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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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Workboat Layout

Photo by Joe Upton from his Journeys through the Inside Passage

Hard to forget first puppy love.
― Toba Beta, Master of Stupidity

A Workboat Layout

When Anke and I first went south, looking for a boat, we wandered the docks of Seattle. Even in '90 o' the previous millenium, wood and DIY were giving way to fiberglass and production lines. But there were still a few old salts dreaming along the edges.

I was recently elated to run across this photo of one the first vessels to win our hearts.

By the time we ran across it, in a small marina below Gasworks Park on Lake Union, it had been stripped of its rig. Grass was growing in the cockpit. No one we could locate had ever seen an owner. The marina claimed it had been abandoned. We could have the boat, but couldn't stay or make repairs at their dock.

We were attracted to its sleek, whale-boat lines and rakish house. The forward cabin was beautifully formed. Whoever had converted her had done so with skill, respect for her workboat origins and a sense of romance.

Her layout was intriguing.

The snug, steering cockpit is well protected by the house, with easy access to the galley and nav station. Sleeping quarters in the fo'c'sle cuddy had good lounging space and plenty of air. The large, mid-ships cockpit make a flexible work/play space that can be used for projects, cargo, a fish-hold, etc..

For working boats, this is a common arrangement (though far from universal). We see it on hulls ranging from about 26ft to the 70ft power scows in our area. I've used it as the basis for the layouts of Trilobyte CARGO designs.CERES (of the Vermont Sail Freight Project) used the layout successfully in their two seasons of operations.

Downside, for cruisers, is that living spaces are separated. This means potentially needing two heating systems, and traversing the decks through weather when switching cabins. Later, we came to savor the joys of one lying a'bed as the other brews coffee, chit-chatting in easy earshot.

It was the light, showing between planks within inches of the waterline, that finally disuaded us. We had few resources and fewer skills.While we sought a boat with a few problems from which we could learn, this one seemed beyond us.

But, oh! We still sometimes dream of her.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Square Pegs, Round Holes
By Anthony Taber

“Want a reliable road to emotional and spiritual suicide? Spend your life trying to fit in.” ― Brandon Mull

Square Pegs, Round Holes

Living voluntarily on the edges of society - on the water, on the road, or anywhere outside the platted grid - we at least have a shot at a joyous non-conformity.

But try to interface with that society on an official level, and joy fades. Time and treasure flush down the drain of trying to fit in, at least enough to further our cause.

Here's a sample story:
Anke and I had made our first move from land to sea, gratefully letting go our apartment and all its attendant bills and expenses. We were now living aboard! Our dream coming true!!

But that first boat needed to be paid off, and considerable work before we could sail over the horizon. To keep in contact with friends and family (pre-internet), we needed a PO Box. So we went to apply.

Oops. Our physical adress? We don't have one... that's why we need a PO Box. Gotta have one?? Um... we're right downhill about 300 yards. We can see the boat through your window. Not enough? What would it take? A bill to that address?? But we don't generate bills, anymore, and you wouldn't deliver there if we did. Can't we sign something? Leave valuables in hock? No??

Turns out, they cheerfully accepted Anke's parent's address in Germany (where she no longer lived).
Hooboy! This was our  first introduction to being square pegs to the round world of bureaucracy and commerce. Passports, PO Boxes, occasional taxes, fishing and driver's licenses, I.D., voter registration. And mis-representing one's self to the fine organizations behind these, albeit in an honest attempt to answer what cannot apply, courts heavy fines or even prison!

Registering or ordering online present form hassles (shipping addresses get complicated). There are many vendors who seem to think that Alaska is some foreign country. That USPS somehow isn't available, but UPS or Fedex have an office in every hamlet (they don't).

NOTE: Evil, socialist gummint USPS is cheap and reliable; those fine, private free-marketeers gouge us deeply for extra hassles they call 'service'. Oddly, it's the free market forces who pressure vendors into exclusive service contracts from which we suffer!

National security has made it all much worse.

In the last bout with officialdom, the national headquarters were to assign an appointment date with our conveniently located local office (800 miles away by air, contact numbers a secret!), by snail mail (must be forwarded to another town and flown to our current, remote location) with two days notice (gotta fly out in winter, jet north and show up, or else... hefty fees forfeit and start over). Fortunately, human error gave us a human 'local' contact, and we were able to work it out.

Despite the fact that we don't live as expected, we've got nothing to hide as 'upstanding citizens'. The sole problem is figuring out how to translate a fringe lifestyle into their one-size-fits-most forms and procedures.

So, if you are considering a life beyond house-numbers, consider ways to maintain the appearance of conformity. A foothold with friends or relatives, a mail service, a business or property in your name? Develop a paper trail to support your claims.

I don't recommend fraudulent claims... each must be legitimate in some sense if you don't want official trouble to one day come stomping after you. Make sure that all involved on your end are familiar with the details, and present a unified front. Officials perk up at inconsistencies!

One thing to keep in mind is that, if legitimate, one has every right to expect success. It takes a while, but there are few bureaucracies that leave no way forward. Take the time to learn their lingo and ways. Be polite but persistent. Seek and find someone helpful and humane, take their contact information and deal with them directly for the duration.

For those of you already living over the edge, have you any strategies to share?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bent Oars for BIRDWATCHER-Inspired Hulls

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
But if it is...?

Bent Oars for BIRDWATCHER-Style Hulls

In BIRDWATCHER, Phil Bolger introduced a true revolution in boat design. They're distinguished by an upper hull completely or mostly consisting of window.

Core concepts:
  • Waterproof to above the knocked-down waterline (should float on its side without shipping water).
  • Long gangway running the length of the interior (mid-line security for standing crew).
  • Self-rescuing from inside the hull (!).
  • All operations possible from within shelter (no outside cockpit necessary).
  • Easily stricken rig (to reduce windage for rowing).
  • Reasonable performance under oars (eliminates expense, and weight of motor, and allows extended cruising away from fuel sources).

Not all vessels styled after BIRDWATCHER hit all these points, but together they set an impressive bar. Each point interacts with others for high synergy.

Anke and I spent close to three months dinking around in our BIRDWATCHER inspired prototype T16x4 TRILOBYTE. It was a total hoot! But one problem was persistently irritating and borderline dangerous...

To keep the hull watertight (a must when sailing in heavy winds that risk an otherwise acceptable knock-down), the oars must be shipped and the oar ports securely dogged. Turns out, this is easier said than done!

Even in normal rowing, if we brought the oars inboard to rest, grab a bite or what-have-you, the inboard portion of the loom created an awkward obstacle course within the cabin. If the blade caught while the hull was moving, the inboard end would sweep and shove us. We called it 'the sword dance'. If we had to ship in a hurry, as in a sudden squall, things got positively dicey.

For BIRDWATCHER, Phil selected a double-ended hull type that rows well. Placing the (single pair of) oars aft of the maximum beam allows oars to temporarily trail aft, clear of the the hull inside and out. But a small, double ended hull gives a lot away in terms of interior volume.

In most other types – notably barge/scow/pram shapes – that approach doesn't work. The port openings fetch up against the loom and don't allow them to swing fully parallel; if let go unshipped, they angle out and aft, dragging through the water.

To address this, I proffer a bent oar proposal:
Bend a 45deg, angled section at the oar's fulcrum, offsetting the inboard loom from the outboard by enough to clear the hull and your chosen lock hardware. Boot the oar outboard (raingear sleeves?) to waterproof and retain the oar from sliding out. Stowage can be arranged using single-horn cleats for blade and grip, with bungee tie-downs.
Know anyone with a pipe bender?


These oars would never (seldom) be dismounted. They'd trail when released and stow mostly clear of cabin spaces.

Oar Boots  can be affixed around a lipped oar port opening, similar to a kayak skirt lip.

A stiffish rubber sheet, close fit around the oar would make a pretty fair lock in this situation.

BTW, TriloBoats has a new, BIRDWATCHER inpired offering, the T20x4 SCUTTLEFISH.