Boat fantasies

A West Wight Potter 15 with bimini and cockpit tent.
Dodger, bimini, and cockpit tent seems almost necessary. Photos curtesy of Jim Borchert via West India, a West Wight Potter cobweb.

I have been considering and reconsidering all the things I would love to do with the West Wight Potter 19 . Two or three ideas which I think would do the most to make the boat a truly useful long-distance cruiser require substantial alteration to the cabin.

But then, thinking more about it, such changes are probably not a good idea. For example, a boat this small does not need a sink. The sink is complicated, involves various plumbing bits which are prone to failure, and usually involves at least one hole through the hull.

But removing it would involve rather a lot of work. In addition to removing the various plumbing bits, properly repairing the holes in hull and deck (for the water infill fitting), there would be modifications to the fibreglass cabin module to make the fixture into something else – like a very useful cabinet or a tiny wet locker.

Exploded view of Dickinson P9000 propane fireplace showing all the parts.
Like, for example, the Dickinson P9000 propane fireplace.

(My plan would be to make it into a space for a heater stove – probably a gas fireplace but possibly a solid-fuel stove.)

These modifications would probably require some professional interventions to make them work well and a finished appearance. And that would cost a fair bit of money. If I skimped and did a workable version of my own crafting it might be fine, too, but when I go to sell the boat it will count against the value, not contribute toward it. So one way or the other it will cost money, and I would rather sail with a pretty upgrade if I will end up paying for it anyway.

But all of this would make a small, inexpensive sailboat slightly better, slightly less inexpensive. It would not make it into any of the classes of dream boats I would really rather own than this one. And it would take time and money away from actually sailing this boat as it is.

A sailboat tied up to the dock, covered in snow, a Canadian flag flying at the stern.
S/V Orion at the dock in Victoria in 2007, from Darren and Cindy’s blog.

So rather than focus on installing a sea-going head, or winterizing the cabin for 4-season cruising, I will be focusing on getting the boat in the water. Yes, I want to have the boat sitting in a nice marina ready and waiting for me to show up, throw off the dock lines, and be motoring within minutes. Instead I will be practicing my mast-raising skills, figuring out the launching ramps nearest the storage site, and saving that monthly fee toward one of those dream boats perhaps.

Yes, there are some things the boat needs—like the dodger, like new bottom paint—but this boat is already on its way to being a very low-maintenance occasionally launched trailer sailor. There is no brightwork on deck besides the tiller. Thus far there is no paint above the waterline.

There is no reason to be gilding the lilly. I shall focus on making this simple boat even simpler, if possible.