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Old 27-10-2006, 17:01   #1
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My first post - I have a feeling it might not be my last

I am in the market for a Formosa or Hudson 51 or similar, to live on and do some serious ocean passaging. We did it for seven years in the Mediterranean when my family were young, so Im familiar with live aboard cruising. However, Im not too familiar with the Formosa and even less with the Hudsons, both very similar by William Garden.
To suit my budget these will have been built around 1978/81.
They all seem to be ketch rig, which I want to change.
So.a few questions please:
1. What are readers opinions of the pros and cons of either make?
2. Are there any serious pitfalls I should look out for?
3. Now, heres a really crazy question. Has anyone ever converted any ketch of this size to a schooner, and more precisely a brigantine?
My plan is to shift the existing main to become the schooner main, and buy a new foremast with two yards which will mount on the existing main step. The advantage of these boats is they have external chainplates, so the mizzen chainplates can be brought forward to support the new schooner mainmast with the addition of another chainplate. The only problem I foresee, and not yet addressed is the stepping of the new mainmast, which will fall on top of the pilothouse.
Finally I really am serious - so all suggestions will be analyzed.
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Old 27-10-2006, 17:46   #2
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Why do you think your sailplan will be superior to the designer's original sailplan?

How were you planning to find the new centers of effort and balance, and make sure your new plan is balanced for that hull?

And with all that extra sail area, will you be adding keel weight or draft to keep the boat upright in a good wind?

Or were you planning to hire a naval architect to see if what you want is going to work?
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Old 27-10-2006, 18:52   #3
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Good points:
Having sailed a brigantine I know the value of squaresails.
Fore and aft balance will not be much changed, since the new main steps well forward of the old mizzen and the foremast and yards will be about the same weight as the old main.
What will be different will be topside weight and possibly windage, fore this reason the yards will be lowerable on tracks, the forecourse yard coming down to near the deck if necessary in really heavy seas. Windage will be negligable because I have a design to furl the sails inside the yards, like in-mast-furling.
Total fore and aft footage will actually be less, because the jibs will be smaller and the tweenmast staysail smaller than a mizzen, but like every case, sails will be set acording to wind. Squaresails will never be set with fore and aft sails, because they blanket each other, or used on anything other than a dead run.
I have already consulted deeply with a couple of reputable mast makers, who think it not that big a deal because we are not talking about cruiser racing. But I wanted to find out if anyone had ever actually done it on a similar boat.
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Old 27-10-2006, 19:33   #4
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Not to mention it will look great. Just finished racing in the chesapeake bay schooner race and they are beautiful.
mike
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Old 27-10-2006, 20:19   #5
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Not being a fan of schooners, I would strongly recommend looking into to some of the different options for ketch rigs. Adding a square sail to a ketch is a very easy option, and those who have done it swear by it. I would recommend reading "Gentlemen Never Sail To Weather" and "Paradie Is Full Of Bugs". I am a firm believer in function over form, and as beatiful as a brig is, it is not the most practical configuration for cruising. Especially if you will be short handed.
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Old 27-10-2006, 21:04   #6
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Aloha Jolly,
I hope you check in on meets and greets too. At any rate, welcome aboard!!
I sailed on a Marco Polo, 3 masted schooner with a squaresail set on the foremast while sailing downwind. 55 feet and very narrow beam, full keel.
I just have to say that it took at least 15k winds to make it move and rolled like a log. It also was very slow compared to my Garden ketch which was a 35 and ketches are not fast boats.
I too had a friend with a Colvin schooner with lug sails. He also could not keep up with my ketch even though our waterline lengths were very nearly the same and his was a very light boat (aluminum).
Except for the extreme beauty of a schooner rig I would say that they would have all died as the dinosaurs have.
Why don't you just buy a schooner if that's the rig you want?
If you look at a Formosa, make certain you take an ice pick with you and thump the cabin tops and transom looking for dry rot. Very prevalent problems with any of them that have glass over ply in any area.
This sounds like a very negative response and I'm usually not that way. Must be because I broke 3 lawn mowers today.
Kind Regards,
JohnL
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Old 27-10-2006, 21:47   #7
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JohnL, didn't anyone ever tell you you don't have to mow the deck Musta caught the stancions
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Old 27-10-2006, 21:53   #8
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Another concern would be the placement of the additional chainplates. You would need a structural bulkhead or compression rod to keep the hull from crushing........................_/)
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Old 28-10-2006, 06:36   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kai Nui
Not being a fan of schooners, I would strongly recommend looking into to some of the different options for ketch rigs. Adding a square sail to a ketch is a very easy option, and those who have done it swear by it. I would recommend reading "Gentlemen Never Sail To Weather" and "Paradie Is Full Of Bugs". I am a firm believer in function over form, and as beatiful as a brig is, it is not the most practical configuration for cruising. Especially if you will be short handed.
Hi Kai,
Fitting a single yard to a ketch is an option I had thought of, and having the larger squaresail would not be a problem since I could reef it from the deck. It would also be a lot cheaper than my larger modification. When push comes to shove I think that's what I might do, because I could then try out the sail and always modify her to schooner if I wanted to.
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Old 28-10-2006, 06:40   #10
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Having absorbed comments about modifying a ketch and the merits and demerits of a schooner, I would dearly still like to hear from anyone who ownes or has owned a Formosa or Hudson 51.
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Old 28-10-2006, 12:02   #11
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Kai Nui,
I was mowing the bottom of the boat!!
Don't know why they wouldn't keep running.
JohnL
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Old 28-10-2006, 12:26   #12
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Must be cause it was upside down (The mower that is)
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Old 28-10-2006, 12:45   #13
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You can get a modified fuel system for aircraft, used in inverted flying, and we can get them mowers humming....
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Old 28-10-2006, 15:52   #14
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He He
So, back to the original subject. The Formosa, Hudson, William Garden designs are very close in hull shape, and were strongly influenced by the time Garden spent working under Hugh Angleman. Angleman's defining accomplishment, in my opinion, was the Sea Witch. The sea Witch design was scaled down and sold to a number of builders including Harden. This design was called the Sea Spirit and was 34' LOD. Same beamy, clipper bowed wineglass transom as the Force 50 et al. Having owned and extensively sailed a Sea Spirit, I can say there is not a more comfortable cruising vessel out there. Ours was very fast off the wind, very sea kindly, and had plenty of room below. The classic lines are very appealing to the eye, which in my opinion is a very good indication of their sailing ability. I stand by my assessment that what appeals to the eye is what sails well.
As JohnL mentioned, these vessels used allot of ? over ply (teak, fiberglass etc). These are the weak areas. Water incursion and rot are almost guaranteed. Not hard to fix, but not cheap, plan for it. This hull design sails very well with a ketch rig and sqaure sail. If you are going to go with a vessel of this age, and size, I could not recommend a better choice. The interiors are a true yacht classic. That being said, you wil hear allot of critisizm about the performance of these boats. They are not as fast as most modern vessels up wind, and they are heavy. The ketch rig, is, in my opinion, the best of all worlds, especially on a design like the Formosa. Lot's of sail combos, decent upwind performance, and great downwind performance. Add the square sail, and you have the pirate ship look you are going for with modern performance. So, there's my 2 cents. In case you didn't notice, I really like these boats.
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Old 28-10-2006, 16:43   #15
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Aloha Canibul,
Had one of those inverted carbs on a Farmall tractor. I don't know why but I couldn't run it upside down under water either.
JohnL
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