It’s one thing to dream of boats, another to move beyond the dreams to actually building one. And then there are those who who live their dream in boats. Dave and Anke Zeiger live almost full-time in a boat of their own design, made by their own hands. No motor for now… just years of sailing in and out of coves. The dream.
Dave has a great website devoted to his TRILOBOATS concepts. Though they are square boats, they are certainly outside the box, so to speak. I think you’ll like his thinking about this sort of boat. Some are very clever flights of fancy, several of which I’d love to build. Others are equally clever, but have gone well beyond flights of fancy and have come to life as liveaboards that are put to the test in the waters of Alaska and the Inside Passage.
We will have to wait for the book he is writing, but in the meantime he has a website, a blog, and a twitter feed that are a great resource for all. I’ve excerpted some of his writing about his Trilobyte 16 in the article below. What a great way to get on the water.. fast… affordably…. and capably…. in a boat that’s really been put to the test. Perhaps you dream of time afloat in rivers, sloughs, lakes, or bays in a boat with sensuous curves, polished brass, and woodwork that shows you as the artist you are. Great. Keep the dream alive.. go for it when you have the time and money. In the meantime…. as Dave says….
“Get OUT there!
Travel to a cruising area of choice, slam together an expedition-cruiser in a week or less, and go play. That’s the driving scenario behind the design of Trilobyte 16. Every effort has been made to streamline materials and construction details to minimize building time and maximize playtime. If you are a couple handy with tools and not hung up on finish, Trilobyte 16 can be built in three long days. Depending on choices and skills, it could take up to a week.
What’s Special about Trilobyte 16?
Many of the best recent innovations in small boat design have been incorporated into Trilobyte 16. The synergies between them yield an extraordinary return on a minimal investment in construction time and materials.
Phil Bolger introduced a true revolution in micro-cruiser design with his Birdwatcher concept. A watertight, transparent super-structure is built upwards from the sheer of an ultra-shoal-draft hull. Decks continue the water-tight integrity inboard to an elongated mid-ships companionway (which may be covered by removable fabric and/or hatches). This allows sailing with very little fixed ballast, taking any knock-downs in stride by floating on the high topsides. Self-rescue is accomplished from inside the boat! All-round windows give excellent visibility, and all ship-handling may be done from below-decks. The inherent safety advantages of this approach are manifold, especially when cruising cold waters. Camper shelter is inherent whether at anchor or hauled out ashore (no set-up of dodgers or tents necessary). Bolger and others (notably Jim Michalak) have used this approach in designs ranging from micro- to deep-water cruisers. A last requirement peculiar to small, oar auxiliary boats of Birdwatcher lineage is that the “rig be quick enough to strike that one is not tempted to row with it standing.”
The foundation for Trilobyte 16 is a hull (up to the sheer) based on barge lines. This is a departure from the more common sharpie lines which have a ‘rockered’ (curved) bottom as seen in profile view. A barge’s flat mid-run maximizes displacement and form stability. Transoms are run high to clear the water while heeled and establish a short, upright waterline (which makes for agile tacking). The cabin benefits by constant headroom (doesn’t taper down at one or both ends) over a flat plane (you don’t have to choose between sleeping/living on a curve vs. building a platform). Even better, layout and construction are radically simplified. In Trilobyte 16 I’ve taken the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) to extremes by conforming all major components (hull, cabin, decks, bulkheads and transoms) to simple fractions of plywood dimensions (8, 4, 2, 1 feet). The constant, four foot, zero-flare beam means that ply sheets may be used at full width, eliminating all edge cuts and chine bevels. In consequence, materials layout and cutout are reduced to the bare minimum, and structure is self-rectifying (if the edges meet, everything is square and true).
Trilobyte 16 is designed around its cabin. It’s 4 feet wide, 3 feet 4½ inches of sitting headroom (more under the full length companionway) and 7 feet 10 inches long. This is plenty for two adults of moderate beam. A third adult, or the equivalent in kids and/or dogs, may be accommodated by sleeping staggered. There is ample storage in the bays outboard of the bulkheads.”
Originally posted 2012-06-11 20:23:42.