Sunday, November 30, 2008

Outline of a Plan

This blog has shifted to a new web site called Nomadic Home. Click here to see it.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I would like to cover a gambit of nomadic homes with a house-truck, canal-boat and go anywhere cruising yacht.

Because the yacht is the biggest project of all, it is the first project for me to start. The others will take place during the project to build the yacht.

The yacht I have chosen to build, is by an American designer, by the name of Tom MacNaughton. The design is called Crown Jewel. It is a heavy displacement flush deck yacht of 35'6" length and a laden displacement of around 9 ton. It is rigged with a single Junk sail, on a free standing mast. To see one of these boats sailing, click on the S/Y Linnea link in the blog roll of this blog. This example was built in Sweden by Matti Palm and family. Matti started building Linnea about nine or ten years ago and while he still needs to finish building the interior, his family have been sailing in her, for the last two years.

The next largest project will be a canal boat. The biggest issue for me with choosing a canal boat is that I live in New Zealand, which isn't exactly renown for it's canals. In fact the canals I would like to spend time on, are all on the other side of the world. So for me, the most practical option, is to find a design that will fit inside a shipping container. While most canal boats are built out of steel (for practical reasons), it is not a material that I intend on using. My preference in this case would be plywood, covered in glass cloth and epoxy, which can be given protection with a couple of beltings of stainless steel tubing. One near the waterline and another, higher up. At the moment I am looking at a design called Topaz, by American designer Philip C. Bolger.

It is 31' long, by 7'4" wide, with a fully loaded hull draft of 11". Ideally I would like to add an additional three to six feet in length, so as to be able to add heating, additional storage and a showering/washing area. I have sent a letter to the designer to ask about the feasibility of doing this. It is not wise to change the dimensions of a boat, without having it checked out by a competent naval architect, as it can have big negative effects on the capability of the vessel and equally it can increase the cost and complexity of construction out of all proportion, even when only making what appear to be small changes to the hull. It will be interesting to see what kind of response I get.

For my land based nomadic home, I intend on getting an old chiller truck, with a net weight of around four or five ton and a gross laden capacity of about seven to nine ton. Something similar to Kevin's truck, from an earlier post here. The reason I am looking at using an old chiller truck is that they seem to be about the same price as other comparable trucks, but they already have a fully insulated building on them. So all that would need to be done, is to fit it out. In fact I could use it from day one, just by throwing in camping gear that I already have, then fit it out as time and resources allow. In fact with some wood, epoxy and paint, I already have most of the stuff to fully set up a nice house truck now, except for the truck itself, which I intend to buy in about two to three years from now.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Kind of Nomadic Home?

This blog has shifted to a new web site called Nomadic Home. Click here to see it.

What kind of nomadic home do I want? Actually I want most kinds. Different nomadic homes for different types of traveling. I want a house truck/bus/RV/motorhome for traveling around on land, in New Zealand, North America, UK and Europe . I want a canal boat for traveling through Europe, And I want a yacht for cruising around Scandinavia, UK, USA, Iceland, Patagonia, etc.

All of this is going to equal expensive, no matter how you look at it. There are, however, ways to make it more economical than just trying to buy what is available. In any case, what is available, isn't necessarily the most practical solution, even if I could afford to just go out and buy it. What it does mean though, is that careful long term planning needs to be put in place, if I am to not only achieve getting all three of these types of nomadic home, but also the ability to enjoy using them. I started putting a plan together about three years ago, which will take about 20-25 years to complete, though various parts of that plan will allow me to participate in a nomadic lifestyle from time to time, while I am working towards my end goal, which will be enjoying retirement with all three forms of nomadic home, available for me to use as I wish.

Of course, with such an ambitious plan, it will need to be revised continuously throughout the duration. In future posts I will show more detail of my plans for each form of nomadic home. In the mean time I will say that, in order, I will start with a nomadic home on wheels, then a canal boat and will finish with the largest project of them all, being my ultimate go anywhere cruising yacht. Also, with the yacht being the largest, most expensive and time consuming project, I have already made a start on it.

I should also say that I am not single. If I was single, I could do all of the above quite cheaply and quickly. Because I am not single and don't particularly want to be, my accommodations need to be both larger and more thoroughly equipped, to maintain the same level of comfort.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mobile home design considerations

This blog has shifted to a new web site called Nomadic Home. Click here to see it.

I was talking to a guy by the name of Kevin recently. He was good enough to let me take some photo's of his current house truck.

Kevin has been living in various buses and trucks for quite a few years now and has come up with some specific criteria, that he feels are necessary, for comfortable living in a nomadic home on wheels. Essentially, in Kevin's opinion, less is more. He doesn't like a mobile home to be extensively fitted out with built in furniture, saying that you end up with only a small place to sit and you are forced to sit bolt upright, in the small built in and uncomfortable seats. The impression that I got, was that the most important item for him in a mobile home, is the standard household couch.

When Kevin bought his current house truck, it was built on an old Bedford chassis. Because the truck was old, it was expensive to run and would have required considerable maintenance to keep running. So he bought an N series Ford, which had been retired from life as a round town freight truck. This truck has a longer chassis than the old Bedford, so the part of the accommodation that used to sit over the cab now stops just behind the cab. This has allowed enough room under, for Kevin to build a large tool storage cabinet and he intends on building a small bathroom in the space left over, on the other side.

For comfort, Kevin has installed a used log burner, out of a house. For such a small space, it requires very little wood to heat his truck. In fact he has been able to run it entirely on scraps from various carpentry jobs he has been working on. Next to the fire place is a fairly large flat screen television, which like the fire place, is placed for an excellent view while seated on the opposite side of the truck, on the couch.

His bed is a decent sized one, located in a loft, above what on the previous truck was the cab. There is also a loft at the rear of the truck, which is is used for storage.

The kitchen is still a work in progress, but has all of the essentials. Decent size stove/oven, bench, sink and storage. This currently works for Kevin, though he does have plans to improve it.

Looking out the back door, has the feeling of being in a small cottage. The big difference, though, is that the scenery can be different every day. From over looking the harbour, as on the day these photo's were taken, to maybe a view of the forest or lake the next, or maybe in the middle of an exclusive suburb. Or you could step out and be at work, if you happen to park there, not wishing to wast time getting to work in the morning.

Unfortunately Kevin had no notice that I was going to visit and take photo's of his home, as he was just about to travel out of town to do some building work for a client. He normally has much less clutter inside, which would have allowed clearer photo's.

My over all impression of this house truck is that it is well setup for a single person, as Kevin is, to live in comfort. If I was to set up a truck of the same size for myself, I would use much the same type of amenities, though I would probably arrange them differently. Of course it is much easier to do if you are starting from scratch, unlike in Kevin's situation of having an existing housetruck, which he moved into as soon as he took possession. The N series ford is in my opinion a good sized truck for either one person or a couple to build a home on. It is big enough in both size and weight for reasonable sized self contained accommodation, yet is small enough to keep running and maintenance costs within limits.