14 October 2013

The Top 10 Most Interesting Boats

Top ten lists are so popular whether it is Prime Minister John Key appearing on the Letterman show to give the top ten reasons to visit New Zealand, the top ten things that make life better aboard your boat, top ten provisioning tips or even the top ten places to cruise. And like an angst ridden teenager in high school desperately wanting to fit in, I figure I need to have my own top ten list too. And here it is...the top ten most interesting boats out there. Well interesting to me at least. You be the judge. Just don't tell me if you don't like my list as I might lock myself in my bedroom crying uncontrollably like an angst ridden teenager. (Mom, I am so sorry I put you through all of that. I blame the fact that my frontal lobe was not fully developed at the time.)

1. The AC45

Rather than go with the obvious America's Cup boat, the AC72, I decided to feature her little sister, the AC45, instead. Little sisters are so often overlooked. The AC45 was the first of two new designs for this year's America's Cup. They are essentially smaller, practice boats so that the crews could get used to sailing on the new wingsailed multihull boats. The boats are powered by a wing that is 20 meters above the deck and they can go really fast and sail in all sorts of conditions. They cost around one million dollars each which makes them a very expensive way to try out a new boat design and technology. Interesting fact - one of the key design criteria for the AC45 was to make sure they could fit into a standard 40 foot shipping container. I'm not sure how you get a 45 foot boat into a 40 foot shipping container but I was never very good in math. (By the way, the outcome of the this year's America's Cup was so heartbreaking.)

2. Serrafyn

No list would be complete without mentioning Larry & Lin Pardey. I picked their 24 1/2 foot wooden boat Serrafyn which they built together in the 1960s and sailed over 47,000 miles around the world, documenting their travels in a number of books. Serrafyn is a Lyle Hess designed sloop which is patterned after an English channel cutter. Tiny and compact, Serrafyn is a solidly built boat that has survived almost anything the sea can throw at you. The Pardeys went on to build a larger cruising boat in Bull Canyon in the 1980s, the 29 foot Taleisin, but their adventures on Serrafyn just go to show you that it is possible to live well and see the world in a small boat.

3.  Kon Tiki

Kon Tiki was the balsa wood raft built by the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl which he sailed with five other guys from Peru to the Raroia Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago in 1947. It took 101 days over 4,300 miles (8,000 kms) in the open Pacific Ocean to reach the Tuamotu islands. On a raft. With no engine. Made out of balsa wood. You know, the stuff they make model airplanes out of. This, some might argue, is the very definition of insanity. The guys did have knives, a radio, charts and a sextant with them. However, still crazy. And why did Thor do this? To prove, once and for all, that it was possible that people from South American could have settled Polynesia. However, the issue is far from settled and many anthropologists believe it just didn't happen this way. But points to Thor for testing out his theory in a very crazy, crazy way. It is the type of thing that happens routinely on reality TV shows these days but Thor did it first.

4.  The MS Turanor PlanetSolar

The MS Turanor PlanetSolar is the world's largest solar powered boat. And possibly the world's weirdest looking boat if you ask me. It was designed by a Kiwi, Craig Loomes, for a German entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs in Germany must be making good money these days as the boat cost a cool 25 million. I have no idea if that is in NZ dollars or US dollars, but when you're talking about that many dollars it probably doesn't matter. The boat is built out of a lightweight carbon structure and has 512 square meters of photovoltaic cells on it. It has already circumnavigated and now the University of Geneva are currently doing some scientific research on it. It will then be kitted out with six luxury cabins and en-suites. After all, it is important to blend in with all the other super yachts out there. And for all of you "Lord of the Rings" geeks out there, yes that's where the name "Turanor" came from. It means "The Power of the Sun".

5.  Tofi

Tofi was created by designer Hyun-Seok Kim and won first place in the 2011 "Dreamboat" Millennium Yacht Design Award. It is a sleek little minimalistic houseboat / yacht. It has main saloon with a galley, two bedrooms and a separate shower. There is a large deck in the rear and another deck on the roof. And for those days when it is raining, there is a hole in floor so you can fish no matter what the weather. And the best news of all, it is completely transparent so everyone can see how cool you look sitting inside. I'm not actually sure if one has ever been built or if it is just at concept stage right now. Is there a big demand for transparent spaceship-like boats? If you have one, let me know. Curious to know how you keep all that glass clean.

6. The Iguana 29

One of Scott's uncles is completely mystified as to how we will possibly survive living on our sailboat as we won't have a car. The Iguana 29 could be just the answer. It is an amphibious boat, comfortable both in water and on land. It is 8.6 meters long, can carry 8 people and reach speeds of up to 40 knots on the water and around 7 km/hour on land. The good people at Iguana will also sell you a smaller boat, the Iguana 24. Their website cracks me up with it's description, "Your first amphibious craft. You had never really thought about it before, but it is possible. Thanks to the Iguana 24, discover a new freedom, the ability to decide in a moment when and how to launch and recover your boat." They're right. Until I read their website, I never realized that I wanted an amphibious boat. Next time I have a spare $28,000 lying around in change, I'll definitely get one.

7.  HMNZS Te Mana

The Te Mana is one of the Royal New Zealand Navy's ANZAC class frigates. While I can't say that I find naval vessels terribly interesting, I've put the Te Mana on this top ten list as she is about to be deployed to Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean region to take part in international anti-piracy efforts. New Zealand's economy is highly driven by exports and, being an island nation, relies on shipping. Protecting shipping lanes from piracy is pretty important stuff and good on New Zealand for taking part, especially considering what a relatively small country it is (only 4.4 million people). Te Mana has a crew of 177, including 25 officers, and a bunch of weapons including guns, missiles and torpedoes. Plus a helicopter. Sadly, the pirates have pretty much the same stuff.

8. The Rooster Boat

I don't really know what to say about this boat except wow. How cool would that be to have your own giant rooster boat? You can check it out here along with pictures of some other really strange and interesting boats. I would like to make one that looks like a Narwhal. It would have that cool unicorn like horn sticking out of the front to poke all of the other boats out of the way.

9.  The Fennell Residence

The Fennell Residence isn't a very boat-like name, but then it isn't a very boat-like boat. It is on the water, however, so technically it is a house boat. Designed by Robert Harvey Oshatz, this "boat" can be found in Portland, Oregon. I don't think it would make it very far on the open ocean, but it would look cool trying.

10.  Rainbow's End

And of course the most interesting boat of all is Rainbow's End which is our boat and soon to be our permanent home. Rainbow's End is a Raven 26 and a Kiwi classic designed by Owen Woolley. There were about 400 of them built during the 1970s and 1980s and you can find lots of them still sailing around New Zealand. A few have even made it to the Pacific islands. You can find out more about her here.

She might be small, but
she is all ours!

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