A Project Update, and another observation on charter sailing regulations.

A Tiki 38 with mainsail reefed makes good time on a sparkling sea.

Since my last, good news on several fronts!

It looks like we have a place to build our boat. It’s a barn cum wood-working shop in Bridgehampton, insulated with propane furnaces. Our landlord is a boat-builder himself and enthusiastic about the project.

We got our insurance quote for the build. This is a fairly esoteric market, but fortunately when we were insuring INTEMPERANCE last Spring I found my way to a savvy broker. Without her I’m sure I would have plucked my eyebrows out with worry!

The way the USCG does its calculations for Mon Tiki’s maximum allowable sailplan (static instead of dynamic) it actually makes sense to build the boat from Meranti rather than Okume. Meranti is stronger, more rot resistant, and less expensive than Okume, but about 25% heavier. Typically on a multi-hull build, weight is favored over other considerations, but the Wharram designs are not flat-out racing machines and less weight sensitive, and the increased displacement will allow for a bigger sailplan. Cheaper, stronger, more rot-resistant and a bigger sailplan. Count me pleased!

Our trips base out of Montauk Harbor, ranging as far west as Gardeners Island, as far north as Fishers Island, and every now and then towards the East. I had thought this was a coastwise route, but I got my hands on the regs. and in fact our waters fall under the Lakes, Bays, and Sounds classification. Sailing vessels operating on Lakes, Bays, and Sounds routes are permitted more sail area than those operating on Coastwise routes. Between this and the slightly heavier Meranti plywood, what if any reduction the sailplan needs will be small! Again, count me pleased!

Here’s another interesting detail about the regulations covering the waters around Montauk.

Vessels operating in cold water are required to have life-saving equipment that can allow passengers to abandon ship without actually being in the water. The reason for this is that over the years there’s been an increasing awareness that cold kills (hypothermia.)

The waters around Montauk are classified as cold water until June 1st. Any inspected passenger vessel operating these waters before June 1st is required to have liferafts in addition to the normal compliment of lifejackets.

Except that the boating/tourist season on the East End doesn’t even start until Memorial Day, which is big weekend for Montauk’s charter fleet.

That means that under the June 1st deadline Montauk charterboats would have to carry expensive liferafts to work just one weekend at the very end of the cold water season, which wouldn’t make business sense, and doesn’t make safety sense either. By late May the water around Montauk is as warm as it’s going to be on June 1st, but the line has to go somewhere.

So there’s a variance. In the waters around Montauk the warm water regs kick in the Friday before Memorial day. On the Thursday before Memorial Day you need a liferaft, but on Friday you don’t. Not perfect (the water’s no colder on Thursday than on Friday) but again, the line has to go somewhere.