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Old 22-09-2014, 00:44   #1
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Evaluating a Modified Hull

I'm looking at a 36' atkin-designed boat for sale. She was originally constructed with strip planking (1" cedar strips), but modified with 3 layers of cold-molded fir. The added weight is my main concern. Displacement is 30,000 lbs for a D/L of 470. She's also rigged as a staysail schooner, with a SA/D that works out to around 9 (!). (for comparison, westsail32 D/L=430, SA/D=14)

The immediate goal is simply a part-time liveaboard and daysailer, but of course with this size of boat it would be nice to be able to go cruising. Fantasy cruise would be up the west coast, perhaps north into Canada someday. But even if this isn't the boat for that, I'm still interested at least. Lots of room and with the crazy weight, motion should be comfortable, right?

So I'm planning to get a test sail in in a couple weeks. What should I be looking at/for? My adult experience is all daysailing in San Francisco Bay on my old Ranger 26. Spent many weekends in the San Juans as a kid (and would love to go back!), but again in smaller lighter boats. I don't know what to expect in a real cruiser.

Is it silly to consider this any more than a tiny boat-shaped apartment, or am I getting hung up on numbers? I definitely like the stout double-ender, slow and sturdy approach, but at some point you've gone too far?

thanks for any wisdom!
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:51   #2
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

Hi there,
It is an interesting issue. Any photos?
My first boat was a similar design/construction, a 36ft triple diagonal cold mould ketch. A one off design. I had the same questions which was primarily, can this boat ever be a cruising boat? Of Course people have cruised on nearly every variation of design possible but this doesn't mean every boat is an appropriate cruising boat. With the huge amount of boats for sale at the moment one can be a little picky about what one chooses. In my case I eventually worked out that it would cost a lot more to add everything I needed (about $45k) in order to transform my first boat into a proper cruising boat than it was to buy a different boat with everything already aboard. There were also basic structural questions about using this older wooden boat (a one off design) as a long distance sailboat. If this is your first boat than the other point would be that it is best to get some sailing experience before making a decision about what boat is perfect for you. It is hard to know before sailing for a bit. But the point remains that it is generally going to be cheaper to buy a boat in good condition that has everything you need than to add and repair bit by bit. With a modified design such as the one you are looking at you would want to get as much information as is available about who did the work and if possible talk to the builder in person. As to the weight/comfort issue it will depend on the ballast ratio and general shape (form stability) of the hull. If the hull has gotten heavier but the ballast weight has stayed the same then it may feel strange. Then again doing cold mould strip planking is hard so it is likely it was done by a professional. The Atkins designs are of course generally considered to have a very comfortable motion. I have just bought my second boat that has everything I need to cruise after 4years aboard my first boat which was the wooden boat. My new boat is steal and I'm relieved to not have to worry about the constant maintenance a wooden vessel requires.
My advice would be that if it is the right price than get her, learn to sail her, use her as a home, fall in love with her and later on you can decide if you want to upgrade. This is if she is the right price. (How much they asking) Good luck.

Try and take someone who knows boats with you to check it all out. I would be checking the condition of everything. For example if the sails are no good. (Expensive to get new ones). If the engine is decent (how many hours, does it start first time). Is there water in the bilge (if so fresh water or salt). Are the masts in good order. Is the rigging old( once again expensive to replace)
Once too many of these things are broken or in bad condition it becomes more expensive to fix everything to a point where she can be sailed than it does to buy a better boat. It's a Balancing act.

Hope this is helpful. Write back with any questions you have. Surprised no one has responded yet, they normally eat this stuff up.




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Old 02-10-2014, 12:49   #3
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

The SA/D ratio of your old Ranger 26 is 15.9. I suspect that you will be deeply dissapointed with the sailing performance at SA/D of 9/. It is not a bad thing to go a little conservative (SA/D) on a cruising boat, but that looks very under-canvased. Just my opinion. ______Grant.
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Old 02-10-2014, 13:24   #4
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

Regards your question about the added weight of the cold molded veneers over the original planking, this is a non-issue. The added weight is so small in relationship to the boat's displacement that it is insignificant.

Regards the SA/D, are you sure that this is calculated correctly? There are many references available for calculating this, I'd verify that the number is correct. If it is the boat will be disappointing in light winds.

Forget all the comments you hear about heavy boats being slow. They are not true, and violate well understood principles of yacht performance. What is true is that the heavier the boat the more sail area you need to drive it at a given wind velocity. It's called power to weight. Heavy boats need big sail plans. Comparable SA/D boats will sail comparably, up to close to hull speed. (Yes this is a generalization, but it's not a bad one). The heavy boat is not going to plane, while the ULDB will. But its very unlikely you are going to cruise at ULDB displacement.
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Old 02-10-2014, 14:57   #5
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

Quote:
Originally Posted by gedanken View Post
I'm looking at a 36' atkin-designed boat for sale. She was originally constructed with strip planking (1" cedar strips), but modified with 3 layers of cold-molded fir...
She was not modified with cold-molded fir--she was saved from certain sinking with 3 layers of cold-molded fir.

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Old 02-10-2014, 21:03   #6
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

Agree with Terra Nova!
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Old 15-10-2014, 00:05   #7
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post
She was not modified with cold-molded fir--she was saved from certain sinking with 3 layers of cold-molded fir.

hehe. Seems possible. I'm fairly suspicious that the cold molding was always part of the plan, and the current owner simply has the story wrong. I've seen people discuss coldmolding over cedar as a reasonable construction technique, but 1" of cedar on bulkheads seems to have less to recommend it.

I've read a ton more about boat design in the last few weeks. (doh, should be volunteering to crew on heavy boats instead!) SA/D seems like something to work on down the road. As has been mentioned, this boat should be able to take a lot more canvas.

My concern is still the weight and how it's distributed. D/L of 480 is off the charts. Since the weight is largely in the hull, the ballast is probably too light too. Ballast/Displacement is ~.27, and part of that is in the bilge. Maybe on the wishlist is to move that to the bottom of the keel where it does more good. I'm not afraid to put some work into this boat (I'm the kind of person who thinks that's most of the fun!), but making the hull lighter won't be an option.

So if something is going to make this unworkable, it will be instability: too much rolling or pitching. These Archer-inspired double-enders tend to have a problem with hobby-horsing, and I have to suspect this one will too. But how to know what's acceptable? Anyone have practical benchmarks to compare to?

Going sailing this weekend, if the wind blows.
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Old 23-10-2014, 09:44   #8
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

That might be true but I have invented what I think is a great rule for looking at boats to buy: never assume that something is less screwed up than what someone tells you or it appears to be. It's probably 3x more screwed up than you can imagine.

That said cold molding over old wooden boats is a technique that's used. And cold molding over strip planking is a legitimate construction technique.

That said after being a wooden boat snob for many years and then buying a glass boat I can't imagine buying a wooden boat. So much maintenance on a glass boat and you don't even have to do anything to the hull except paint it. Maybe. For me, a little body filler and some rustoleum.


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Old 23-10-2014, 09:57   #9
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

Then there is the C/B ratio. (cost/budget)

That cAn overcome a lot.

So we bought a big ol heavy steel cruiser.

Ad said 44,000 lbs
I guessed 40,000 lbs
Alan Papes plans found on boat, and subsequent ads for sister boats all list 36,000lbs.

So that's a 8,000 lb swing, without modifications. That's about 20%.

They also neglected to tell us the boat had been completely coated in aluminum, hot metal deposit, as a corrosion preventative.

Bottom line, don't believe the numbers, good or bad. Due diligence. I suspect those numbers are way off. They just don't sound right.
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Old 23-10-2014, 12:22   #10
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

If the numbers are right, I'd walk away. That much extra weight it a hull that wasn't designed for it tweaks everything. Usually when your heavy and slow at least your stable and seakindly. She might just be slow AND unstable. Too many boats out there to latch onto a mutant.
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Old 23-10-2014, 12:26   #11
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

Not that I know anything but my understanding is that adding cold molding to a boat generally comes out in the wash as the boat ends up slightly higher on her lines, the additional girth adding some buoyancy.

But I wouldn't think about buying it without a master wooden boat surveyor giving it an a++. And I guess the boat will be heavier so the sail area to displacement ratio will be off.
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Old 25-10-2014, 00:49   #12
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Re: Evaluating a Modified Hull

got some good comments on a boat design forum. The displacement is probably right on the design -- it's just a really heavy design. In retrospect, this seems obvious. If she were really 50% overweight, she'd be floating well below her lwl, and she definitely is not. (By my measurement she's several inches high right now, completely unloaded). William Archer designed this one with beautiful slack bilges and a lowish D/L of .27. Huge wetted surface, but that's the tradeoff. No round-the-can performance to see here.

Also went for a sail last week and everything went great. In light wind, the small sail area doesn't provide a lot of push, but it's not as bad as I imagined. In 15 knots she sails marvelously! There's room for a big fisherman on the foremast which would add some sail area.

got an agreement on price (and it's modest for a spacious 36' boat, for sure), just need the full on survey next week...
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