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Old 03-07-2013, 12:43   #1
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U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

Ahoy from Ann Arbor, Mi,

Throw me a life preserver! Was given a a 35 foot Welin and Davit Navy life boat years ago and am trying to find an appropriate power system, preferably diesel to push this puppy about. I heard a Yanmar or a five cylinder mercedes would possibly work. Also need a marine transmission. From the front motor mount to the shaft receiver at rear of boat is 37 1/2 inches. I could rework this but was hoping to find the right power train. What would be the ideal propeller? Finally, would like to find a rudder and oars. Anybody know anything? The boat is 12 foot wide, 8 foot in the belly, 5 foot draft, with a 49 thousand pound payload. It's information medallion states 165 men capacity. My goal is to transform her to a trimaran with a houseboat use in mean time. Thanks for reading, I appreciate any help.


Matthew
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Old 03-07-2013, 12:51   #2
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

I can't help, but pics would be interesting.

From the dimensions a houseboat (or displacement speed motorboat) sounds feasible, a trimaran (sailing?) not so much (a bit too wide and squat?).
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Old 04-07-2013, 20:12   #3
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

Agreed on the photos needed. A tri? Really? That's houseboat dimensions, and a torquey 80-100 hp diesel turning about a 22-inch four-blade sounds about right.

Think "trawler" more than "tri". Five feet of draft argues against turning it into a sailing vessel, unless...and this is a big unless...you can employ leeboards and turn it into a Thames-style sailing barge.

But as you say, it's a lifeboat. They aren't known for their sailing characteristics.
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Old 04-07-2013, 20:43   #4
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That hull screams 80 HP John Deere and down east cabin style trawler. Tough to beat the price paid but if a tri is the ultimate objective it seems more efficient to start with one of the many abandoned builds advertised. Free is about the going price for most of those backyard sculptures.

I too would love to see photos of that lifeboat. Those old lifeboats are loopers dreams.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:52   #5
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

I'm impressed with your project. Thought about doing something similar myself a few years ago.
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Old 05-07-2013, 10:38   #6
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

In the 60s, had some close friends out of Midland ,Ontario, stick a light pole in one, rigged it as a gaff rig cutter, and sailed it from Midland to South America. Have a photo somewhere. Boat was named Seruga.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:54   #7
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

Hello All,

Thank you for the response. I have shared a few images.


Matt
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:14   #8
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

She's never been in sea water as far as I know. I primed her and am ready to work on the interior. I'm mostly interested in finding the right drive train, either what it came with or something to give more power. Alternatively interested in steam power and looking for a marine transmission that could work for steam or diesel. I have a 22 inch four blade prop I heard that would work.

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Old 10-07-2013, 10:44   #9
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

My guess is that hull shape will travel at around 5 or 6 knots - more power will simply bury her backside even if it squeezes another knot out (at the price of heavy fuel consumption). If she was a ships lifeboat originally then never intended to travel great distances under power (anything fitted would be primarily about manoeuvring). My WAG is also around the 80hp mark (although another 20hp might not hurt) - the good news is that have space to fit just about anything you want in there!, would be sensible to plan the install before building the insides. I am guessing that budget is not unlimited, so my take is that choice will be dependent on what is available / affordable - but wise to make sure that engine and will gearbox match, or at least a decent chance of finding a match.

As a double ender, from what I can see, looks like no engine was intended, unless you fit twins ($$$) then will have a bit of "fun" installing a shaft centrally in a way that allows clean water to flow into the prop (a single offset is possible but will impact on "performance"). For a rudder looks like will need a welder and some creativity.

Not sure what the trimaran idea is about - certainly won't sail as one. As a lifeboat she will be stable without outriggers / amas, but due to her bilge shape she will roll a fair bit in a sea.

FWIW, me father had a wooden converted ships lifeboat (from a cancelled order) - only a 27 foot though. She had sails on her (but not well enough to make a passage with), under motor she would plow through anything (but roll like a pig in a beam sea!) - but had more of a keel that yours appears to. If you google up a Fairey Fisherman will get an idea of what I am talking about.
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Old 11-07-2013, 13:31   #10
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Picture one shows the shaft opening for single. Aside from that I agree with DOJ. You have a great displacement powerboat hull, the only reason for a mast is for a steadying rig. Propulsion sails would be a waste of otherwise useful sailcloth IMO.

I've been keeping an eye out locally for a similar hull to fulfill my desire for a yard art project. Stand by my previous post, down east style trawler cabin and little diesel and she'd look great. You could likely get away with 60 HP engine as she ain't getting over 8 knots without a rocket motor.

Nice hull.
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Old 11-07-2013, 14:05   #11
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPseudonym View Post
Picture one shows the shaft opening for single.
Yeah, it does when yer click on the pic to enlarge That'll make life a lot easier on the install .........but not terribly convinced the location of the prop is ideal (looks a bit too blocked by the bilges - but I ain't no expert!).
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Old 11-07-2013, 14:11   #12
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but I ain't no expert!
Neither am I but am still pretty sure it'd make a lousy tri
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Old 30-12-2013, 11:41   #13
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

Here is mine. i found this thread while searching for info on where my boat came from.

It has a 55hp yanmar with a 40gallon tank. with a 10 foot bow sprit and two gaff rigged masts she has alot of sail. Bow sprit has 2 stays for head sails.

Interior is fitted for lived aboard with hot water shower and complete galley.

Thought you might like to see the potential your hull has.

Mine was built in 1944 for the navy then refitted by Wellin in 1971 for long range cruising.

Hope your project is progressing

Andy.
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Old 30-12-2013, 11:46   #14
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

Thanks for adding to this thread (I doubt if OP ever progressed with his!)
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Old 30-12-2013, 11:48   #15
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Re: U.S.S. Norton Life Boat Conversion.

A couple of quick questions:

How fast (under) motor does she cruise at?

Does she have leeboards (or any drop keel?) - and if not, how does she stand up to the sail (lots of leeway? or not).

Do you make passages under sail alone, or motor sail
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