He has made a hull that is big but at the same time exceptionally light, strong but still uncluttered by bulky beams and stiffeners. Garden did it with a seamless construction method heretofore seen only on much smaller boats. Using resorcinol glue, he laminated three skins of thin cedar plywood strips, one on top of the other, over cedar ribs running lengthwise. The whole works was built upside down for the convenience of workmen at the Mon-son boatyard, where Oceanus was put together. The boat was built without conventional framing, without floor timbers, deck beams or heavy deadwoods. Less than 40 man-hours were required for the initial layout. This was a substantial saving in labor and material, and an enormous saving in weight.
Oceanus was launched upside down with a tug standing by to flip her upright. She took the flipping operation like a thoroughbred, holding her shape well even though she had no decking to stiffen the sides of her double-ended hull. She was then decked at the Maritime Shipyards with laminated plywood and covered with an unbroken layer of fiber glass. Here Garden saved more time and money by using plywood in the structure and below-decks and keeping the carpentry simple.
There was no need to apply caulking to this hull. When it was sanded smooth the glue had filled the narrow seams between the strips to form an integral part of the hull.
Garden's rigging plan called for 1,000 square feet of canvas on the 64-foot mast, enough to drive Oceanus at nine knots in favorable wind. For his engine, he picked a rebuilt Chrysler Crown rated at 110 horsepower—which pushes Oceanus along at the crisp cruising speed of 8� knots.
"Her performance under sail was a happy surprise," said Garden, "and I wasn't aiming for anything mediocre to start with." Garden feels that Oceanus "will go farther, faster, with less effort than practically any boat afloat."
As for racing, Oceanus will probably never win any big prizes. She will hold her own, boat for boat, but with her long waterline (46 feet) she suffers under the cruising race handicap rules. Besides, Garden has never wanted to spend the money for a parachute spinnaker and other racing gear. He reiterates his point that Oceanus was designed for good living—evenings of settled relaxation in the deckhouse after a good rare steak charcoal-grilled over the ship's stove.
She is also designed to extend a trend that began with the small "doghouse" shelters built just forward of the cockpit. The doghouse has been accepted by sailors for some time. Garden believes most sailors in turn will come to want the large comforts of the deckhouse.
As for the Gardens' budget, Oceanus represents a $55,000 investment, about a third less than the usual 60-footer. And with her seamless hull and topside, and a fiber-glass covered deck, Oceanus' upkeep is dirt-cheap—comparatively. "Owning a boat," said Garden, "can be like marrying a clotheshorse woman. It's cheap to marry them, but you can't keep them up. The point is, I can maintain Oceanus myself—except for annual paint jobs.
"This is a boat built to fit my time and means," says Garden who, as a leading naval architect in the Northwest, gets precious little time to himself but obviously has enough means to enjoy leisure in his own way. "Oceanus is a reflection of all the boats I've seen, all the boats I've built and the boats I've dreamed about. When you've designed as many boats as I have—350 over the past 10 years—your mind can shoot through so many proportions and types, well, it's like writing a bestseller. So many things influence you. I guess Oceanus will have about the same effect as an auto a few years ahead of its time. Some features will be accepted, some rejected. She is the first boat that I have built that did not have a successor sailing around in my head before launching day.
"In fact," he said with the contented look of a perfectly adjusted husband, "she reflects the independence of being able to do the thing exactly as I wanted to."