OK, before you get all over me about being in the "real" world, just give me a minute to explain ;-)

I bought a set of plans for the Joli boat from Philip Thiel. Unfortunately, this is not the right "season" in my life to really start building a boat. So, should I just wait and dream, or should I make some kind of forward progress?

My intent here is to keep a journal of my progress. I'll be using Google Sketchup to build my virtual boat. I'm sure that along the way I'll run across problems that need solving, trouble keeping on task, and moments of inspiration.

I'll include pictures and video as I progress. Click on any picture if you'd like to see it larger.

Maybe I'm crazy, but follow along and see what you think

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Boat is an Island

My wife Tina and I just spent 11 wonderful days wandering through the back country of Oregon with our vintage camp trailer. We were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. Yahoo!

Here’s a link to some of the pictures on Facebook if you’re interested.

I had intended to use some of this “down time” to get some more designing done on the Joli, but as you can see from the pictures, we were having too much fun to be staring at a computer screen ;-)

That doesn’t mean that I didn’t spend at least a part of every waking hour thinking about my boat. One can’t help but think on these things once you’ve been bitten by the bug.

Our trailer is about 13.5 feet long on the interior. That means that there has to be a place for everything, and everything needs to be in it’s place. That also means that there needs to be some routine so daily tasks can get completed. Things like bathing, brushing teeth, getting dressed, having that first important cup of coffee, and eating meals.

Any space in a 13’ trailer needs to be multi use space, so the timing of tasks as well as the conversion of space needs to be well orchestrated.

There are also limited resources within 13’. You can only pack so much food, or have so much water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing. And that water has to collect somewhere after you use it. You’re also limited on what power is available. The battery will only last so long and then it’s time to hook up to “shore power”. The propane is also limited. Periodically you have to stop and get the bottles refilled.

All of these things would apply to a boat also. In fact, I think they may be more important on a boat. I spent our time camping thinking about how often I stepped outside of the trailer to do something.

How often did we use the bathroom in the campground? Sure it was just a pit toilet, but it was still out of the trailer. How about cooking on the barbeque or maybe washing hands? Or how often did we step out to sit in the lawn chair to “just get away” or maybe to find a nice place in the sun to do a little reading?

How often did I step outside to drain the dirty water? How often did I go to the water pump to get more water? How often did I get into the truck to get more supplies?

There isn’t much opportunity to do those things in a boat. You see, a boat really is an island. It has to be self contained. I felt like we were already experiencing that with our trailer. After all, it’s “self contained” and we’re usually “dry camping”, without any hook-ups. But during this trip I really realized how much more these things apply when you’re on a boat.

This post isn’t about conclusions or solutions, but rather just a little thinking out loud.

I did get a little further on my virtual build. The boat is back down to a width of 7.5 feet. I felt that this would allow it to sit lower on the boat trailer since it can sit between the tires and fenders this way. I know that I’ll lose some interior space but I think it’s an important compromise to make.

I received a nice letter this week from Myke who lives in Colorado. He’s building a neat shanty camp trailer and is already looking at his next project. Maybe it will be a nice Joli boat.

Hopefully, I can get back to some more drawing soon, or maybe it’s time to go boating! Sounds like Bryan is doing well on his micro shanty and he’s pretty confident he’ll have it ready for our excursion next month. I’m so excited!

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