liveaboard cruising sharpie
A truly serious cruising
boat. This one is "Wizard", formerly owned by Bob Archibald . Photos: Mike
37'9" x 7'10", ballasted,
13" draft (offcentreboard up), 40.7 sq m main; reaching spinnaker can be
fitted. Unstayed mast, couterweighted in tabernacle - at home on canals
as well as sailing! Note the "Loose Moose"
sail insignia! Photos (c) Mike Stockstill
is the #2 AS39, a sister ship to the ocean-crossing Loose
Moose. This is an affordable mansion of a boat, set up for serious
cruising, loads of living room, lots of deck space. She was professionally
built a few years ago for Bob Archibald, using marine ply and West System
epoxy. The AS39's extreme shallow draft allows the boat to explore coves
and private anchorages that other boats this size, and a lot smaller, just
can't do. In the event of bad weather, just put the boat on the beach,
or anchor in 2' of water and walk to shore. In mid-ocean, Loose
Moose II demonstrated the design to be capable, kindly, and fast.
The deck area is spacious,
offering many handholds and many areas for solid footing. The seatbacks
in the cockpit contain long storage areas. The deck is also high:
as with the AS29, think seriously about preventing going overboard, and
how to get back up if you do...
Below decks, the Bolger plans
provide, from aft forwards, double-berth stateroom, study with two desks
and settee, moderate galley area, large head and shower/small bath area,
main saloon with settee berths port and starboard, large storerooms either
side of the cantilevered mast's well.
Wizard has only minor departures
from the original plans, a matter of detailing (eg the study settee
is a full berth length instead of a 2-person
settee) rather than the tendency of some builders
to indulge in radical changes. Wizard is painted white below
decks to maximise available light, the finish relieved with stencilling
and varnished wood trim. We've had to go this way too with Lady
Kate, our AS29 - gaboon ply is nice in moderation, but it's dark,
dark in quantity. When you really want dark, draw the portlight curtains!
Vital in a true liveaboard,
the AS39 has lots of storage. Photo shows the starboard forward
storeroom beyond the saloon's starboard settee bunk. Cavernous...
Note the fan - Wizard is Florida based, and accordingly provided
with electric fans below deck for additional comfort. But both the AS29
and AS39 designs have very good ventilation indeed - none of this opening
hatches to be greeted with a superheated blast of stale air scented with
The forward desk in the study.
There's another facing aft, out of frame.
More storage aft in the main
stateroom (portside, looking aft).
Here are some of Bob Archibald's
comments on her features:
Wizard used an electric start
Yamaha high-thrust 9.9 four stroke engine with a remote control mounted
right on the tiller for ease of handling. The four=stroke is environmentally
friendly, quieter, offers better fuel economy, and swings an oversize propeller
at a slower speed than a normal 9.9 horsepower engine. This results in
a motor that takes a bigger bite out of the water and gives much more control
over the boat. Control is needed, since in shallow water with her
board up there's a lot of windage. I put in a custom link to the
tiller so that both the engine and the rudder steer the boat under power.
Lewmar ball bearing blocks
and low-stretch running rigging, a necessity for a single sail of this
Lifelines fitted to avoid the
falling-overboard syndrome; and a (detachable) stainless steel swim
ladder mounted on the transom
3 anchors, 2 rodes, and fenders
(serious equipment, necessary in a boat this size)
Matching bimini and sail cover,
both new, vital for sunny climes
A "Sun-Mar" composting toilet
Bulkhead arrangement in the
design allows for a lot of privacy - this is a big boat.
The AS39 is a really serious
boat, not a weekender and not repeat not a cheapie daysailer.
Don't launch into the building of one without a lot of forethought!
In the end, Bob found the big, big boat a bit too big for his purposes
and age, hence the sale. He also found it something of a handful
to wake up, singlehanded sail, and put to bed. This doesn't surprise
us, as our AS29 is also a handful--daysailing
is OK, but forget the idea of going out for a two-hour excursion unless
you're just motoring.
The AS39 also is a lot of tonnage,
and one has to learn big boat/small ship power techniques. It's out of
the realms of steerable props on small sailboats. This is a BIG boat.
But if you're genuinely seeking a liveaboard and a temperate ocean-crosser,
perhaps you should look carefully at this design!
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