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38400A conversation with Suzanne Altenberger (2)

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  • Leo
    Aug 18, 2004
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      Folks,

      Recently I have started exploring options for a Summer Retirement
      Cruiser. If you take a look at the following URL's, you'll see my
      posts (and other's replies) in other forums.

      http://boatdesign.net/forums/showthread.php?t=4480

      You may have to join this Yahoo group to access the messages – but
      hey, it's a great group of folks!

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BackyardBoatbuilding2/message/2034

      As a result of both postings in the BB2 group and some private emails
      I started looking much closer at a couple of Bolger's designs –
      specifically the Tahiti and the Sitka Cruiser.

      I sent a letter off to PB&F early last week and on Monday night last I
      received a phone call from Suzanne Altenberger. Here's the post I put
      on BB2 on Tuesday.

      BTW, I'm sorta cross-posting it here because of the suggestion from
      another member on this group – even though the original thread took
      place in BB2.


      Posted in BB2 on Tuesday 8/17/04

      Last night I received an email from Dan that said his computer was
      acting strange and it may take him a bit to straighten it out. So he
      may be conspicuous by his absence for a bit.

      I was on the cell phone with him suggesting a couple of resources he
      might look into to help solve his computer woes when my home phone
      rang and Dan asked, "Do you need to get that?" I told him that either
      the wife or the voice-mail would take care of it and we continued
      chatting for another few minutes.

      My lovely wife had taken a message and soon laid a note in front of me
      saying that Suzanne Altenberger would call back in 10 minutes. Well,
      it wasn't 10 minutes, but closer to an hour before the phone rang
      again, just before 10 pm.

      If you go back to message 2034 you'll essentially see the letter I
      sent last week to Phil Bolger. Suzanne was calling to explore the
      Summer Retirement Cruiser concept.

      Though the discussion was wide ranging, the gist was this: They have
      a commission to complete the plans for the Sitka Explorer design. It
      should be done by Christmas time 2004. They are planning on offering
      several different hull lengths and power options. Several different
      accommodation plans will also be drawn. Suzanne invited me to draw
      out my ideas and send them along to see if they can be incorporated to
      "customize" Sitka's basic design to better fit my sense of the
      aesthetically pleasing.

      Minor discussion ensued about Tahiti. Apparently the builder is in
      the Florida Keys and both he and the boat escaped any damage from the
      recent hurricane – Charley. The hull has been afloat for about a year
      and should soon enter sea trials – though a specific timeframe was not
      offered. One tidbit of note was the cost to build Tahiti. Suzanne
      said that she believes the cost to date is about $28,000 and I
      inferred from other parts of the conversation the boat is near the 90%
      complete stage.

      Another part of the dialogue was comment on larger trailerable boats
      and their launching and retrieval. Suzanne suggests that with a
      suitable large single dolly wheel under the trailer tongue – 12" to
      15" diameter – that the trailer can be connected to the tow vehicle
      via a winch and strong cable and the slope of the launch ramp
      (gravity) can be used to allow the boat/trailer down the ramp without
      getting the tow vehicle anywhere near the water. This way the slime
      that is often present at the water's edge on the ramp does not present
      a problem getting the tow vehicle back up the ramp.

      The added benefit is that the trailer can be submerged completely to
      float the boat on and off the trailer.

      Suzanne also suggested that there NOT be any rollers used on the
      trailer. Rather she recommended that large padded bunks be used to
      distribute the weight of the boat over a large support area, thus
      greatly reducing the stress of roading, for both the boat and trailer.

      I listened as Suzanne described at length the positive attributes of
      both the Deutz Diesel and the outdrive used on both the Sitka and
      Tahiti. Apparently the Deutz is both light enough and inexpensive
      enough that is makes economic sense to carry a complete engine as a
      spare for those folks choosing to venture very far from civilization.

      The outdrive from Sillette-Sonic Ltd is especially interesting -
      http://www.sillette.co.uk/ is their web site. Not too much detailed
      info there, but sufficient to pique the interest in a no frills
      outdrive. Of particular interest for some might be the hydraulic
      outdrives on the Sillette website.

      After listening to Suzanne praise both the Deutz and Sillette-Sonic
      and the logic behind choosing that particular combo, she sold me on
      this particular combination for both durability and their (relatively)
      simple designs.

      The call came at nearly 10 pm (Central) and we finally said goodbye at
      nearly 11:30. A very interesting conversation with a knowledgeable
      individual. But in all honesty, I must report that out of that nearly
      90 minute phone call, I don't think I spoke for more than a total of
      10 minutes.

      Best,

      Leo

      P.S. - Please excuse the double post but it appears that Yahoo's
      screwing up again... What's new?
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