This page is about a boat we had for a while.  The boat was a little unusual.  Not that it's a wooden boat, which it is, but that it was built originally as a lifeboat!  The story goes that it was built in the 1930's as a lifeboat to be dropped from airplanes to rescue downed pilots.  I have seen web pages on this and sure-enough - the pictures show lifeboats hanging from the bottom of modified bombers.

The story is that somehow the boat ends up in the possession of the Japanese during WWII.  There are stories of it actually being part of a rescue in the South China Sea.  The boat makes it way back to the Americans after the war.  Apparently, in about 1970 an American Air Force Officer bought the boat and rebuilt it in its current configuration by adding the decks, cabin, and engine.  The story goes that the rebuild took ten years to transform it from its historic form.  The guy did a good job as you will see.

For the price of four cases of beer (on a side deal with an Admiral) - the boat was transported back to Long Beach in California although I have not heard when this happen.  The Officer, who is apparently still living in So Cal, apparently sold the boat to the new owner who had visions of bikini babes hanging off the boat as he cruised the harbor but soon found out that the babe might prefer a little nicer boat.  That owner gave the boat away to the second previous owner who's son used the boat while in college in Monterey.

The story here is how the boat got to Monterey.  The father and a friend cruised the boat up the coast to deliver the boat.  They had a good trip with one exception - going around Point Conception.  The story goes that several boats were holed up in Coho Bay awaiting a break in the weather and when something opened - they all pulled out for a north bound trip.  Shortly after they left the weather fell apart and the waves were about 12 to 15 feet high on 4-second intervals!  The boat was violently careening back and forth and the hand held radio was smashed when it slid off the table and hit the wall.  Focusing on the waves the father did not notice that all the other boats had turned back.  No one was following them on that day.  Not having that radio could have been a problem.  Instead of turning back - they kept on going.  The little boat was doing just fine.  They limped into Port Luis several hours later worn but not beaten.  When the harbor master greeted them he asked if they had seen a small boat out there beating up the coast... they had been warned that someone was still out there - yes - they were the only boat to make it around on that day.


The kid apparently worked at the aquarium and shuttled people back and forth with the boat for apparently several years.  Somewhere in this era the engine was rebuilt.  Again - details kinda fuzzy about this era.

Apparently the boat made its way back to Southern California on a trailer - 70 miles per hour across the grapevine!  The boat was used to cruise out to Catalina and out to Santa Cruz.  The little boat is very seaworthy - it will go anywhere.  But - as things go - it ultimately went into storage for a few years only to be sold again to the owner I bought if from.  Its not clear in what condition the boat was when the previous owner acquired it but apparently he did a bit of engine work to make it seaworthy.

So why is it listed as a 1982 Monomoy?  Because with the reputation of wood boats - who wants to list their boat as a 1930 model.  Also, this boat has fiberglass outside the hull below the waterline - and since thats what counts - its also classified as a fiberglass boat.

Every boat should have a name and this one is named in honor of Rascal the family dog.  If the boat is 1/10th as good as the dog it will be fantastic...

Real Rascal

So without further delay - here is the MV Rascal!

1982 Monomoy

This picture was taken after painting the cap rail and deck.  Notice that the boat is a double-ender.  The stern is pointed like the bow.

Here is a close-up of the stern.

Stern View

Notice also that the rudder which hangs off the stern also has a tiller rod for manual steering.  Too cool.

This boat is actually pretty lean even though it weighs 13,500-lbs.

Long and Lean

The boat is powered by a Yanmar 3TL.  You don't see them advertised anywhere on the Internet but hopefully parts are still available.  It is a big heavy three cylinder diesel with manual start capability.  It has a 24-volt starter and alternator.  It burns about 0.5-gallon per hour so its really easy on the gas.  By the way - this is one slow boat.  Top speed may be about 7 knots (8-mph).

Yanmar 3TL

Here is a view of the back of the engine.

Rear of Yanmar 3TL

The engine is coupled to a clutch style transmission.  It can be locked into either forward or reverse or it can be partially engaged (like slipping the clutch on a car) to creep super slow when approaching the dock.

I hope I can find someone to pull the engine and give it a new paint job.

Here is a shot of the exhaust exiting the hull.  The exit point is just above the waterline on the outside.  On the inside you can see how the lapstrake boards are attached by rivets to the frames.  You can really tell this is one old boat.  The wood seems to be strong but I will constantly be on the lookout for rot.

Exhaust Exiting the Boat

It has a small cabin with berths on either side.  Excellent view of the construction of the hull.


The helm is pretty simple.  Wheel, throttle (black knob), gear shifter, power panel, and compass.  You can also tell that it is work boat rough on the interior.  That will change over the years.


Up on top it has a few interesting things...  That search light is Navy gear.  The day-tank is the white item just in front of the orange dock pole.  The tank is about three gallons and fed by an electric pump from larger below-deck tanks.  The diesel just flows by gravity down to the engine.  In front of the tank is the horn.  The horn and the search light are 24-volt.

Cabin Top

We have started painting the boat.  It came to us a little worn and a little tired on paint.  You can also see the original plastic window on the right.  In this picture we have already replaced the left with laminated glass.  Check out that anchor pulpit.  It's one big beam as is the Samson post (sticking up with the bar driven through it).  This is one tough little boat.

Before Paint

Now take a look at the same view with a fresh coat of paint.

After Paint


Well.  All work and no play is no fun so we take the little cruiser out for a spin every now and then...  It really feels good out on the water.


And what do you see in SoCal waters...?  How about Sea Lions.  They are around here by the thousands.

King Harbor Sea Lions

We bought the boat in November of 2004 and we donated the boat to charity in November of 2005.  Such a short time to have such a great little boat.

So what did we learn during our "year on the water"...?  Actually I learned plenty about being on the boat and on the water and we learned plenty about owning a boat.  Being on the water was mostly a joy.  We did sail out of Los Angeles Harbor and mostly cruised up around the Palos Verde Peninsula and over to Long Beach.  Never made it too far away.

I learned that boating while having a full time job in Los Angeles means you're not going to boating very much.  During the first several months I managed to cruise the boat twice a week for perhaps a few hours on each cruise.  The slowly, the demands of work reduced the cruising time to about an hour a week.  Even then, as I walked past all the stationary boats in the marina, I thought how at even a single hour a week, the Rascal was getting a lot more use than the vast majority of other boats.  At the end of the day, it seems that if you do not have a lot of free time on your hands, boating is not for you.

As far as boating and boat maintenance goes, the experience was well worth it...  some fundamentals:  Stow your gear!  six foot waves and boat wakes throw everything off and sends items crashing to the deck.  If its valuable, stow it while cruising!  Wakes are trouble.  Short and steep they crash the boat as you plow through them.  The Rascal was heavy for its length and mostly handled the wakes pretty well but the big ones really shook things up.  Waves...  never cruised in anything more than about six feet which the boat handled with ease.  Going up wind meant pounding and spray.  Downwind was easy cruising.  Maintenance - keep onboard systems very simple for ease of maintenance and longevity.  Avoid steel as it rusts mercifully.

As far at the boat in and of itself... did not work out and this is why it was donated after just one year of ownership.  We needed a bigger boat or a boat with a different set of features.  The fuel consumption was great and the displacement speed was tolerable - but - at that slow speed you need to be comfortable.  The Rascal was not that comfortable.  We needed more seating, perhaps a dinette, a galley, a head, better berths, and a closet.  The stripped down Rascal had none of these and this, more so than its usage, was why it is now off to a new owner.

So will I be getting another boat?  Yes, and the next boat will have more amenities to make things more comfortable.  I may try sailing too.  Will we have another boat prior to retirement cruising?  Not sure about this...  Stay tuned for more!