Old News 11/02-9/06

Note: Many of the links no longer work due to the age of the posts.

Don't forget to check out the "Files" section of the Yahoo Microcruising forum. There are lots of pictures of Matt's boats which don't appear on this site as well as neat discussions on cruising in little boats.


We recently bought a 50 yard roll of 4 oz E glass on Ebay for $35 (buy-it-now), item#170024129043 . This weight cloth is excellent for handling complex structures like the toe rails. Normally this type of glass runs for up to $5 a yard if it is perfect, but of course the Ebay roll is not. There are some minor flaws that very occasionally pop up across the width of the fabric, and there is a slightly elevated thread that courses the whole length of our roll. Nonetheless, we've found the glass to be fine for making our own tapes and for covering smaller projects like a hatch. In fact, if you were careful, it might even be possible to cover the topside of a micro-cruiser in the 6 oz weight cloth that is also sold inexpensively. Lastly, we have no affiliation with the seller; though, we do have a webpage showing how we used the cloth recently.


Thanks to the contributions of our readers, we've updated our Famoussmallboats webpage to include a few more notable sailors like Robin Lee Graham and Margaret and Frank Dye. However, to see these changes you will need to access the page here since we're having trouble updating our old site at the moment . In addition, we've also updated our links page to remove any dead links and to add a few more sites.


If you're looking for some nice articles to read about small boat sailing then you need not go any further than this month's (Sept/Oct) issue of Small Craft Advisor. I have to say that each issue gets better and better; and if you don't already have a subscription to this neat little magazine, then you should get one right away. There's a nice story about Jim Brown's visit to the 2006 Cedar Key boat meet, a tale about a short cruise on the Columbia River, the second part of a much longer cruise by two boats around Florida, an interview with Harley Harlson and his planned around-the-world trip in his 8 foot boat and much, much more.

Incidentally, if you are contemplating the construction of a chinese style sculling oar for your micro-cruiser or for any other boat for that matter, you definitely want to check out pages 54-57 of this month's Wooden Boat Magazinefor the article, "A Different Way to Ro." There's quite a lot of detail about how these traditional oars are made, and the pictures are worth their weight in gold. Lastly, if you haven't already looked at Glen Maxwell's website on his wonderful Paradox sharpie Zoe, then please go here.


Take a glimpse at our new page on our latest Led lighting aboard LITTLE CRUISER.


Work has resumed in earnest on SWAMP THING, and you can see the updated pictures at here. In addition, we welcome you to listen to our 2 part interview with Noel and Christy at http://www.furledsails.com/ . While you're there don't forget to check out Kristofer Harlson's excellent discussion on all his careful preparations to get SEA BISCUIT ready for her epic voyage.


Now that we've been home for a little while, we've had time to catch up on many of our non boat related projects like spring cleaning and yard care. Therefore, hopefully we'll soon be able to get back to rebuilding SWAMP THING.

One important thing we'd like to mention is that Kristofer Harlson is planning to sail around the world non stop in his 8 foot micro-cruiser, SEABISCUIT. We've know about this project for quite some time, but Kristopher asked us to keep quiet about it until he got closer to completion. Now that his boat is farther along, he has released more photographs of his design and he has written a nice article for Duckworks magazine about his plans. Moreover, Kristopher has been busy fielding all kinds of questions about his unique boat and his trip on the Microcruising forum.


After a long refit, we finally got around to taking another trip in our 15 foot sailboat "Little Cruiser". We had hoped to go to the Bahamas again, but we ran out of vacation time. Therefore, Mindy and I decided to take a shorter cruise to the Outer Banks (OBX), which is in our own home state of North Carolina. You can read about our latest trip at http://www.microcruising.com/2006obx.htm .


Don't forget to keep your eye on the Everglades Challenge this year. Matt will be in his new 12 foot boat, ENIGMA, and he also plans to complete the Ultimate Challenge, which is an extension of the EC that involves circumnavigating the whole of Florida. Of course there will be a 40 mile portage connecting the St. Mary's river to the Swannee River. You can read more about Matt's experiences in this adventure at http://blogs.tcpalm.com/tcpalm/challenge/ .

Also check out Sebastian Naslund's site on his incredible trip across the Atlantic and back in his 14' boat, ARRANDIR. Last of all, take a look at the really cool folding dinghy called ORIGAMI at http://www.woodenwidget.com/. The video footage of it planning along at high speed with a tiny outboard is amazing!


Wow! Three months have gone by since our last update, and we are now finally about ready to leave for this year's trip. The refit project took much longer than we expected, but at least we are very happy with the results. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to make a new sail; therefore, the old one will have to do until we get back.. Hopefully, we'll have time to post a few pictures of Little Cruiser before we leave.


We apologize for not updating the website earlier, but we've been very busy with both work and our boat refit projects. At the moment we are still hoping to head South for the winter, but we still have a fair bit of things to do to complete LITTLE CRUISER. Thank goodness the boat is completely fiberglassed and faired. Now all we have to do is paint the hull and install all the hardware and the windows. Unfortunately, the weather has turned quite cold after a very mild Fall, so we're now struggling to keep the temperatures warm enough in the boat house to complete our project. To overcome the cold, we've added an inner wall made of plastic wall, and we're planning to cover the building with a thermal blanket made of ply-foil (1/4" thick bubble wrap with aluminum foil) at night. Hopefully, these modifications along with a gas heater will give us the edge we need to get done in time. Finally, we've added a new Refit Page which shows the progress we have made on LITTLE CRUISER.


More pictures of LITTLE CRUISER have been added as we approach the end of the fiberglassing phase of our refit. Also we've updated our page on making boat cushions with more detailed construction photographs and updated build information.


Progress on LITTLE CRUISER has been moving along well this summer, and now we are ready to glass the bottom and the sides. Then we will fair the hull and do the paint. By the way, we've finally updated our LITTLE CRUISER REFIT page to show all these new changes .


We just got an email from the son of Charles Stock informing us about the website he recently created about his dad and his wonderful gaff rigged sailboat, "Shoal Waters." Check it out at here.


While we were searching on the Web for other trips made by small boats, we bumped into this interesting trip to the Bahamas made by the West Wight Potter 19, Ursa Minor.


It looks like Matt Layden was busy this winter building a new boat that looks similar to SWAMP THING, but which some are simply referring to as the "mini Paradox." You can see a picture of this craft at http://members.ij.net/wctss/wctss/cedar2.htm . There is also a page detailing its construction at http://physics.bgsu.edu/~layden/FunStuff/Boats/Matt_Boat/matts_boat2005.htm and there are some more pictures taken by Glen Maxwell at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/paradoxbuilders2/files/Mini%20Paradox/ . Ironically, I remember talking to Matt this past Fall about the benefits of having a small cruiser which could be used for shorter trips or even in races like the Everglades Challenge. I guess he had similar ideas, and he built himself a light weight cruiser. Of course Mindy had to point out the fact that in the time that I have been piddling around with our two boat projects, Matt managed to whip out an entirely new design. Oh well, I'd better get cracking if I want to salvage a little bit of my male pride. Last of all, here is a link to an article written by Matt about his Rob Roy canoe and his adventures in it during the 2005 Everglades challenge. Dave


Since quite a few people have been interested in making a removable rear window for their Paradox micro-cruiser, we decided to post a webpage, http://www.microcruising.com/lcwindow.htm , on Little Cruiser's multi-position rear window. However, it is important to remember that the rear window in Paradox is an integral part of the cabin structure and that it makes the boat much more watertight in the event of a severe knockdown or a complete roll over. Make these changes at your own risk.


SPRING has finally returned (yippee!), and we have resumed the epoxy work on our two sharpies. Here is a picture of David sanding Little Cruiser's transom. Next, the topsides will be faired some more with epoxy and micro-balloons, and then 4-6 ounce fiberglass cloth will be applied. Afterwards, Little Cruiser will be turned over, and kevlar and fiberglass will be added to the bottom for maximum protection. As for Swamp Thing, this little boat will be getting a new bottom once new floor timbers, a breast hook and two quarter knees are added. Hopefully by summer time, at least one boat will be ready for sailing.


We were really impressed by the latest Small Craft Advisor with its larger format, better color pictures and all those extra pages. However, it's the contents that make this magazine especially interesting to the small sailboat sailor among us. For those interested in serious voyages, there's an excellent article by Marlin Bree, coauthor of Gerry Spiess' book, "Alone across the Atlantic." In "Ocean crossing marvel in ply-Yankee Girl," Bree talks about the construction of this 10 foot wonder ship as well as the careful preparations Gerry made to succeed at crossing both the Atlantic and the Pacific. The author also reveals some new details that we didn't know beforehand about the trips and Gerry's strategies for getting safely and comfortably across big oceans in his diminutive boat. Then there is the car top cruising piece by Hugh Horton called, "Straits of Mackinac-The last bastion of freedom." It's a pretty good read, but Hugh gets busted by the water police towards the end of his trip with a $125 ticket for not having registration numbers on his sailing canoe. What a bummer. He says he will appeal it though. Still this hard won lesson is a good reminder for us to get SWAMP THING registered before she hits the water this Spring/Summer. There is also some very helpful suggestions made by John Simpson on how he handled high winds and rough seas during his passage from England to the Canaries aboard his little 22 foot sailboat. And that's not it. Plenty of other articles are equally interesting and informative. One excellent story concerns the intricacies of making a small boat passage up the Inside Passage while another focuses on how to cruise comfortably in a Sea Pearl. This issue of SCA also contains several how-to/fix-it type articles and a review of the Ranger 20 sailboat and a look at the 18'-6" Glen-L Tango cruising sloop. All in all, there are 66 pages of sweet micro-cruising goodness, and we dare say that this little magazine may well be on its way to becoming the next Small Boat Journal.


Bill Serjeant of (http://www.smallsailboats.co.uk/homepage.htm) has just informed us that he will be receiving the first Paradox CNC kit from http://www.jordanboats.co.uk/ . When it arrives, Bill plans on posting some pictures on his website; however, it may take a while before he has time to begin construction. For those living in the U.K. or Europe, this may be a good route to go as it will certainly speed up the building process.

01-25-05 Microcruiser Refit pages added!

For those of you who have been waiting for pictures of Swamp Thing's interior, we have posted some nice shots on our third "Microcruiser Refit" page. Despite the cold weather, we've been steadily working on this little boat which was in pretty poor condition when we first got her. Hopefully by Spring we should be in a position to begin fiberglassing the hull, and by summer time sailing trials and a short trip should be in order. Incidentally, there are also pictures of Little Cruiser's refit on the same refit pages.

01-21-05 A talk with Matt

A couple of weeks ago I had a talk with Matt Layden, the designer and builder of our boats, about the possibility of drawing up plans for some of his older micro-cruisers (Swamp Thing and Little Cruiser ) as well as for introducing a few new boats to his lineup. At the time he seemed excited about the possibility of working on a really nice car-top cruiser as well as a bigger boat in the 17-18 foot range that would be more suitable for two. Unfortunately, he wasn't too keen on reworking any of his older classic designs because he felt that he could create something better today. I was really hoping that he would jump at the opportunity to release these older designs since they have proven themselves to be quite good micro-cruisers over the years. However, despite my persuasive arguments, his mind remained unchanged. At the time he also brought to my attention his growing concerns about the risk of liability that his unique designs posed to everyone involved in their distribution.

Nonetheless, Matt was gracious enough to give us permission to share the sketches that he made for building Little Cruiser just as long as we made it clear to all that these were just for historical documentation and that they were not intended for any new builds. He also said that we could release our own drawings for Swamp Thing with the same understood limitations. For those of you interested in looking at the Little Cruiser sketches, they can be seen at http://www.microcruising.com/lc2.htm .

On a more positive note, Matt talked to me about his newest boat, a rudderless Rob Roy style canoe (14' x 28"), which he steers by shifting his weight. He told me that he can cook and sleep aboard this car- top cruiser, and that he plans to use it once more in this years upcoming Everglades Watertrible Challenge . When I asked him why he took the "scenic route" last year, he told me that he wasn't overly concerned about his arrival time since he had already won it the year before. Therefore, he made the decision to take a different and longer route through the Everglades which cost him 2 days in the end. Though he didn't tell me any more about his aspirations for 2005, I suspect that he will be a little more competitive.

And finally, I'd like to point out to people who live in the U.K. that Jordan boats (http://www.jordanboats.co.uk/) is considering kitting Matt's Paradox for an estimated cost of about GBP1000. Bill Serjeant of (http://www.smallsailboats.co.uk/homepage.htm) approached Alec Jordan about doing a CNC kit, and later Matt and I were contacted by Alec. Matt told me that he is interested in seeing this project go ahead, so I would guess this kit may soon become available. It certainly will provide a quicker route for those interested in building this great little boat.



Well, we were really looking forward to leaving this winter for the Bahamas, but unfortunately we just couldn't get LITTLE CRUISER ready in time. It seems that our boat repairs always seem to take much longer than we anticipate, and this project definitely is going to require a lot more time to get done properly. Therefore, we'll have to sit this winter out at home, and we'll continue our fiberglassing project when the weather warms up again in the Spring. In the meantime, we plan to post some pictures of LITTLE CRUISER and SWAMP THING in the next day or two to show the work we have done so far.


A lot has happened since our last entry. First, we decided to sheath "Little Cruiser " in fiberglass. This turned out to be quite a project in itself. We removed all the hardware including everything that was beded in 3M 5200. This required the use of a blow torch at times! Then we removed the interior and all the lead ballast. Next we spent several weeks stripping off years of accumalated paint. The deck was the hardest by far because it had a sand additive in the paint, and it took as many as 5 coats of chemical stripper to cut through this tough coating. Afterwards, all the putty that covered the hundreds of fasterners was removed using a dremel tool. The copper ground plate was also removed at this time, and then all the holes and gouges were filled with epoxy and microballoons. Now we are at the point of covering the whole boat in 4 to 6 ounce fiberglass. By the way, the big wooden "wheel" in the picture allows just one person to roll the boat into any position that is needed.

In addition, our good friend David Gatan kindly gave us "Swamp Thing " to restore. She has had a tough life in the Florida Keys, having sunk once at the dock. Before Hurricane Frances arrived, we went down to Key Largo to rescue her and to help David load his new boat, a beautiful Rob Roy 23, onto his trailer. Both boats were trailered back to our house in North Carolina, where David waited out this hurricane along with hurricane Ivan before returning back to the Keys. Now the little boat sits in our back yard, happily awaiting her rebuild.


Chris Morejohn's wonderful 32 foot sharpie, Hogfish, was recently sold. For those of you interested in seeing some pictures of the boat, they can be seen here.


After our old boat shelter was damaged beyond repair last summer, we finally got around to replacing it with a new bow-roof shed. You can read about it's construction here. We know this new building will certainly come in handy as we plan to take Little Cruiser back to the Bahamas this winter and we'll need a place to get her ready.


Well it's been quite some time since we last updated this site so we thought we'd bring people up to date a bit. Over the last few months we finally found the time to build a new boat shed for Little Cruiser since the last one was destroyed during the passage of a hurricane about a year ago. The building is a bowroof shed (by Stimson Marine), and we should have a webpage up about it's constuction soon. It is 14' wide x 20 long x 11' high, and we plan to put down a temporary floor later this year so that we can make a new sail inside. At the moment it is covered with a heavy duty poly grey tarp; but when it gets colder it will be covered in 6 mil clear greenhouse plastic. Incidentally, for those of you who have a subscription to "Small Craft Advisor" there is an article in the July/August issue about this year's 300 mile Everglades challenge. As many of you already know, Matt Layden won it in 2003 in Paradox, but this year the title was claimed by Doug Cameron and Michael Collins in a Krueger Cruiser canoe with Balogh BOSS rig. The article, which is titled "Two Grandpas Win The Everglades Challenge ," is written by one of the winners, Doug Cameron, and it chronicles their record breaking ride. He credits their win to a combination of factors. The first being a well tested boat and rig, and the second being favorable weather conditions throughout the race. He notes that in the beginning they were fortunate enough to have light winds which allowed them to paddle away from the sailboat competition, and then later on they had strong cold fronts to drive them South towards the Keys. All in all, the seven page article is a good read, and I enjoyed looking at the pictures of their unique sailing canoe.


Today I was clearing out a bunch of crap from my bookshelves so that I could make room for more stuff, and in the process I bumped into this little book called "P.S. I Love You- When Mom wrote she always saved the best for last" by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. I don't know who gave it to me, but it was probably my own mother. Anyway, I cracked open the cover out of curiosity and I found this interesting quote inside which I thought many of you would appreciate.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Therefore, I encourage all of you to go out and live your dreams, no matter how large or small they may be. And remember, the best boat for the journey is the one you already own. Best wishes, Dave.


Well, Spring has finally arrived here in the Carolinas. All the flowers and trees are in bloom, and we have begun to get Little Cruiser ready for her next trip. So far it looks like the spars will need a coat of varnish, and the topsides will need to be painted. Of course there are some scrapes and dings on the bottom too that will need filling; but I must say that all in all, the boat looks to be in good shape.

By the way, there was a good discussion on the Microcruising Forum not long ago on what defined a micro-cruiser. This was my answer on the matter.

In my mind I always thought of a micro-cruiser as a small boat whose primary purpose was for cruising. I believe its design should provide shelter for its crew from the elements, and it should be capable of carrying sufficient stores to complete its intended journey. In fact, it should mimic the function of a larger cruising vessel, but it should do it on a much smaller budget and on a much smaller scale. I think it would be safe to say that most micro-cruisers are probably less than 18 feet in length; though, some might call the larger boats “pocket cruisers”. If I was trying to explain to a non sailor about micro-cruisers, I would probably just show them Little Cruiser. I believe that most people would be shocked to see how tiny our boat appears from the outside for a design that is intended to cruise for months at a time. However, once they went aboard, they might realize that there was in fact sufficient room for two to sleep, eat and maybe even live for awhile. Of course, they would be shown all the compartments where fresh water, canned food, ground tackle, medical supplies, nautical charts, dry clothes, sealed batteries, spare parts and the many other provisions are carefully stored. If they inquired about cooking, they would be shown the one burner stove aft along with a tiny pressure cooker and a non stick pan. I think they would be impressed with how everything was carefully organized and with how much our tiny boat could carry. Still, I don’t believe most people would consider a long trip likes ours in such a tiny craft, but they might consider a weekend or even a weeklong adventure. If they asked me what micro-cruisers were available, I would tell them about several boats that I am familiar with like the Montgomery 15, the Compact 16, the West Wright Potter 15, Matt Layden’s Paradox, Bolger’s Micro and the Peep Hen, just to name a few. Of course, I would also mention that once they got their new boat, they would probably want to customize it to make it as comfortable as possible. Then, I would suggest that they read as much as they could about seamanship and water safety, or they could even take a course on these subjects. When they felt ready, they could tow their boat behind their family car to some protected body of water for a shakedown cruise. If all worked out well, longer and more adventurous trips could be planned. In the end, only their own skill level and their desire for adventure should limit how far and where they should go. So what is a micro-cruiser? It’s a small affordable boat that let’s the average person like you and me go cruising.

Finally, we recently got to try out a Yamaha 2.5 hp 4 stroke engine. You can read about are impressions of this fine little engine on our review2 page .


Before we got into taking long trips in little sailboats, Mindy and I used to sea kayak a fair bit. We began paddling around 1985 in New York, where we lived at the time, and then we enjoyed some fine trips down South when we moved to North Carolina in 1988. In 1992 we modified two Wilderness Systems Tchaika's to be take-aparts, and we had a wonderful 2 week trip to Belize with our friend Steve. However, when the microcruising bug bit us hard in 1993, our paddling was put on the back burner so that we could concentrate on our longer Bahama cruises. Now that we're stuck at home this winter, we've been enjoying some paddling once more. Usually we paddle on our local lake (when it's not frozen) to stay in shape, and then we plan to take some more trips to the coast when it gets a little warmer.

Of course, our kayaks like our sailboat are now all "old"; but they still work just fine. I guess a good designs is always a good design. Nonetheless, some things have changed in the last 12 years since we last bought a kayak. The hatches are larger and simpler to secure, and there are adjustable skegs and sturdy rudders to make tracking easier. Nylon spray skirts are mostly seam sealed to keep leakage to a minimum, and some of the deckbags even have waterproof zippers like the ones you used to only find on expensive drysuits. Therefore, today I decided to upgrade my equipment with a new waterproof deckbag to carry my camera and a VHF radio. After looking at several different brands at my local paddling store, GET OUTDOORS , I settled on a Voyageur "Mini Quickdraw." Generally, I go by the motto: "Never buy something you can make cheaper, and never make anything you can buy cheaper". In this case, I think I could have made a useable bag with a funky rolled closure for around $10, but the waterproof zipper on the $69 Mini Quickdraw is so quick and easy to use that I decided to give it a try despite it's high cost. Now, after playing around with the new deckbag for a while, I can see that I will have little trouble getting to my delicate gear even when my kayak is bobbing around wildly in the ocean. Come to think of it, I think the new bag will also be perfect for use in our micro folding dinghy next winter .


For those people interested in building their very own Paradox microcruiser, we suggest that you look at Alastair Law's wonderful website at http://www.asjg.clara.co.uk/little_jim/little_jim.htm . There are lots of pictures which detail the whole building process from start to finish. In addition, Alastair has written articles about his four major trips in Little Jim .

Well, as anyone who has been watching the weather in the Eastern United States, we've been having lots of snow. Last Saturday we got 5 inches in North Carolina, which is a lot for us. Oh I wish Mindy and I had head for the Bahamas this year. When I last checked www.weatherunderground.com, it was in the 70's F in the Bahamas. Well, here is what Little Cruiser looks like now! Poor Mindy...

01-29-04 We've included another review to our favorite cruising gear page so check it out. Also Paul L. from Washington State sent us a picture if his folding dinghy. He next plans to build a Paradox microcruiser. An original sketch of Swamp Thing has been posted to this page , and a picture of Little Western was added to the Famous Small Boat Page.


We have added a review of some of our favorite cruising gear on this page. As time goes on we hope to add more to this page. For those people interested in how we wired our white LED's on Little Cruiser, we have posted some pictures at http://www.microcruising.com/LED.htm . These LED's can be purchase cheaply for $1 a piece from http://www.whitelightled.com/ .


We hope everyone had a nice holiday and that the New Year will provide much happiness and some adventure! Unfortunately, there won't be too much adventure for us this winter since we are staying home to save up for our next trip. There are also quite a few home repair projects that need completing, and Little Cruiser could really use a new sail. We'll probably use heavier weight 5 ounce sail cloth to make the new sail since we did notice some unwanted stretching in the 3.9 ounce original.

By the way, Roberta Pearce made an enlarged version of the "Micro Folding Dinghy" which turned out very nicely. Roberta told us that:

"I worked out a scale that I increased the length, width & height & luckily it seemed to work well without compromising the shape of the boat, as I had a couple of sheets of ply to use that were just under 8ft. When I put the seats in, it was very unstable until I put them much lower in the boat. I left the 'keel' bits (longer bits at the back) quite long, as I reckoned it would be easier to shorten them if needed, rather than lengthen them if cut too short! I just wish I had taken more trouble to fibreglass the whole thing before putting it together as the ply was not in the best of condition to start off with & I didn't really expect it to be as good as it turned out! 'Oh ye of little faith!' I hear you say! Anyway, I had a lot of fun making it & even if nieces & nephews get some fun out of it before it de-laminates, it was worth it. "

Over the past year, the micro-cruising community has grown a wee bit larger with the addition of several new Paradox boats that were built in England, Australia and New Zealand . You can see more pictures of these little boats at the Paradox Builder's Group. Another Paradox builder, Ernst Palmer, sent us an inspirational watercolor that he painted that vividly shows the joys of sailing small boats.


We've just posted some assorted pictures from all our trips (1993-2003) on this page. Also, Charles Whipple sent us some wonderful pictures of Ken'ichi Horie's 2.8 m/9'2" sailboat, Mermaid II. Mr.Horie successfully crossed from San Francisco to Shin Nishinomiya, Japan in 1989 aboard this diminutive craft. Presently, the little boat sits in a pool in the main lobby of the Shin Nishinomiya Marina. Incidently, Mr. Horie has made 10 single-handed passages in all kinds of seacraft. The pictures can be viewed on our Famous Small Boats page. Just click the icons on heading, "1989/9'2"/Mermaid II.


We have FINALLY posted our pictures from our 2003 trips here. We decided to use thumbnails this time so that we could include more photographs at a higher resolution. We should have the article up soon...


Added pictures of Matt's radio control models.


More Paradox pictures can be seen here. We've also added a few new poems with pictures which can be viewed here.


For those of you lucky enough to have a subscription to SMALL CRAFT ADVISOR, there is a nice article by Ron Hoddinott called the "Cedar Key Small Boat Meet" which dedicates quite a lot of copy space to talk about the two Paradox boats he saw at the meet. These boats, of course, were Glen Maxwell's Zoe and David Beard's Whisper. Ron speaks very highly of these little fourteen footers, and at one point even comments, "Zoe appeared to be sailing to windward higher and faster than my Sea Pearl with it's leeboard down!" In addition to listing many of Paradox' unique characteristics, he also mentions seeing Matt Layden, "the reclusive designer," at the get together. To go along with the story there are four nice pictures of Zoe and Whisper as well as many other fine photographs of other boats that were at the meet.

In addition to this article, there are several other nice ones in this Sept/Oct 2003 issue including one by Hugh Horton about the great "Two Continent Canoe Expedition" by Valerie and Verlen Kruger. In the beginning of this episode (part II), the Krueger's are struggling to cross theGulf Stream to get to the Bahamas from Florida. I've just started reading and it looks so good that I think I'll have to stop typing to see what happens next... Dave...


We've updated the website information on Little Cruiser to include interior pictures as well as some original sketches by Matt Layden.
Dreaming Afloat- From a discussion on the Microcruising Forum

My dreams have a strong connection with whatever I'm doing during my waking hours. If we are getting the boat ready in our back yard for our upcoming winter trip, I dream of beautiful deserted islands and crystal clear waters. Later, when we are in Florida and Mindy and I are getting ready to make our Gulf Stream crossing, the pleasant dreams often turn into nightmares. I usually toss and turn the whole night before thinking about being run down by huge freighters or being overwhelmed by monster rogue waves. However, when I wake in the morning I realize that most of my fears are unfounded. Once we've settled into our new routine (like a week into the trip), my sleep is more settled and I have pleasant dreams. Oddly enough, Mindy seems to follow the same general sleep pattern. Fortunately, as our confidence in the boat and our own skills improve, we are more relaxed at night. However, if a big storm is brewing, we return temporarily to our fitful sleep pattern. We wake up easily with the smallest changes in the boat's motion, and we both get up to check the anchor frequently.

Interestingly enough, it isn't just our dreams that change while we are afloat. The rest of our senses become more acute to the natural world around us. As our trip progresses, we become more conscious of the weather. Changes in the temperature and the humidity tell us more precisely than the "weather channel" that rain is on the way. The types of clouds overhead clue us into the next day's forecast, and subtle changes in the boat's motion tell us that the tide has changed. I think that as we become more in tune with the environment, we also tend to rely more on our own gut feelings than anything else. I can't tell you the number of times that we have made decisions based on these insights. I remember one instance in particular where we were crossing over to the Bahamas from Florida, and we turned around after only 10 miles because things just didn't look right. The winds had been forecast to be out of the South at 20 knots, which should had given us a nice ride to Bimini. However, once we got offshore, the conditions seemed a lot rougher than expected and the skies overhead were changing quickly. The winds at that time were around 20-25 knots, but conditions began deteriorating as we headed back to shore. By late afternoon, the winds were blowing steadily at 30-35 knots with gusts to 40 knots. Thank goodness we turned around; otherwise, we would have been caught by that fast moving cold front.


Hopefully, it won't be long now before we post our article about our 2003 trip to the Bahamas. We know it's been a long time coming, but we've been so busy working since our return that we just haven't had the time to sit down and do it. In the future we also plan to add some new reviews and some interesting articles to the website. In the meantime, we've taken the opportunity to remove all the dead links. Incidently, for those of you with a subscription to "Messing About in Boats," you'll have a real treat this month. Glen Maxwell, moderator of the Paradox Builders Forum, wrote a wonderful article in the August 15 issue about his shakedown cruise in his Pardox on the West Coast of Florida. Of course Glen speaks highly of ZOE during his six day trip, but he also notes several improvement he made along the way to the design. These modifications, incidentally, are reviewed in more detail in his forum so check it out. For the angler, he even has a few helpful tips on how to troll for fish for dinner. Oh well, I guess you'll have to read the story for yourself... Finally, Russian micro-naut, Evgeny Gvoznev, completed his circumnavigation in his 3.7 meter sailboat. You can see some pictures of his boat here . For those of you having trouble getting into the website, you can also see these pictures in the "Files Section" of the Microcruising Forum under 2003 Posted Pictures, and "Evgeny." For those of you having trouble getting into the website, you can also see these pictures in the "Files Section" of the Microcruising Forum under 2003 Posted Pictures, and "Evgeny."


Little Cruiser made the cover of the Summer 2003 issue of SCUTTLEBUTT , which is the newsletter for the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club, a club that we have been members of for several years. One of the services that the WRCC supports is a morning net that helps to provide important information to and from voyaging sailors who are ham radio operators. During most of our trips to the Bahamas, we have benefitted greatly from the weather reports which are relayed each morning on 7.268 Mhz. In addition, position reports are taken , float plans are recorded and emergency calls are forwarded. If you are interested in becoming a member and enjoying the comaraderie of this group then just click on this link for more information.


Well, as usual,the July/August Small Craft Advisor had some excellent articles, one of which was the second part of the interview with Sven Lundin/Yrvind. Here he tells the reader about his battles with the oil company who stored oil under his house, the events that led up to his breakup with his wife Olga, and the details about his latest boat XLX (Experimental Light Cruiser). XLX is a narrow ketch, 5.4 meters long by 1.09 meter wide. The boat is sprit rigged like his earlier designs, and it uses lightweight carbon fiber masts. Auxliary propulsion will be the yuloh. In addition, XLX is self righting to 130 degrees and it's intended purpose is to cross the Atlantic and the Pacific! The whole interview is quite revealing, and I would encourage anyone who is interested in small boats to read it.


PRINCETON TEC is simply the best when it comes to backing up their products with their Lifetime Warranty. For those of you who aren't familiar with this company, they make all types of flashlights for both land and sea use. We use their products exclusively on board Little Cruiser because they make a good light and they aren't afraid to back it up 100%. For this reason we own two Tec 400 halogen dive lights and two of their LED headlamps, a Matrix and an Aurora. To illustrate our point, David's Matrix headlamp developed a crack in the battery case during this year's Bahama trip. The headlamp was several years old and it had seen steady use on the boat and at home. Since we were on our trip this time we simply patched the crack with a little fiberglass tape and some CA glue. Then, when we got home we sent it to Princeton Tec. Within a week we had a new one including a fresh set of batteries sitting on our door step. We're pretty sure this is typical of their warranty work since we had to return our Tec 400 lights after several years of hard use due to faulty switches. Just as quickly, we were sent out two new lights with redesigned and improved switches, which now have operated flawless for several years. What can we say? Princeton Tec stands behind what they make. We wish more companies were like them...


Don Elliott gives an excellent account of why Matt won the 2003 Everglades Challenge on the Smallboats Forum . I also added my own comment which read:

Don's analysis of why the Paradox design won the 2003 Everglades Challenge was quite perceptive and accurate; but then he owns his own Paradox and he knows what it can do. I certainly agree that this micro-cruiser’s all weather accommodations and easy handling helped Matt continue to sail when everyone else had to stop and rest. But I’d also like to emphasize that it was the boat’s excellent sea keeping qualities that allowed Matt to sail farther offshore and to beat triumphantly to windward when the conditions deteriorated, leaving the rest of the fleet far behind. The only other thing that needs mentioning is that the vast experience Matt had over his competitors in sailing his home-made sharpies was paramount in his victory. I would venture to guess that Matt probably has more sea miles in his little boats than all the combined miles of his rivals. This is due to the fact that he spent close to ten years sailing up and down the Eastern seaboard and out to the Bahamas. During that decade, he sailed in every weather condition imaginable; further testing his craft and himself. In the end, it was that immense body of experience and the tested reliability of his sharpies which earned him the well deserved honor of arriving first.


DISCONTINUED. Ugh!! Don't you hate it when you find a product that you really like and the manufacturer discontinues making it ? Well, that is what has happen with Pettit's underwater patching compound 7050/7055 as well as our favorite paint, Red Devil Polyurethane enamel. Luckily, we have some epoxy left over which should last us till our next trip. As for the paint, we have been buying up every can of white that we can find at our surrounding K-Marts. I guess the moral to this story is, "if you like something then buy extra".

The West Coast Trailer Sailing Squadron has some great pictures of two Paradox designs, ZOE and WHISPER at the annual Cedar Key Small Boat Meet . Make sure you check out all the pages, especially page 3 for some great photos of ZOE sailing.


Matt Layden has just posted an update to his sail on the Paradox Builder's Forum . This is a MUST READ for anyone planning to make their own sail or wishing to improve on the old design.

J.M. Reineck & Son have crafted a line of three piece bronze Herreshoff style anchors that may well be the ultimate small boat anchor for those with a little cash to burn. These anchors are available in sizes ranging from a lighter 7 1/2 pounder to a more heafty 21 pound version. At the moment we carry a 25 pound Luke Storm Anchor which has served us well on the few occasions that we have needed it; however, we must admit that it is quite a bit oversized for our tiny 15 foot boat. If it wasn't for the fact that it came apart and formed an integral part of our ballast system, we don't believe that we would be able to carry it. Unfortunately this is the smallest anchor that Luke makes so it might be worth considering the 12 or 17 pound bronze Herreshoff anchor instead.

Well one of my favorite up-and-coming boating magazines, Small Craft Advisor, has just printed a multi-part interview with Sven Yrvind in the latest May/June issue. In this segment, Sven talks about his early experiences aboard his first sail boats, including his various adventures sailing across theAtlantic as well as around Cape Horn. Then, he goes on to tell about his more recent trip in which he and his ex-wife Olga sailed to Canada from Sweden. However, upon arrival their boat was seized by the authorities for being too small. Fortunately, Sven managed to smuggle his beloved BRIS to "the Land of Freedom," the United States, in the back of a U-haul, and that is where this part of the interview ends.

The other boating magazine I got in the mail today was Messing About in Boats. ( May 1, 2003) In this issue I happened to notice that Bolger “updated” his 30'x8'x1'6" ROMP design with a newer and more sturdy YONDER design, 30' x 10'4" x 2'1". I always thought the Romp design would make a great live aboard world cruiser, as did many others who sailed this boat all over the place. Apparently, one client, Rollin Piaz, suggested some improvements which resulted in this new design. These changes included increasing the sail area, putting the masts in tabernacles, adding an inboard engine, increasing the interior space, and beefing up the overall design. Of course, now you have a completely new boat, which to my eye isn't quite a pretty as the original. Still I have to admit that the "improvements" do make the boat more practical when going under bridges, which is what the new owner will need to do a lot of whilst traveling the canals in Europe. Also, the thick 2" plate on the box keel will improve the ability to take groundings on top of hull piercing rocks. The retractible bowsprit and boomkin are nice touches as is the end plated rudder with cutout, which presumably can serve as a boarding ladder. For more pictures and details take a look at pages 27 through 30.

Back in the late 1980's when I lived in New York City I met these two guys (one was Stephane Peyron) who had just finished crossing the Atlantic aboard a little boat powered only by windsurfer rigs. Technically speaking the boat was refered to as a windsurfer since the crew had to hold up their sails. However, unlike a windersurfer, they could seek refuge down below and their sailing speeds were comparable to those of Little Cruiser and Paradox. Nonetheless, I thought it was an interesting design so I took two pictures,Pic1 and Pic2 . Since the original trip several other "windsurfer" crossings have taken place, some of which have been done solo by both sexes. I think some of the designs are quite interesting, and you can get a look at one solo boat at http://www.americanwindsurfer.com/mag/back/issue8.5/Womanwindsurfpacific8.5.html .


Cold weather cruising

We've done a minimal amount of cold weather sailing aboard Little Cruiser; however, we have spent a fair bit of time aboard her when it was quite cold outside while preparing for the next cruise. What we've usually noticed is that the sun alone shinning in through the windows and our own body heat is sufficient to keep the inside temperatures tolerable; but there are times when it is so darn cold outside that we do eventually resort to using heat. So far the safest method we've used while still on land was a ceramic heater, but we have also used our gas cooking stove set on low when out sailing. In this case, we simply turned on the stove for a few minutes every-so-often, and then the cabin heated up very nicely. Of course don't forget to leave the hatch open a bit to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
Now when it comes to serious cold weather cruising aboard little boats, we must say that Matt Layden is the expert again. He once spent a whole winter aboard Little Cruiser in Cape Cod, and he even froze the boat in a salt water pond like an artic ship of yesteryear. If you look at this picture ,which Matt was kind enough to give us, you will see LC frozen in her winter berth. We learned of this adventure only after we stripped the paint off the hull and happen to inquire about the bow wave shaped gouges up forward. It appears that Matt eventually tired of his winter entombment and sailed through some ice to head South.
Finally, one of the things that should make winter cruising more comfortable is the addition of foam in the windows. You can see in the picture that Matt did this aboard LC. We happen to also like using foam in the windows because it makes the boat cooler when it is hot and warmer when it is cold. It also reduces condensation dramatically. Finally, warm clothing and a winter sleeping bag will make your trip more pleasant.


Our friend Paul from New Zealand just sent us a link about a new book on small boat crossings at http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=62-0071413065-0 . Incidently, we met the author, William Longyard, several years ago when he came to visit us to take a look at Little Cruiser. It was not surprising that we had similar interests in small boat adventures and about a year ago he told me about his plans to publish a book on the subject. We had been entertaining the idea ourselves for years, however, we never got around to doing much on the subject (except for the webpage). Therefore, we were happy someone else took on the challenge. Hopefully it will be an interesting read.
Incidently, I'm now reading a wonderfully well written book called, "The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow," by A J Mackinnon. (ISBN 1-57409-152-2). Loaned to me by Matt Layden, who in turn was given the book by Sven Lundin himself. This well traveled tome chronicles the adventures of Alexander Mackinnon's 4,900 km voyage from the border of North Wales to the Black Sea in a Mirror Dinghy. At the moment I am about a third of the way through the book, and I have to admit that the author's dry humor has kept me chuckling through almost everyone of his carefully crafted pages. I would definitely recommend to anyone giving this book a read if they are interested in small boat adventures. Dave


Well, we're back! We had a great time cruising the Bahamas again, and we had a lot of fun exploring Andros and it's many creeks and three bights. We did lots of fishing and diving, and we will have plenty of photographs soon to show everyone.
Our finest congratulations go to Matt Layden, the designer and builder of our boat, for winning The Watertribe Challenge, a 300 mile non stop race from Tampa to Key Largo. You can read more about this marathon challenge for sail/oar powered small craft at http://www.watertribe.com/Challenge/ . Matt beat his nearest rival, a two man team in an outrigger canoe, by 15 hours!!!

GONE SAILING! Well, we're headed South, and we won't be back until around April. Unfortunately, we won't be in a position to answer any e-mails directly; therefore, it would be best to save any questions until we get back to avoid filling up our e-mail box. Hopefully, we'll have lots of pictures to show everyone as well as a few new yarns to tell.

Well, as many of you may have guessed by the limited entries we have been making on this page recently, we have been quite busy getting ready for another trip to the Bahamas. Little Cruiser is now packed and on her trailer, and we should be heading South to the Florida Keys within the next week or so. Thanks to everyone for all the encouragement we have received, and we wish all of you a safe and happy new year.

We've added a few new things to the website like the Micro-charts project and our Solarex MSX-10L solar panel review.