Simple and clean traditional cutter, the most basic, seaworthy, inexpensive, and I think attractive too, for that matter cruising sailboat you can have.

I like interiors to be set up to be comfortable for the owners, although this one will sleep 5 if you want to.But feel free to change it if you want. That’s part of the reason to build a new boat; you can set her up as you please.

RUARRI‘s hull lines are “powerful” but still simple to wrap material around. The longer house and the ketch rig shown above the cutter profile was a thought I had that never got developed. Ketch masts frequently get in the way of the engine installation. Besides,I think she looks “right” as a cutter.

The wood construction is the same simple system spelled out in my Buehler’s Backyard Boatbuilding book.She can be planked wood, plywood, composite, or steel.

Here’s her steel construction plan.

All but the most rigid class sailboat design is based as much on fashion and personal fantasy fulfillment as it is on the less glamorous issues of engineering or seakeeping ability, and the “cruising” sailboat is no different.All you have to do is read the cruising literature and you’ll soon see that people have “gone cruising” in practically everything; from converted Scandinavia fish boats to BOC contestants, rowboats and even an amphibious jeep. Then, when you think how the advent of materials like fiberglass, epoxy, aluminum, carbon fiber, and so on has allowed boat design to change more radically in the twenty years between the early 1970’s and the early 90’sthan it has in its entire history, it becomes obvious that you shouldn’t get to ridged in your thinking. The data shows ANYTHING will work to some extent.

Look at Slocum’s Spray. That design has been around for close to 300 years, and some people still build new ones today. Yet about the only similarity it has with a typical new design is that it floats; too deeply according to the proponents of the new boats!

I spent New Year’s eve of 1995 in front of a driftwood fire on a north Pacific beach, “discussing” this subject with Steffan Clarke, a semi-pro sailor who delivers and races all over the planet and who is a typically stubborn kraut.

He talks of surfing at 16 knots across the Berring Sea in a Benateau 40, wind blowing 60 knots, pitch black out, judging the breakers just right and steering the boat sideways down the face of them.He talks about the rod rigging breaking at the masthead and the hassle and danger of trying to fix it with the boat trying to stand on its head and throw its mast away.

I think he’s crazy.

I can’t imagine being up there in a boat that wasn’t built like a battleship which means it would be to heavy and shaped wrong to be able to plane. I think rod rigging is dangerous for cruising boats because you can’t fix it. On and on.

Steff says I don’t know what I’m talking about. He says that’s what sailing is; that he goes out to get somewhere, not to plug along at 4 knots. I’m very proud of my German heritage, but it must be very hard work to be one. Talk about being compulsive!

Steff agrees with me that what he likes is expensive; $300,000 doesn’t go far in the new type cruising boat market, although a used half million dollar one can frequently be bought for around $90,000. If you trust it, of course. When systems and structures are engineered out to be “weight efficient” they definitely have a life span, and how long of one is a real question! Goops, resins, and all metals get progressively more brittle as they flex, until they eventually fail.

Regardless, these type of boats are pretty much all the marine press talks about. Most of the boating magazines have dropped their design sections and now only write up the new production boats. To bad, because there’s quite a lot happening (or stagnating, as Steff might say) outside that world, and a big part of what’s going on and unreported is boats like this one; a cruising cutter based completely on traditional ideas of esthetics, sailing, and comfort. Some people would add safety too, and certainly costs should be mentioned. The cost to home build this boat is less than the rig alone on many high tech boats in this size range.

RUARRI is the latest in a series I call my “Vagabond”boats. Ranging from 30 to 50 feet, these boats have the look of the very essence of the stereotype ocean cruising boat that many of us fantasized about in the 50’s and 60’s, and some of us still like today. Double ended and low freeboard, short house, deck space for a skiff, moderate aspect sail plan, very heavily built.Even a long bowsprit that you can point at a horizon!

Unlike the old “Colin Archers” and the wonderful Atkin and Rhodes doube-enders, my “Vagabond” boats are planned out for amateur construction. The single chine hull can be planked wood, plywood, or of course steel, and the skill level required is not beyond the “normal” skills of a determined person.If you do some work on your car or repair on your house, that sort of thing, you have the skills or at least the type of mind that will let you learn while doing it.

The interior is set up to be very comfortable for a couple, although there is space for the occasional overnight guest. The galley and head are huge and there is plenty of storage.While of course a builder can change the interior any way they want, the one shown works very well for the typical Westerner.There’s “elbow room!” You can spend extended time aboard without going crazy.

While there’s nothing particularly original with this boat’s concept,I discovered it back in the late 60’s and early 70’s when I was a young punk who just wanted to get a boat and go cruising. I didn’t have a large enough income to buy a decent used boat, let alone a new one. Besides, I had this dream of going “cruising”and I don’t think any off the shelf boat can do that safely or comfortably without considerable reworking.

You’ll have to excuse me here. The following reads humorous but is meant deathly serious. Humor is probably the only thing that keeps me from either blowing my head off, or, grabbing a machine gun and taking out as many of the bastards as I can before they get me…….

Back in the 1960s long range planning didn’t exist to many guys my age; our government was trying to kill off all us young guys over in Viet Nam which was an immediate issue we had to deal with, and many of us, thinking about it, saw no reason for it. At the same time every town of 25,000 or more folks here and in the Soviet Union was a missile target, and at any moment you might get vaporized over some issue that generally seems so stupid that you’d like to strangle the men that are actually making whatever it is, an issue. But of course, thankfully, always one or the other would have a sudden brief return to rationality and would back down. The press would gleefully write how so and so “blinked.” I thought then and I still do today that these old men who call each other names and start all the fuss that they then send off their country’s young men to murder and maim each other to resolve, have had it pretty good. Hardly ever are they held accountable anymore. Sure, a few of the Nazi hierarchy were hung after the second big war of this century, but the average little action that murders thousands on both sides is no big deal.Except of course to the person running down the street with his clothes on fire. He looks just the same be he a victim of a V-2rocket in London, a terrorist bomb in Kenya, a fire bomb in Dresden, or napalm in Viet Nam; terrified, in terrible pain, so very alone, and then dead.

And the bosses stay the bosses. Most don’t even suffer a change in lifestyle. Look at what used to be Yugoslavia. How can whatever you say you follow; Mohammed or Jesus or the Great Coyote, get you to the point where you hide up on a hill and shoot people, civilians even, even little children trying to play, on a sidewalk below? If the “civilized” world would react instantly and totally to this sort of craziness, vaporize the Lair when the first snarls are heard and track down and exterminate those who encourage it, I don’t think we’d see much more of this sort of thing. Maybe if we’d give the bosses clubs and tell them togo at it instead of letting them start something and then US going at it. I think president Clinton should have been given the Nobel prize for what he did in “Yugoslavia.” That was the first time in history that a leader actually used force to stopEvil in its tracks before it could grow out of control. And no tone American was killed in the process…. It made me very proud and if I had been younger I would have volunteered myself. Clinton’s political courage was a stark contrast to Bush, who allowed it to happen when it was so obvious what it would turn into, and maybe even helped it by bringing Molesovic to the States and labeling him “hero of Dayton” or some such drivel.

Of course what’s so fascinating about war, from “little” local things like the rape and murdering of unarmed civilians things like what was happening in the former Yugoslavia to the trench warfare of WW1; hand to hand with bayonets and the Americans using pump shotguns (very effective in close quarters) is that so many little guys are so willing to go do it. The American civil war was especially fascinating because no time in history had such magnificent carnage happened. The reason was the repeating rifle and pistol had been invented about then. European “royalty”sent observers and watched in great admiration as young men by the thousands killed each other. If the same percent of the population had been killed in Viet Nam as was in our civil war, there would have been 4 MILLION dead instead of the “paltry” 53,000.

The only explanation I’ve ever heard that makes any sense, as cold as it may sound, is that while the motivation may start off as thoughts of nationalism or patriotism, that all disappears and what replaces it is total excitement. They say there is simply nothing as stimulating as hunting and being hunted back by something looking and able to kill you. Hunting tigers with a spear or another man is what I mean. I don’t know since so far I’ve never disliked any person or jungle animal enough to do it. But I wonder when those “Christian” Serbs in what used to be Yugoslavia were hiding on a hill shooting children on a street below, what they thought about. That’s the dangerous flip side of rabid extreme nationalism, racial identity, or religious affiliation.You can start thinking of another man as something threatening or less worthy than you, and one day, there YOU are; up on that hill, shooting at children on the street below…..

Oh well. I made the mistake of paying some attention to international news a few nights ago….. But reaction to this modern world is the appeal of this boat. Sure, the era it represents wasn’t near perfect. Wars, brutality, pestilence, famine, were common 100years ago. The concept of “social justice” was unheard of, and most of us, 100 years ago, certainly wouldn’t have anywhere near the economic or educational advantages we’ve enjoyed in our life. Still, we tend to think of pre WW 2 days as a somehow simpler time, and a “traditional” looking boat, or a cabin in the woods for that matter, serves to transport you back. Even just weekends spent with one of these things can go a long way to keep you cheerful…. As long as you don’t listen to a radio!

A boat like this is a totally different thing from a modern production boat, and you either like the type or you don’t. It’s pure emotional reaction, nothing anybody can or should try to talk anybody into liking or not, and of course when compared to World Peace andHappiness For All doesn’t matter if you do or not. Except to yourself.


LOD: 42′ 11″
Beam: 12′ 5″
Draft: 5′ 8″
Displacement: 34,989 lbs.

Working Sail Area: 993 sq. ft.
Suggested Power: 30 HP diesel
Suggested Fuel: 20 gallons
Suggested Water: 100 gallons

See Photos of RUARRI Being built in Alaska