Converting racing boat to pilotehouse

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Amino, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Amino
    Joined: Feb 2013
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    Amino New Member


    I am looking similar projects of converting racing boats into pilothouse/long distance sailboats. Maybe you can show some sites/blogs of those, who have built it(something like that).

    Lets say buying this and converting similar to that

    Of course the keel must be modified, but lets dont talk about that.

    And sorry for my English, it's not my native language
  2. sean9c
    Joined: Jan 2011
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    sean9c Senior Member

    Since you'd end up replacing most if not all of the deck, build an interior, replace the mast/rigging, replace the sails, replace the keel, replace the engine, add all new systems, all new deck hardware it would make no financial sense. If you want a cruising boat buy a cruising boat
  3. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    You could probably get an open wheelhouse on her.

    A deckhouse as shown in your link would be very clumsy and offer little utility when sailing. A Greenhouse deck house also make boats very hot inside

    The boat I sail has a center cockpit open wheelhouse. It works well.

    Perhaps have a look at the French "amel super maramu"
    design for inspiration . They are very well conceived.



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  4. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    If you want to change more than just a few cosmetic things on your new boat, most probably you did chose a wrong one to begin with :).
  5. cadmus
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    cadmus da boom hit'um 1ce 2often

    I know it feels like we are bashing your dream. Not so. We just don't want you to jump into something and then regret it. If it is a big enough dream go for it.

    I have seen many racers converted to cruisers. My Brother had a little IOR boat from the UK. Early 80's i think. BEAMY. 30-35'? Someone did just that, he put a little pilot house on it. One could run the tiller with lines. That was fun to sail in inland passages because it was like a big dingy. supper fast. But in big water, not so much. I will try to find photos. It was a very small pilot house where you simply sat on the steps of the companionway.

    In addition to the advice people above gave ask yourself:
    -Will you have enough crew to sail this? Cuising typically implies one or 2 on a boat. Even with 2 or more night watches might be solo. Racers are normally sailed with many to help and many more to act as rail meat.
    -Lets say come up with ways to run that boat solo. You macgyver tools and blocks and tricks to feel comfortable. You reef early. maybe even break the sails up into a ketch or something. Will the boat handle the big storms you will see cruising?
    -Will it heave to?
    -Can you stand upright in it? I have rarely found a racer of that style (low displacement) where i can stand. This is not a comfort question this is referring to spinal damage.
    -Can you cook in it?
    -Is it insulated?
    -Are you going to add so much interior weight and gear that you weigh it down and it turns into a dog? This is likely on that type of boat. That boat was designed for a specific amount of weight and not much more.
    -Should the construction be tougher? It says: "foam core." Composite with foam core is light and stiff and fast but it is not as strong or long lasting as most other types of GRP construction)? Also, I have had bad luck modifying or repairing foam core GRP. Maybe other folks will disagree.
    -Will you wish you had bulwarks?
    -Will you wish you had less glass or more glass?
    -Will you wish you had more righting force when upside down? should the keel be more conservative?
    -Will you spend too much time on maintenance? Racer boats take a lot of maintenance. Cruisers do too but things are overbuilt on a cruiser.
    -The deck is certainly flat enough to do yoga, I will give you that.
    - Also blue water and coastal cruising are 2 different things, ask yourself where you plan on taking this thing.

    No doubt it would be fun to have a FAST boat as a cruiser when the conditions are perfect but they are often not. Sadly everything in boat design is a compromise. Maybe long distance racing is your goal. If you goal is going fast and you want to forget about comfort and safety then maybe this is a good idea. I DO think the bare bones wood free, penitentiary style interior of racers is appealing in many regards. (K.I.S.S. keep it simple stupid, right?).

    Many of the crui$er boat$ marketed these days are equally unsafe in storms so maybe the standard is just changing.

    If you do go through with this consider a hard dodger rather than a pilot house. That much glass straight into the interior is a liability.
  6. cadmus
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    cadmus da boom hit'um 1ce 2often

    Ohh, also, it says "kevlar over foam core" Someone will correct me if i am wrong but laminating fiberglass over kevlar is not a good idea. They flex differently. So you do a modification in fiberglass (say your pilot house or some reinforcments) and the kevlar flexes a little more so it fatigues the glass. We saw this a lot when Kevlar canoes fist came out. When the strands were woven together it was ok. But when manufacturers or tinkerers put a layer of glass over Kevlar it failed.
    Look into the cost of doing repairs and modification with kevlar. It is WAY more than glass.

  7. Perm Stress
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    Strictly speaking, this kind of conversion is plainly not possible.
    Length for length, Nauticat is about twice the displacement of the racer shown.
    I fyou add so much extra weight to basically light hull, you are getting in to spiraling disaster:
    *constantly wet decks due to low freeboard
    *slow speed in anything but really strong winds due to lack of sail area
    *very much out of design submerged hull shape
    *overloaded rig due to higher righting moment
    * and so on.....
    In the end, the boat will be slow, wet, uncomfortable, the rig might eventually went over the side, and deck layout not quite suitable for shorthanded sailing.
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