could I split the thing in half?

Discussion in 'Stability' started by martinf, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. martinf
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: washington state

    martinf Junior Member

    I'm thinking seriously about buying an old WW II Sea Mule. Basically a harbor tug for pushing stuff around. It is 40' by 13' wide by 8' high with about 4' of draft. Weighs in at 30,00 lbs. Basically a big steel shoe box (see pic). The picture I'm sure will make most of you think "What would you want that thing for?!" Answer: a cool home-made house boat, that's what. But, getting on to my question....

    At 13 wide it's too big to trailer in and out of our lake (it's a big lake 55 mile longand 1500 ft deep). And year-around moorgae is a pain and expensive here. Fortunately, these Sea Mules were built in modules. There's 2 lateral halves to this thing and one engine on each side. The two halves bolt together so that you can use just a single if you wish (see other pic)

    One half would be 6 1/2 ft wide and 40 long (and still 8 high). DOn't know what the draft would be.

    The question is (finally) how stable wowuld this thing be? And, if not, what do you think about welding steel pontoon like things (air tight) on the hull about at the waterline, say 2 ft square and most of the length of the boat. It would be like adding pontoons, so to speak.

    I would build the house boat only single story up above the barge deck, but would want to cantilever the deck out a bit on each side, say a foot or so.
    The final boat would then be only 7 wide at the base and trailerable.

    A crude sketch of this is here to give you the basic idea

    Okay, thoughts please (and thanks)

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2007
  2. longliner45
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Ohio

    longliner45 Senior Member

    how far do you have to trailor?..if not too far ,,maybe a good investment into a trailor is what you need,,you can haul wide loads in daytime with a chase car ,,properly marked,,I too am considering a modification to my trailor to make my boat easesly transported,so I can go to lake erie or chesepeke bay or destin fla,,,,my boat wieghs 10.500 lbs 4ft 11 draft 10 and a half ft wide,,total hieght is about 13 ft with trailor,,longliner
  3. charmc
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: FL, USA

    charmc Senior Member


    For houseboat use, adding some width to one module for stability should work. The trick will be to maintain stability. It might be worthwhile to pay a designer or naval architect to do some calculations. I know you want to save $, but stability is the most important issue.

    By the way, if you still have the original engines installed, I'd think of selling them and repowering with something much smaller. The original engines are designed to wrangle barges weighing hundreds of tons. At idle they'll burn more fuel than typical houseboat engines at full throttle. Part of the reason for the hull depth, I'm sure, is one or more humungous fuel tanks. You can compensate for smaller engines and less fuel by ballasting. There are many ways to do that, and the search function should turn up some threads in which cargo vessels or tugs were converted for recreational use. It's more work, certainly, but the result should be a rugged and economical to operate houseboat, fitted out the way you want.

  4. martinf
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: washington state

    martinf Junior Member

    Great, I'm glad to hear that someone thinks it would work! I'll pursue this further.

    Slimming down to one single hull, rather than the two, has another benefit besides being able to be trailered. I can pull the big Chrystler straight 8 and put in a GM 371 I've got laying around here!
    Thanks for the advice.
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