Now that I have set the Adventure 40 free, I have some more mind share to think about other things. And one of those other things is making offshore motorboats better.
I started writing about this three years ago and to really understand the sailor’s motorboat concept you will need to read the original post, but here’s the short version.
A motorboat that is:
- Able to cruise offshore at 8 knots or better with a top cruise speed of 10 knots.
- Fuel efficient at that speed—two to four times better than trawlers currently available.
- As safe offshore as a well-found sailboat.
A quick look at the trawlers available when I wrote the original post made it pretty clear that such a boat did not exist.
In fact, a bit of basic arithmetic conclusively showed that Phyllis and I already own a better motorboat, at least for our needs, in the form of Morgan’s Cloud, than anything the trawler builders were offering. Pretty damning when you consider that when we are in motorboat mode we are dragging a keel and rig, and taking the efficiency hit from a flat-blade feathering propeller!
Not Just an Exercise
And all of this is of more than academic interest to Phyllis and me, since over the last four years, as I first broke my leg badly and then struggled with another chronic health problem, we were seriously thinking about what boat would come next for us, since sailing and maintaining Morgan’s Cloud got very difficult.
I’m pleased to report that, for the moment at least, I seemed to have returned to better health, and therefore we now hope to sail our beloved cutter for a few more years. That said, the day will inevitably come when she is too much for us, a position that many of my cohort are approaching, or already in.
Not Just For Sailors
And not only that, I strongly believe that a “sailor’s motorboat” would be a far better alternative than most any of the trawlers now available for those going offshore cruising who decide to bypass the sailing step altogether.
And further, the boat(s) I’m thinking about could, I think, survive in a world where governments will increasingly price diesel fuel, and the carbon that burning it emits, properly—bit of a setback in that area lately, but I still hope that sanity will prevail, at least in time.
Building a Plan
Over the last few years, Steve Dashew generously shared a lot of priceless information with Phyllis and me that has helped us clarify our thinking about what can and can’t be done to produce a better motorboat.
And we have blended Steve’s insights with our own 25 years of experience cruising the Arctic, where we ended up motoring a lot, and thoughts and wisdom from Dennis, designer and builder of the Artnautica LRC 58, as well as some chats with Todd over at Black Swan Yachts, who is working on a very interesting boat.
Turning to the current state of play, Steve and Linda continue to show the way with their FPB line of ocean-going motorboats, but the problem is that the minimum price of entry is, as I understand it, around US$3 million, which makes these boats of only academic interest for most of us.
And I understand that Black Swan will soon have their first boat in build, but it too is priced at a level that is only accessible to the champagne-and-caviar crowd.
The Artnautica LRC 58 Adventure Edition
That leaves only the Artnautica priced at a level that Phyllis and I could ever even dream of paying, so I have put in quite a bit of time working with Dennis on what we call the LRC 58 Adventure Edition.
That said, even the Artnautica will set us back the price of a reasonably nice house. So is that attainable for many of our readers here? It’s a good question, and one I will explore in detail in a future post.
Spoiler: The case is surprisingly compelling, particularly for those willing to live aboard fulltime.
And further, our friends at Boréal have expressed interest in building a motorboat. It’s early days yet, and it may never happen in that they have a huge and successful tiger by the tail in the form of their incredibly successful sailboats, but we are committed to at least discussing ideas for a future boat with them, and, or course, reporting on the project.
I see my role in all of this as:
- Explaining why a new concept is needed; not easy but important, since what many buyers are attracted to (a huge fancy interior), and what will actually make them happy when voyaging, are often two different things. A tall order yes, but one I have already had success with in the Adventure 40 project.
- Defining and refining the overall concept—the former is mostly done in this Online Book.
- Hosting a discussion among the incredibly smart and experienced mariners, technicians and engineers who comment here to improve said concept.
To that end I will be writing more over this winter, including:
- Unveiling the work Dennis and I have done on the LRC 58. Coming in the next few days.
- Discussing the two 800-pound gorilla design decisions that come up whenever offshore motorboats are on the table: stabilization and get-home power.
- Examining the affordability case for a sailor’s motorboat.
And I’m sure I will write lots more, inspired, as I so often am, by your comments and suggestions.
Please come along for the ride; it should be interesting, and this time we are working with a boat that exists (LRC 58) and boatbuilders with a real track record (Boréal).