Photo added 4/13/12
|50' MELQUIADES has been cruising the world since the 1990s Here she is anchored off Castle Haven, in SW Ireland. Thanks to Eric Madison for this photo taken with a telephone!|
Although my design business may not be the
most prosperous, in return I frequently get to deal with people
who dream and act in ways that keeps my sense of humor up. Boring
most of them are not!
A case in point is this boat. She was designed for a South African world cruiser. He's been traveling about the oceans in a smaller boat, and learned he could pick up products in some places and carry them to isolated communities, like Pitcairn for instance, and sell them for a tidy profit. He wanted a larger boat to carry alot of stuff and asked me to design it.
MELQUIADES here is the result. She had to be a schooner, of course, since who ever heard of a trading ship that wasn't? Noel also wanted it to be as low as possible, traditional looking, and quite strong. He wanted a large cargo area, a buoyant hull form, and a hull shape that could be quickly and inexpensively built. Of course I'm not impartial, but I think the design quite successfully meets these criteria.
Plans are available in steel or wood and the single chine hull will be easy to build in either material. The steel version uses ¼" plate, and the wood version uses an inner layer of 1 ½" wood and two outer layers of ½" plywood, covered with glass cloth and epoxy to stop toredo action.
The whole middle area is hold. It has 1166 cubic feet and can carry quite alot of stuff. Since he'll be carrying "clean" things, like clothing or motorbikes, the hold area isn't bulkheaded off. This way it also can be part of the living area when cargo isn't in it. Pipe berths could be installed, since one angle is using the boat as a diver's charter boat, maybe going treasure hunting or something.
The basic living space is for two people, but
the hold area gives alot of potential living area for a person
who would rather have a cruising home. One man building him is
raising the freeboard to the bulwark top, which greatly adds to
the interior since it raises the floor about a foot without harming
Noel wanted the gaff rig and says he and Karola can handle the big main themselves. I'd imagine they can, since folks who own boats like this often are pretty competent. I'm afraid I also sketched up a marconi main which is available with the plans since I think that's the way I'd go unless I had a few people around to help sail the thing.
The hull will weigh 61,500 lbs. when floating at the waterline. This sounds like a lot, but actually gives a moderate displacement/length ratio of only 248. She has a long waterline.
If she floats 12" high at launch, which she might if built of wood,, she could carry 27,280 lbs. before passing the waterline. That's alot of stuff, and one option is to use rock for ballast when sailing empty. The rock could be pitched over before loading cargo. If you were carrying shirts, for instance, which aren't very heavy, you'd remove maybe half the rock. If you were carrying drums of diesel from Mexico, you'd pitch over all the rock. That's how the sailing ships used to do it, by the way.
Anyway, although her cargo hold makes her a pretty specific use boat, she's still rather interesting, and I'm pleased that boats like this are still being dreamed about by at least one fella in this "Brave New World," and flattered that I was asked to design it. For those of us who aren't quite the buccaneer Noel and Karola seem to be, a boat like this would still be fun to own. The hold could be turned into living area, and even tied to the dock you'd still know the "roots" of MELQUIADES, and you'd say to yourself that if ONLY you didn't have such a Protestant work ethic and Sense of Responsibility, why you'd be out there too, knee high leather boots, billowing sleeve white shirt, a pint in your back pocket, pointing the 'sprit WHEREVER you felt like it. And you know, with a boat like this, maybe one day you would!
A few years ago a guy wanted her as a flush deck cutter. It makes sense as there would be quite a lot of room inside. And, the single mast is the simplest. It ain't a schooner but that's OK; she'd still be fun and actually, she'd be easier to cruise and able to point a lot better. I've never done an interior for this version. That's OK; nobody follows mine anyway and the reason to build your own is to set her up as YOU want her. I'd put the bed in the bow, galley and head in the middle, and have the whole aft of the house living area. I'd likely do a vee drive on the engine to get it back some, I don't know.
In 2004 I think it was I got a letter from the folks who had me design her. It was the first I'd heard anything from them since. They said the boat had been sailing and trading for some years now, and had worked out very well. Always good to hear that sort of thing!
Length on Deck: .........................