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2011-12-10

Nothing if not practical


This is Ken of the good ship Silverheels III, three or four years now out of Toronto. Astute readers may recognize the boat name appended to many comments posted to this blog, most of them helpful and constructive when they aren't hectoring me to hurry up and get sailing.

Ken and his lovely and talented wife Lynn are currently anchored somewhere in the "insurance applies" part of the Southern Caribbean, and have, as this photo illustrates, fully embraced the tropical lifestyle. In fact, their biggest challenge recently is digging out of the dim recesses of their sturdy Niagara 35 enough musty trousers and long-sleeved shirts to make the trip back to Canada for the holidays without freezing to death on the trip from the plane to the parking lot.

Ken and Lynn are, like most cruisers, nothing if not practical. You fix your own gear (Ken was for many years responsible for resusitating busted electronics gear abused by students of Ryerson University's Radio and Television Arts course, and was in fact there doing it when I was there as a student 30 years ago...only I didn't know him then.) You source and prepare your own food. You hump your own laundry into the tender, and, if necessary, beat it on your own rock, although it rarely comes to that, I suspect.

But the not-so-dirty and not-so-secret of life aboard? You don't wear many clothes at all. When the air below is the temperature of blood, it's practical to save on sweating through clothing by not wearing it at all. You'll only have to wash it later. If you postpone donning a T-shirt and shorts until the cooler evening hours, you might get two evenings' wear out of it. This economy of  treating clothing as a special event means far less expense on sometimes extortionate shoreside laundries, along with a reduction in the chances that an errant wave will douse your carefully packed laundry just as you are coming alongside. If you don't wear it, you don't need to wash it.

Offshore, many folk doff trou upon leaving sight of land or in international waters. Sure, you might have boat sandals, a big, floppy hat and strategic applications of sun block, but there lay undiscovered countries of once-hidden flesh that, in time, take on the all-over golden hue of the once-pallid (if in fact Caucasian) cruiser.

Not that photos of this reality ever make the sailing mags. Everyone there seems to be in shirts they rolled Jimmy Buffett to get, and usually a salt and oil-stained Tilley hat. Little do the lubbers know that the brown, it goes all the way down. I have heard of night watches conducted with T-shirt, harness and tether and not much else, and the T-shirt's only on to reduce the chafing of the harness. Barely sailing? Indeed.

Concerns about moles going funny aside, not only is nudity aboard practical from a clean-clothes conservation viewpoint, but it's arguably healthier than bothering to get dressed in many conditions that the active cruiser is likely to encounter. The damp of sea air, even assuming you don't actually catch salt spray on some part of your clothing, can affect skin to the point of peeling. Salt blisters can form in unlikely places. Nothing ever feels quite dry. So allowing sweat to evaporate directly from one's skin...all of one's skin...means ablutions can be performed with a freshwater swipe of the sponge (conserving water and effort). The breeze, if present, cools and comforts the sailor, although if you notice that a body part is doing a reasonable impression of the arrow of the Windex, it may be time to consider donning foulies.

So let's hoist a glass of the finest rum to Ken, Lynn and all other clothing-optional cruisers. It's a rarely discussed aspect of the liveaboard life, and it takes a brave fellow with steady hands to solder in the buff, but it's a healthy and practical response to feeling hot, hot, hot. Boaters with air conditioning don't know what they're missing.

Seeks cruising kitty (Obscure TPB reference).











24 comments:

Mike said...

I hope that tan is hi-vis or the health and safety folk will be after you.
And where is your helmet?

Matt S said...

Hah, great poster.

It's funny, but when I first started sailing I was the last person anyone would think would ever be a nudist. It took a few constantly wet passages in the tropics to make the change. And once we did it, we all felt a bit let down by our society, like "Why do they make this such a big deal?"

Nudism made the boat feel even more like a separate world and mental space from shore. Since we only wore clothes to go to shore, it felt like dressing up, as if we were putting on a costume to satisfy a quaint traditional custom. When we got back to the boat we all couldn't wait to feel the relief of stripping our clothes off. Heading out to sea felt a bit more ... like home, since we put away all of our clothes and could stop feeling like we had to "dress up"

Rhys said...

Your comments reflect what I've heard from other cruisers pretty closely. I wear a kilt for some occasions, and that's "freeing" in its own way, but doesn't approach a warm breeze on the pinker parts on a well-set sailboat.

Our so-called society looks more slightly brain-damaged the more time you spend as a liveaboard, I think. You start wondering "why did I ever think opinion X was in any sense important?"

Trouble comes, of course, when you step ashore again and share those thoughts. Nobody likes to be informed that their lives resemble a hamster wheel bearing an overdressed and overfed hamster. They tend to take such comments as criticism. Go figure.

John C NYC said...

I salute this wonderful competence, the ability to repair almost anything almost anywhere.

Blah, let's make it "|Repair anything anywhere".

In fact, when you reach the high end of cruising, all the ordinary sailing stuff has been acquired. It is in the realm of automatisms.

My current readings are Don Casey's Sailboat Maintenance Manual and Nigel Calder's Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual.

Both more exciting than anything by Tom Clancy.

Rhys said...

Well, to be strictly honest, John, I do not (yet) possess all the competence I consider necessary to sail offshore...but I'm working on it.

Not taking "shop" in high school (the girls were in theatre) was a bit of a mistake, as I bought a 110 year old house and a 30 year old boat nearly at the same time.

So "fix it" became an urgent priority.

Luckily, I like solving problems, and I'm not particularly feeble at fixing things. I blew up an Atomic 4 in a boneheaded fashion, but rebuilt one using a manual and some abuse from a mechanic. Now, older sailors than me ask me questions about small yacht auxiliaries, and I feel a bit of a fraud, even when I know either the right answer, or more likely, the right course to pursue to solve the problem.

I have come to realize that a late start in the sailing game is not necessarily an impediment to achieving one's goals, no matter how ambitious. I suppose "learning to sail" in my late 30s (and shortly thereafter becoming a first-time father) made me a touch more cautious with the boat, especially after a few close calls that could have been avoided.

So while I think childhood exposure to boats would have sped the plow, so to speak, the intensity with which I have been pursuing these goals, using a mature mind and an, alas, aging body, means I have a certain perspective that I hope will keep myself and my family from being fish food.

And yes, I have a stupidly large "nautical library" in which various mechanical self-help guides figure prominently. A book is cheaper than a mechanic who doesn't know much more than you do. Even if that's wrong, by self-study, you are more likely to understand the cause and effect of a busted piece of equipment, and that means you can hire only the help you need. I've encountered a number of sailors with little knowledge of engines who seem on never-ending carousels of repair, failures and re-diagnosis.

It puts them off sailing, frankly. They feel stupid and powerless. Not a "skipper" feeling, usually.

So I encourage the study of guides and manuals. Pants are optional, naturally.

Dena said...

Right? Right!

On the way from San Francisco to Hilo, Hawaii, we stripped as soon as the fog lifted and stayed bare until Hilo. I was ready to be ashore (20 days is my longest passage to date), but I mourned having to put on clothing!

If you'd like some photographic evidence, and this was printed in Latitude 38, check out my husband at Flickr "Butt Nekkid in the Tropics" has more views than any other image we have up there!

John C NYC said...

Ah, ah, the choices we make. You did not take "shop" in high school, for very understandable reasons. One of my buddies went further with his passion and became a gynaecologist. Not a very good one, I gather, but he stayed in the general area, he's now a successful plumber.

I tried my hand at fixing up a couple of old Land Rovers, bought for a couple of hundred squids. The parts on these things are bolted on, they are giant Meccanos, the old ones and the current Defender don't have monocoque chassis like modern cars. So taking them apart was easy. The panels are all-aluminum, the chassis is steel. Wentworth bolts, odd, but manageable. It's putting it back together that's hard, well it was for me. Luckily, one of my buddies was a Landy fanatic and an automotive engineer. So we did put them back together and sold them. At a profit, if you don't include our time, so in fact at a great loss. But it kept us out of trouble and it was a learning experience, although I don't intend to do it again.

Your boat is very much like a Land-Rover, albeit one in good shape. You can do, and have done, almost anything you like to it. Windlass, engine, and there is more to come, I gather. Try doing that with a modern FG boat.

In sailing there are varying levels of achievements starting from the basics of sailing, coastal cruising, offshore, oceanic, but to me, the ultimate achievement is to be able to repair a boat without professional assistance.

Rhys said...

Very funny, and confirms both my "straw hat and not much else" idea, and introduces the concept of "sponge bath with tether", which I think would lead to chafe, personally.

Nice tattoos, by the way. And I note hubby has one hand for the helm and one hand for the bottle, which makes me wonder precisely what's clipping him on.

The storm footage brought back memories of a 2009 delivery I crewed on where 9 days out of 11 were like that, with occasional bigger squalls. The upside, of course, is that if you check for chafe and adopt a crippled monkey pose when tranversing the saloon, you can fully realize the potential of wind making the boat go. I'd rather have the fast, if rough, passage than getting becalmed for a week, and that sometimes means wet, windy and wild.

Rhys said...

Wise comments, John, and because of the general shape and cream and green colour scheme, I often refer to Alchemy as "a floating Land Rover".

Luckily the electrics are in significantly better shape and there's not a single Wentworth bolt aboard. Dissimilar metals are discouraged from direct contact, too. Land Rovers went great vehicles, if you didn't mind rebuilding them a few times. I hope the resemblance to our boat is merely cosmetic and spiritual, as I would hate to rename her "Sea Rover".

Geoff and Pat Craigen said...

While I disaggree with the practicality of naked sailing, too many boat bits to bite me in dangly places, I do enjoy your writing and wish you well with your efforts to get out here and away from TO.

John C NYC said...

I erred, my memory failed me again, it's not Wentworth, it's Whitworth "The thread was the world's first national screw thread standard devised and specified by Joseph Whitworth in 1841", according to Wiki. Quite frequent in the UK on old engines , boilers and old Land Rovers. Non-existent here.

I'm currently looking at steel boats, there are many for sale, some are apparently affordable. But as you very well know, the purchase price of a boat is just one part of the cost. The rest comes later.

What criteria did you use when you picked your RTW boat? You might well have mentioned it in your blog, I could not find it.

A steel hull, once welded together, is coated with zinc and then epoxied, is that right? Many sellers mention "no rust". Is that an issue, in other words can you just deal with the rusty spots and that's it, or does it tend to spread to the rest of the boat?

Some of these steel boats have their interior coated with 3" foam. Does that make sense to you?

What about Corten steel? I saw it mentioned here and there in the ads. Wiki says it's corrosion retarding, but that's by forming a coat of rust on the outside, OK for a monumental structure, but for a boat? I don't think so. But if it's painted, you come back to basic steel.

Last, I see Bruce Roberts often mentioned. Any views on his work?

And yes, Sea Rover is on my best-avoided list together with Sailbad the Sinner or Breakin Wind.

Btw, I wanted to name one of by boats after my kids, but ended up with Elle Sea Bee Eau.

Rhys said...

Granted, there's potential danger in putting certain physiques and, more to the point, certain parts of those physiques, next to drums full of gears and levers design to pinch with hundreds of Newtons of force. But I believe it's common, and just as one eventually learns not to drive one's toes into a cleat that only appears to stalk the foredeck, it's possible to learn caution. Which is about as close as I'm prepared to go to an endorsement of the practice.

I do like the idea, however, of showering in warm water from a solar-heated bag over the cockpit, and then simply "air-drying". It's much more practical than using a towel, which must be dried well above the deck in order not to get salty and never-quite-dry until the next full laundering.

Thanks for the good wishes.

Rhys said...

John, I "screwed" up, too. I somehow thought the bolt in question was derived from a WWII medium bomber called the "Wentworth"...it was actually the "Whitley". I think we can concur that it doesn't work well on this side of the pond.

As for the choice to buy steel, it's indeed problematic in the same way buying ferro-cement was in the '70s and '80s: Inherent qualities of the material aside, steel is often home-built, and either/or poorly or excessively heavy, and so you can get a "slug that's weak"...the worst case. In addition, as you point out, the initial application of zinc or coal tar coatings is critical, as is its maintenence.

To deal briefly with the many questions of steel, I recommend a bit of reading. Having a somewhat masochistic need to explain myself, I have a barely read second blog that reviews books on ships and the sea. Bruce Roberts' "Metal Boats" is recommended thusly:

http://volumesofsalt.blogspot.com/2010/08/particular-interest-of-mine-is-care-and.html

As for the allegedly plodding nature of steel yachts, it's a bit of a myth. My impressions on that are here: http://alchemy2009.blogspot.com/2010/09/thoughts-on-efficient-sailing.html

The "no rust" claim is dubious in the extreme, unless a nearly weekly search and eliminate maintenance plan is maintained. Any paint-penetrating ding on a steel vessel has the potential to lead to a rust spot, and evaluating the difference between superficial corrosion and structural damage via "wasting" of the metal requires learning, or a surveyor experienced in metal, not plastic, boats. I know such people and have used them to good effect.

Foam does not make sense to me below the waterline, as it hides problems and confines moisture. Above the waterline, there are many variable options on the best insulation, however.

Google "Metal Corrosion in Boats" and "The Warm Dry Boat", great books that explain how ventilation, rather than insulation, is a big part of avoiding rust.

Corten steel has been used in steel boats, but not so much that I think the price justifies the result. If corrosion was the most wretched threat to steel, we'd all have cupro-nickel boats like Asperida, which is apparently unpainted and virtually eternal:

http://www.copper.org/applications/cuni/txt_copper_nickel_boat_hull.html

But few people picture themselves on the same boat for 50 years and thus wouldn't pop for the premium...the phrase "a pretty penny" is involved here.

Your boozy boat name won't be funny in Lake Michigan or the St. Lawrence River, which is something to consider. We kept the name Alchemy because a) the previous owners were onto something with the concept of base metals being transformed into spiritual gold; it's a clever name for a steel boat; and b) not changing the name made transferring the federal registration $150 cheaper. We are sentimental, but not about $150.

My goodness, my most lengthy reply ever. Hope there's some value to it.

John C NYC said...

Thank you, Rhys, your reply was perhaps lengthy, but it was extremely useful. And I asked numerous questions too.

I'll proceed post-haste to the links you kindly mention. I think that steel is the best material for blue water passages, so that's a start.

In my web search, I also saw a few Colin Archer boats, they look like lifeboats with a sail, have Norwegian/canoe sterns, appear seaworthy but suffer from a somewhat dated design. They are probably sluggish in calm weather.

Anyway, your quest started quite sometime ago and mine is just starting. Part of the fun is the preparation.

I did have to pay $150 to the Feds once for a name change. A second-hand boat I bought had such a terrible name, it was not optional.

I've never intended to name my boat after such an esteemed, ahem, Ontario institution. It just came up accidentally, and I would only go for it if they were to sponsor me and pay for my running costs. Fat chance.

Alchemy is a fabulous name for a boat and spot-on in your case. There are no reasons to change it.

Ken Goodings Silverheels III said...

Just to clear up any confusion, minimal clothing inside the boat at anchor in the summertime tropics is one thing; however, sailing without protective clothing would put our skin at considerable risk. Back in Toronto, soldering while wearing shorts, I watched helplessly (and painfully) as a semi-liquid quarter-sized solder splash plopped onto my knee, then slowly cooled from 700F to ambient. Yow! I'm ever so careful these daze.

John C NYC said...

"Seriously, if it's homebuilt, looks wonky and sails like a bag of rocks, it's likely to be a Roberts design"

Wow, that settles it then, no more Bruce Roberts.

The quest continues.

Rhys said...

That's been my experience, although I've seen exceptions, like the Toronto-area Roberts 38 you can see at http://sabredancing.wordpress.com/ would be an example of a decent exterior, but an interior I would find discouraging to remedy. Fact is, only a minority of home-builders have all the skills necessary; I certainly don't.

But you might find a decent one that isn't overweight, underfinished or has some dire flaw, like the shaft log 1/2 inch off dead center.

I don't want to seem prejudicial, although obviously I am, but it's the same in any hobby pursuit. A lot of home-built ultralights kill their builders, too. I don't blame Bruce R., and some of his boats are full-on kits: weld by numbers. Those are more likely to be symmetrical and near the designed displacement. They are worth seeing to get a feel for steel, regardless.

Rhys said...

Ken, we're only having fun with the idea of you attempting this. Hot solder anywhere in the Fun Zone FOR REAL is not a pleasant thought.

Rhys said...

John, there are a LOT of Colin Archer or Archer-inspired double-enders out there, but I find them pretty slow (and my boat's not exactly sprightly) and the canoe stern really limits the inside stowage. Granted, you are supposed to keep gear out of the ends, but it means there's usually no aft cabin, just lazarettes on some models.

The logic of carrying SOME beam aft to the stern is pretty unassailable at this point.

If I had money to have something built for two, I would have a pilothouse cutter-ketch around 45 feet in steel with rounded chines.

Something like "Orion" (http://properhopper.com/gallery2/v/orion), or this beautiful Mikelson 50 footer: http://www.pilothouseketch.com/summary.html

Although I must say Peter "Rocna" Smith's alu cutter sloop Kiwi Roa is my idea of a go-anywhere boat:

http://www.petersmith.net.nz/about/kiwiroa.php

Other examples are Pelagic (http://www.yachting.org/website.asp?i=3408&s=37) and a few other high-latitude boats I've seen in Ocean Navigator. Not typical and not for everyone, but I like the ideas involved.

John C NYC said...

Thank you for your research, Rhys.

The Mikelson is amazing, lovely long range cruiser. The two Pelagics are OTT but they were built for extreme latitudes, so there is reason behind madness in this case.

Kiwi Roa is a fab boat, but what about alu's strength vs steel and what about alu's interaction with other metals in salt water? The boat must have s/steel shackles, galvanized steel anchor chain and so on?

In passing, I noted Smith's clever anchor tube, it allows the chain to go further down and away from the bow, thereby lowering the boat's center of gravity and putting the weight aft, very desirable features.

For my future navigation, I won't need anything like that.

I'll continue looking, there are masses of boats for sale out there. Again, thank you.

Rhys said...

Alu's strength is comparable to steel because it is plated in greater thicknesses, or so goes my understanding. The galvanic issue is real, and alu boat fans like the Dashews and Jimmy Cornell go into some detail on how to isolate their boats from stray current. It's a complicated topic with application to steel boats (I have to weld in studs for plate zincs at some point, for instance) and I don't pretend to fully understand it at this stage, although it's "on the list".

Alchemy's bowsprit stay terminates at a robust 1/2 inch thick plate that comes out of the stem just above the waterline. It has two holes: the upper secures the stay terminal, and the lower is mention to bear a shackle for an anchor chain snubber that does essentially the same thing as Smith's super hawse pipe idea: bring the "pivot" of the ground tackle down to the waterline and aft of the bow (about two feet aft on my boat).

As you might think, when used either alone or with a bridle to the bow bollards to adjust angle and to reduce "swing" at anchor, this aids the holding power of the chain and anchor by "shortening the see-saw", improving the angle of entry and getting rid of the distance from water to bow. It also means the "tug" is now on a strong point and not on deck gear.

It's to the original owner's specification, so I can't claim credit, but it's a great idea for any cruising boat dedicated to anchoring, I think, even if only to reduce the tendency to "hobbyhorse" in rough seas at anchor.

Silverheels III said...

OK guys, why the penchant for steel boats or perhaps aluminum? I realize that Marc has already made his decision, but if you haven't yet please consider what we've observed while cruising full-time since 2008. We've seen that marinas and yards from Florida on down to Grenada are full of rusty hulks. Anchorages are populated here with a great number of European metal boats, some are sleeker than others (BTW, Canadian s/v Joana is nice!) but many are a mute testament to the builder's ability to assemble large areas of plate into a "what were they thinking?" shape...quite often making the thing look and possibly actually be quite top heavy. Many steel boat owners are constantly trapped in the grind/scrape/scarf another piece in/replace port frames/paint streaky topsides/grind the rusty deck/chip the rusty chain outta the rusty chain locker and "cripes it's hot in this tin box/solar oven of a boat in the tropics!" Many steel boat owners that we meet belong to the "Ospho Club", and are actively pining for a fiberglass boat. A circ doesn't require sailing in an army tank. Many many long distance boats are glass or even wood.
As far as a steel boats feeling coral reef proof? Yup...steel boats from WWII can still be seen out on the Pacific reefs.

Aluminum is a real Pandora's box. drop a penny in the salty bilge and see the result. Starters, alternators are powered with carefully crafted isolated circuitry using complex switches/solenoids to prevent stray current. These alu boats have decks and topsides which are largely unpainted, a look which doesn't appeal much to us. Salty steel chain in the forepeak must present a huge problem, along with thru-hulls and isolated engine mounts. Copper anti-fouling is a big no no unless you have a killer barrier coat. Carrying around welding gear and the huge energy source to run it is heavy and will no doubt suffer salt water damage.
Glass boats can be repaired, even underwater, with various epoxy compounds. Resin, catalyst, glass mat and a stir stick will go a long way in a glass repair. So far we've only met three steel boats who still love them. s/v Joana with Wade and Diane love their boat,which they built themselves. Joana I is a large steel boat...a ship really...crewed by two women, formerly from the crew of Picton Castle. They admit that scraping and painting is in their blood. The third steel boat is a high lat sailor with many sea miles under the keel, admittedly an extreme conditions sailor.

Speaking of chain tubes delivering surplus chain to a somewhat more mid-ships location? The slope and tube diameter must be carefully designed to make it self-flaking, plus an appreciable vertical distance under the after end of the tube. The seawater (mud?)drains for chain lockers must be absolutely self tending. Preferably directly overboard. Our seawater-mud slurry runs into the bilge so we clean it out with water regularly. A saltwater deckwash pump and hose is a very good idea to get the assorted mud/shells/crabs and mini-lobsters off the chain as it comes up to the bow roller. We have 250ft of chain on the primary anchor. Only the last 150ft at the anchor end is self flaking in the upper locker. The first 100 ft must be physically pulled thru the 6 inch dia plastic tube and knocked down by your's truly while Lynn operates the electric windlass on deck.
The upper locker is divided into two side by side sections. The port section holds 100ft of chain and 225 ft of heavy nylon laid line.

Rhys said...

You can see the same hulks here, Ken, specifically at Outer Harbour Marina's "graveyard" end, and in barns and even garages all over the place. Don't even get me started on ferro...there's even more of them. And it is possible to make a decent ferro...but the whole "DIY in your backyard" boat building craze was completely oversold 20-30 years ago, and a bunch of crappily built hulks are the result.

Now, I can just speak for myself here, but you guys have seen really nice steel (and they can be as cool or cooler than FG boats, generally being better insulated), and you've seen terrible, Lada-grade stretches of rusty, blind-welder's efforts.

Steel isn't the issue here.

With very few exceptions, every ship in the world is made of it and has been for about 150 years (if you count iron as steel).

The issue is proper prep, proper maintenance and skilled welding. Another issue is "build to the scantlings, not because you have more steel lying around". Get that, and aside from keeping alert about the well-known and easily managed galvanic issues and not letting superficial damage stay damaged, and you've got a very sound material for a passagemaker. As you will see, a lot of Northern European boats and almost all high-latitude boats are metal. A lot of very fast cruisers are alu...Cornell and Dashew come to mind. They don't even need topsides painting. They will never be a majority interest, but they have been the choice of many, many experienced sailors, like the Hiscoxes, Moiteissier, Knox-Johnson and so on.

Rhys said...

...part 2...


The whole "survive a coral reef" thing should be "take a few more hits than FG before holing". No boat can survive hours of pounding without structural failure. Steel, however, can buy you time if you are actually able to get off whatever you're on. Whether that happens or not is up to luck and skill of the crew, but Alchemy, as you know, has already taken a heavy hit when being moved on her cradle at OHM, and the hit would have absolutely punched a hole in any glass boat. We were present: We heard and saw the impact. But as for the damage? We just repainted inside a locker.

So we aren't just advocating blind faith here.

Alu is indeed problematic, but there are beautiful boats out there. Key to any metal boat is dry bilges. FGs can be "wetter, longer" without real issues, but there's no reason a metal boat can't be kept dry. Very few and very obvious holes in the deck are a start, but the watchword is "water must not be allowed to stand and there must be limber holes to direct it to an appropriate bilge for removal".

The preference for metal boats is partly is a matter of taste, and partly of experience. My friend Matt's steel Goderich 40 is immaculate, and her sister-ship Aquastar went places literally no private boat has been in centuries, like across Hudson's Bay. That and a few others turned me onto steel, and so far, no regrets. Keep in mind Alchemy's very well built by a pro builder as a custom job, and was designed as a one-off by a naval architect who liked it so much, he built himself one and sailed it without trauma in the brackish waters of South Florida for years.

As for the chain tubes, I have a self-draining anchor well I have redesigned to include a slope that should (and I will be testing this) "self-flake" chain down lower and slightly inboard. My reserve buoyancy is high at the bow, so I don't anticipate even 300 feet of chain to be a problem. It's a good point, however: Steel boats shouldn't run wet chain below, meaning "what *do* I do with it then?" has to be answered in a functional and effective way.

The deckwash pump is indeed a good idea and will be incorporated. The workshop space forward already has carbiners to hold varying lengths of rode and related lines. If you wanted to think of it this way, you could think of the entire first seven feet of Alchemy (the workshop) as an extended gear locker. While it's obviously a fairly small, triangular space, there's loads of room for spares, tools, a workbench and line, chain and whatnot. The other stowage space for this will be over the water tanks in the engine room, secured by netting.

Anyway, thanks for the comments. Frankly, we aren't planning on spending a lot of time in the Caribbean, as we've mentioned. For there, yes, we don't have the ideal boat. Frankly, the logic of owning a cat or a centerboarder is more persuasive to me were we to island-hop than either steel, alu or FG keel boats. But "limin'" is only part of what we've got planned. Rounding south Africa comes to mind...I doubt the Red Sea will be safe within the decade.

Finally, guess who doesn't need to rig a Dynaplate? You'll likely hear us before you see us!

And now it's time for a rum. I've been making money for a change, and I need to unwind.