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Have you ever watched the America’s Cup? To put it poorly, it’s a sailboat race. (I think I just heard a multitude of fans just scream aloud in rage and smash their screens at that.) In fact, the America’s Cup is THE pinnacle of sail yacht racing, full of history, excitement, and character. In fact, the best way to describe the America’s Cup today is to compare it to Formula One racing. The technology going into these “boats” is astounding! Take a look for yourself.
This is the AC72; the ship that won the 2013 America’s Cup.
This thing shredded the water, reaching speeds of near 60 miles per hour and was putting so much pressure on the water with its foils (Those downward knife-like tabs on the bottom of the hulls of the catamaran) that the water would boil! The main sail looks like it came off a 747 and is called a Wing sail.
Costing $110,000,000 the Oracle AC72 has as much in common with the average sailboat as a Formula 1 car has with that car in your driveway.
It makes for great television and great stories, but feels disconnected from the rest of the sailing world. Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing new technologies and expanding the frontiers of boating, but I also think there is a huge gap left in its wake.
I’d like to see a classic America’s Cup series/division.
Use the basics of the 1968 to1983 12 metre rules of the America’s Cup from that era. (A note for every nonboat person out there. The 12 Metre or International America’s Cup class meant that all the measurements added together then divided by 2.73 needs to equal 12 meters. I put in links for the formula, but I’m not going to delve that deep. I was never that good at math. Suffice it to say the classic cup will use that formula.)
A standard Monohull design (A single hull, like most boats have)
The correct number of crew members (17 +1, I believe)
A nonwinged keel
A skeg mounted rudder mounted separately from the keel
The hull of the boat can be made of wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or steel. No newer composites such as carbon fiber or exotic metals such as titanium.
Sailcloth needs to be made of the standard material in 1983 and free of advertisements.
The goal here is to create a class of racing that put emphasis on teamwork rather than exotic technologies in a class that is monetarily easy to enter and maintain.
This new classic series could be raced either a day before the modern America’s Cup as a crowd warmer, or run in the same race with the modern boats as the ALMS auto race does with their Prototype and GT classed racecars.
Another thought would be to do an Am/Pro challenge where the Amateurs use the retired 12 Metre class boats that now are being used as charters. (The trick here would be making sure that the levels are equal for the “new classics” versus the post ’83 racers which have winged keels and possibly rudders in front of the keel [called a canard].)
The America’s Cup will always have new technology moving it forward. The America’s Classic Cup series keeps America’s spirit of teamwork and tenacity alive.
I’d like to see both.
Summer boating is not what you might expect in Florida. The daily downpours and sheer ferocity of lightning quickly puts a damper on any ideas of a quick trip after work or a nice sunset cruise. Mornings are somewhat better, but even they have been hampered by wet, windy weather this year.
The weather forecast must’ve been good last Sunday, because I was surrounded by boats on trailers as I gassed up at the local station. One was a newish bow-rider. Brightly colored with lots of seats and a sturdy V bottom, this boat was ready to take its owners on a fun filled trip with a possible beaching at a rookery or small island for a lunch picnic.
The second boat was a sportsman’s fancy. Tall seats with pole carriers and multiple hatches for bait and catches promised a great day of fishing.
The third boat was a mystery to me. Old in style, it had a look unto itself. It was closed off like a cabin cruiser, but was too boxy to be that. It had what looked like to be a W bottom, so it couldn’t be made for deep water and rough waves. It looked too luxurious for a fishing boat, and yet it seemed too small for houseboat. What was it? Being probably the only person on the planet who doesn’t have a smart phone or cell internet, I went home and looked it up.
It was a Sea Camper.
A Sea Camper was a unique boat experiment in the late 60’s to mid 70’s. The idea behind it was to have a houseboat that more stable than those on pontoons and yet small enough to be towed and used as a travel trailer. Basically it was intended to be the VW campervan of the boat world.
At 24 feet in length, it was easy to tow and the boxiness of it allowed for good headroom and lots of living space inside.
These boats weren’t cheap though. In an era of $4,500 Trans Ams and $10,000 Eldorados, the Sea Camper would cost you $50,000. To put in in another way, you could have that one boat at $50K or roughly six Jaguar Series III E-Type convertibles with the 12 cylinder engine!
Besides their high price, I can see some other problems with them. First is the optional flying bridge on them. Sure it opens up a lot more room and gives a commanding view of what’s going on, but low bridges, tree limbs, and other low hanging items would wreak havoc on that not so little extra. The other problem would be convincing the manager/owner of the campground that your boat is also an honest travel trailer as well. Even today, many class-B conversion vans are turned away from campgrounds stating that they are not true RVs. If they give these vehicles a hard time, imagine what they did to the person pulling in with a boat!
Eventually Sea Camper Inc. was sold off to another person who cut costs to lower the price and quickly sank into the history of boating. The idea is interesting and I’d love to see someone try it again at a much more realistic price, but I still see the same argument that dogged the original latch onto the new version. Mainly, how do you convince campgrounds to allow the thing into their sites?
Thinking of this and the idea vacationing on a boat brought back another idea I had. With the high price of renting an apartment, why not buy a cheap boat and live on that instead? Browsing through CraigsList I found many boats of liveaboard size for $2000 or less. (Including a 27’ Morgan) Rent is ranging from $750 to $900 a month for a single bedroom to two bedroom apartment with kitchen, bath, and living room. The local Marina is renting out their docks at $11 per linear foot of boat. That means if you own that 27’ foot sailboat, your rent would be $297 a month. Sure that doesn’t include electricity, cable, water, and sewer; but you have to throw in water and electricity on top of your apartment rent as well. Plus you have that deposit, first and last to deal with. The money going into that could easily pay for the boat.
Some will argue that you don’t have anywhere near the room on a boat that you have with an apartment, and that’s true, but when can you go ever on a trip and take your apartment and all your belongings with you? You can do that with a boat. (If you bought one that is working and not just a platform.) Heating and cooling are trickier, but I’m sure that if you do the research, you will find many articles, videos, and such that will show you how to deal with this situation easily and cost effectively. Laundry is done at the local laundry mat and if your bathroom/head starts feeling too small, you can always use the dock lavatory set aside for renters only.
Your car is as safe at the marina parking lot as it would be at the apartment complex.
Summer is ending and many marinas will have open docks available for rent. If you live in the rest of the United States, or a place in the world where it snows and freezes, you can buy a “bubbler” that sends air up around your boat and prevents the water from freezing. This lets the boat stay in the water year round.
Unfortunately some marinas close up entirely for the winter, so do your research and see you can rent a dock where you want to be during the winter. Who knows? You might find yourself living in a way you never expected.
I don’t know about you, but I love wooden boats. There is just something special about them that separates them from their modern fiberglass/resin counterparts. Now don’t get me wrong, today’s modern building compounds are smooth, light, sleek, and require so little maintenance when compared to the classic wooden hulls of yore; but that is the point. Wooden hulled ships and boat are classic. The feel different. They sound different. They are different. It would be like comparing a modern Dodge Challenger to the original 60’s variant. Sure the new one’s fast. Sure it’s handles better. And no question about it, it’s safer. But it’s not the same thing. Same for the boats.
With that, I humbly present to you the wooden boats of Spanish Point.
Peter looked over the bow as the ship streamed across the water. Looking down, he watched the froth of the breaking water ten stories below. All around him was a vast void of sea and air. The ship was an island unto itself. Content, Peter drank deeply from the salt air.
A voice broke over the air. “Pete, you gotta call. It’s your wife.”
Pete jumped off his perch and raced to the communication room. He couldn’t help thinking, “Damn you women are jealous. Can’t think of one without the other calling for attention.”
“Hi Hon!” He said as the jumped into the chair. “How’s it going?”
“There you are!” His wife said from the monitor. “I didn’t think you were coming.”
“Well, you know how hard it is to drag myself away from my harem here on the ship.” Peter teased.
“That’s ok.” His wife replied, “I was talking to Timothy and we decided that he’ll be my backup just in case you fall overboard.”
“Don’t call upon the Devil!” Timothy yelled before crossing himself and exiting the doorway.
Peter laughed. “You shouldn’t so that honey. You know how superstitious Tim is.”
“You shouldn’t have run out on your pregnant wife then; now shouldn’t you?” She mocked.
“Ah, but it’s the only way to make some honest quick money for babies.” He rebutted.
“Yes, but I miss you so much!” She complained.
“I miss you too.” He said. “I’ll be home before you know it and for once, we’ll have some real seed money to get us on our way.”
“You just get home safe!” She admonished. “Money’s common, you’re one in a million.”
“And so are you.” Peter cooed. “I gotta go now and earn my pay.”
“I love you!” The called out louder than necessary.
“I love you too.” Peter replied before the screen cut off.
A large figure stood in the doorway. “Thanks for not kissing the screen, kid.”
“No problem, boss.” Peter said as he stood up. “I’ll go down below and check on the cargo.”
“Good.” His boss replied. “Double check those tie-downs on the engines on deck three. The weather might be fine now, but she’ll turn like a scorned bitch before you know it.”
“Yes sir!” Peter answered before heading down the hatch.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! Fort Myers is proud to introduce to you the annual Big Boy Expo! See thousands of products from numerous vendors. Witness amazing…”
The first thing I need to say about it is that it’s completely misnamed. When I first heard of the expo, I convinced my wife to come with me and she had such a good time that now she insists that we go every year. I don’t think we’ve missed a year yet.
This year was surprisingly smaller than expected. I thought that with the slight bump in the economy that there would be more vendors than last year. It seemed to me to be the opposite. But the vendors that were there were based mainly in Southwest Florida and were showcasing products and businesses that are available locally. It’s something I would expect many states would encourage to boost the local economy.
So without further ado, here are a few items that I found interesting. I hope you enjoy them and if you ever find your way down to the Ft. Myers area and want to see what the locals are up to, check out the Big Boy Expo. Who knows, you might end up leaving with a bigger souvenir than you expected.
First is the “Laid Back” apparel company. T-Shirts, hats, towels all expressing the relaxing lifestyle. It’s quite the display. What I really liked was the Woodie station wagon.
For just selling T-Shirts and hats, Laid Back went all out!
What you see above is the native Florida swamp-buggy. A specialty vehicle built exclusively for the for the brackish waterways of South Florida. If you look at the silver-haired gentleman at the front of the vehicle, you will notice his head is in line with the height of the engine. There is roughly five feet of clearance between the engine and the ground giving it ample clearance when in the water. I can also safely assure you that this buggy has probably never seen the swamp except in a picture. True swamp buggys get pretty dirty churning up the mud bottoms of the swamp and would never be layers in chrome. This one was built to promote the business.
Speaking of water, check out this motorized kayak by Surfango. It’s a sit on top style kayak with a small jet ski motor in the back. There isn’t a propeller so its manatee safe.
Here you can see the joystick control and LCD display. Perfect if you’re a Battlestar fan and always wanted to fly your own Viper fighter. Now you can do it on the water!
Into gardening? This gardener’s shed is the perfect place to store your tools as well a putting in a potting table. It would also make a great play house for the kids if you’re so inclined.
Just to show you how invested Ft. Myers is with small businesses, Judy had a small display of her pottery right next to the garden shed. I wish I knew if she had a website or physical store, but if you’re in Ft. Myers next Saturday, she’s going to be at the art fair. You might want to look her up.
High quality Tech School Wyo-Tech was there showing off the labor of its students and showing prospective students what they could learn if they enrolled. I thought the truck was a beautiful and took multiple pictures. Great job to all that worked on it!
Maybe you’re looking for something totally different. Are you a Tolkien fan? Here’s some wall art for you.
All this is fine and dandy,but where is the Big Girl stuff you ask? Well here you go!
These are available at “Proud to be” by Rosa Rojas.
Coral Square Mall 9469 W. Atlantic Blvd. Coral Springs, FL 33071
When you get tired of walking around indoors, you can go out side for a rest and a bite to eat.
I just want to know who’s bright idea it was to put the “Jerky Girlz” across from the motorcycle customizer booth? (Keep all bad jokes to yourself. 😉 )
Kids of all ages would love the tricked out mowers for the lawn mower races.
Hank Hill would be so jealous!
The Big Boy Expo has things for all people and all ages; so if you find yourself down this way next year, come on down and check them out. You’ll have a great time.
Oh, and don’t worry about the high gas prices. You can always counter them by riding this.
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Just a few pictures to give you and idea of what I did over the weekend.