Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Living On A Shoestring...

As you know, necessity is the mother of invention.
When Uschi and I abandoned my dis-masted yacht Sofia after we'd rolled 360 degrees in the Pacific in '94 and were returned safely to New Zealand aboard the French Navy's Jacques Cartier, some invention was certainly necessary.
Shoestring, the 10 metre junk rigged live-aboard yacht was the result of a lot of dreaming well before the event that pre-empted her building.
Hard work, lateral and creative thinking followed with much goodwill and generosity from many wonderful people.
Sofia was uninsured and on my return, I had nothing except the clothes I was wearing. I had no money and no possessions. It was a wonderful state to be in. Nothingness. You don't need to paint it, insure it, nobody will steal it, it doesn't need cleaning or maintaining.
It was a totally freeing state to be in. For a while.
A plan was hatched, the criteria for this yacht was well established. It was based on 'Kiss'. The 'Keep it Simple Stupid' principle.
And too, the invaluable advice from Annie Hill's wonderful classic 'How to' book, 'Voyaging On A Small Income'. A life changing publication that I still refer to today.
Then I met the larger than life Gary Underwood, creative yacht designer, fellow lateral thinker and now, lifetime friend. Between us, Shoestring was designed.
Generous friends and friends I didn't know I had formed the 'Shoestring Club' and made the building of this yacht possible.
Shoestring is hard-chine, plywood on Kwila frame, shallow draft with very simple systems. Solar panels for power of course, an outboard motor in a well, and a simple and robust anchoring system.
The twin sinks in the galley are twenty litre buckets that lift out easily to empty over the side. The toilet is a simple porta-potty.
Water is stored in many ten litre containers.
She took a year to build with much assistance from the students at Auckland's Unitec Boatbuilding School who treated the project as part of their curriculum.
The result was a wonderful. spacious, fun, floating home that I lived aboard for six years.
And then I built my first housetruck.
But that's another story...

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  2. Markelliotranken@yahoo.com.auMay 12, 2018 at 3:41 PM

    Having cruised a bit on a 25footer long ago I am still enamoured with the life & boats & junk rig seems a good way to go. do u have plans for the Flying Tortoise. I'm finishing a small home built boat at the moment & now am hooked on boat building, simple life styles & the nomadic way. Cheers Mark

  3. Markelliotranken@yahoo.com.auMay 12, 2018 at 3:44 PM

    Keith I think I made a mistake with the boats name 'Shoestring' rather than Flying tortoise. Mark