.
This post has something more to do with math. Humm, let’s see, retired in our 50s, played here and there for 14 years, sold Egret, lasted a year then bought a small lobster boat, sold same after a year coz that kind of cruising didn’t appeal to us anymore, another dry spell during which I pretty much put boating out of my mind mainly because of commitment and financial. So if you add up the years you realize my wife and I are somewhat north of our youth.
Antique or not, my bride kept the light on looking at this n’ that on the usual boat sales sites and came up with something interesting and affordable.
First I’ll back up a bit and explain where this came from. A fellow long distance cruiser and I began tossing around ideas for a small boat for exploring here and there that would be fun, something different, and trailerable. We both settled on an inflatable of some type because it’s the way to have the largest trailerable boat that weighs the least. Besides, it would be fun and we could haul ass instead of the displacement speeds we used for long distance cruising.
A year ago we spent a considerable amount of time exploring a 28’ Zodiac to use as a platform for this venture. In the end, after getting a set of drawings from Zodiac, we felt the changes we would have to make to the basic hull structure wouldn’t work for us. And the costs escalated beyond what we felt comfortable.
Next we looked briefly at a 24-foot AB Inflatable but ultimately found it was too small to do what we wanted. Then we looked at European inflatables but they were there and we’re here and it was too much.
So back to my bride on internet boating shopping. She came up with something interesting, had a pedigree that would work for our needs with a little imagination and a few pesos thrown at it. It was a brokerage Protector 28 Targa. Protectors are made in New Zealand by the Ray Glass folks and were designed for the New Zealand Coast Guard as high speed, any-weather coastal patrol boats. The fiberglass hull is an inch thick in places with super size, very heavy duty inflatable tubes. We saw Protectors during Egret’s time in New Zealand, primarily in the Auckland area that were used as chase boats for different types of racing sailboats.
We later saw Protectors here and there and most recently in Newport, Rhode Island. However, we felt they were crazy expensive and not for us. Then Mary found a Protector that fit the bill and was affordable. She is a 2003 model owned by an Italian sailboat racer who used it in the U.S. as a chase boat. When he left in 2015 he sent it in for a re-do which included new tubes from Protector, a new pair of Yamaha 200hp 4-stroke engines, light grey Awlgrip on the cabin and even teak decks. Then it sat in a warehouse unused without even starting the engines for a year and a half before someone bought it and kept it behind his home in South Florida. We bought it from him.
After a long drive to South Florida from our home in Colorado we met the owner, did a sea trial in a bumpy ocean with no spray on the glass, wrote a check and returned to Colorado. The now former owner agreed to keep the boat behind their house until we returned.
To keep from getting novelish, within a month we ordered a custom aluminum trailer from Continental Trailers in Miami, Florida, via their local dealer, Inflatable Services. Next we had to buy a truck to tow the rig and fortunately a boating friend was selling his 2002 F350 Ford diesel pickup he’s used for years to pull a trailer. The truck was spotless and had all the goodies to make it a perfect tow vehicle. Once we picked up the truck in California we returned to Colorado, changed oil in the truck and headed for South Florida to pick up the trailer and later in the day, the boat.
Two days later the truck and trailer was sitting at my former boat building partner’s shop in Washington, North Carolina.
We have commitments until the first of the year when we’ll begin the upgrades to the Protector to turn it from a day boat to a multi-month cruiser. We’ll chronicle the build with information someone might need if they too choose to follow the same path. In any event, the build and thought process may be interpolated into any small cruising boat.
Here’s a little insight into where she may be headed down the road. Erie Canal to the end and return...always wanted to do that. Places in the Bahamas where we haven’t been coz of Egret’s 5' 8" draft. Labrador coast as far north as we can easily get good gas. (Once you’ve been in big ice you gotta have more.) Lake Powell in Arizona...1300 miles of coastline and beautiful beyond beautiful. Mary wants to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. Perhaps an Alaska run. And so on.
We named the Protector 28 Targa ADVENTURE (what else could her name be?)
Scott and Mary Flanders