Turning a motorboat into a motorsailer :-)

Discussion in 'Motorsailers' started by rickinnocal, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. rickinnocal
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    Location: Berkeley, CA

    rickinnocal Junior Member

    Hello, everyone.

    I see someone is asking about turning a sailboat into a motorsailer. I have the opposite question, as you see from the title.

    I have just become the proud - although somewhat apprehensive - owner of the "Glory B". She is a 54' motoryacht launched in 1996, after the builder took a massive 34 years to complete her. She has a double-diagonal planked wooden hull, and a rounded bottom with a full length 12" keel. The boat has a Ford Lehman 135HP in-line six diesel engine midships under the main saloon. Here is a somewhat mucky picture....

    [​IMG]

    The first question almost everyone asks on seeing her is "Where's the mast?" The lines of the hull and the low profile saloon, center cockpit and aft cabin positively scream "Motorsailer", yet she has never had a mast. What she 'does' have, though, are chainplates. There is one in the bow, a pair on each corner of the transom angled in for a split back-stay, and forward and aft shroud plates about 5 or 6 feet apart port and starboard. The idea of a mast and sailing rig was obviously there at some point.

    The position of the chainplates indicates an intended sloop rig, with the mast maybe 3 or 4 feet aft of where the main saloon front windows are. There is, though, no sign of any sort of mast-step on the cabin roof, nor does it look like there was any planning made for a hole to take a mast down to the keel - where there also seems to be no provision for a step.

    So... I have never owned a motorsailor. A boat this size, it seems to me, would have needed a keel-stepped mast, right? A cabin top step wouldn't do it for a boat this big?

    I paid very little for this boat, which is sound, rot-free, well equipped, but really messy, cluttered with junk, unpainted and covered with seagull leavings, so I wouldn't mind putting some money into adding a sailing rig. Is this likely to be a reasonable proposition?

    Edit....
    Here is a rough sketch of the current internal layout.
    [​IMG]

    Richard
     
  2. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Manie B Senior Member

    If it is a ferrocement hull you must be careful how much money you spend - mast, sails and rigging is a very expensive excersise in todays world. To get a pro designer to do a rigging layout is also more money.

    Big question is what do you want to do with the boat and how much boating / sailing experience do you and the wife have.

    Lauched '96 minus 34 years build time = '62 = a design of the late fifties

    phew - when is a bargain not a bargain in todays economy :confused:
     
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  3. rickinnocal
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    Hi Mannie. It's not a ferro hull, it's a planked wooden hull as I said above, although I didn't mention that it does have a fibreglass skin added.

    According to a newspaper clipping that was left in the boat along with things like correspondence between the builder and designer, the hull is double-diagonal planked, spruce planks over oak frames. (Trivia... article says 36,000 copper fasteners were used)

    I've owned sailboats in the 25' -35' range most of my adult life. I am a former Merchant Marine Master, with an unlimited license. I also held an endorsement as a watchstander on square riggers up to 500 tonnes, although that has long expired.

    I certainly agree with the question "When is a bargain not a bargain?" (As they say, the most expensive term in the English language is "Free boat"), but I am satisfied that I'm ahead of the game here.

    If nothing else, the radar and other electronics, working marine diesel, bank of brand new gel batteries and other removables are worth more than I paid for the boat even at eBay prices... although I'd truly hate to introduce such a pretty and well-found boat to the Corps of Engineers bulldozer.

    Richard
     
  4. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Flattop Islands

    Tad Boat Designer

    Is the designer William (Bill) Lapworth? If not who? The designer's name is very important in establishing the real value of what you have.....

    A sailing rig will be a great addition to comfort and usefulness of this boat.....what about ballast? Any ideas or evidence of internal ballast? you may have to haul her to look at the keel outside and see exactly how she's set up. The mast should definitely be keel stepped as its in the middle of the deck house, a lousy spot for a mast on the house top! Hopefully the engine is aft of the mast position? The mast step should be a large piece of dense timber (or laminations) spanning a number of floor timbers (3-4 minimum).

    Rudder size is also a concern, good control under sail (low speed) requires a slightly larger rudder.
     
  5. rickinnocal
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    More info.....
    I went back to the boat today, and also found some more paperwork. The designer was Wendell Calkins. The boat is a 54' version of his 50' sloop rigged motorsailer "Legend". (Which won the 1957 Transpac.) The stretch, a switch to a transom stern, plus a 2' shorter cockpit, allowed for the addition of the aft cabin.

    Don't see any internal ballast.

    I have a diver going down in a day or two to give me an overall view of the underwater arrangements and layout. From what I read of the Calkins 50', I expect there's a fin keel down there. I have a haulout scheduled for July 20th, the first date that was available.

    Actually I mismeasured :) The mast step falls about a foot or two in front of the deck house. There's no evidence that a mast step has ever been there, but two pretty massive beams cross under the deck there, about 9" apart, so the design apparently called for a deck stepped mast.

    All in all I see only a couple of minor issues with converting (re-converting?) to a motorsailer. First of course is buying a mast and boom and the necessary sails. Next is the helm. At the moment there's a main helm position at the front of the main saloon, and an aft facing helm on the aft cockpit bulkhead for going astern. I'd lose both of those and put a wheel in the middle of the cockpit. The steering is, currently, a powered hydraulic system. I'd want to change that to an unpowered system. Don't want to have to run a hydraulic pump all the time under sail. Third would be doing some digging around the places where the chainplates and cleats are mounted to make sure they were properly installed.

    All in all, I think, a reasonable project. Here's the original 50' version.

    [​IMG]

    Richard
     
  6. RHP
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    RHP Senior Member

    Looks a wonderful project Richard, wish you the best of luck. Suggest you get a surveyor to come and assess what you have as the keel etc.. is different which will all contribute to the size of the rig etc.. you should get etc..

    There are 3 x Calkins 50's for sale on www.yachtworld.com

    Good luck and please keep us posted!
    Richard
     
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  7. rickinnocal
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    Thanks a lot.

    Yes, I saw... and the cheapest is asking 25 times what I paid for my 54' :) Gotta love unadvertised lien sales.

    Will do.

    Richard
     
  8. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    Had a look at the drawings and pics of the 50' = lovely

    This could be a fantastic project seeing the boat is sound and appears to be well built AND was a bargain.

    My 2 cents = get her out of the water - get her surveyed - AND GO FOR IT
     
  9. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    There is no need to run a pump, you could stay with a manual plunger pump at the wheel. The original wheel most probably has such a pump already.

    Good luck.

    Regards
    Richard
     
  10. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    $3000 for that boat is absolute filthy thievery :)

    Congrats
     
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  11. rickinnocal
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    I agree. It would have been even less than that, except that a college kid who didn't realize that he needed a special permit to live on it - and that there's a years waiting list for those permits - bid on it. After he dropped out at $2,900 someone told him that and he freaked out at the hole he'd have been in if he'd won :) No-one else even wanted to bid. If he hadn't been there, or had known he couldn't move onto it, I'd have got it for $250.

    I cannot believe the city doesn't publicize these sales better. The only 'advertising' was a paper notice tacked up at each dock gate a week before the auction. The other three boats in the auction - a MacGregor 29 and two Ericson 27's - all went for the $250 opening bid.

    Richard
     
  12. JohnTT
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    JohnTT Junior Member

    I expect those two beams are mast partners and the mast would go to the keel between them. Remember that the shrouds place a very strong inward force on the hull. Those beams keep the hull from being crushed.

    This looks like a great project but the tricky thing will be getting the balance under sail somewhat right. Otherwise the boat will be miserable to sail (or possibly uncontrollable). Have your diver take careful measurements of the rudder and keel size and location. If it's like the 50 on Yachtworld, you've got good karma. Otherwise, you'll need a naval architect to design a rig, keel, and rudder. Probably not worth the cost.


    John
     
  13. rickinnocal
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    rickinnocal Junior Member

    Apparently, not so much.

    It seems there was someone else interested, except that instead of outbidding me, he tracked down the owner and bought it off him for the outstanding marina fees before the end of the ten day lien hold.

    Sucks to be me after I was so excited about it :-(

    Richard
     
  14. JohnTT
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    JohnTT Junior Member

    You might want to get in touch with the new owner in a couple of weeks - after he's sent a diver down.

    Karma's a funny thing...

    John
     

  15. rickinnocal
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    Location: Berkeley, CA

    rickinnocal Junior Member

    Glad you said that... Reminds me to call and cancel the one I booked.

    Richard
     
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