Motorsailer... without the masts and sails?

Discussion in 'Motorsailers' started by Jackgyver, Jul 4, 2022.

  1. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    Hello all,
    I am considering purchasing a used Nauticat 33 for a mixed program of open waters and rivers and canals based in Brittany (France). Alternating frequently between inland waterways (with low, fixed bridges) and open waters (between the North coast of France and the South coast of the UK for example) makes it impractical to lower the masts as needed (even if possible).
    Could one store the masts ashore and cruise as with a motorboat? The canals should not be a problem, but how about open waters? Should I expect stability problems? Has anyone any experience in that?
    Any input warmly appreciated.
     
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Jack.
    How much actual sailing are you hoping to do, re your proposal above?
    It should be possible to store masts ashore - but where would you keep them?

    I remember vaguely reading about how Bernard Hayman, a former editor of Yachting World, commissioned a motor boat as a final retirement vessel, using a Nauticat 33 hull as a base to start off with. I think it was fairly successful, but googling does not seem to find any information about this boat.

    If you are not going to be doing much actual sailing as such, then it might be better to get a pure motor boat?
     
  3. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    Without the rigs the boat is overly stable. The motions in sharp waves can be uncomfortable. The Nauticat 33 being full keel, pilothouse, and ketch puts it outside my experience. It's not hard to rough calculate the natural frequency and I would recommend you have it done.
     
  4. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    Thank you bajansailor.

    Please excuse my French :) and let me give you some details: my "open waters" cruising grounds are around Brittany in France, the English Channel, and possibly the North Sea towards the Netherlands and the East coast of the UK. But my "canals & rivers" plans include the waterways of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. For example, I'd like to cruise from North Brittany to the River Seine by sea, then cruise to Amsterdam through Paris and Brussels, etc., then hop to the UK, etc. I'm into long term cruises, like 4-5 months per year. Spring to autumn, with an eye on the weather forecast, but still, a possibility of unfriendly weather and sea state.

    After many years of sailing, and many sailboats, I'm now into motor boats, due to age and my wife's preferences. Also, some parts of my trips would be solo, either at sea or through the waterways and their locks. That's why I'm looking for a limited size (30-33 feet), a low draft (4' max), live-aboard accomodation, good comfort in windy and rainy conditions, a serious single engine (with a good mileage), good access to lines for docking and locking solo.

    I have looked at MANY boats that I could find on the European market, both sail and motor; I've read A LOT of posts on many forums, I've walked the docks of plenty of marinas (I'm cruising on a Nimbus 37 Trawler at the moment), and the boats that look closest to my idea of the ideal boat in my budget (around $ 50,000) are a Nauticat 33, a Fisher 30, or a Finnsailer 29... but without masts and sails.

    My main concern is that without the balance/stability effect that goes with the weight of the masts, the boat would react too sharply to short waves and turn into a not-so-comfortable cruiser. But some of you may think of other unwanted consequences.

    I hope that helps. Thanks again.
     
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  5. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    Thank you too Skyak. I'm sharing your concern. I'll look into calclulating the natural frequency of the boat.
    @bajansailor: I'll try to find Bernard Hayman... Thanks for the tip.
     
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  6. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

  7. kapnD
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    Location: hawaii, usa

    kapnD Senior Member

    Removing the mast and rigging will significantly shorten the boats motion, the mast being a pendulum to counter the keel and ballast.
    Many converted sailboats have shortened the keel for improved comfort aboard, as well as access to shallower waters.
    I’m not an engineer, so the calculations are better left to a professional, but I would definitely want to have the numbers crunched before venturing into potentially dangerous sea conditions.
     
  8. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    Thank you kapnD. Would you have more information on sailboats conversions and the adaptations you mention?
    I have got in touch with nauticat.com and, though they are not presently concerned with older productions like the 33, have promised to have a look at my question. Fingers crossed.
     
  9. Chuck Losness
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    Chuck Losness Senior Member

  10. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    Thanks Chuck.Very interesting.

    A practical compromise could be to keep the mizzen mast to dampen the roll at sea and keep some get-home arrangement, but make it foldable on top of the pilothouse, which could be manageable, and not too much in the way while cruising the canals. Food for thought?
     
  11. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    The Nauticat team said: "Nauticat can be operated without a mast, like a powerboat. But, it is necessary to pay attention to the engine, so that it is powerful enough.". So I'll keep looking into my little project.

    Thank you for your messages!
     
  12. skaraborgcraft
    Joined: Dec 2020
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    Location: sweden

    skaraborgcraft Junior Member

    The Finsailers were based on engine only pilot boats and have a lower ballast ratio than the like of the Fisher and Nauticat. In theory, its motion should be less extreme in open water without a rig, but i have seen a few with a tabernacle mast, and the rig is on the small side. Even offshore power boats are reccomended to carry a certain amount of ballast in relation to fuel capacity.
     
  13. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    The Finnsaileers are indeed part of my short list, though I'm not too familiar with them (yet!) and I didn't know they were based on engine only pilot boats. It's not easy to find detailed information on boats that predated the internet...

    I'm also looking at Covic Watson's. More information is available on them, and as around 1500 of them have been built, more pight be available on the second hand market.

    I'll report back if I find anything substantial on the subject.
     
  14. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor


  15. Jackgyver
    Joined: Jul 2022
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    Location: Brittany (France)

    Jackgyver Junior Member

    Thanks bajansailor. I'm going to follow up on them.
     
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