It seems that one of the universal problems aboard small boats is not having enough room–not having enough storage space for clothes; tools; toys; spares; fuel; awnings; safety gear; etc… Immediately after finding a storage solution for a particular piece of gear, a new thing arrives that just has to be kept somewhere aboard and the challenge of finding a place to put it begins. I strive to keep my boat as simple as possible, but it still seems that there is never enough room aboard. When the space is shared, such as when guests come aboard, the problem compounds. The obvious solution to this problem is to have a bigger boat. A boat just a few feet longer than the current one sounds about right to a lot of people. This is such a common phenomenon that there is even a name for it: three-foot-itis. Three-foot-itis is when a boat owner decides that his or her current boat is inadequate, but that a boat three feet longer would be just the ticket. There is no other solution in the owner’s mind. A bigger boat must be found.
I succumbed to the above described boat-owner’s malady and have been working on Idle Queen for a while now. Idle Queen is a Dreadnought 32 built by the Dreadnought Boatworks of Carpentaria, California. She is three feet longer than Sirocco.
The space problem was just one part of what drove me to this boat, however. Cost was the other driving force. Everyone knows that bigger boats are more expensive, but in this case, I took a big step down. Sirocco, my last boat, is a beautifully finished boat. She has teak trim and bronze fittings and beautiful joinery. Idle Queen is home-finished with plywood and plexiglass and latex paint. I found her moldering in the back of a boatyard. She had been for sale so long that the sign had faded and broken. She is heavily-built and practical though. Because of her rough-and-ready working finish I won’t feel bad keeping her going with whatever I happen to scrounge or buy when things break. I don’t have to worry about a “yacht quality” finish. Strong and cheap will do it.
I will start getting some more pictures up in the near future and maybe some videos to document progress on Idle Queen‘s rehabilitation. My goal is to have a safe, strong, inexpensive voyaging yacht with this project.
Update to post: Sirocco has been sold. Thanks for looking, and please read on if you would still like to learn more about this unique vessel.
After a long period of debate and a lot of internal reflection, I am finally officially putting Sirocco up for sale. The asking price is a very modest $19,500 to encourage interest in this unique vessel.
Sirocco is a William Atkin designed “Ben Bow” cutter. She was professionally built in Airex-cored fiberglass by Falstron of Sarasota, FL, and first launched in 1981. Her build quality is first-rate, and only the best materials were used throughout. The hull is faithful to the “Ben Bow” lines, but the rig is that of a modern Marconi cutter with a bowsprit. This gives her plenty of sail area while keeping the rig height modest and gives her a look very much like the popular Lyle Hess Bristol Channel Cutters. The deck is built on laminated beams and is sheathed in fiberglass. The nonskid media is set in epoxy. She has traditional finishing touches, including bronze portholes and cowl vents (set on teak dorade boxes); teak deck hatches; and teak cockpit coaming. The heavily-built rudder is set on oversized bronze gudgeons and pintles. The underwater portion of the hull is barrier coated with epoxy. This is a solidly built, confidence-inspiring cruising boat.
Down below the layout is very practical and easy to live with. Access to the engine room is through doors beneath the companionway ladder. Immediately forward of the ladder is a full-sized chart table to starboard with the icebox below the forward portion. The galley is to port, and features a 2-burner stainless Shipmate stove with oven, and a nice, deep sink. Forward of the galley, two settees face each other in the saloon, with storage in seat backs and outboard. The main saloon can be converted to a large double bed by adding a filler between the settees. Forward of the mast is the head and another berth to port, which can be converted to a double. The head is to starboard, with additional storage. There is a spacious anchor locker and storage area in the very forward end of the ship with plenty of extra hanging room for spare lines, etc.
Auxiliary propulsion is provided by a 28-hp Beta Marine diesel engine driving a 3-blade propeller. The engine has less than 2,000 hours. Recent improvements to the machinery include a new cutless bearing; new bronze stern gland with dripless packing; new shaft coupling; new flexible coupling; new engine mounts; and new ball joints and ends on the shift cables. Valve clearances were checked at 1950 hours and everything is within specifications.
Systems are simple and easily accessed for maintenance. The well-insulated icebox has electric refrigeration. The galley faucet is supplied with pressure fresh water. The manual head flushes to a holding tank or directly overboard.
Electronics include a fixed Standard Horizon VHF; Raytheon speed and depth sounder; Raymarine ST-4000+ autopilot with electric linear drive; and Garmin Oregon 400C GPS chartplotter. Additionally, there is a flat-panel LCD television; DVD player; and installed stereo system. The masthead tri-color light and anchor light are LED, and the anchor light has a sensor for automatic operation.
Ground tackle includes a 35-lb CQR anchor on 40′ of 3/8″ chain and 250′ of 3-strand nylon rode. Anchor handling is assisted by the manual windlass.
The spars are aluminum painted with Imron polyurethane. The main mast is stepped on a massive support at the level of the cabin sole. This keeps the heel of the mast out of any potential bilge water, preventing corrosion problems. There are two deep reef points in the main sail. The yankee is roller furling, set on a Profurl roller furling unit that can also be used for reefing. The staysail is hanked on to the inner forestay and has a storage bag.
Also included is a 7-foot Eli Laminates rowing dinghy that fits on the cabin top. This dinghy has been reinforced with extra layers of fiberglass and epoxy on the chines to take the abuse of being hauled up beaches, etc. New main thwart installed in 2011.
The “Ben Bow” design was William Atkin’s own cruising boat–the one he did for himself and his family. She is a beautiful little cruising boat that is just right in proportion and balance. What designer wouldn’t pay extra attention to detail on his personal craft? She sails well and with a good turn of speed, has a very kind motion in a seaway, is dry, strong, and has an inviting interior. There is little else that one could ask of a good cruising boat. The video below shows her underway in perfect conditions one hundred miles off the coast of South Carolina.