Saturday, August 02, 2008


I received this email earlier this week. I am scratching my head as to how to help this guy. Does the boat he is searching for exist? Can anyone help him?

Hi, Help me please !

Is there such a one-person boat ?

Under 11 or even 10 feet long
Hull under 50 lbs
Width under 3 feet
Sail under 30 sq. ft.

Need not be as fast a Laser, but should be able to keep up for a short while in relatively calm weather.

The boat should let me stay dry in street clothes and not getting me cold, when under sail in shallow water near shore, with one hand holding the sheet and the other holding a camcorder for wild life filming.

The boat needs to be able to cross a one-kilometer open water (where big boats are passing) in 20 minutes in cross wind.

In other words I am hoping there is such a light weight, fast sail boat that a small person like me can handle it it alone (with a small car), and launch it anywhere.

Is this a reasonable expectation ? Your comment please !


PeconicPuffin said...

If it weren't for the photography requirement, a Starboard Start windsurfer would do the trick. It's big as a table, and falling off is hard to do unless you're a complete novice.

But there's no way to windsurf and work a camera in the hand (a few preternatural individuals aside.)

Anonymous said...

Stitch and Glue is the answer for you!

or alternatively,

Google foldable/collapseable sp? sailboats. There are a couple of Polypropolyne sp? sailboats that are around 45 lbs and fold to 4.5 in thick. They set up in a flash.

if you judge me by my spelling, then I'm an idiot :-)

Anonymous said...

E-mail these requirements to any yacht broker.

They'll have one of these sitting right at their dock - and it's on sale this week.

Pat said...

Does it need to always meet the three foot beam requirement or only during storage and transport?

I think an outrigger kayak system would come the closest to meeting all of these requirements. The Hobie Adventure/Mirage/Island type may be a little big, but something along these lines should work well. And, the pieces break down easily for hand-carrying, launching, transport and storage.

Some of these kayaks also have foot-operated paddles and some lightweight plastic sailing trimarans (Windriders) have foot-steering, so the operator would have lots of freedom to operate a camera and not have to spend too much time on sail tending.

Carol Anne said...

I am guessing that your goal is to get up close to wildlife quietly without scaring it off, so that you can photograph it.

While sailboats are very good at getting up close to the wildlife, small sailboats, in particular, aren't good platforms for photography. Even if you have a waterproof camera, so you don't have to worry if you capsize or get hit by a huge lot of spray, you're still going to be so engaged in sailing the boat that you won't have time to fiddle with a camera.okpyykm

Anonymous said...

You were serious?

Two-thirds the size of a Laser and one-third the weight? That would be a kayak, no?

If he wants a dry, stable platform for photography that can do 1.8 knots (if my math's right) a 'recreational' kayak's hard to beat - smaller, lighter, simpler to rig, and a whole lot cheaper than anything that sails. And heaving to for those Kodak moments is way simpler in a kayak.

Maybe Bonnie has some advice.

Shopping City Chaplaincy said...

Why not try the Mirro? Beam would seem to be the only major issue.

Anonymous said...

An Opti almost fits the bill. Might help kickstart the diet, too. And when/if it stops working, the kids will love it.

Tillerman said...

Another option might be a Cape Cod Frosty.

bonnie said...

Maybe one of the Hobie Mirage-Drive family with the sail kit?

You'd need both hands while sailing - one hand on the sheet, the other on the knoblike tiller- but according to that site (which of course makes it sound great), you can rig & derig quickly. So, you sail across your kilometer of open water; you get to where you want to do your filming, you stow your sail & switch entirely to pedal-drive. That frees up a hand for the camera.

All sounds good in theory - the unfortunate thing about these little crossbreed type boats that try to do too many things is that they just don't do any of them really well. I would want to test one out thoroughly someplace before doing my first 1-km open-water crossing of a channel. If it did seem to suit my needs, I'd still be very, very aware of conditions when I started using it - sit-on-top kayaks can lull people into a false sense of security because of their tremendous initial stability, but they can become tricky if the waves get steep enough that the boat's being pushed past that initial stability - next stop, once that's past, is upside down with you swimming next to it.

Definitely won't keep you dry, most kayaks are a wet ride. I don't think any 10-foot long non-motorized vessel is going to keep a person dry, though - it's probably smarter to scratch that off your list of requirements. Just dress to get wet. If you don't have a place to change, get or make yourself a big, warm, fuzzy fleece robe, like my stylish friends at the "Yonkerian brethren"!

Definitely won't keep up with a Laser unless it's a dead calm day, or light wind & the destination's directly upwind & the Laser has to tack while the kayak has the option of paddling straight into the wind

Anonymous said...

Someone sent me an email saying the answer to your question is the Sunflower 3.3 Sailboat.

Fred said...

unHonestly speaking, before reading your latest blog entry I thought that YOU were looking for a boat to jump straight into retirement by asking us well edjucated followers of your blog. And as we regular readers here know, your are an ignorant of other boats which are not Sunfishes nor Lasers.

With your latest success, I am taking my dirty thoughts back...

Keep up the good work and smile!

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