January 2, 2014

Twenty boats to think about

HERE ARE SOME MORE inside facts about another of my books, Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere (Paradise Cay).

I wrote this book for the man in the street, the underdog whose cause I have always championed, especially the underdog who lacks the means to acquire a large expensive yacht, and especially the young underdog who will cheerfully put up with a lack of bodily comfort of the sort provided in boats with lofty cabins and large expense bills.

There’s no reason why men and women who are young and short of funds can’t experience the romantic dream of crossing an ocean or even sailing around the world. The market is glutted with good used fiberglass boats, most of which cost less than a new car.

So I chose 20 small but seaworthy sailing boats, between 20 and 32 feet on deck, and capable of crossing oceans. I have heard people scoff that some of my choices are ridiculously small. But, in fact, all of them have crossed oceans and are fit to take you around the world.  They represent the work of some of the world’s finest yacht designers, even though some of them look very ordinary now, and would hardly warrant a second glance in a marina. Nevertheless, they come from pedigreed stock.

I’ve described details of their design and construction, and I’ve assigned each a rating of seaworthiness, compared with the other 19 boats in this book. Not all these boats are fit to take on Cape Horn but if you choose your route carefully and  time your passages to benefit from the best weather, they will take you where you want to go — not in the greatest comfort, perhaps, but with a spirit of adventure and excitement that you’ll remember all your life.

Twenty Small Sailboats sold quite well, and the publisher suggested that I write a follow-up book, perhaps Twenty Slightly Larger Sailboats to Take You Almost Anywhere. I wasn’t interested. The whole point of my book was that the boats you could sail around the world were small and cheap. There are literally hundreds of bigger, more expensive boats that can take you around the globe.

But the publisher eventually found an author to write a follow-up, and they called it Twenty Affordable Sailboats To Take You Anywhere, which peeved me somewhat, since it seemed to be taking advantage of my very clever title, not to mention sowing confusion and hurting my sales. But I held my tongue and just rolled my eyes and wrote a foreword for it, as requested. Sometimes you just can’t win.
 
Here's a review from www.thecruisingkitty.com:
 
"Loved this book Loved it!
John Vigor, former managing editor of Sea magazine, evaluates and compares the seaworthiness of 20 of the most tried, tested and beloved small yacht designs available. The boats range in size from 20 to 32 feet in length.
 
"Any one of these designs would be a solid choice to cross an ocean in. John lays out his analyses and evaluations clearly. Each design is compared to the ideal of seaworthy and also compared to (ranked against) each other.
 
"This book was a good investment. The criteria for seaworthiness were clearly illustrated and analyzed as he considered each design."
 
And here’s a review from www.goodreads.com:

This is one of a handful of "dream" books I have. I spend the winter poring through these, looking for a suitable vessel to take me...just about anywhere. When it's cold and I want to think of impossible pleasures, I often reach for this book.
My wife calls these books boat porn. This book is full of statistics and prosaic descriptions of the build of these boats. It's easy to imagine owning one and sailing it across an ocean, anchoring in a shallow bay in the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands. And i
...more Mar 18, 2011:  Duncan rated it 5 of 5 stars

“This is one of a handful of ‘dream’ books I have. I spend the winter poring through these, looking for a suitable vessel to take me . . . just about anywhere. When it's cold and I want to think of impossible pleasures, I often reach for this book.
“My wife calls these books boat porn. This book is full of statistics and prosaic descriptions of the build of these boats. It's easy to imagine owning one and sailing it across an ocean, anchoring in a shallow bay in the Bahamas or the Virgin Islands. And it's a delicious thrill to imagine leaving port in one of these boats, watching the land sink down behind me and to know that it will be days or weeks before seeing the next destination. I will probably never take such a trip in such a boat, but I love thinking about it.”

A larger round-the-worlder
LOOKING FOR a boat to sail around the world? I can’t vouch for this one personally, since I’ve never laid eyes on her, but she’s a famous design with a wonderful pedigree.  I wonder what the story is, behind her forced sale at an auction to come.  She’s being sold by the Port of Bellingham, Washington state, but it seems incredible that anyone would just abandon a boat like this, or simply give her up because he or she couldn’t afford the mooring fees.  Anyway, maybe someone will benefit from the previous owner’s bad luck. 


Today’s Thought
Life ought to be a struggle of desire toward adventures whose nobility will fertilize the soul.
— Rebecca West

Tailpiece
The Honorable Member from Oklahoma succinctly stated his objection to the Reduction of Fertilizer Bill.
“It’s a lot of crap,” he declared.
The chamber erupted with laughter.
The chairman  banged his gavel loudly.
“Ordure!” he cried, “ Ordure in the House!”

(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

HI John,
I just want to say thanks for writing this book. It was invaluable to me as a guide during my search for a small affordable seaworthy boat. I finally found a beautiful Contessa 32 and spent last season sailing Cuba, Mexico, and Belize. Without your book I may never have found such a wonderful and seaworthy boat.
Cheers!

Anthony Maldonado said...

I love your writing. It is intelligent and entertaining.
I have a Cal 20 and laugh at everyone telling me it is too small. (only to stand up in) I am in Detroit and getting ready to head to the Bahamas. I built a trailer and leaving from Florida. I could have bought something bigger but I love mine and after Me and my two girls 5 and 9 walked past everything on the lake with the wind gusting to 35 knots I trust it.
Thanks for sharing your experiences with us and keep writing.
Tony

John Vigor said...

Anthony, the Cal 20 is a great little boat with a classy pedigree. If you haven't done so already, read Robert Crawford's book, Black Feathers, the story of his participation in the 2008 solo TransPac in a Cal 20, from San Francisco to Hawaii. He wasn't the first to do that passage in a Cal 20, but he was the first to enter for the singlehanded race.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-feathers-robert-jeanne-crawford/1020196508?ean=9781440191961

John V.