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Old 11-05-2011, 09:41   #1
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Need Advice About Raising Deck ( via Adding to Freeboard )

I am pretty new to all of this, and I have really found this site to be useful in my research as there seems to be a lot of experienced members. So, here is a question I could not find the answer to by just researching alone that I am hoping I can get some advice on. If there are other threads that I just coudn't find, please advise.......

I bought a sailboat a few months ago. It is a Coronado/Columbia 35 (1972). It has 6' headroom throughout which on average isn't too bad, however (and unfortunately) I am 6'4". The only place with 7' room is the companion way where I can stand to stretch, etc.

I have been living aboard for 2 months now, and although it is a little smaller than I wanted, price dictated this was the best I could do for my budget without having to "gut" it and start over. It is center cockpit and pretty roomy and well arranged for the size. Better than many that were over 40' that I looked at. So far the height hasn't bothered me too much as when I am inside I am usually sitting or laying down. But as a liveaboard, I still have to stand to do dishes, shower, etc. and when standing I do have to lower my head a little which is only ok a short period before it gets annoying.

So....the issue is regarding the feasibility of raising the sides at the hull joint to raise the deck (and therefore the headroom) about 6 inches. As I intend to make this a way of life indefinitely, and would not likely be able to afford anything bigger for years, the added height would make it much more comfortable if I do not lose too much in stability and performance.





Here is some relative information for consideration:
  • I believe upper hull is cored with fiberglass on both sides. It is pretty stout.
  • Freeboard is already 48" which is pretty high.
  • Mast is deck stepped with a 3" dia. support pole underneath which could be easily modified or replaced. Therefore mast and all rigging would raise with deck and sails would remain the same.
  • There is not much in the way of affected bulkheads which would need to be added to, so it would mostly be adding to the sides and walls under the cockpit.
  • Mast seems shorter at top height than most boats of similar size 45' above water (40' above deck) so overall height wouldn't be problem.
  • I did not buy it for racing, but for cruising in Puget Sound, and perhaps some coastal cruising along West Coast and Canadian Waters.
Concerns:
  • As Freeboard is already pretty high, would extra 6 inches make much difference in stability?
  • How much more would it affect windage (it is already slow, but that may be due to my inexperience with sail trim, etc. which I am still working on as well as the bottom needs a good cleaning).
  • I had planned on hauling and painting tops and bottom this summer and would like to decide on what to do about the sides & deck before I do so.
  • Would I need to add to keel weight to offset the raised sail pressure, and if so how much more would that affect performance?
  • Is this all something I would have to have an engineer advise me on, especially if I want to cruise the coast (say to California)?
Thanks (in advance) for any help.

Steve
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:49   #2
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Re: Need advice about raising deck (via adding to freeboard)

You mentioned a lack of desire to "gut it"...... Raising the cabin will be far and above "gutting" your boat as projects go. Stability in my mind would not nearly be as much of an issue as redesigning the rigging/chainplates/bulkheads.

I HIGHLY ADVISE ABANDONING THE IDEA!
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Old 11-05-2011, 09:49   #3
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Re: Need advice about raising deck (via adding to freeboard)

Steve,

All things are possible but you would probably have been better off buying a hull to "gut".

Raising the top sides is a mammoth task. not just in structural terms but also in visual aesthetic terms. I would recommend that you talk to a good designer and also to a good yard before you go much further down this particular road.

I would love to answer all of your questions but the answer is going to be the same, See a Designer.

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Old 11-05-2011, 09:54   #4
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Re: Need advice about raising deck (via adding to freeboard)

The amount of money involved would make buying a different vessel economically equivalent. In addition to raising the deck and adding a plug you would also have to scarf extensions onto the top of all bulkheads or replace them outright. Raising the deck would also seriously change the stability, how bad would require a naval architect, but think of it as 2500-3000lb raised 6" plus the added weight of the plug and bulkhead extentions.

Alternative boats to consider with better headroom would be Columbi 34.2 and 43.
COLUMBIA 34 Mk II Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com
COLUMBIA 43 Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com

I have been aboard a 43 and it is cavernous, with 7' under the bubble and 6' ish elsewhere. The galley and dinette are under the bubble and the boat has 2 pilot berths with are excellent berths underway.

I have been aboard the 34 but forget what the headroom was like.

At 6'2" I accept that I will be scrapping the ceiling in any boat appropriate for what I want to do.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:10   #5
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Re: Need advice about raising deck (via adding to freeboard)

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Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
You mentioned a lack of desire to "gut it"...... Raising the cabin will be far and above "gutting" your boat as projects go. Stability in my mind would not nearly be as much of an issue as redesigning the rigging/chainplates/bulkheads.
I'm not sure why I would have to revise the rigging and chain plates, etc. as they are all attached to the deck and it would be all raised as a unit when all is said and done.

As far as the gutting idea. Nothing on the inside would need to be gutted except the wood trim at the tops of the bulk heads and along the hull/deck joint. All areas are easy to get to and very exposed. I am sitting in the boat right now looking around and believe that I could do it all without hardly affecting the interior, except for patching in the tops of a few walls which are all smooth fiberglass which would be easy patching.

As far as cost, I am a pretty handy carpenter (30 years) with a little fiberglass boat building experience, and would do all of the work myself. Cost would be pretty minimal (except for possibly the engineering).

So cost, and working in the interior are not an issue. Stability and performance is though.

Has anyone done this before that could lend some personal experience? Assume I will talk with an engineer, but still would like to hear from anyone who might know something about this.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:15   #6
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

The rigging attachment points usually connect to the hull, not the deck.

You asked for opinions, and you got them, all in agreement that your plan is not a good idea. That said, if you choose to go forward, please chronicle it here in this thread with plenty of pictures.... I'm sure a lot of folks would be interested in your progress.

Good luck!
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:23   #7
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

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Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
The rigging attachment points usually connect to the hull, not the deck.

You asked for opinions, and you got them, all in agreement that your plan is not a good idea. That said, if you choose to go forward, please chronicle it here in this thread with plenty of pictures.... I'm sure a lot of folks would be interested in your progress.

Good luck!
All rigging is through the deck with thick stainless backing plates. Deck is very solid.

I appreciate the opinions so far, but as I just recently posted this, will wait to see if I can get more than a couple replies before assuming it is a full consensus. So far no one seems to have actually done it or heard of it to offer any advice based on real experience.

If an engineer thinks it feasible I will likely give it a go, and will definately post the progress and final results.

Thanks for the reply.

Steve
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:30   #8
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

So another related question would be..... how do I find a good reasonable naval architect in my neck of the woods? (Seattle/Ballard, WA)? I assume I could google and call, but that would be a dart in the dark.

Does anyone have any experience with any in this neighborhood?
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:37   #9
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

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Old 11-05-2011, 10:42   #10
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

This strikes me as a really bad idea. To alter a boat that much will create a one-off monstrosity and destroy its resale value. That is assuming you ever get it finished.

Far better to sell her, take the money and buy or build one that suits you.


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Old 11-05-2011, 10:48   #11
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

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PM sent...
Thanks Charlie, he sounds like a good source. I'll contact him.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:51   #12
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Terrible idea mate. It would be easier & most likely cheaper to start over. Everything from your shoulders up, all the way to the masthead would have to be changed, replaced and/or adjusted.
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Old 11-05-2011, 10:51   #13
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

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Originally Posted by SabreKai View Post
To alter a boat that much will create a one-off monstrosity
I am adding a few inches to the height, not another floor.

Thanks for the opinions in any case.
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:24   #14
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck (via Adding to Freeboard)

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Terrible idea mate. It would be easier & most likely cheaper to start over. Everything from your shoulders up, all the way to the masthead would have to be changed, replaced and/or adjusted.
Can you clarify your comments, and/or help me understand what and why so much would need to change? If the whole deck and everything on it were to raise, why would everything above it need to change? It is all attached to the ceck. I am not trying to debate anything, just trying to understand a little better as the cost and ease of work seem pretty easy to me. It is just the stability I am worried about, and I don't know how much raising everything 6" would affect that but will certainly get professional engineering advice before undertaking. Let me know if I am missing something as to why so much would need to change above the deck to the top of the mast.

Thanks
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Old 11-05-2011, 11:56   #15
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Re: Need Advice About Raising Deck ( via Adding to Freeboard )

If you're just cutting off the deck, glassing in an extension and glassing the house back on, it shouldn't be a huge issue. The standing rigging, sans mast, would have to change due to the shorter distance. If the deck was angle downward going forward to the original level at the forestay, only the shroud lengths would change. You might have to have new, longer chainplates made. The backstay should remain the same unless she's an aft cabin boat with the extension done there as well. You would lose a bit of clearance from the boom to the deck and it might effect the vang geometry, if so equipped. It would add a bit of windage, maybe 5% more? The added weight up high would likely cause a bit more tenderness.
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