An Engineless Junk Rigged Dory—Another Way To Get Out There

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In the last couple of weeks we have written about some ways to get out voyaging without spending a huge amount of money, at least relatively speaking, and in turn got several great comments from our readers.

In the same vein, last week we had dinner with an interesting couple who built their own boat in eleven months out of a couple of truck loads of exterior grade fur plywood liberally soaked in epoxy. And then sailed a complete Atlantic circle; without an engine, no less!

They even survived, without undue drama, being heaved-to for five days in gale to storm force conditions off the Carolinas last spring.

I was not rude enough to question them about their spending, but after a wide ranging evening’s conversation about their boat and voyage I can be pretty sure that they pulled this feat off for a great deal less than most cruisers.

The boat is interesting too, and while I’m no expert on junk rigged dories, I would guess that she is very seaworthy.

You can learn more about Bob, Kathy and Easy Go here. And more about the design here. And if you really get into these boats, there is even a book about going cruising in one, which is somewhat of a classic in the low-cost-voyaging category.

When, over dinner, we marveled at their achievement of building an ocean voyaging boat, albeit a simple one, in just eleven months, Bob and Kathy let us into the secret: During the project they lived in the building shed next to the boat. An arrangement that was so uncomfortable and generally unpleasant that they worked every waking minute to get it launched.

For me the take-away from our evening was that people that really want to get out there find a way.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for 25 years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 20 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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I admire the effort and determination to do this but a year’s worth of income could probably buy a used boat, outfit it and leave money in the bank for cruising. Still the satisfaction of having done this is worth something.