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28679Re: Cruising Dorado

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  • Mark Albanese
    Oct 23, 2013

      A great cruising tale! Thanks for sharing.

      The comparison with the Aran Island currachs is interesting. If you ask Jim Michalak, I'm sure he would say his pointy bowed, multichined boats are most closely related to a certain type of American Dory from the 19th century.

      Many great boats from around the world are similar.

      Where are you?

      Since low speed travel is your goal, you might consider some of Jim's other designs, Caroline and Dani Jay come to mind, with similar performance at low speed under power and the ability to take a sail, also with more room for donuts along with your coffee.



      First of all much thanks for accepting me in the group. I usually consult this group while doing searchs in the net and the content most time is helpfull.
      To be honest I began to consult and study about boating less than ten years ago and my experiencie sailing was none. I was several months doing searchs in the web to choice a boat plan and don't found nothing better than Michalak's Dorado. I was looking for a seaworthy- functional- easy to do boat - nice looking and seaworthy. After some months building (the weather was not helping- too much rain that winter) I put the boat in the water and remain in there for three years living and sailing with and old Mercury o.b. 4.5 hp two strokes with improper screw in out of tune.
      The boat works fine with an engine this small- going up to almost planning in flat waters. The only problem is directional stability and windage at low speed but the boat is very seaworthy. I began to read about currachs cause this boat I think have the same seaworthiness and approximate shape of thats of Aran.
      I have not a point of reference to compare Dorado with other boat. But I been twenty miles offshore with some bad weather and I fill save in the boat- also I fill calm. No water goes into the cockpit in any condition other than rain.
      In shallow water is the must. Once I break the engine cause the soft mud aspired by the water pump but you can float in the dew. Then I paddle three to four miles from the bow with a simple piece of timber shaped with my knife and half of that was against a strong tidal and wind (I'm strong cause a long life of pushups).
      After that I sold the engine and did a yuloh with an old whales boat oar and a stick added to the loom. No problem with directional stability- as a kick up a sculling oar for this boat is better than a small engine and you can go at three knots with easy. Then I take the tidal and did a travel during several days of forty nautical miles or more. Easy and funny to surf the waves - the big drawback are crossed winds where you loose speed cause half of the stroke is loose.
      Near arrival to my town I break the yuloh when I was in shallows near the coast with the tidal lowering and wind form the sea. The water began to breack and the boat sits on top of the blade so the lever breaks the loom. The waves began to grow up and break and I anchor the boat- take my foxie Charlie and went swiming fivety yards to the shore. From there I see something unbeliavle: the boat was floating over a big rip curl of five to six feet tall absolutelly crossed (taking the wave from the beam) and ever still trimed horizontal.
      I tought in that opportunity the boat will sink or capsize in the shore. But once on shore I save the blade remaining of the yuloh - somebody lends me a mobile to do a call for some friend trow me (I was less than five miles from port) and I went back swiming to the boat with the dog and throwing the anchor I went out of the surf to wait the other boat to throw me. A couple of times the waves pushed me to the water from the bow where I was sitting.
      To live on board I did the cabin enclosed and I can sit inside to drink a coffe or wathever- I'm a bit less than 6 feet tall. Over the cokpit I put a polytarp and under that I was able to cooking or still there with confortable sitting room. Also y put ugly tempered glasses as a windscreen.
      Now I was months looking again for boat plans.I asked in a forum of designers about a boat able to cruise at ten knots with 10 hp but I don't learnt nothing new in this sense. So I will build another Dorado. At the times I telling above I was in Europe in North Atlantic. Now I'm in South Atlantic in South America and I loose the first boat cause burocracy. I will purchase the plans again- I got it but I think is more ethic and will ask to Mr. Michalak how an outboard well will affect performance. Hope to buy a new two or four strokes 9.9 hp to test and if it is not sufficient I can legally here convert to 15 hp.
      I read in this forum Ashley Cook telling the boat began to plane at eight knots and I read some studys of J.Michalack where he says Dorado cruising at 20 miles was using full 15 hp.  So I think with 10 hp can cruise at ten or twelve knots at than half power. 
      Imagine if the four strokes spent two liters an hour at twelve knots with a tank of six gallons can do more than hundred miles in ten hours - approximatedly.
      Another point is I did different kinds of sails of simple design to test Dorado. Ever goes where the winds like. But the better was something like a latin sail very small -probably two sqare meters. Ever can help but I think in doing a new sculling oar with a vertical blade; can  work better in some chop and can be a bit faster and use this oar also as a quarter rudder. 
      Don't need ballaster: this boat is seaworthy because floats over three inches of water and a long narrow quarter rudder will assist the trimming and direction (hope to).
      This boat can be done self bailing easily. Just putting covers over the bunks and a couple of scuppers. If the weather is bad just cover the bunks but is not important in this boat cause as I tell before no water goes to the cockpit and just in case is easyar an electric water pump. The windscreen can be done more aesthetic. The boat is easyer to save from a capsize -I think is imposible to capsize this boat- than others wide beamed but the problem is if the engine takes water in this case.
      Ah, I almost forget to tell when my boat sits over rocks. I leave it anchored in a beach in a storm and the bow rope breaks so turns bow to the beach and the tidal put it over that rocks. Nothing happens: this boat is quite strong.
      In conclusion the boat don't need any improvement or modification. I love this boat and as same the first time I can afford a "better" boat. But for somebody who wants to cruise for long weeks in ocean and rivers nothing is better than this and motoring Dorado is cheaper, safer and faster than sailing. If I got the time I can go anywhere around the world with this boat. 
      I'm new in boating and boatbuilding, so I don't know what's the problem of some people with stitch and glue boats. Tupperware boats looks better -they do the investiment for- and wooden boats are classics but if this is an instant boat or not I didnt know.
      Sorry for my english fellows.