Go Back   Cruiser Log World Cruising & Sailing Forums > Cruising Forums > General Cruising Forum
Cruiser Wiki

Join Cruiser Log Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-12-2010, 02:53 AM   #1
Ensign
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Default

Hi folks,

David George here. My wife and I are registered nurses living in the SF Bay area.

My wife's parents were cruisers and we are hoping to do the same.

I was interested in finding information from anybody who has previously (or currently) owned a Gazelle. This is a 42' steel design by naval architect Thomas E. Colvin.

She is usually rigged as a gaff schooner or as a junk schooner. (although other rigs have been built: ketch most notably).

1.)Specifically I was wanting to know how she sails to windward. (Can she tack in less than 100 degrees).

2.)How is she to handle with a crew of 2.

3.)What is it like maintaining a steel boat.

4.)How does she ride at anchor.

5.)Any querks or peculiarities you found that you were not expecting.

Also,

1.) Sail trim for a schooner.

2.) What order you go about reducing sail (and roughly what force winds you decide to do so for each combination)

3.) Did you build a pilot house, and how did that work out for you?

4.) If you were doing it again, would you build/buy another one?

5.) What would you change or do differently?

Thanks,

David George
__________________

__________________
gaffrig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2010, 05:35 PM   #2
Moderator
 
redbopeep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,185
Default

Welcome to the Cruiserlog!

Do you and your wife have a boat now and sail in the Bay area? Nursing is such a portable profession it would be easy for you to visit many coastal cities in the US and continue to work in your profession. That's very nice. Are your cruising plans for retirement or sabbatical? Do you have a timeline/plan for taking off?

Regarding the Gazelle--

First, do you have the opportunity to purchase a Gazelle hull or is this a boat you are considering building? I am not familiar with the Gazelle, but checking out the http://www.thomasecolvin.com/GAZELLE.htm link, it looks to be a nice full keel with cutaway forefoot. It looks quite a shallow draft but the specs aren't provided on the Colvin site. However it also looks like it is a hard chined boat and we have avoided such designs. It is easier to build a hard chined boat, for sure, if you are considering building it yourself.

The hull is your primary consideration for performance--importantly how she sails to windward will be driven by the hull design more so than the rig. Hopefully some CL members will have experience sailing on a Gazelle.

If you choose a boat with a schooner rig, or decide to put a schooner rig on a hull you've purchased or built, you will likely be very happy with it. On a schooner, the easy way to trim is from the main forward--set the main, then the fore, then the staysail, then the jib. Each forward sail set to not backwind the sail aft of it. Shortening sail depends on the hull and particular rig. The center of effort for each sail makes a difference--e.g. a gaff main will have a center much further aft than a Bermudian main. Also depends on whether you're working to windward or on a run. There's a fellow who has a great site on setting sails on schooners here. He does not advocate the method I do...but rather discusses the practical matters of sailing small schooners.

A gaff main provides more sail area for a lower center of effort...Are you familiar with the use of running backstays? A gaff main will mean that you'll be using them. No nice forgiving fixed backstay. Our schooner has a fixed backstay and runners. The runners become performance enhancers and redundancy for the rig rather than rig necessities which can lead to rig failure with one "oops" jibe.

If you're serious about the schooner rig, the American Schooner Association is a great resource. http://www.amschooner.org/ We joined the association before purchasing a schooner simply because the commodore at the time was so friendly and helpful to us in our search for a schooner. You may contact them and explain what you're looking for--they may have a lead for you.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your cruising plans!

Fair winds,
__________________

__________________
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

redbopeep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 04:27 AM   #3
Ensign
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 3
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post
Welcome to the Cruiserlog!

Do you and your wife have a boat now and sail in the Bay area? Nursing is such a portable profession it would be easy for you to visit many coastal cities in the US and continue to work in your profession. That's very nice. Are your cruising plans for retirement or sabbatical? Do you have a timeline/plan for taking off?

Regarding the Gazelle--

First, do you have the opportunity to purchase a Gazelle hull or is this a boat you are considering building? I am not familiar with the Gazelle, but checking out the http://www.thomasecolvin.com/GAZELLE.htm link, it looks to be a nice full keel with cutaway forefoot. It looks quite a shallow draft but the specs aren't provided on the Colvin site. However it also looks like it is a hard chined boat and we have avoided such designs. It is easier to build a hard chined boat, for sure, if you are considering building it yourself.

The hull is your primary consideration for performance--importantly how she sails to windward will be driven by the hull design more so than the rig. Hopefully some CL members will have experience sailing on a Gazelle.
Just out of curiosity, what is your objection to hard chined hulls? (other than appearance).

I believe the reason for them on the Gazelle is mainly the medium. You can build a round bottomed hull in steel but for most amateur builders, multiple chines puts plating the hull more into the realm of possibility.

I looked up the guy who owns the page about sail trim for schooners. He was very helpful. Thanks for the link.

I've talked to several folks who own Gazelles and they say she is about average for tenderness until she reaches 15 degrees of heel and then her first chine bites in and she becomes quite stiff.

As far as building goes, I have the capability. Before I was a nurse I worked as a welder building railroad cars, and then as a welding inspector before the company decided to move their plants to Mexico (ahh Shafta err Nafta).

What would probably get me cruising sooner would be to find one secondhand and outfit it/upgrade it where necessary.

I'm not married to the Gazelle design, but am more in an information gathering phase. I have read most of Tom's books and I like his attitude/philosophy towards cruising which is somewhat similar to Lin & Larry Pardey's outlook. Mainly, less gadgets aboard to break down, more emphasis on actual seamanship, and what systems you do have aboard should be simple and easy to fix on your own.

We have not set a definite date yet but are currently building our cruising kitty, and getting out of debt. We plan to go while we are still young and work along the way.

We came to California from Pennsylvania as Travel nurses and then decided to stay.

Margaret grew up on her parent's boat as they cruised the pacific northwest. I initially got started racing hobie cats, and beetle cats. I owned a wooden Star for awhile (neat boat, wish I could have figured out a way to make her launch-able from a trailer.) We have both spent a fair amount of time sailing a 28' Amphibicon on Lake Michigan. Currently we are boatless except for our Locksley Blue Crab.

I currently have the wood to lay the keel for a Vacationer (Stevenson designs) but am hesitant for whatever reason. ( I think mainly because it is more of a boat for sheltered waters and my mind is more on long term goals at the moment.)

I have always been fascinated by schooners and gaff rigged vessels (even with their performance tradeoffs), and find that having a lower rig that is more spread out fore and aft makes a lot of sense.

Thanks for your reply,

Dave G.
__________________
gaffrig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 04:33 PM   #4
Moderator
 
redbopeep's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
Posts: 3,185
Default

Hi,

Yes, it is hard to justify building something for sheltered waters when you're dreaming of blue water crossing

You're in the Bay area--where will you build your boat? Have you checked out DIY boatyards and boatyard prices within reasonably close distance to your home? A fellow I know who just finished a 7 year (full time) build of a cold molded 42 ft cruising boat did the project at a yard only 20 minutes drive from his home so that he could be there all the time. He had just retired, btw, and could work full time on it but his wife was still working so he wanted it to be easy for both of them to get to the yard.

Regarding hard-chined boats--

I've always just questioned the performance of hard chined sailboats.

I do know someone with a hard chined boat that he built himself--he now wishes he had built a traditional rounded bottom sailboat or some of the designs with more panels/chines rather than hard chined. He doesn't like the boat's performance. I know another couple who have a small hard chined cruiser--they love their boat but wish it were not hard chined.

A naval architect I know states the following: A flat panel must be more heavy/thicker than a slightly curved panel to result in equivalent strength, so given this, and everything else being equal, the chine boat will be heavier than a round-bilge boat. Then, because of the shape of the hull, the hard-chine hull has less internal volume than the round-bilge one, livability is also an issue with hard chined cruisers. Then pile on aesthetics, hull motion in a seaway, noise at anchor, and the hard-chine hull advantage in cost-to-build starts to erode.

Building vs buying or rebuilding/refitting a boat:

If you appreciate Lin and Larry Pardey's views on cruising, you might wish to read or re-read the Cost Conscious Cruiser where they go into great detail about the time it takes to build a boat of X size and why it is usually better to purchase a boat rather than build if you're going to cruise. They also compare different hull materials for longevity/life cycle costs.

Besides the fact that it always (99% of the time) costs more to build a small cruising boat than it does to buy the same boat...It takes many, many years to build a boat and if the amateur builder is someone who makes a good wage and can obtain overtime with their regular job, the cost benefit of DIY boatbuilding goes away. Especially if the would-be cruiser can leave on their trip as soon as they have a boat in order. However, things that could drive one towards building ones own boat include if the builder is waiting at least 10 years (say for retirement or a child to graduate high school, college, etc) and if the builder has a lower wage job, no possibility of overtime and living in a low cost part of the country. Then, a DIY boat may be a good way to spend "extra" time while preparing to go cruising.

There is a good reason to build your own boat if you're someone who loves building things and you (and your spouse) have a history of large DIY projects which you've found satisfying. Then, time line and money issues aren't as important because you're actually engaging in an activity you love and you're spending money (perhaps too much!) on something you love. There are many Bruce Roberts steel boats/hulls out there in need of finishing, btw. When we were looking around for our project boat in 2004-2006, we saw so many fine steel hulls. We didn't want a metal boat but I recall many temptations! and suspect that today there are even more project boats that you could finish quite nicely for less time and cost than starting from scratch.

Regarding "schooners and gaff rigged boats" performance trade offs. Be careful--a modern hull with a schooner rig can be incredible and a modern hull with gaff rig can have a very high level of performance. The hull is most often the thing which is dragging down the performance of a traditionally rigged vessel. Old vessels often have old hull designs. Get something with a high performance hull design (hard chined or not...) and you'll be able to enjoy a traditional rig on it. The Schooner Maggie B burned in a fire at the Covey Island Boat Yard but their are a couple articles about her and her performance...one in Yachting Monthly December 2007...there is more info about her here.

Many, many people who may not be objective about the matter will tell you that you can't have high performance in a gaffer or you can't have it in a schooner--don't believe them, it is all individual to the boat. While individual to the boat, though, the odds are that a gaff rig will sit atop an inefficient hull design if the boat was built before 1950. We were lucky to find an old boat with a ...modern...hull design--fine entry, cut-away-forekeel, and other more modern lines than that of the typical pre-WWII boat. While she hasn't raced recently, and she's not a racer, two decades ago our boat, a heavy displacement 29T gross gaff-fore/bermuda main rigged schooner did a San Diego to Honolulu ocean race and actually beat, among other boats, a similarly sized Sparkman and Stevens (much more svelte 14T gross) ocean racing Bermuda-rigged yawl. Thas is a downwind race which brings us to another point--people choose to cruise "down wind" using the trade winds...or at least try for reaches rather than choosing to beat into the wind for thousands of miles. Today, most boat owners are really focused on how close they can point--because face it, the 'round the buoy races are set up with an upwind leg a downwind leg and...there you have it...if you're going to win the series, you'd have to be able to out point the others I've got a friend who races a small gaff rigged schooner and every once in a while they beat the pants off the other boats on the course--when the wind shifts so she's got a reach to work with Cruising is NOT racing and it is best to remember this little point.

If you're looking for a cost effective rig, I must say that I'd stick with a cutter rigged boat (of 45 ft or under) since it is not necessary to get into a split rig before about that size (for managing sail size/mast height, etc) and not want the added complexity of a schooner or ketch rigged boat to deal with. The same goes for gaff rigged vs Bermuda rigged--a gaffer is romantic but more costly to put together and more costly to keep up.

We'll all be excited to keep track of your progress with your boat purchase/build or whatever you decide to do. It always takes longer than you think it will, but if you're having fun, all that extra time will fly-by too

Fair winds,
__________________
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

redbopeep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-14-2010, 12:15 AM   #5
Lieutenant
 
saxon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 50
Default

Hello Dave,

Prior to owning my current boat, a 1977 33 foot fibre glass sloop, I owned a 35 foot steel Gaff Cutter. I made two, two year plus voyages to the Mediterranean in her and crossed the Atlantic twice from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean, the last voyage in 2007 to San Juan in Puerto Rico via the Leeward Islands. I haven't sailed further West than Puerto Rica but I might be able to answer some of your questions at least. All my voyages are single handed.

I bought a set of building plans from an English yacht designer named Robert Tucker. He was responsible for a wide range of designs all capable of "self build" which started with marine ply pram dinghies and extended right up to ferrocement 50 foot ketches. His designs were for construction in wood, steel or ferrocement. My boat was a "Cordingley" class Gaff Cutter. A friend in my home port who builds steel commercial fishing and work boats built her for me. Which leads me to one of your questions about maintenance of a steel hull. She was built with 5mm plate for the hull and 4mm plate for deck and cabin top, the steel used was a high grade 'blast primed' material. As the building progressed I applied 5 coats of two-pack epoxy paint, inside and out. ( 2 primer, 3 of topcoat) It was the fact that I was able to paint her as soon as welding in various areas was completed that I believe no serious rust problems occurred in the 8 years that I owned her. I'm sure you know with your steel working experience that if paint is not applied before the damp gets to the steel then you will just be sealing rust in, rather than preventing it. Apart from odd touch up jobs on deck where paint got hard treatment, ie: on mooring cleats etc: I had no problems with corrosion.

She set a "Cornish Topsail." if you're not familiar, that to us over here anyway, is a triangular sail on a separate spar hoisted above the gaff mainsail. Great in light airs, but as a singlehander I needed to get it off her when the wind picked up, otherwise it was a real struggle. The spar extended her mast height by about 9 feet. Down wind she sailed wonderfully well, sometimes to hold a certain course I would put a reef in her main even in fine weather, to avoid blanketing her head sails. Going to windward she needed a fair breeze to hold a decent course, she tended to fall off and at times it was easier for me to wear ship than try to tack. The running backstays have been mentioned and tacking singlehanded needed a bit of planning...

Her hull was I suppose we could say 'modified' hard chine. The builder who builds very fine fishing trawlers, put an extra chine in her hull so in fact her bilge had a more gentle curve to it, more like a true multi chine than a hard chine. She was heavy though, 11 tons plus and slow too. But having said that she would carry sail when everyone else was reefed down or running for shelter. Her other aspect was, like a lot of heavy steel boats she rolled like a drunken duck at times. Crossing from the Canaries I swear she rolled all the way from Las Palmas to Martinique!!!

As a slow, predominately down wind cruising home she was fine, tough and sea worthy and admired by some modern boat owners, but she was hard work at times I found, with her 25 foot main boom (hollow American Spruce, as was her mast) I was 56 when she was launched and I knew after my first 2 year 4 month voyage from England to the Mediterranean and back that if I planned to keep cruising I would need an easier boat for the old boy to handle on his own..

Not having to have the steel plate rolled for a round bilge, as has been pointed out by Redbopeep was a great deal cheaper to build, and I also smiled when I read about the number of uncompleted steel hulls seen in boat yards. Same over here. Lots of dreams begin and end in boatyards and steel and ferrocement hulls feature quite highly on the list. Just as a matter of interest and I'm not an economist... the completed hull accounted for roughly one third of her total cost and she only had depth sounder and fixed GPS as electronics, and no radar, chart plotters, fridge, or watermakers etc:



Here she is in the Greek Islands somewhere about 2004



Running down the TradeWind bound for Martinique under a cruising chute. (that's her top'sl stowed on it's spar on the cabin top)



Another evening, about halfway across I think. I would drop her main at night usually, and just run under a big cruising chute. Can't see the squalls coming at night, so it saved a midnight wrestling match trying to get her main down in a hurry when one crept up on me in the dark!!



Land Ho! (suppose I'd better shave and...goodness... wash!! )



San Juan...Well! well! so that's how the rich cruise is it?....Blimey big ain't they?

Not great photos but just to show a steel Gaff Cutter can cross oceans safely, if rather slowly.. She was a fine boat and a couple of times she took an awful beating in severe gales/storms and we survived them, but when compared with my new (old) boat I wouldn't go back to a steel boat, or gaff rig again.



My new home since 2007. Fast, seaworthy and an awful lot less hard work.

Regards Saxon.
__________________
saxon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2010, 08:19 PM   #6
Ensign
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 4
Default

Colvin Gazelle? Thanks for asking. We have owned a Colvin Saugeen Witch for the last 20+ years. To answer you questions-

I think the Saugeen Witch was a better design. Basically the same but one foot wider without the aft cabin. The Gazelle was good, no doubt, just lighter.

We average 142 miles a day broken over the last 20 years. We have a gaff ketch and it's awesome, powerful and easy to maintain.

Maintenance? I wrote "Metal boat repair and Maintance" dedicated to Tom Colvin and I can tell you they are not bad cost wise if your going to do the work yourself. To pay somone, well that is more costly.

Schooners? Well, I know it's like talking about politics, so I'll just say I like the Ketch rig better. More sail pulling, big head sails, and you still get the Fisherman type sail with a mizzan staysail. Pluss you don't have that big sail aft pushing your helm around. So, for me a Ketch has more pros than cons.

I can tell you this about Tom Colvin boats, we have racked up heaps of miles on ours and it has yet to scare us. We have sailed by other boats complaining about the harsh conditions and we were just reefed down, comfy as, and making big mile days. They are good load carting boats.

We put a big 100 hp engine in our 42ft, 24 ton boat with 300 gal of fuel and a 22" max prop. It was the way to go. We had 10.5 days motoring between Cabo to Seattle. That is what hp and a steel hull are capable of. Another time we did Seattle to Glacier Bay in 10 days anchoring every night. 6.5 Seattle to K-Town anchoring every night and a December return to Seattle from K-Town and all was fine. We also have two back to back 200 mile days motor sailing south between Seattle and San Fran. The boat is currently in NZ.

We have sailed next to Gazelle's of the same lenght and they were fine, but more tender, carried less load, and could not keep up when the wind was up. Still a great boat, I just like his next design a little better.

I think that was about most of your questions. Feel free to email if you have more.

Scott
__________________
yachtwork is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2010, 04:26 AM   #7
Ensign
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1
Default

Hi! I came across this thread doing a google search for Tom Colvin's Gazelle.

My parents bought the original Gazelle from Colvin himself in 1973 when I was 12 and we moved aboard and sailed her to Florida.

Colvin wasn't much of a welder back in those days (I think his then teenage sons were also helping with some of that work as well) as the seams weren't as smooth as they could have been.

Colvin always said he designed her for sailing, not for comfort, and after living aboard for several years I believed him.

We loved Gazelle. My folks sold her in the early 80's to a family from Alaska who also lived aboard and did quite a bit of traveling.

Then she was sold to a guy named Don Johnson (no relation to the actor of same name) who I believed owned her when hurricane Hugo passed through North (South?) Carolina and made a wreck of her. I don't know if anyone fixed her up after that or what became of her.

If anyone knows, I'd love to hear.

It's been nearly 40 years since I moved aboard that sailboat and the memories of those years aboard are the best ones of my life. I sure do miss it.
__________________
signsintime is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2014, 11:55 PM   #8
Ensign
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Home Port: Jupiter
Posts: 1
Default

Tom Colvin passed away September 1st, 2014 in Alva, Florida. He was a fine man, a patient mentor and a dear friend. Fair winds Tom.
__________________

__________________
Paul Alexander is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Following Is The 5:00 P.m. Information On Tomas StormW "StormW's" Daily Weather Synopsis 0 11-03-2010 09:14 PM
Tom's Big Adventure Tom Mitchell General Cruising Forum 5 07-07-2009 12:13 AM
Looking For Tom Brady, Wayne Pilkington, Rhinehart, Uli & Wolfgang steveworrall General Message Board 0 12-06-2007 01:06 PM
Thomas Colvin gazelle 42 Advice sought a45wg General Cruising Forum 9 10-13-2006 02:34 AM
Tom on yacht Perky Puffin Perkypuffin Position Reports 1 09-03-2005 05:39 PM

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

RV & Travel Trailer Communities

Our RV & Travel Trailer sites encompasses virtually all types of Recreational Vehicles, from brand-specific to general RV communities.

» More about our RV Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:00 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0