I was in a similar situation last year. I'm a 6'3" tall guy so just physically fitting on most trailerable boats was an issue. My requirements for the boat were: • It had to be safe (self-righting, self-bailing with positive flotation) • Seaworthy enough to sail on Lake Michigan in the right conditions • Comfortable to sail and to sleep/sit in for overnight adventures • Single-handle-able • Easy to launch: Shallow draft with manageable mast & rigging • Total weight of towable rig less than 1500 lbs • Long sleeping births with room to roll over and put knees up – ideally with an opening hatch overhead. • Good ventilation in cabin • Cockpit seats long enough and wide enough to lay on • Room to sit up inside the cuddy and room to sit on a head out of the rain and insects • Rowable • Chain locker for pulpit mounted anchor for quick and easy anchoring
I built an Excel list ranking potential boats and the Peep Hen quickly floated to the top of the list. The Peep Hen is an odd-looking but cute little gaff-rigged cat boat that was designed by a 6'5" guy and has a 7' berth with 4' sitting headroom in the cabin. With its flat bottom and high freeboard it looked like it probably sails like a cork, but with so much else going for it I was willing to sacrifice sailing speed and a few degrees of pointing ability. The designer, Reuben Trane, designed all the Nimble "Hen" sailboats (Bay Hen, Mud Hen, Marsh Hen), the Florida Bay Coaster trawlers, as well as many other high-end motor yachts. He recently said, "Of all the boats and yachts I've done over my career, I still think the Peep is my best creation." It only draws 9" and the 25lb 15-foot unstayed mast can be raised/lowered easily on the water by one person so launching is as easy as possible. One person can get this little boat from arriving at the launch ramp to sailing in 10 min. All this in a 14' gaff rigged cat boat that weighs about 650 lbs. Even though my car is rated at 3500 lbs. towing capacity, I wanted a boat that wouldn't require a car with high towing capacity so that my options would be open for my next car. This whole rig with the trailer, motor, and a wee bit of stuff weighs around 1000 lbs, well within the towing capacity of even the smallest cars.
In the last couple weeks I have managed to drop both a hatch cover and a small solar panel off the boat onto the driveway. Neither did well with impact. The solar panel is chipped and crazed but still working. The hatch cover is cracked all the way through an outside corner. My big solar panel has a tether to avoid this from happening...so if they figure out a fabric based panel that does not have this 'oops' failure mode I am all for it!
PS I do have one flexible panel that is glass free.
In the not so distance future are sails could replace our solar panels. Scientist at MIT have found a way to attach a mega thin coating to fabrics turning it into a solar panel. It should be come as fast as printing newspaper. they coated a dyneme fabric as their test fabric. They say it would only add about 44 pounds to a roof and generate the same energy as 8,000-watt traditional solar installation.
I did a partial lift a few years back to replace a swing keel cable; had to drop the board enough to grind off the shackle. I also used a 3 ton jack and cribbing to spread the lifting load, then more 4x4 cribbing to hold it up. Lot of test jiggling to ensure stability, and I was still partially on the trailer. I'm working through a 4-frame cradle of 4x4 amd a lot of excess 2x6 I've got to do the CTE keel repair Charles mentioned (my Windrose is due!) I'm confident I can manage a wooden frame, with appropriate weight distribution, with that material, at a reasonable cost. Mostly because I don't want to manage the welding, though I could do that too.
Spot, So I went and reviewed my pics/articles from the Great Swing Keel Refurb of 2014/2015. A few comments from the articles:
1) Was very disappointed with sand blasting. a) If you have any significant scale build-up, it takes exponentially more sand blasting to remove it. b) Needle gun would have been great, but could not obtain/rent one. c) Started with an ordinary ball peen hammer, but quickly switched to a welding/slag hammer. This did an excellent job knocking off scales of rust. d) After that, a 4.5" angle grinder made short work of the rest of it, and also helped at rudimentary fairing.
2) Phosphoric acid was next. a) It keeps rust from re-forming by converting whatever oxidation is on the keel surface into Iron Phosphate. b) You can test for any missed rust spots by applying water, waiting for a day and observing the rust. c) Grind off the rust spots and apply more phosphoric acid. (I used an ordinary chip brush.) d) You will get a grayish/whitish color when there are no more rust areas.
3) Coal Tar Epoxy. (CTE) a) This is great stuff. When I originally made keel repairs in 1999 (the reason I first found my way to TSBB and got help from Charlies Jones and Noemi Ybarra) I mistakenly applied ordinary epoxy fairing and then CTE. Bad Move. b) The fairing epoxy allowed moisture incursion and over 15 years, allowed rust scale to build up. THIS Time, I applied CTE, (3 coats) THEN fairing epoxy. c) You can get a gallon can from Grainger along with (IIRC) either a pint or a quart, of the hardener. d) You WILL need a heavy duty stirring mechanism (i.e., forget using a battery drill and a paddle.) e) The idea is to get from crunchy peanut butter to Hershey's syrup consistency. f) Tried rollers and paint brushes, with roughly equal results.
4) Epoxy Fairing and NACA 15 a) Originally intended to build up sides and then fair to a NACA 15 foil. Discovered to my consternation, that there already WAS a NACA 15 foil hiding under all the rust scale! b) Google around until you find templates that you can print out and glue to cardboard to check against your keel. c) Epoxy faired anyway, just to smooth out finish.
5) Paint. Used some Interlux paint in a color similar to the original keel color.
9 years and the keel, (with the exception of a few spots on the leading edge from coral rock groundings) looks virtually new.