Sunday, September 7, 2014

Vagabunda, my new adventure

Vagabunda.  A 16 foot 2 person sea kayak with foot operated rudder.  Car-toppable, beach launchable.  my dream boat.   I added the outriggers, mast and sail, all out of scavenged junk. The outrigger (extended floaties for stability) )  are made of PVC pipe. the sail is made from an old billboard tarp. (Dasani water.  Appropriate, eh?)  She is rigged with a "sprit" sail pattern, which is a simple 4 sided sail, with the "sprit" spar coming up off the mast at an angle to the outermost upper corner of the sail. This an old  traditional pattern.   Way back in the day, huge barges used this type of sail all over Europe.  I rigged a "brailing" line that pulls the top of the sail close in tight to the mast for stowing quickly and easily. There is no boom to bonk me in head coming about, or to conk me while dropping.  She is a very simple, easy to sail, and very seaworthy craft. I have put many days (and miles) on her over that last year.  I have been out in very rough conditions, and never got a drop over the gunnels, I do use a velcroed spray skirt in case to do get splashed, (but that is very rare) and have never felt nervous or vulnerable.   I have practiced sailing her without the outriggers, solid as a rock, and  and have tipped her over (on purpose) and recovered, bailed out, kept on keeping on. She will carry about 400 pounds, and I have sailed her fully loaded.  All good.   After a long season of proving that she is the right boat for me,   I finally upgraded the scavenged junk parts with a real store bought sail and outriggers. She is even better, but still retains the charm of the do-it-yourself sailor.    She is a very sweet boat, ready for anything.
PS:  Long after I made and named her, I was given a book, Enchanted Vagabonds,   about 2 kids in  1932 that made a 16 foot sailing kayak (out of wood slats  and canvas, no plastic in those days) . They launched from San Diego, sailed down the entire coast of Mexico , into the Sea of Cortez,  on down to Panama, a 3 year adventure.   Paddling, sailing, camping out, living off the land, just them and their little boat.   The name of their little boat?  Vagabunda.


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