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Old 21-03-2019, 16:52   #1
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ICW mast modification

I am looking to purchase a catamaran to live aboard and be able to bring it back to the central east coast of Florida into the ICW. I know there are some cats that are in the 38-42' range and will clear the 65' bridge clearances but I am also interested in more space. Some of 44-46' cats have the space I want but not the clearance for the bridges. I have been told that some people have modified the mast to accommodate the bridge clearance. My questions and concerns are:
How much sail power would I lose by cutting off 7' of mast on a 46' cat? I would think the weight and displacement of the boat will matter. Is there an equation that would help with that answer?

What are the costs of modifications of mast, rigging and sails?

I am trying to decide do I go for the smaller vessel that I know will fit under the Bridges? Or go with the bigger vessel and modify the mast so I can come back to my land based home? Or do I buy the bigger boat and not worry about having to come back and just keep sailing?
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Old 21-03-2019, 18:08   #2
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Re: ICW mast modification

I have a boat with a 65' mast (plus a few more feet of VHF, tricolor, anemometer, etc.) so I sympathize with the ICW bridge restrictions. Nonetheless, taking off 7' from the mast on your cat will have a huge and mostly negative effect. It will be expensive: new sails and rigging. Worse, it will drastically affect performance. The designer calculated the sail square footage to propel and maneuver the boat, and removing 7' from jib and main will leave the boat under powered to sail in any condition.
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Old 21-03-2019, 18:10   #3
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Re: ICW mast modification

Cutting off 7 feet will definitely affect sailing performance in light to medium winds.

The costs will be high, for a new mainsail will be required if decent sail shape is to be retained, plus mods to all headsails if not replacement.

New rigging will be required, for most riggers won't swage new ends on old wire. You could DIY that part with mechanical terminals. If the rig utilizes diamonds, a rigger would likely be needed to modify those parts properly.

To me, it sounds like a bad idea. Perhaps you will be happier with a motor cat?

Jim
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Old 21-03-2019, 18:27   #4
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Re: ICW mast modification

A guy in our club did this on his cat. SLOW!

and its not 7 feet off the top where the sail is skinny, think of it as off the bottom by the boom.

powerful negative resale effect
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Old 21-03-2019, 18:31   #5
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Re: ICW mast modification

I met a cat that did it. Fractional rig so the rigging didn't need to be cut. they cut the mast down and recut the main to have a square top. They said the yard does a lot of them.
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Old 22-03-2019, 19:14   #6
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Re: ICW mast modification

At least you haven't bought the boat yet.
Keep looking, and keep away from any cat with a flybridge. That raises the rig to begin with.
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Old 22-03-2019, 19:40   #7
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Re: ICW mast modification

Anything is possible but even if cost isn't a factor, you're going to have to choose two out of three- of sailing ability, spacious accommodations, and ICW clearance.
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