This is the keel of Briney Bug, upright and ready for the frames. Rudy says he "rather enjoyed doing this big timber work. Everything was done with block/tackle, pry bars, wedges, hand tools, adz, drill motor, circular saw, a sawzall and a 5-lb sledge hammer. Behind and to the left of the keel timbers is the platform where frames were laid out. The skids and cradle Rudy and Jill made from locally cut trees, sawn out to 8x8s and 6x8s. The A-frame at the front of the keel was used to lift the frames into place and you can see a few frames ready to be installed leaning against the left side of the A-frame. It was a perfect place to build Briney Bug, Rudy says, "quiet, shaded and every now and then a flock of peacocks would wander through. Jill even saw two bobcats once."
How does one go about finding the right boat?
On the surface, buying a new boat sounds ideal, if you have the money and the temperament to go through new-boat growing pains. Building a boat can cost less than buying a new boat, while allowing for features to be customized to your needs. Converting a sailboat or work boat is often possible, but to avoid unwise design alternations, a knowledgeable person's guidance should be sought. Rebuilding, refurbishing and upgrading a cheap, run down hull is ideal for those on a micro budget, or for those that just enjoy that kind of work, but more time and effort is often required than initially imagined.
To our way of thinking, the smaller the boat, no matter which route taken to get a boat, the cheaper it is to buy, to fix up and to operate. Of a greater concern to us, is that we see too many broken dreams because the boat was too big, draining the budget long before the boat could be returned to the water. We see no reason that cruising under power cannot be done on a boat that would cost the same as a modest, used sailboat.
Old boats can be great bargains, but old boats are, well, “old”. Their less than stellar reputations exist because after the “old bucket” is dragged home, much of the old stuff is often kept- old wiring, old instruments, old hoses, old pumps, old toilets, old engine, old anchors, old rodes, old hardware, old tanks, old upholstery, old spars, old this, and old that.
Here we are looking at the bow of the boat, side planking completed with the bottom and raised sheer yet to be planked. If you look closely you can see the scaffold frames placed around the boat.
Just because this stuff is working when the old boat is purchased, does not mean it can be depended on for long distance cruising, or at all, for that matter. We think it is better to buy smaller and spend money on replacing everything, or at least replacing the critical stuff, rather than buying big and keeping unreliable gear.
For fun, satisfaction, and cost savings; plus, to gain knowledge, experience and skills, try doing the work yourself. If questioning your ability, buy the tools and try it anyway. After all, how bad will it have to be not to work? The second attempt can be better, but only if there was a first attempt to begin with.
If your knowledge is lacking, talk to someone who knows how to do it, and hopefully, they know more than one way. Also read books and articles. If your skill is lacking, build it, tear it out and build it again until it meets the minimums required. It's the only way to gain the skill.
Fortunately, most of what is needed is easily and quickly learned, and there are usually many ways to do it right. All you want to be sure of is not doing it wrong. If necessary, there is always someone, somewhere who, if needed, can put it right if you eventually can't.
Perfection is illusive, frustrating and unnecessary; on the other hand, your work cannot be less than adequate. We love the old Maine proverb that states, “Nothing too strong ever broke.”
—Rudy and Jill Sechez
Same as above photo, just not as far along.
Here’s how the Briney Bug story is presented:
What does Briney Bug look like?
What about hull design?
What is the secret to engine dependability?
What’s your advice on replacement parts?
What about diesel engines?
How do you contend with boat motion?
Why do you have a sailing rig?
What’s with the big rudder?
Why do you have an open pilothouse?
Simplicity and self-sufficiency rule aboard Briney Bug . . .
How does one go about finding the right boat?
How much did Briney Bug cost?
Editor’s note: Rudy and Jill Sechez, when they are not away cruising, live aboard Briney Bug in Port St. Joe, Florida, and provide boat and yacht repair services. They can be reached at 850-832-7748 or via e-mail by clicking here.