So, working through the checklist we come to shoal draft…
The first Loose Moose drew all of a foot when the dagger board was up and Loose Moose 2 drew just 18 inches. Both boats taught me an awful lot about why real shoal draft makes sense where a VolksCruiser is concerned.
For starters, it allows you to get into places that other boats can’t which opens up a myriad number of possible anchorages that others simply can’t get into. This goes a long way into being able to find a spot to anchor in places that are either problematic or simply too crowded to anchor safely.
When we were in Lanzarote, we were anchored in an area so shallow that the harbor boat who’d come and collect anchoring fees could not reach us, so we never had to pay. Which is no bad thing as, if you anchor in places that others can’t, the powers that be tend to forget you’re there.
One of the things I don’t like about our current boat is it draws five feet. We’ve had no shortage of folks anchoring on top of us and all the brouhaha that involves. We never had boats dragging down on us in the middle of the night when we were anchored in three feet of water.
Then there’s the ability to beach or dry out. Which can make basic boat work a lot easier or be a real life saver. Sure I can replace a seacock while afloat but it’s a lot easier and safer if you’re bottom is on sand and the seacock is above the water when beached. Of course you can do the same with our current boat but that entails beaching legs and a reasonable tidal range.
Lastly, as far as I’m concerned, a well designed shoal draft sailboat is going to be less prone to capsize because there is less structure on the bottom that can catch and trip a hull which is, more often than not, a very big contributing factor in capsize situations. On the internal vs external ballast argument, I’ll just point you to my clown friend as an example of the basic physics of things.
Next on the list is what “well built” actually means in a VolksCruiser…