foldable sailboat: self sealing panels for hull ?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by gabdab, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. gabdab
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    Location: italy

    gabdab Junior Member

    While having a look at folding catamarans and loving the idea of an old fishing sailboat a question came up to my mind .
    Is there a way on earth to set up a sailboat hull by using self sealing panels ,so to be able to completely mount/dismount the hull on the fly ?
  2. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    I do not think the approach is practical nor desirable, one panel develops a leak and you have had it for the day, more than one and you are calling for a rescue.

    I have thought of a similar idea but rather than panels use a tough fabric skin, like a folding kayak, with a sturdy wood or composite frame that can be dismantled. A 16' sailboat with a small cabin could fit into three large trunks, the frame can be very strong, and the one piece skin envalope would make it watertight. I supposed a weight keel would make it impractical, or perhaps water ballast, I even thought of sand bags (you fill off the beach) for basalt. I have worked up sketch but have been afraid to attempt it.

    I have built 12 or so skin on frame boats, including a 14' sloop, and have built folding kayaks, so I know the concept is viable. The question is is if it is practical. Why would you want to store a boat in three trunks in your garage? For people who live in apartments without a place for a boat? It would take about an hour to asseble and rig, perhaps less with a cleaver design, and than you still have to pack it up for the day's sailing.

    The problem is that it would be difficult to launch after it is assembled, a bit heavy and large to carry. You would have to assemble in on a cart and wheel it into the water down a boat launch, and than load up all your gear (of course the trunks could double as storage lockers.

    It is possible to have folding boats upto perhaps 30 feet, but the "folded" size would be quite bulky. Perhaps useful for air dropping into remote locations? Not a large market for that.
  3. gabdab
    Joined: Aug 2008
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    gabdab Junior Member

    Do you think that a high buoyancy structure (styrofoam filled HDPE panels) would work ?

    You could assemble it in the water , having it a high buoyancy.

    I agree it being a rather perfect solution for very small boats , I wonder if it would be
    more dangerous compared to an inflatable .
    Also,wouldn't you end up using the same materials (pvc , hypalon) as in inflatables ?

    How would you go to design a structure for a 40-50 feet one ?

    Here in Italy it would maybe have a market niche as boat spaces are expensive and hard to find for boats over 50 feet.

    Last but not least such 'lego' boat would maybe be usefull in case of natural disasters (drop off by plane).
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