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Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, and wrote about it's design and construction at

Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write... I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Halifax Art Boat

Launch Day!


In October of 2013, I was contacted by a fella who wrote:
I'm representing a consortium of artists and educators in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we would like to build a couple TriloBoats for artist residencies and to serve as a platform for community and social artwork around the greater Halifax area.
We corresponded a bit, back and forth. I answered a few questions. And next I hear, she's launched!

This, from the Halifax Community Arts Page:

The box scow hull vessel was hand-built by a team of volunteers and community members of all ages and abilities over the winter and spring of 2013-2014 at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic's historic boat shed on the Halifax Waterfront. Freshly launched into the Halifax Harbour this past July [12th], the project is now entering its next phase of community involvement.

You can follow her further adventures at

PS... As part of her 'Occupancy' certification, the HALIFAX ART BOAT underwent a stability test; so far as I know, a first official benchmark for a TriloBoat (T24x8). This resulted the following exchange (me in italics):
Congratulations! Sounds as if you passed, from which I surmise that 15 people showed up, stood on the rail and nobody went swimming. All correct?

Thanks! Yes, we actually did it with 12 as that is all we could assemble on a weekday, but they were 12, full-grown adults.

How was the number 15 arrived at? Is that an official number for a given sized boat, or maximum occupancy applied for?

The risk assessment folks (oy) put a max of 10 ppl on board, we wanted to demonstrate appreciably more than that for provable stability.
Any estimate as to total kg involved? 15 x an average of 50kg (kids and adults) would come out to 750kg. Close?

I think we had calculated roughly 900kg [1980lbs] of people standing along the rail (like I said, all adults).
How much freeboard was left, would you say, at maximum lean?

Depends on how you define “freeboard”. We measured from resting waterline - it was about 20cm (~8in) UP on the resting waterline on the low side and the chine on the high side was out of the water by about 10 cm (~4in), give or take.
Were there any comments from officials on the results? Surprise? Normal?

I think they were just “oh, I guess you were right, it is safe.” but they kept it close to the vest and just granted us approval.
Sounds as if you had a lot of fun building her. Anke and I are building, now, and envy your 200 participants!

Haha, well they weren’t all there all the time - we put in a LOT of sub-freezing days just one or two of us.
Anyways, we could have done a few things better, and I’m not sure what the project will become moving forward (my main job was to steward the building and approval of the craft, so I’m bowing out a bit due to other interests in the meantime).
Fortunately, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has taken over stewardship of the craft for the next two years and will be coordinating activities. We’ll see what that turns into!
Wishing YOU success as well, and thanks for staying in touch! Your boat design made a dream possible for a LOT of people out here - and it was truly fantastic seeing all of the excitement and pride on people’s faces when we launched. Really a fantastic boat - quirky in all the right ways, and a real cross-section of all the tricks and crafts used for other forms of construction in an easy-to-understand nutshell.
Keep at it, and stay square!

Now THAT's the way to move a boat!


Photos courtesy of Tyler John Photography

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Building Yer Own

Our Hopeful Monster

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this:
  That a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed;
  But a thing created is loved before it exists.
-- Charles Dickens

Building Yer Own

Anke and I are in the throes of building our 'last' boat.

There are moments, I admit, when I question our sanity. Why build when we have a perfectly good boat (SLACKTIDE)? Why build when we could buy? Why upsize when we were happily downsized?

Without having quite realized it, the new boat will represent a five year plan (assuming no extravagant setbacks). Time and treasure...

Financing, planning, shopping, building, rigging... all these represent time spent not drifting about, or at least cutting it to summer/early autumn months. Will the new boat be worth the investment of those golden hours afloat?

Mmm. Good questions, deserving good answers, with Time to be the Ultimate Judge.

Why build when we have a perfectly good boat? This is probably hardest question to answer. The bottom line is that we're afraid that 'tent-style living', on our knees, would not see us through old age. And if we are to build, the time is now, while it's merely hard going. A decade down the road and it may be untenably hard going.

Why build when we could buy? Well, the number of ultra-shoal, live-aboard boats in reasonable condition and reasonable price is a small number indeed. Lots of deals in boats these days, but most are many, many compromises away from our wish list.

Why upsize when we were happily downsized? Both have advantages and disadvantages. The new boat is still small, by most standards.- affordable and manageable - yet affords a large step toward the SWAB concept. Oh, and it has a stand-up galley... Anke loves SLACKTIDE's kneeling galley for the nonce, but feels that for the longer term, LUNA's stand-up arrangement was preferable. Along with project and miniature garden space, elbow-room. Me? I'm a 'small is beautiful' kinda guy. But it's true... everything but maintenance is a skosh easier with a little extra volume.

Is it worth the investment? Time will have to tell, here. We've got a lot invested and a long way to go. We try to cultivate the attitude that we are cruising, albeit shorebound to one particular phase of a bigger picture.

There's a lot to be said for building one's own boat/home, whatever the cost.

Building one's own connects a sailor to his or her vessel and sailing life in a way that's hard to explain, but which, among those who've done it, needs no explanation. Some things just can't be purchased, at any price. 

And there is nothing - nothing - to compare to the moment yer own creation comes to life under first press of sail.

Our muscles ache and complain, yet we grow strong. Morning comes too early, yet the day is full of challenges met. Our progress seems slow, and yet...

Something wonderful is growing under our hands.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Doctors Without Borders: Friends in Need

Doctors Without Borders: Friends in Need

Sometimes, the world scares me.

A howling gale, driving seas, lee shores -- these can leave me dry of mouth and knock of knee. 

But I have some experience in these. A boon companion. Tools at my command. A refuge downwind.

I can face them.

For many years now, Anke and I have supported Doctors Without Borders, aka Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF).

Since their founding, they have walked the walk through the valley of the shadow of death. In the face of natural disaster, war and disease, their staff and volunteers have risked their very lives in service of populations in dire need.

Now, they are embroiled in the desperate West African fight against the Ebola Virus.

Ebola. The modern world's first biosafety level 4 epidemic. Spreading exponentially.

My mouth is dry. My knees knock. My heart bleeds.

MSF is in the field, facing what I cannot and perhaps dare not.

It's unofficial, but to date, we've managed to put aside 10+% of TriloBoats' earnings toward helping others. Doctors Without Borders has been the chief recipient. Thus, many of you have already made a contribution.

Please consider an extra donation to this extraordinary organization in this extraordinary time of need.

A stitch in time, if there's still time.


Click HERE to visit Doctors Without Borders donation page.