'Ladybird' when she was at Cowes.
Matt Layden with 'Elusion'
Every two years or thereabouts I like to take on a new boating project, and now is the time to decide what to do. Having sold ‘Ladybird’ I am free to make a start, but I have not made up my mind as to the nature of the project. I am exploring the possibility of building a small boat similar to Matt Layden’s ‘Elusion’. (See my previous Blog with photographs of her: http://bills-log.blogspot.com/2010/03/elusion-matt-laydens-micro-sailboat.html ) Her allure is proving to be irresistible, which makes me think that I shall not be satisfied until I have a similar little boat for my very own use.
What makes this tiny vessel attractive? Well, she has several desirable features. For me, at this time, minimum expenditure for maintenance and storage rank well up on the list of ‘must haves’. I need something that will occupy my spare time, and building a boat that will fit into my garage could satisfy this need. As I get older I feel less inclined to sail long distances; therefore the sort of boat I should be looking for is one for weekending and day sailing. My Paradox, ‘Faith’ fitted this role pretty well, but she was a bit of a handful when I had to launch and retrieve her on my own, particularly if the slipway was steep and exposed to the waves - more so if there was a transverse current. Perhaps if her trailer had been fitted with docking arms, things would have been easier.
I am also toying with the idea of buying a sailing dinghy, but going back to open boat sailing, without the protection from the elements provided by ‘Elusion’ does not really appeal to me. My Roamer dinghy was an excellent cruising boat; however, exposure to the elements was a problem, and setting up her boom tent at the end of the day was always a fag. This was more of a chore if the boat had been drenched with rain or was wet with spray. Because of these things, a dinghy is not as attractive to me as an ‘Elusion’-type micro-cruiser for weekending. On the other hand, a small, easily managed dinghy could be satisfactory if I only wanted to day sail when the weather was fine. I would like the option of being able to spend a few nights aboard my next boat without the hassle of rigging a tent, and Matt Layden’s little boat would meet the criterion. She also provides around the clock protection from exposure for her solo crew. Add to that the fact that she’s smaller than many dinghies, therefore she should be easy to get on and off her road trailer.
The problem with building an ‘Elusion’ clone is that there are no plans available. I would have to design one for myself, perhaps by using a proprietary computer program, or by making a model for determining offsets, or simply by shaping the boat directly from raw materials, as a sculptor may carve into wood or chisel into stone. With any of these methods, the result could be disastrous!
All that is required of me is to make a decision to go ahead, start the chosen project, persevere with it and overcome obstacles that may come along, then accept the end result. The journey to a completion should be fun, and if the project works out satisfactorily, sailing the boat afterwards should be satisfying.