PACIFIC MOTOR BOAT -- May 1938
Are Building a Diesel Yacht
by Elliott Higgins Jr.
|Yes, we're building a boat.
The venture began with the desire of father and son to own a sizable cruiser, and to make it their home, possibly the year 'round. A decision of what to build and how to go about it was formed by shore-cruising among the many boat yards and moorings. Good fortune, however, gave the enterprise a "head start" when we discovered a bare hull in a condition perfect for the plans in mind.
It was the hull of a 65-foot yacht, with excellent lines from the boards of the prominent J. Murray Watts of Philadelphia. Following an explosion which had damaged only the cabins and superstructure, the owners had directed a shipyard to remove everything prior to reconstruction. With all parts so open and visible, it was easy for a professional shipbuilder to make a thorough examination. Upon his favorable report my father and I took ownership.
When George Jensen, son of the Seattle boat builder, produced some of his irresistible sketches showing what could be done in the way of appearance and interior arrangement, all thought of making this just a repair job was tossed overboard. It was apparent that this hull was truly worthy of some design and financial investment. The father and son partnership went into action.
While the father furnished the funds, the son (who is an engineer) got out the drafting board and instruments, to produce the results seen here. It should be mentioned that the best of materials had been used originally, and all parts were fully sound. But in order to follow the new plans in a workmanlike manner, eliminating "patchwork", about half the 2.5-inch square bent oak frames were replaced with longer ones. This was done in order to raise the deck line, and for the same reason a new stem of a single piece of ironbark was installed.
Planking is 1.5-inch fir. The necessary additional lumber was bought a year in advance, so that perfectly seasoned material would be available. Twin engine beds are carried fore and aft more than half the length of the ship, and average about 6 inches by 12 inches. Bilge stringers 2 inches by 6 inches run full length, and still heavier deck clamps and shelves add to the longitudinal strength. Three watertight bulkheads are provided; one between crew's quarters and the others fore and aft of the engine compartment. They are of triple thickness, not only for stiffness, but to eliminate diesel odors and to deaden sound.
Teak decks of 1.25-inch by 2-inch stock have just been completed. For smartness, they were laid with the curve of the ship. Three hatches in the floor of the saloon provide an access six feet square for the installation of machinery. Particular attention was given this arrangement, so that the engines, tanks, etc., can be brought through the large window openings at any stage of construction. It will never be necessary to cut open the roof or decks for any replacement or maintenance work.
Some of the more novel features planned include heating with high pressure circulating water from an automatic oil-burning boiler, which will also provide hot water for baths and galley. Heat will be distributed by a combination of concealed copper-fin radiators and a forced air-duct system. The circulation of warm, fresh air is not only desirable for comfort, but is expected to prevent dry-rot. The entire electrical equipment will be 115 volts, and most of the motors of the universal type. It will then be possible to connect both the water and electrical circuits to the city supply during the winter months.
Some special planning was done on the galley. Realizing that in all too many cruisers some member of the family acting as cook must operate in cramped and stuffy quarters below, the galley was placed topside. It was felt that on any trip the cook is and important person who should be treated with utmost respect. Here, two large side windows give a full view of passing events. For convenience the cook has a "right hand serve" from the diesel range to the combination dining room and salon forward. For buffet affairs or cocktails, he can open the window aft and slide the items deftly along the roof of the owner's stateroom toward the horseshoe lounging seat astern.
She is 66 feet overall, and 58 feet at the waterline. Her beam is 14 feet, and the draft about five. With two diesels, of a make not yet decided, we figure she should do 9.5 to 10 knots, with perhaps a top speed of eleven. We'll carry 800 gallons of fuel and 800 gallons of water. We have decided on hydraulic steering.
As will be seen from the plans, the boat will easily accommodate from eight to ten people.
So far, the good ship has been four years under construction. She has profited much, both in design and construction, from the longer period. With the owners doing part of the work it's been a pleasant, unhurried hobby. When she slides down the ways from Tony Jensen's in Seattle this fall there will be still much to do. But still our desires have taken shape far better than we anticipated. By now we are certain that she's going to be ideal for our threefold purpose -- ideal as a home, a boat for charter, and for pleasure cruising everywhere.