Trailable canal sailboat?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Quidnic, Jan 22, 2022.

  1. Quidnic
    Joined: Apr 2020
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    Quidnic Junior Member

    Is there a design of sail boat that is large enough to do some serious sailing and can be max beam of 6’10” so it can navigate canals?
  2. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Re 'large enough', what is the minimum length that you are thinking about?
    Sailing boats might typically have a length to beam ratio around 3, so a typical hull length might be around 21'.
    And how 'serious' is the sailing that you envisage - coastal, or across the Irish Sea, or transatlantic?
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  3. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    A folding trimaran could work. They are relatively complicated and expensive compared to a monohull. However, they can be seaworthy. I remember meeting a Swedish couple in the 80' in Martinique. They were cruising in a trimaran that had a very narrow main hull; about 4 feet. Cruising in narrow boats requires that you are not claustrophobic though.
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  4. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Its not just beam, but draft that's going to be an issue. According to Canal river Trust 3'6 max seem common, 3ft not unusual, and some canals may be as shallow as 2'6. There are good reasons why canal craft are highly specialised designs.
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  5. fastwave
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    fastwave Senior Member

    Google friendship 25TS
    It is popular in Holland because they have a lot of shallow places.
    It a good compromise. No idea what the max beam is but min draught is a foot or something like that
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  6. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member

    Put bluntly,there isn't much out there.The width of the locks means that the boats can't be beamy enough to generate much form stability and the limited depth means you can't hang ballast very far below the surface.Then there is the additional limitation of the canals being a bit narrow if the wind is on the nose and tacking becoming necessary.Its quite a while since I chugged along a canal,but my memory tells me that there was no shortage of bridges and tunnels where lowering the mast will be needed.You might consider asking BWB what their stance is regarding sailing on their canals to see what guidance is forthcoming.The broader beam parts of the system are probably your best bet.
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  7. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    The ComPac 16 or the Sun Cat 16 by ComPac. - COM-PAC 16 Sailboat
    LOA: 16.00 ft / 4.88 m
    LWL: 14.00 ft / 4.27 m
    Beam: 6.00 ft / 1.83 m
    S.A. (reported): 115.00 ft2 / 10.68 m2
    Draft (max): 1.50 ft / 0.46 m

    "One year, four of us trailered a pair of 16ft Com-Pacs down to the Florida Keys and sailed 30 miles west of Key West to the Marquesas Cays."
    The Zen of Trailer-Sailing Page 2
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  8. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Star, 5'7" wide, 3'3" draft, very serious sailor, hullls can be had for a beer trailer included.
    YW Diamond also fits if modified with lifing keel, cheap.
    International 110, the class is releasing cutting files for ply and a kit.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2022
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  9. The Q
    Joined: Feb 2014
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    The Q Senior Member

    Serious sailing is a vague statement, could you clarify that please?

    The Lysanders 17 or 19 were designed to go through UK canals, and they're built to the maximum permitted beam of 6ft 10 inches so they just fit.
    It's also shallow draft of 2ft 6inches which is the rudder. If you get one with a swinging rudder blade the the draft can be as little as 18inches.
    Many UK canals are only dredged to 3ft, though the Llangollen has sections only 2ft deep.

    You can easily fit a small tabernacle to lower the mast for bridges, though if you have the more common gunter rig, it's easy enough to take the mast down single handed as I've done many times.

    Oh by careful selection of the weather I've sailed in the Hebrides , they've done channel and Irish sea crossings..
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  10. Quidnic
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    Quidnic Junior Member

    Yes about 21’

    anything longer will be over 6’10” beam

    at the moment I’m thinking the drascombe coaster to fit my list of requirements

    Attached Files:

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  11. Quidnic
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    Quidnic Junior Member

    Lovely boat but just a little to wide for UK canals
  12. Quidnic
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    Quidnic Junior Member

    Serious sailing I meant out on open water, hardly ever on the canal unless maybe occasionally

    but mostly the outboard for the canals, with the drop keel and rudder lifted
  13. Quidnic
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    Quidnic Junior Member

    Here is a good trailerable canal boat but can’t sail

    Attached Files:

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  14. gggGuest
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    gggGuest ...

    Maybe a lifting keel boat might work. Its not clear to me whether you want a day boat or something with accomodation. The Q will know more about them than me, but I note the "Kinsman" which is a lifting keel version of the Yeoman keelboat, which is a dayboat, and probably within your dimensions. Don't know what they are like in open water, but I wouldn't want to get caught in serious wind and waves.

  15. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    A very narrow (for its length) sailboat is very possible.

    But the compromises needed to make it work will probably severely limit its market potential.

    Add to this the need to make it floatible in around 2 ft of water, and it becomes even less so.

    But it can be done.

    Here are some of the likely design trade offs:

    1.) Limited mast height. With a single spreader Bermuda rig, the mast can clear the partners (or deck mast step) by about four times the Beam. That's the total height.

    So, with single spreaders, your mast height will be limited to around 28 ft.

    To get any sail area within that height, the Boom is going to have to be rather low. Maybe too low to get a Boom Vang under it. You may also need to spread the sail area past the bow, which would require a bow sprit, which may have to be retractable at dock.

    2.) Side decks would be another issue. With them, the cabin top can resemble an upside down trough. Without them, tending the jib and anchor would require either crawling over the cabin top, on the windward side, or working them from below, by opening a hatch on the fore deck.

    3.) Depending on how much living space is desired below, the hull shape may end up being less than optimal for a sailboat. It may require a higher prismatic coefficient ( cP ) than the usual one in the mid-0.50s. This may make light air performance suffer.

    Ballast stability may not be harmed as much as one might think, as the sides will be quite high compared to the Beam. Even with internal ballast (and not a ridiculous amount), the boat may well be far more safe than it looks.

    Of course, there is no law that requires going with masthead Bermuda rig. A more traditional gaff or sprit rig may better fit the bill.

    In the days before engines, Thames barges routinely sailed across The English channel, then ducked under low bridges, lowering the rig, mast and all, to pull it all back up on the other side.
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