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Old 12-02-2021, 00:40   #1
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Steel sailboat cabin extension

Hi, this thread is about an idea i been playing with for a while.

Over the last couple of years, i rescued and put hands to 4 different sailboats in different stages of dereliction. From complete oblivion to mildly molded. 😱

I ve got all my boats for free. And i love working on them and inversting my time there. I have tools and access to materials. I also like sailing them, and i live aboard most of the time, except when i am visiting family or friends.

Right now i am focused on a metal boat, and going for a trip this spring for which i ve got really good and useful advice on these forums, from more experienced sailors. I describe that in another post.

This post is about a modification i plan to do at some point on the boat.

You see, i m a tall guy, 192cm (about 6'4") and my first two boats where two very small boats (17 feet, 5,16 meters total) that had sitting height.

The second boat, i built a new cabin as part of the modifications, an although i was using the same hull than the first one (a Leisure 17) the inner space multiplied greatly, making it a very fine cruiser.

Being a short boat, it was easy to crawl everywhere, and sit for cooking and eating, and it had enough space for sleeping two (i created a single big "bed" space by enclosing the space between berths).

What i did, was to extend the cabin to the sides, taking over the side decks. The feeling of space inside made then the boat very cozzy. And i lived aboard over a year, while cruising the european waterways.

Back to 2021, i am in posession of a bigger, heavier and longer steel sailboat. This time, it has standing height, which i find a necesity for a live aboard (long enough that crawling your way is not an option anymore).

The "problem" is, that the roof still is a few centimeters lower than my height, making me feel not really comfortable when i move around.

To add to the situation, the slidding hatch leaks, and the only deep rust spots on the boat, are precisely on the cabin trunk.

So i thought why not to cut that cabin off and simply extend the top a few centimeters and on the process also extend the cabin over the side decks?

It would be a conversion to a "raised deck" for the saloon area, instead of the cabin trunk it has right now.

The linnings in the cabin roof need to be removed anyways due to water damage and to inspect the electric wiring.

I have a plasma cutter and a welder, and acces to 3mm plate and steel profiles. I also have a place i can work away of other boats, maybe even in the water.

I wont be increasing the weight that much to the point of making the boat "top heavy". There will be a little more windage, but i m not really concerned about it.

The nice portholes that are now on the side of the cabin, i will reuse two of them in the front of the new extended cabin, not on the sides, for the moment being.

I did that on my second boat and the portholes gave enough light and never leaked. I was very pleased with the result. No need for side portholes for me really.

My only concern is about the handling of the lines in a boat that now has an elevated deck midships.

I wonder if anybody here made a similar modification to their boat, and if they found any complication with the handling of the foresail lines. I would like to avoid them being entangled due to the modifications.

I will certainly weld handholds on the new deck and make the cabin top easy to move around in a seaway. I may even install some sort of baranda near the mast at both sides, to clip and lean over while working the mast winch.

The mast height will increase somewhere between 5 and 10 centimeters, 2 to 4 inches. I will add a few chain links to the standing rigging to supplement it accordingly.

I dont pursuit a cruiser aestethics on my boats, but more like a working boat aestethics. I just care that they are dry and comfy inside, workable outside, and safe to move around in port and during a sea way.

There is a wooden boat out there "Badger", that has the cabin built in the lines of what i find satisfying for a liveabord. And then, there is the steel "Wylo 2", another boat i find inspiring.

By the way, i work preety much in the lines of what i saw Nick Skeates works his boat.

Unlike him, who uses wood for the deck, i want to give a try to metal sheet, since i already did a boat cabin on wood and i find the process a little slow, needing special shelter to accomplish it, and requiring more maintenance aftewards.

So, i m sure there are sailors who did similar modifications to their steel boats.

Any hints, tips, ideas and experiences are more than welcome.

I will see if i can upload a few pics of my previous works with derelict boats.

Also, i m not sure if i will do these modifications just now, since its a little too cold out there and i prefere to go cruising this year with the boat as it is now.

But you never know. If Corona lockdowns make cruising impossible, then i always have my tools on board and i can takle the proyect.

Did that before last year when a lockdown got me by surprise in Belgium, and it was super fun!

I check now for pics and upload them.

Thanks and greetings from cold Germany!
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:00   #2
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

Here some pics of my second boat.

How i found it. What i built with claimed materials. And cruising it last year.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:02   #3
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

The colors i used where left overs of odd jobs. Later on, i painted it white because it was too hot inside. And during the lockdown in Belgium, i cut off a part of the new cabin and built a nice cockpit.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:12   #4
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

Some more pics of my previous boat.

The sculling system worked very good and was the main propulsion for weeks.

The modification of the cabin and build of the new cockpit took place on Belgium, near the french border.

I also finished the mast step and partners for a junk rig that never took place.

I gave away the boat when i found the new metal boat i m working in at the moment.
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Old 12-02-2021, 01:25   #5
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

The white boatand the grey boat i ve got in december last year.

The new (grey) boat has a trunk cabin which leaks and has extensive rust bellow some bad paint work from a previous owner. It is a bit too low, and feels cramped inside.

So i m planning in extending it, not round like with my previous boat, but like a rised deck.

Like Badger and Wylo 2.
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Old 12-02-2021, 10:18   #6
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

This sounds like a good plan to me. My preference is also Steel. I am or was very much like you. I also really enjoyed working and creating or re-creating something. Do it while you can. Good Luck! BTW I build the boat on the left from an I-beam up. It was 66feet and weighed about 100 tonnes, carried 8000 gallons of fuel for a 16V92.
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Old 12-02-2021, 11:52   #7
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

As one steel boat owner to another: Go for it. When you have the right tools and knowledge steel is very easy to work with and, with proper finishing, gives great, indestructible results. It can also be very fast. Brent Swain (whatever you think of him - and aesthetics weren't high on his list either) would complete the steel work (hull, deck, and house) on one of his 36 footers in a week! But then he was a whirling dervish

From the way you've written this up, and seeing your previous project, I'd say you are pretty set on doing it regardless of what anyone says - so just get on with it.

Good luck! and welcome to the steel boat fraternity!
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Old 12-02-2021, 12:33   #8
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

Quote:
Originally Posted by fxarcher View Post
This sounds like a good plan to me. My preference is also Steel. I am or was very much like you. I also really enjoyed working and creating or re-creating something. Do it while you can. Good Luck! BTW I build the boat on the left from an I-beam up. It was 66feet and weighed about 100 tonnes, carried 8000 gallons of fuel for a 16V92.
Fxarcher i cant see your pic, it sounds like a beast of a boat. I once sailed for some months as crew in a 64 feet sailboat. Told myself: one day... my boat will be smaller 😬😄

Building stuff is what i enjoy the most, together with traveling.

I like metal. Feels safe. Easy to repair. No worries about scratches.

Please explain me how to see the pictures of your boat. I m learning a lot by seing other peoples work. Many good ideas to get inspiration from.

Thanks for your imput and thank you for paving the road. I will keep on doing my thing for as long as i can.
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Old 12-02-2021, 12:33   #9
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

As a former steel boat owner that created an aft cabin on an aft cockpit boat by removing part of the cockpit and lazarette, changing the reverse sloping transom to a vertical transom and added a sugar scoop overhang, I think you will be OK.
I had cut out the transom and side decks, a couple feet of the cockpit and aft deck, raised the hull plate by 12inches, full width, welded on a top, two opening ports in the transom plus the companionway hatch made it very comfortable.
I had met Nick Skeates on his boat and went aboard Wylo II. He also had no footwell in his cockpit, but a flush deck and large berth under. I liked Wylo, but would not do without a footwell of some size and coamings to keep from sitting in water. The cabin sides extending to the hull sides will mean you will have to make easy access going forward from the cockpit and your dodger will be limited to the companionway width.
Raised railings leading to bracing bars/mast pulpit for working around the mast should be easy to weld up.
The boat I did the modifications to was completed from a bare hull by me in Toronto, I did the modifications in New Zealand and completed a circumnavigation with her. New owners did a second circumnavigation on the same boat, same layout. The slight weight gain aft overall was offset by the increased bouyancy and waterline of the sugar scoop and we averaged about an extra half-knot of speed over about 20,000nm we sailed that boat after the modifications.
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Old 12-02-2021, 12:50   #10
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpius View Post
As one steel boat owner to another: Go for it. When you have the right tools and knowledge steel is very easy to work with and, with proper finishing, gives great, indestructible results. It can also be very fast. Brent Swain (whatever you think of him - and aesthetics weren't high on his list either) would complete the steel work (hull, deck, and house) on one of his 36 footers in a week! But then he was a whirling dervish

From the way you've written this up, and seeing your previous project, I'd say you are pretty set on doing it regardless of what anyone says - so just get on with it.

Good luck! and welcome to the steel boat fraternity!
I dont know Brent Swain, will look into it. I dont think i could build a boat in a week. But this proyect of mine is just a cabin extension.

I do feel when i work with metal, i get faster results, and maintenance is a little easier than with wood. I also likehow easy is to add and take, and play with the material. Very forgiving.

I did some epoxy work and i dont like working that material. It is fast, can be done in almost any envirinment and results are relatively strong, and can be neglected for longer than wood and steel.

It has its place in my world, but i do personally feel safer in the metal boats.

As with everything in life, once you find what you enjoy, and go for it, nothing can go wrong. Because you are enjoying the ride, with its ups and downs.

I dont believe there is an ultimate truth really, but i do believe its important to find what work for us.

Yeah. I will do this modification. Its been in my mind for a while already.

I m just trying to keep a balance between building and sailing. Cause i know how easy is to miss a summer because yiu where too deep into building.

Thats why i love building on the go. 😄

I feel life is just a moment. Its short. Its now.

I will do the best with what i have now, and post more pics when i m done.

The comming weeks i m not on my boat.

But i will post as soon as i am back working on it. Or sailing it. Whatever comes first.
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Old 12-02-2021, 12:55   #11
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caminantes View Post
I dont know Brent Swain, will look into it. I dont think i could build a boat in a week. But this proyect of mine is just a cabin extension.

I do feel when i work with metal, i get faster results, and maintenance is a little easier than with wood. I also likehow easy is to add and take, and play with the material. Very forgiving.

I did some epoxy work and i dont like working that material. It is fast, can be done in almost any envirinment and results are relatively strong, and can be neglected for longer than wood and steel.

It has its place in my world, but i do personally feel safer in the metal boats.

As with everything in life, once you find what you enjoy, and go for it, nothing can go wrong. Because you are enjoying the ride, with its ups and downs.

I dont believe there is an ultimate truth really, but i do believe its important to find what work for us.

Yeah. I will do this modification. Its been in my mind for a while already.

I m just trying to keep a balance between building and sailing. Cause i know how easy is to miss a summer because yiu where too deep into building.

Thats why i love building on the go. 😄

I feel life is just a moment. Its short. Its now.

I will do the best with what i have now, and post more pics when i m done.

The comming weeks i m not on my boat.

But i will post as soon as i am back working on it. Or sailing it. Whatever comes first.

He only did the basic steel fabrication in a week. Finishing the boat took much, much longer.

I don't think I saw a picture of your previous (wood) project with the mast up
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Old 12-02-2021, 13:12   #12
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

it must have been interesting moving about on the cambered cabin top on the small boat.
Why so much camber?
Quite apart from making it hard to move about you lose internal space and reserve bouyancy (when excessively held over).

If I wanted to increase the height of a cabin on a steel boat I would seriously consider using aluminium (the join is fairly easy).
You would then have the advantage of less weight and fewer corrosion problems while still being able to weld all fittings (turning blocks, cleats etc)
It's easier, cleaner and quicker to work with than steel and needs no paint other than non-slip areas externally.
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Old 12-02-2021, 13:24   #13
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Howard View Post
As a former steel boat owner that created an aft cabin on an aft cockpit boat by removing part of the cockpit and lazarette, changing the reverse sloping transom to a vertical transom and added a sugar scoop overhang, I think you will be OK.
I had cut out the transom and side decks, a couple feet of the cockpit and aft deck, raised the hull plate by 12inches, full width, welded on a top, two opening ports in the transom plus the companionway hatch made it very comfortable.
I had met Nick Skeates on his boat and went aboard Wylo II. He also had no footwell in his cockpit, but a flush deck and large berth under. I liked Wylo, but would not do without a footwell of some size and coamings to keep from sitting in water. The cabin sides extending to the hull sides will mean you will have to make easy access going forward from the cockpit and your dodger will be limited to the companionway width.
Raised railings leading to bracing bars/mast pulpit for working around the mast should be easy to weld up.
The boat I did the modifications to was completed from a bare hull by me in Toronto, I did the modifications in New Zealand and completed a circumnavigation with her. New owners did a second circumnavigation on the same boat, same layout. The slight weight gain aft overall was offset by the increased bouyancy and waterline of the sugar scoop and we averaged about an extra half-knot of speed over about 20,000nm we sailed that boat after the modifications.
Thank you Paul for your detailed information.

I just learn what a sugar scoop is (english is not my mother tongue). Very interesting and logical that the added waterline and increased volume made you faster. I assume it also served as a plattform for fishing and swimming, and better accesing the dinghy?

For a begginer sailor like me, who dreams with travelling the seas of the world, to speak to someone who made a circumnavigation its an honor. Much respect.

I have so much to learn. And so many ideas. I really want to start sailing oceans this summer. I had enough of canal and river drifting the last couple of years. 😆

I would really like to see pics of your boat modifications.

Wylo 2 cockpit set up reminds me of India, a country i lived some years and that i really admire.

Doing a lot, with very little.

The people there sit on the floor and i find that posture easy now a days. A flush cockpit its fine in that aspect. But i must confess that a well gives me a sensation of security.

The coamings are well solved in Badger, at least it look like that from the pictures. It is true that Wylo 2 looks super raw. 😬😄

I was thinking that if i ditch the diesel engine at some point, i would also like to re configurate the cockpit. So far in anothwr post, the consense is that i better befriend the little monster. I just dont like it. But i think i will keep it for the moment being.

Some well-less cockpits use the life lines as backrests (replacing the lines for pipes). I thought about having the option of sitting there too, at least with good weather. Make a sort of sit where the original coamings are in my boat, where the winches are.

The winches could be moved to the cabin roof (rised deck, next to the companionway).

The dodger will indeed need to be smaller, thats right.

I try to firgure out many things beforehand. But i realice the experience eventually makes us realize what we really need and what we dont really need.

I been living in my boats for a while, so i know what i need for comfort on board. I also know whatbi need to maneuver in close quarters (lots of locks and engineless drifting in the canals where a good school).

The sailing part i need and want to get some experience this spring. The wind a waves stuff. The navigation being far from land.

It inspires me respect an awe. But at the same times calls me strongly.

Cant wait to be back in the water this april!
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Old 12-02-2021, 13:38   #14
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

Rather than ditching the Diesel completely consider replacing it with an electric motor, lots of solar panels and batteries. It won't let you motor for long or for long distances (because you just can't get enough solar panels on a boat to do so) but it would be enough to get in and out of your dock until you can get the sails up and shut it off. Plus, if you have access to power dockside, you can recharge while tied up at a fraction of the cost, noise, pollution, and maintenance requirements of a Diesel engine. A guy here did just that and he's very happy - but he's a die-hard sailor that will sail in conditions most of us would motor in.
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Old 12-02-2021, 13:41   #15
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Re: Steel sailboat cabin extension

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He only did the basic steel fabrication in a week. Finishing the boat took much, much longer.

I don't think I saw a picture of your previous (wood) project with the mast up
The mast i never put up. I was sailing in France (the canals) with the mast down, when i ve got the news that a good friend of mine was in his last days in germany. So i left the boat in a rush and came to spend those last days with my friend.

After he passed, i found the metal boat in germany too, so the wood/plastic boat stayed in France.

Seeing that i would be entretained with the metal boat, i gave the plastic boat to a dutch girlfriend who used to sail some times with me. She will pick it up this spring and i will help her get the mast up and set the chinese junk i had in mind for the boat.

I will post pictures of that when we have it mounted. Hopefully later this spring.
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