Sunday, December 25, 2011

Time Piece - A Custom Coast 34

Time Piece - at anchor in the 'Hook' at Isla San Fransisco

We were anchored off the pristine crescent of sand known amongst cruisers as 'the hook' at isla San Fransisco in the Sea of Cortez when we saw a sail boat approaching. There was something familiar about her, and as she drew nearer, her owner hailed us, asking if we were a Coast 34. It turned out that his boat, Time Piece, was also a Coast, although different enough to my eye that I could not immediately identify her.

Owner - John Spicher inn the galley - note the angled center-line sink and lovely solid
teak woodwork. The oblong portlights (windows) are also different from production Coasts.
Owned by John Spicher, Time Piece was recently arrived in Mexico from Anacortes, Washington. John has lived on board her for a decade in Shilshole, Washington. Time Piece came down in this year's Baja Ha Ha cruising rally, taking first place honours in her division because she sailed the entire course (only 7 boats out of 162 entries did so this year).

Time Piece at the start of the Baja Ha Ha

The bulwarks are much higher on Time Piece than Ladybug - a full 8 inches,
giving the deck a safe, enclosed feeling. The deck is lower than on production boats.
We went on board Time Piece the next morning and over coffee, chatted with John about his boat and experiences. He revealed that the boat was not one of the production Coast 34s that were built in the Vancouver, Canada area since the early 1980's. Instead she is a custom hull, built to Graham Shannon's design by a Port Alberni shipwright. John had a binder that the builder, Jack Klock, had put together to document the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the boat. Jack put in 12,500 hours of labour over a period of 7 years, launching her in 1990. She was built with a full keel (an option specified by the designer) and has raised cabin sides, a lower deck, wider beam (12 feet!), and much higher bulwarks than the production Coast 34s. She also weighs in at a beefy 26,000 lbs, nearly 10,000 lbs heavier than the specified weight. This is a result of her massive construction, with substantial fibreglass layup over a full airex foam core.
Male mold for Time Piece - made of wood strips over wood framing.
Builder inside raw hull after mold has been removed - a daunting task ahead.
The finish work inside is on a par with the best Taiwanese boats, with solid Burmese teak, milled by the builder, employed throughout. Her layout is similar to the production Coast 34, except for the engine placement being slightly further aft and the galley, which retains the angled sink of the original plans. Some bulkheads have also been moved a few inches and extra collision bulkheads installed.

Nice teak woodwork - lots of curves in this boat.

One of the nicest things about building your own boat is that you can do things in a way that is more labour intensive, but results in a better solution than a production boatyard can afford. Time Piece has a number of novel features including water tanks that are built directly into the keel area (getting the weight down low where it acts as ballast) and a unique plumbing system that runs all grey and black water to aft tanks behind the engine. This eliminates all discharge through-hulls below the waterline. She has only 3 below waterline fittings - one raw water intake shared by the engine, water maker, and saltwater pumps, the propellor shaft, and the depth sounder transducer. Even the head is flushed from re-used sink water.

One of the many nice touches - a stainless steel spring that hold open the chart drawer.

John is obviously satisfied with his boat. She meets his criteria for a blue water passage maker that can be handled by one and has proved to be a practical live-aboard.

John looks over the original blueprints for his boat - a nice thing to have on board.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been aboard Time makes you feel like you're really on a quality boat. An experienced skipper and a great boat makes an excellent team.