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Old 10-06-2012, 16:14   #1
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From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

G'day mates,

I was just thinking, as we get older some of us no-longer have the stamina, speed or strength to operate a 40' + sail-boat in safety but we are still capable of living aboard and we still love the cruising lifestyle. Most people in that position, like me sell their beloved sail-boat and start searching for a replacement powerboat. Why do we not simply convert our sail-boat to a straight-out power cruiser?
A lot of our Ferro Cement, Steel, Fiberglass cruising sail-boats have a full displacement hull similar to a power Trawler and I know of one family who have built a 56' glass powerboat in the style of a sail-boat, the owner/builder claims the powerboat, which to me looks like a sail-boat, achieves a passage-making fuel economy of 1 nautical mile per litre of fuel used, which I'm sure you'll agree, is extremely economical for a 56ft vessel. You can read the builders reasoning for building his beautiful boat at: Now for Sale (I have nothing to do with the sale of the boat)
I have also seen a Hartley South Seas in New Zealand and a 50' Roberts in Australia, both were/are set-up as straight-out powerboats, no sails at-all, but I have no figures on fuel used for those boats. Anyway, I was just wondering why more of us older people do not simply convert our full displacement hull FC, steel or glass sail-boats to powerboats

Cheers,

Bill
Australia
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Old 10-06-2012, 16:40   #2
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

I hear a lot of comments like "coming out of the basement" and "much more space".

A sailboat without a mast will have a very quick roll period and really needs hydraulic stabilizers, which many power boats also use.
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Old 10-06-2012, 17:23   #3
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

A trawler is nice, but dont remove the mast if you want to use your sailboat that way. The mainsail is essential to keep the boat rolling wildly!
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Old 10-06-2012, 17:39   #4
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

That boat's mast/sails seem strangely forward, unlike mine.

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Old 10-06-2012, 17:40   #5
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
..."much more space".
A sailboat without a mast will have a very quick roll period and really needs hydraulic stabilizers, which many power boats also use.
+1

We have just made the transition. Our 39' Allied ketch is for sale and we just bought a 1986 Mainship 36 Dual Cabin. The Mainship has a semi-displacement hull for the speed if we need it. The fuel economy is terrible at 6 kts (2 MPG) compared to the sailboat of about 7 MPG at the same 6 Kts. We were looking to buy either a trawler, motoryacht or a houseboat, whichever came along first that would suit our purposes. We eneded up with the motoryacht.
Some of the reasons we didnt want to keep the sailboat is that we wanted to be able to go under low bridges for exploring. It would be sacrilige to remove the mast from the sailboat not to mention that the sailboat value would drop to almost nothing without the mast. Also, the 36' Mainship with the enclosures on both the Flybridge and the Sun Deck give us much more usable space the the longer sailboat. Much more volume inside the Motoryacht. When traveling and looking for a slip in a hurry, much easier to find a 36' slip than a 39'slip.
Bottomlne is that each class of boat is designed for a different lifestyle.
We are tired of sailing, so it only makes sense that the next boat (our new one) is designed for the type of boating we want to do.
Also the new 3' draft allows us into sheltered areas that the sailboat's 4 1/2 ft draft did not not to mention the ability to beach the new one.
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Old 10-06-2012, 18:15   #6
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
I hear a lot of comments like "coming out of the basement" and "much more space".

A sailboat without a mast will have a very quick roll period and really needs hydraulic stabilizers, which many power boats also use.
I was thinking to have a small mast and sail, like a small mizzen mast or even a small main mast and sail, to act as a stabilising sail, that way the now powerboats would not need powered stabilisers.


There are a number of sail-boats that have a nice covered area at deck level, such as the Hartley Queenslander, the Hartley South Seas, the Herroshoff Motor Sailor, the Hartley Fijian and the Stewart Motor Sailor, I'm sure there are many others. From what I have seen, all the models mentioned above have enclosed areas at deck level suitable for dining or relaxing with a beer, for six or more people. This area is entered from the cockpit.
It would be good to get rid of all masts and rigging but I too was concerned about the vessels stability, i.e. rocking and rolling in a sea but it's good to get the opinion of others.

Bill
Australia
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Old 10-06-2012, 18:36   #7
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillAU View Post
I was thinking to have a small mast and sail, like a small mizzen mast or even a small main mast and sail, to act as a stabilising sail, that way the now powerboats would not need powered stabilisers.
Powered stabilizers are expensive and intrude on the boat's interior (besides creating additional holes in the hull and protruberances to catch on things and/or break away). Don't think they're practical on boats smaller than 45 feet. Anyone have first-hand experience who will share? Another option is gyros (big space and electricity eaters).

If sails are too small, their effect isn't noticeable.
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Old 10-06-2012, 18:54   #8
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

G'day Tony,

I was looking at a 41' Roughwater in BC but when I read:
Quote: The 6cyl Turbocharged Perkins easily pushes this solid 41' power vessel at 9 kts using less than 4GPH. End Quote:
Although the Roughwater was priced reasonable, the freight cost and import run-around of getting it into Australia made it a deal breaker and with diesel here costing around $6AU per gallon,
I changed my mind quick smart on the Roughwater in BC, Canada.
I am now looking at four powerboats over this side, two are in New Zealand and two are here in Australia, two are 38', one is 39' and one is 40'. Two are 110HP Ford
Lees Diesel powered and two, the 39'er and the 40'er are 120HP Ford Lees powered, none of them are Turbo Two are full displacement huls, (can't be beached unless you have legs fitted) the other two I'm not sure about.
I like the look of the 39' Hartley in New Zealand, she's not the fanciest boat of the four but she appeals to me...Guess I could always move over the ditch and reside in NZ and fly back to AU when I had to

Anyway, I was just wondering why people who already own full displacement hull sailboats don't just convert their boats to straight-out powerboats.

Bill
Australia
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Old 10-06-2012, 18:59   #9
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

consider converting a smaller catamaran like a gemini.
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Old 10-06-2012, 19:39   #10
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillAU View Post
......... I was just wondering why people who already own full displacement hull sailboats don't just convert their boats to straight-out powerboats....
We have been liveaboards for almost 14 years. So now in our case, it pretty much all boils down to getting more living space with a shorter hull length. For this, we sacrifice fuel economy.
Is it worth it? Heck, I don't know yet but I will by next year after a 1500-2,000 mile trip inland. I guess like they say "there is no ideal boat" so from that I can say "there is no ideal compromise". So if you are not rich, life is all about compromising.
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Old 10-06-2012, 19:42   #11
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

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consider converting a smaller catamaran like a gemini.
No competition, old Cats in AU and NZ cost an arm, two legs and a kidney, where-as a mono sail or powerboat can be had for a decent price.
Like the 1985 40' glass over ply Cat in Queensland that needs new sails and perhaps the rigging and other gear, asking price is $120,000 negotiable compared to a Just been renovated 1989 40' Cadillac Power cruiser, asking price, $50,000 negotiable. I believe I would rather have the Cady and $70,000 in my back pocket, if I had to pay the full asking price.
Then there's the fact that berthing, hauling-out, cleaning and maintening a Cat (two hulls) cost more all round than for the same services for a mono.

Anyway, I was curious to know why owners of mono sailboats don't convert their boats to straight-out powerboats, hence the start of this thread but thanks for your views.

Bill
Australia
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Old 10-06-2012, 20:01   #12
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

Why bother?

As has been noted the masts keep the roll rate more pleasant, the sails make a very desirable emergency backup and could come in useful if a long passage is necessary.

I too am not getting any younger and regretted not buying a trawler for a while, but have realised that my Roberts 44 Offshore makes an excellent powerboat, maybe with a little more draft than would be perfect.

So far, cruising up the east coast of Australia from Sydney I've only used the engine. It gives us 7-8 knots with everything clean, and powering with a 2m swell and against the EAC we've been averaging 6.5 knots. That's fast enough to get from harbour to harbour during daylight

Our 85 hp John Deere 4045 has been returning about 1.1 litres/nm so far at 2000rpm. My observations suggests that this equates to using 40 odd hp.

When you're looking at 1-2 day weather windows with night travel being highly undesirable it makes the trip possible.

Most trawlers are powered for short fast trips, and could be overpowered for long slow ones. At 50% power (estimated) we've blown out a bit of carbon which I suspect has built up over a few years of low speed running.
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Old 10-06-2012, 20:03   #13
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

The primary problem with converting is that sailboats aren't really designed to be flat or stable, they are designed to live in tension, where the mast keeps pulling you over, and the keel wants to keep you upright.

But for this to work, you have to have some amount of heel. Without the sails, a sailboats motion through the water is very uncomfortable. This is exacerbated by taking down the rig, which causes the boat to have a very, very low center of gravity thanks to the keel. This makes the motion quick, choppy, and depending on the conditions actually dangerous.

Sailboats also trade a lot of engineering options to keep the rig in place. The draft is going to be deeper because of the keel, the structure has to be reinforced at chainplates, big holes in the deck for sailing gear, all combined with a power system that is marginal for a boat their size in many cases.


It can be done, but most people who decide to switch, just make the jump. Take a look at the Dashew's for instance. They designed some of the best large cruising boats ever, and when they made the switch to a power boat designed the FPB, a pretty sailboat looking boat, but they took advantage of the differences between power and sail and created an incredible cruising power boat that gets about 8MPG at about 10kn.
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Old 10-06-2012, 20:13   #14
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohdrinkboy View Post
consider converting a smaller catamaran like a gemini.
I forgot to add in my earlier reply, like Tony B, I too like me home comforts, at almost 70 years of age and having worked hard all my life, I think I've earned them
I got to thinking about converting a Full Displacement Hull mono sailboat after reading about MV Focus, a powerboat built like a sailboat that is now for sale, MV Focus is a beautiful yacht by anyones standards, loads of space and quality built, from bow to stern she ticks all the boxes for me and I would love to own her but I believe she's well out of my price bracket

Bill
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Old 10-06-2012, 20:22   #15
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Re: From Sailboat To Straigh-Out Powerboat

I've seen a few sailboats used here without masts. An old sailboat, especially one with compromised rigging, can be had very cheaply. Still, as has been repeated several times here, I don't find the motion kindly when the sails are down and I understand that without the mast it gets worse.

Being tired of sailing is one thing but not having the strength to manage would seem possible to overcome using mechanical aids.
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