Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Greetings. Welcome to our new blog which will document our adventures, trials, and tribulations as we embark upon the construction of our new boat. We currently live aboard the Seabird, a 48' Trawler built by Ron Rawson in Tacoma, Washington in the mid 70's. Seabird is a fine vessel and has served us well for many years. If you haven't done so, please check out our previous blog: "sausalitoseabird.blogspot.com" which chronicles our adventures cruising from San Francisco to British Columbia and back last summer. 

While we were on our last cruise, we began to think about longer distance voyaging for the future, and what type of vessel could take us "anywhere" in relative safety and comfort without breaking the bank. We came back to a design that we had looked at many years ago by a fellow named George Buehler. Here's his website which pretty well sums up his design philosophy, so I don't have to:  http://dieselducks.com/

After months of searching the used market for a suitable ocean going vessel at the right price, we realized that with the economy being what it is right now (steel prices down, lots of skilled people looking for work, etc) we might have a shot at building one of Buehlers designs in steel, incorporating our own ideas of what works and what doesn't work in a cruising boat. We figured the time was right and we could do this locally, without going broke (we'll see about that last part).

The design we settled on is a Swan 55, designed by Buehler. This is basically like his 48' Diesel Duck (Koloa is Hawaiian for a native duck) stretched a few extra  feet. This makes for a long, relatively narrow hull which should move through the water very nicely with not a lot of horsepower. I think this size will give us enough room to be comfortable but still be economical to run, and we won't feel like too much of a tiny spec on the ocean when underway. We made a few design changes at the stern and wheelhouse, but are otherwise staying true to the original design, including masts for an auxiliary sail rig.

At this point we have been planning, trying to find bargains on buying parts and materials (surplus where possible), and doing what seems like endless research so we can be ready to make (reasonably) informed decisions about the vessel as she comes together. More on this coming up... -PB


  1. I think is so cool, good luck Guys!

  2. Not sure if you have heard the news, but George Buehler passed away on 2/28/2018. He will be missed.

  3. I had heard George was in the hospital, and it didn't sound good. I feel fortunate to have had a chance to work with him. He had the right mix of real world experience, practicality... and cynicism. RIP.

  4. We spent a few days with George at TrawlerFest in 2014 and where able to talk with him for hours and hours over those days. It was educational to say the least. Reading his website and books was just like talking with him in person.

    Yes, he did have the right mix of experience and practicality. Cynicism is a good description as well. :) We always thought of him as the Curmudgeon of Whidbey Island. :)

    He went too dang early. RIP.