A True River Cruiser

An inspiration came into my mind today, that of pursuing the role of my little plastic Tabur 320 (named Sophia) as a river cruiser, able to go under very low bridges and even be hauled out of the water for getting round obstacles like weirs and rapids. I found that the first boom tent I made for Sarum fitted perfectly. On Sarum, I made a new boom tent because I needed more headroom given that my sleeping arrangement went on two boards that served during the day as extra-width cockpit seats.

The boom tent is held by three elastic cords that go under the hull. For this, the boat needs to be out of the water and on a grassy or muddy bank. It is not like the tent on Sarum designed to be put up whilst the boat is at anchor or moored. Sophia becomes a land tent for the night. That is at least the theory which I don’t imagine trying out before next April or May.

The rowing thwart lifts out and my legs will easily go between the centreboard well and the buoyancy tanks, and I would be on a self-inflating mattress and in a sleeping bag. It is not exactly the Ritz, but a great way to spend a weekend or three days exploring a river before returning to the point where I left the van and trailer. I will no longer sail Sophia on the sea, now that I have Sarum.

Here is the old boom tent in its new application.

The sail and sprit are tied to the mast and the clew of the sail is detached from the boom. The boom is supported by the usual wooden cradle.

At the stern, the tent is left unattached to let the rain drain away freely over the outside of the transom.

Inside, the rowing thwart can be lifted out and placed at the opposite side of the boat from where I will sleep, likewise for the oars and other stuff. My galley box will have to be very small and compact and have a very simple camping gas burner. It has to be severely minimalist! The tent goes nicely over the fore of the boat and should keep the rain out, if necessary with the aid of a small plastic board, perhaps the boat’s centreboard.

Here is the simple arrangement of the boom with the wooden cradle.

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