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Old 07-01-2013, 16:05   #16
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

The canals have a 20'ish air draft so nothing goes through with any mast up, the champlain canal is 17' air draft at several bridges. Even a gaff rig is still way too tall.
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Old 07-01-2013, 16:06   #17
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pirate Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

If I may make a suggestion... look at ketchs 36-40ft, then fit tabernacles... this will give you the pivot point to securely raise and lower your own masts..
ketch main masts are usaully shorter than sloops so easier to handle... especially if you have an electric windlass...
The big Morgans for example..?
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Old 07-01-2013, 16:12   #18
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

As always, I'd suggest getting a smaller sailboat first and trying it out to see how you like it. Something in the 30-35 foot range would allow you to go through the canal, down the ICW, and over to the Bahamas if you wanted to, and then you can go back to Florida and find your ideal fixer-upper once you know more about sailing and what you want.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:13   #19
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

Regardless of which boat you decide to purchase, you need to shake it down for a season or two before you start heading south. The last thing you want is to be stranded somewhere with a repair that could have been addressed in home waters relatively easily. Yes, things always break on a boat, but if you are buying a "fixer-upper" there will be a lot of things to fix up. You will want to address as many of the key issues before you head out when you have the time and resources to address these easily.

Also, I agree - a 35 footer with a deck stepped mast would seem to be best. You will want to be sure the mast does not extend wildly over the bow or transom as this will make navigating through the locks much harder.
(If I lay my keel stepped mast in a cradle on the deck of my boat it extends almost 10 feet fore and aft -- not fun in close quarters.

Good luck.
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Old 08-01-2013, 11:53   #20
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

A tabernacle mast is what you want. The mast can be lowered and raised usually without a crane.

Your budget will be sufficient to find something fairly decent in the 30 to 34 foot range that won't need much, if any, major work to be safe and ready to sail. You don't want to mess with a boat with no mast or engine or whatever for your first boat. It is such a buzz killer to have to fix stuff that you dont have a clue about, with the best offer to fix it way more than you can afford.

My suggestion is either initially buy a small trailer sailer in the 20 to 26 foot range, and get your feet wet in that, or crew for someone else. A trailerable day sailer is usually powered by a small outboard, or nothing at all, and the rigging is made to be easy to put up and take down. You can learn a lot by sailing in protected waters in a small boat, and you don't need to pay for a slip. Just run it up on the trailer and haul it home behind the car. If you buy a well used boat, it won't depreciate much and you can recover most of the purchase price when you sell it to upgrade.

Crewing costs basically nothing. Initially you don't have to know much of anything. You just sit on the rail where you are told, and move to the other side when told. You are "rail meat", or movable ballast. Then gradually you get introduced to winch grinding or spinnaker dowsing or other stuff. Maybe after the race, the skipper will even let you steer his boat a little. Once you are known, liked, and trusted, you will be taught a lot of stuff. You will also meet the right people... some of them with boats for sale. No need to wait for your class to begin, to start your sail education.
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:28   #21
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

IMO, you need to read a site "The Rivers and Waterways of America's Great Loop", while it's all very informative you can skip to the Looper Boat and what kind of baot you need.

There you'll find that the author advocates using a sailboat with the mast off and what he calls a "Strawler".

There are links from there as well. But it's not as simple as all that, just taking the mast off.

I'm considering the same thing, but other are correct. The mast is part of the entire design and aids in stability, you may need to shave a keel and add balast.

I also agree that a smaller boat will be better. One issue is the draft, you should definately be less than 5' and really 3' should keep you from grounding. A sailboat at 35+ feet probably won't be ideal due to its draft, at 45' you'll be over 5' easily and most will have fixed keels. There could be an option of a catamaran, but sounds like that's not in your budget.

There are several shoal draft boats in the 30 to 35' category.

Another issue is going through locks with other boats, including commercial boats. Do you have the skills to motor a slip sliding motored sailboat in tight quarters? Smaller would be better.

What you want to do has been done and really seems to be getting to be a more popular ideas due to the efficiency you mentioned.

And I'd agree too if you're near a boat meca, a single engine diesel trawler at 30/32' is well suited for rivers and meets the draft required.

At your budget, you can find a nice boat with a mast ready to go and one that won't need a crane, get the length down to 30/32 foot and it will be more manageable.

If you find other details on this, please post them, I'm doing the same, probably.
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Old 08-01-2013, 12:31   #22
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

I'm not sure how a canal barge is any better looking than a trawler. Many, many boats these days throw around the trawler name. Plenty are plastic looking Express crusiers, basicly power boats, not trawlers. You mentioned Eric liking junk rigs, and now trawlers are ugly. Sounds like eric has some romantic thoughts of life at sea. Thats not a good place to start. I bet he has no concept of anything about trawlers, but feels if its not a sailboat, he's not cruising.
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Old 08-01-2013, 13:04   #23
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

Several bits of info in the previous post need some correcting. Shaving keels and adding ballast sounds like a bad idea. Many 45ish boats have shoal keels. Just because a boat is only 35', its not a sure thing that the mast will go up without a crane. Masts get heavy, rigging, lights, antennas. Some small boats have tall masts, others not so much.
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Old 08-01-2013, 13:45   #24
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

could someone explain to me how any power boat can be as fuel efficient as a sailboat? In the three months I kept mine on erie last season I used less than 3 gallons of fuel. I pretty much just used it to motor in and out of the marina.
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Old 08-01-2013, 14:05   #25
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

We're talking about under power, at slow speeds. Yes if you sail its a different game, but thats not what we were talking about. Lots of cruising can be done under power. Many people assume that cruising means sailing, lots of canals and such that have very short air draft and go to cool, fun places. I'm a traveler and purist sailing means nothing to me, wind,diesel both very cool.
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Old 08-01-2013, 20:40   #26
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

Sorry if my reply sounded like a jab, I didn't intend it that way. As of yet my sailing is strictly recreational. I have never left dock with a destination or purpose so I only go out when the wind is tempting. I'm certainly not a purist, possibly an idealist.
Sorry if I offended anyone.
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Old 08-01-2013, 21:49   #27
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

Quote:
Originally Posted by Straightrazor41 View Post
could someone explain to me how any power boat can be as fuel efficient as a sailboat? In the three months I kept mine on erie last season I used less than 3 gallons of fuel. I pretty much just used it to motor in and out of the marina.
It isn't. But you forget, this is the internet and anything is possible without a shade of truth.
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Old 08-01-2013, 21:59   #28
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

Is anyone here old enough to remember the National Geographic stories of Irving Johnson, cruising the canals and rivers in Europe in his sailboat Yankee III ?
What ever happened to that boat?
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Old 08-01-2013, 23:30   #29
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

There are several mastless sailboats in our marina (Vallejo). Not sure if owners have decided that an engine is the preferred source of propulsion or whether they're boats are in disrepair. On the other hand, the owner of this motorsailer berthed along the Napa River seems to have decided sails aren't worth the effort/expense.

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Old 09-08-2014, 20:03   #30
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Re: Buying/using a sailboat without a mast

Despite what you may be hearing or reading, a sailboat will act the same with or without a mast in place. A big difference can be felt when sails are up. If you had a sailboat that had been de-rigged and took it out on the lake under power and it had correct ballast and whatever keel that was on the boat was in tact it would handle just the same as it would with a naked mast erected.
The ballast weight counter acts the long tall mast and the. sails pull/push from the effects of the wind. Some sailboats pull keels up (if they can) when sailing downwind to reduce drag so this in it's self proves that a keel is not an absolute in every circumstance.
I have seen many sailboats trolling around the lake with sails down, mast lowered and tied off and people cooking on the back deck and enjoying a glass of wine with a fine meal. They in no way were being tossed back and forth. It's not any different than if the mast were up.
Go and do what makes your day enjoyable. If you learn to sail, it'll be an adventure, but believe me, you will be under power without sails many many many many times and never will your boat rock or feel any more unsteady just because the rigging is gone. In fact it may be more stable with all the rigging gone since at 35 feet or so the wind affect will make the boat rock.
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