1928 steel lifeboat sailboat conversion and freeboard

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by newindustar, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. viking north
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    Location: Newfoundland & Nova Scotia

    viking north VINLAND

    Lifeboat conversion

    Newindustar, Go under boat design to reverse engineering and have a look at one of my conversions of an aluminium lifeboat, a 26 footer. Also shown is a 19ft. newfoundland dory converted to a day sailer, which is basically what you want to build. Having done 3 conversions (two lifeboats, a 26 and a 21 and the dory) I have a fair amount of experience in the proceedures and limits as to what is feasible with these boats. The 21 footer was in fiberglass and converted to a pocket motorsailer.I would not recommend you try this with a metal hull, just too hard to work with. I would never convert another metal hull again after the 26ft, alum one. Fiberglass is so much easier to attach and mold into. So yes you can make a nice little day sailer with a cuddy cabin. Do not raise the sheer it is not necessary and far too complicated a proceedure attaching, fairing and re mounting a gunnel in metal.The important starting point for you now is to clean up what you have, ready to start the project. Next check out the keel and make sure it is properly and strongly fastened. If this is not so you have two choices, do as i did with the 26 footer or write it off. Without a properly fastened keel it would be folly to proceed. Read my thread, look at the photos and i'll await your reply. I have included the 21 footer start and completed photos to show you what can be done to a 21 ft in glass. I am presently working on a 27.5 surfboat/ lifeboat to motorsailer conversion. Geo.
     

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  2. seasailor55
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    Location: Lake Charles, LA.

    seasailor55 Senior Member

    Pocket Motorsailer, as in modest sail rig, hefty inboard engine, I assume. How much engine, sail area and keel does the boat have? I can't tell from the pictures.
     
  3. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    There are more photos which would give you a nice view of the keel, It's a full keel with a cutaway section forming a 3/4 skeg. The mast i seem to recall was 24ft, with a 10ft boom. The engine we planned to install was a 2 cyl.Volvo but when the owner compared the price with a 3 cyl 29hp. it was so close he went with the 3 cyl. If it were my build 2 cyl. would be all required. She has two steering stations both hydrolic, not my choice i wanted tiller and hydrolic with a by pass valve. Also i would make the wheelhouse with less width to allow better access up along to the fore deck but the owner wanted maximum wheelhouse space. The man with the gold is the boss.She is fully equipped,head with holding tank and pump out, galley, sleep two. I will track down the photos and post as soon as i can. It turned out to be a nice compact unit and i was just amazed as also others on her sailing ability, She actually did good to windward. This year the owner wants me to install furling gear with a 150 furling jib, plus the eyebrow over the windshield which will really dress her up. Geo.
     
  4. Scunthorp
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    Location: Halifax

    Scunthorp Hull Tech

    There is a photo of her in my gallery where you can see the keel. Cheers John
     
  5. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    John, could you post it as i'm having trouble locating it. Tnx. Geo.
     
  6. seasailor55
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    Location: Lake Charles, LA.

    seasailor55 Senior Member

    If you click on his name, there should be a drop down menu. Click on View Scunthorp's Gallery and you should be able to view the photos.

    Regards,
     
  7. Scunthorp
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    Scunthorp Hull Tech

    Here you go mate nice bite you made Mr Brewer very proud. John
     

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  8. newindustar
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    Location: minnesota

    newindustar Junior Member

    After reviewing all the replies here I'll make a few clarifications.

    1.First this is not about adding a cabin or obtaining more room. I already saw the boat with a cabin so saw just how much headroom there was. I also realize it is not really a suitable hull for a cabin unless much freeboard and a high walled house were added as in the example above.

    2. I intend to keep this as an open boat or perhaps a flush deck. The only residential space I am looking might be a flush decked v-berth with watertight amidships seats and rear sealed compartment, essentially an open boat hopefully made to be unsinkable.

    3.The reason for the additional freeboard would be for heeling under sail so I won't swamp the rail. The existing waterline in the pics was with the weight of a complete cabin, rig, and engine and long keel. Now it would float higher as the cabin has been stripped off.

    4. The welding is not an issue even with stick. I don't have more that maybe 20 running feet of weld to repair the bilge plates. I already did a test on the 1/16 inch existing plate. It welds fine with a rod like 6013. I would love to have a wirefeed machine but don't actually need it. this is not a big welding project.

    5. The design I'm considering for the open boat include cedar timbers and possibly some cedar cold-moulding possibly used to raise the sheer. Think of an open steel hull with wood internal framing. Consider watertight bulkheads for un-sinkability.If I add a fluch deck forward it may be steel or wood or even no decking.

    6. I envision and open boat under the boom for stand up sailing with a tiller with watertight seating amidships and fore and aft sealed compartments I suppose like the Coast Guard built there surf boats..

    The boat already has it's long sailboat keel. It is about 12 feet long, two feet high and 2 inches thick and bolts two the keelson. This will remain so there are no centerboard or other keep considerations.


    This brings me back to the two main points:

    1. How much freeboard for an open sail boat?

    2. Feasibility of adding enough watertight compartments to make it unsinkable.

    I realize both of these require some calculations and the use of software. I know there must have been old-school, pre-computer methods to evaluating these two criteria but I don't know how to do it and so I posted here.

    Hudson
     
  9. newindustar
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    newindustar Junior Member

    Original conversion

    Here is the original conversion with the keel off. I have no idea when it was first converted but is was a proper job with not too boxy looks. The keel is included.
     

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  10. newindustar
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    newindustar Junior Member

    Concept drawing

    Here is my idea as an open boat. Optionally fore deck could be brought back 7 feet to a watertight bulkhead with a water tight door to allow feet in first berthing. Note keel stepped mast. Optionally it could be hinged for transport and setting up rig somehow. Canoe stern would be similar idea. Note possible watertight seating to add to unsinkability. Beams made from cedar, possible cold-moulded rsheer raised 5 inches based on stock I have. Roughly 7 feet back from bow would be framed or bulkheaded in, the same from the stern foward. That would leave about 8 feet of open boat in the middle to stand up or sit down to sail.

    I hope this clarifies my idea.

    Hudson
     

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  11. viking north
    Joined: Dec 2010
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    viking north VINLAND

    Yes, no reson why that shouldn't work, center cockpit with watertight compartments fore and aft to sustain boyancy in case of knockdown. Keep mast height low and get your sail power from a longer boom thus less need for a heavy ballast keel. I don't see the need to raise the deck edge. Get all your hull dimensions, weights and sizes and present them on the forum, I,m sure you'll get the info and input you need to put it all together. To get your hull lines see my post building the Nancy G under the boatbuilding heading.---Geo.

    A yacht is not defined by the vessel but by the care and love of her owner.
     
  12. AlanB
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    Location: New Jersey

    AlanB New Member

    Welding of Riveted Lifeboats

    I just saw this thread and have a few comments if it is still active...

    I'm intrigued by your exciting project but wanted to toss out a few cautions of welding older riveted lifeboats. I certainly don't wish to dampen your enthusiasm for an exciting project - but would hate to see you invest lots of time, energy and $$ to later find significant undiscovered structural problems.

    My company was certified to do lifeboat and vessel repair by number of flag adminstrations and class societies. We generally tried very hard not to weld on riveted lifeboats boats but rather re-rivet. The guidance offered to you by the welding experts is all most appropriate - however a few further cautions specific to riveted lifeboats...

    Welding too close to a rivited seam will likely loosen the existing rivets due to the expansion of the metal from the heat. Keel hull plating will expand at much different rates so keel to hull seams will separate even more readily than the hull seams.

    These boats were, for the most part, heavily galvanized. Welding will cause the galvanize to melt, loosen or flake off near the welded portions resulting in loss of corrosion resistance. Also, welding of galvanized material, while certianly possible with good results, has a few other challenges as there are vapors given off by the melting zinc which may make welds porous under certain circumstances. There are differing opinions on the health risks inherent in welding of galvanized materials.

    Finally, Many of the riveted seams - such as those along the keel, were sealed with a coal tar based material which will break down or liquify under application of heat.

    I would also echo the cautions offered by others that there may well be corrosion issues that are not readily apparent. Typically the worst corrosion will be along the keel seams where water would likely stay in contact. Sometimes the keel plate itself corrodes faster than the thinner material of the hull due to the composition of the steel used and the galvanize patterns. Some keels were sandwiched of several pieces of steel and rusted out from the inside due to salt water penetration. Also, watch for spots where dissimilar metals were joined (various bolted on fittings...) and may have been removed leaving greatly thinned spots which may have been ground out fair prior to recoating in the past.

    Frankly, most of these boats are at the end of their useful life after less than 40 years. Perhaps a bit more with a fresh water boat... But it is very much a boat by boat situation...

    Some thoughts on lifeboat hulls in general. (If i missed this in your series of posts, i apologize...) They tend to be very seaworthy as they are designed to carry a maximum weight in survivors in a minumum length - (though I'm not terribly happy about the existing 14" freeboard...) But they are usually - though not always - quite beamy and round-bottom / soft chine and tend to roll quite a bit in a sea. You will certainly dampen some of this with your keel, but they still tend to roll a good deal. Also, a beamier boat will be more subject to downflooding at a lesser angle of heel in a knockdown. Again, not necessarily a deal-killer - but something to consider...

    So Good Luck with the project. Again, I don't wish to be a nay-sayer - but just wanted to share my experiences with lifeboats. Cheers!
     
  13. Solbaka
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    Location: Minnesota

    Solbaka New Member

    22-foot lifeboat conversion

    Hudson,

    How exciting that I found my old sailboat on the Forum! I built the conversion of this lifeboat in 1976 with a good friend. The boat was sailed on Lake Superior for a number of years before selling it. I would be very interested in speaking with you about the boat, as I have original photos and much information that might be helpful for your project.

    Please let me know. Thanks!

    Mark
     
  14. timothy22
    Joined: Feb 2008
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    Location: florida

    timothy22 Junior Member

    I had a boat similar in concept years ago

    18' loa, 6' beam double ended, flush deck. Flush hatch in center over 5hp Kermath. (I said years ago!) Coaming hatch fwd, footwell aft. Accomodations was a tent erected over the center flush deck when needed. This boat was used for camper cruising on Florida's west coast. My years of working for Bob Derecktor's yard in Florida (years ago..) persuade me to suggest that you could use your hull as a male mold for a FRP or strip planked hull for less money than resurrecting a decades old riveted steel hull and wind up with a stronger longer lasting boat.
     

  15. BobBill
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: Minnesotan wakes up daily, in SE MN, a good start,

    BobBill Senior Member

    I am thinking of an open boat, mast, maybe sloop rig...with old single cylinder engine - kind you start with foot on heavy flywheel - in center, puta, puta, in river or lake...simple, elegant, fun.

    Late to this, so maybe should keep thoughts to self.
     
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