Conversion of shrimp trawler

Discussion in 'Motorsailers' started by UKSailor, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. UKSailor
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    UKSailor Junior Member

    Hi Everyone, Im new to this great site :)

    Can anyone please advise me...I have my heart set on converting a 24m steel, forward wheel house shrimp trawler similar to the ones in the pics. I have always liked the design of forward pilot house fishing trawlers and hope this can work for me. I havent purchased the boat, but have had recieved varying opinions re: the actual possibilities. Some have said don't do it, some have said yes it can be done. the net weight of the example is approx. 70 tons.

    I aim to remove all the commercial fishing gear off the vessel, and convert the vessel into a motorsailer, in the long term making it an ocean going livaboard. That includes changing the engine to a smaller unit. Speed of the trawler is not a issue, but fuel economy is.

    i was hoping if anyone could give me any advise, that is, at the bottom end of a budget, that is cheapest option, what sail configuration could I opt for...?

    I have come across a posting on this site and have listed their image as something I think that could be done. Posting here:

    I cant undertake the sail/engine conversion work myself, owing to not having the facilities/workshop/skill, however the possibility is to get the basic sail/engine conversion done in the USA, then sail back to UK for final fit of interior, which I could do the work myself.

    Apart from getting the vessel surveyed, at the very least to make sure the hull is sound, logic dictates to hire a naval architect to undertake the design of the sail configuration/change of dynamics of the propulsion. however I have so far been given estimates for design work by architects that made me almost fall off my chair :)

    I intend to buy the trawler in the region of $30,000. which at that budget, they are looking very rough and battered. However the aim is to make this a 3/4 year project, and maybe on retirement to offer charter sailing for passengers part-time. i am looking for any advise any one could give :)

    many thanks all :)


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  2. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    No. $30K (USD??) is not going to get you a trawler suitable for conversion.

    You will need 3x that to pick up one of these boats in reasonable enough shape to make into a yacht.

    I looked into these in great detail.

    Also, you will need to really think about how you plan to get her to the UK. Sailing?? Very iffy. Motoring? You need some vast stores of diesel - and I mean VAST. Do you know it will probably take you $10-$20K in fuel to get her home?

    You would probably want to put her on a freighter as deck cargo, IMO.
  3. UKSailor
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    UKSailor Junior Member

    thanks for the reply CatBuilder, i did get a quote for shipping back to UK, i was quoted $50K :( but that was with a dedicated yacht transport co. though i dont know if regular freight cargo companies offer services to carry yachts as deck cargo... was considering the old fashioned route, that is coastal hoping northern usa/canada/greenland/iceland/scotland... :) well ive always fancied taking the long way home...
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  4. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Was that Dockwise Transport?

    They are quite expensive. I'd call a freight company in your area and start asking about shipping it as deck cargo.

    To put it in perspective, though... I think it'll cost you more than $50K to motor up to Canada, then Greenland, etc... Between getting it ready for sea and fueling it, you'll be out that $50K either way you look at it.
  5. UKSailor
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    UKSailor Junior Member

    no it was Allibrasil Worldwide Shipping, however was thinking of sailing majority as opposed to motoring...
  6. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Eventually, you'll get use to the dead fish smell.
    1 person likes this.
  7. UKSailor
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    UKSailor Junior Member

    CatBuilder..Do you know by chance of any freight companies that carry yachts as deck cargo in the USA..?
  8. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    I hate to rain on this parade, but I feel a duty to warn. This is not a good hull form to.sail. You will only be sailing when its blowing 25 from astern.
  9. UKSailor
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    UKSailor Junior Member

    i have been told that, but i have seen vessels like the 'wanderbird' which is a converted trawler Wanderbird:

    but heh, all advise is appreciated :)
  10. sabahcat
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    sabahcat Senior Member

    I'd hazard a guess that they are for stabilizing more than propulsion

    This photo is for the "Pretty Picture"
  11. wardd
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    wardd Senior Member

    or show
  12. YuriB
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    YuriB Junior Member

    UKSailor first of all, there is a new vessel being built by Greenpeace:- Rainbow Warrior 3 with forward wheelhouse and A-masts. You can see their project and model of the hull on youtube.
    I'm converting former minesweeper with forward wheelhouse-my sail plan will be single mast gaff cutter with the mast right behind the wheelhouse.

    CatBuilder, whats wrong with the hull? bow is too high? Shallow draft? Barges have shallow draft, but they use leeboards to have better windward maneurability

    Anyway these trawlers are too far away from UK, why not consider sailing barge?
  13. UKSailor
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    UKSailor Junior Member

    Thanks YuriB :) I think your vessel is going to look fantastic :)

    yes, your right, the proof is the green peace yacht, that its very possible to do ...

    yes these trawlers are far away, but figured it would be a nice adventure sailing back to uk :)
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    and maybe on retirement to offer charter sailing for passengers part-time.

    YOU as well as the boat must have a license.

    In the USA killing 6 or less is easy as the boat and drivers license are a minor effort to obtain. Other countries may have different rules.

    NO old fish boat will actually sail , tho it might get blown downwind faster with masts and pretty tan bark sails.
    Good for a photo op for lubbers , not for actual sailing.

    Working the other way will work , depending,

    Finding a large enough to play house in , older 50-70 ft sailboat , and cutting down the rig to reach and run (no windward work) would be cheap.A Hurricane re float would be ideal.

    The hull is designed to move easily so a smaller efficient engine is just fine.

    Volume is the problem , folks that have not lived aboard or cruised want dirt house interior volumes , which are a huge handicap while cruising.

    Find some folks in your area that will take you out for a ride.


  15. Sand crab
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    Sand crab Junior Member


    Interesting thread. OK, I only know cats and a sail area to displacement ratio for an average cruising cat is about 22. These cats might be able to do 15 knots if everything is perfect. Looking at the pic and displacement of this vessel I would guess that your SA/D will be in the low single digits. Likewise your sailing speed will be in the low single digits. Do you really want to sail at 2 knots and only downwind? IMO the sails are pretty but they are a gimmick. Ditch the sail idea, save your money and just convert it to a house boat, a big heavy houseboat or just get a big old sailboat and fix it up. You'll be able to cross the pond with hardly any fuel at all and you'll have something to sell to the next guy. BOB
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