It’s been almost 10 years now since a chance meeting changed my life. On a road trip back to Lake Tahoe from my little Flicka is Southern Caloforna I ran into Lin and Larry Pardey and was given an opportunity to go through every inch of their 30′ Lyle Hess designed and home built Talesin. It changed everything I ever thought I knew about sailboats, design and size.
The proud owner of a Pacific Seacraft Flicka when I woke up that morning. Before I would go to sleep the descision would be Made to sell that wonderful little boat. She did almost everything we asked of her but she was small and slow when fully loaded. Try as we might we could never fit enough junk in her without over loading her LWL. Sookie is only two feet longer but her waterline adds three feet and her displacement is 3000lbs greater. You will never hear me utter a negative word about the wonderful little ship but we needed more cargo carrying capacity.
When the opportunity to take over costodianship of Sookie, then un-named I made a verbal deal sight unseen. The next morning we drove 27 hours did a quick lookieloo and a hand shake deal sealed my future. The question that I had back then and still have now is can two people happily and successfully voyage on a 22′ sailboat. Two bikes, camera gear and computers, foulies and boots, warmies and treats. Just the fun stuff takes a huge amount of space. Add in a dingy and maybe a life raft, extra ground tackle, sails, lines, fenders… And a gazillions gallons of water and you have a full load. The smaller the boat the more important to balance the load becomes. For my mental stability I need a boat that will carry all these things plus a solid three months of food, very few 30 footers will carry this amount of junk without being overload, its a lot to ask of a 22’er but at a smidge over 5 net tones of displacement we have the space and the capacity. I need everything to go into its place so my tiny home can feel like a cozy yacht. So far little Sookie has done everything I ask of her.
I say so far because I’ve never carried the incidentals the make the cruising life comfortable such as huge sun awnings, cockpit cushions, abandon ship and emergency gear and addition tools for storm tactics. I refuse to have anything on deck that ruins the lines of this little masterpiece so simple things such as solar power become a huge design challenge. Dingys need to go away without over weighing her ends as do secondary anchors and ground tackle. It’s all nearly an impossibility on a pocket cruiser like Sookie but I hope to prove possible with a little creative provisioning. To date I’ve been relying on mass amounts of canned foods and easy cook meals due to not having a real cooker on the boat. This year I will delve into made from scratch meals focusing on dried beans as my main staples and hope to cut my canned food supply by 75% add to my home preserved foods in reusable glass jars and incorporate a pressure cooker to save on fuel for further space and weight reduction. I’m still not comfortable pulling my food from the sea so my diet will continue to lean towards vegetarian and vegan. If we’re in warmer waters I would add a pole spear to selectively fish but here in the San Jauns I’m not comefortable with the Russian roulette of fishing or the stench or storage issues of crab pots on a small boat.
Back to Talesin, I drafted from memory every inch, nook and cranny of that fine ship hoping that some day little Sookie will use every single centimeter of storage effectively and neatly. One of my favorite things about living aboard a sailboat is the opportunity to create a perfect living space. My footprint is tiny but Sookie gets larger every year. There are only a small handful of boats ever designed or built that I would consider putting this kind of personal effort or expense into but Sookie isn’t just a sailboat. She is my home, my calling card and my personal work of art and refinement. I don’t love her because I own her, I own her because I live her.