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Old 12-11-2000
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Jon Shattuck is on a distinguished road
Creating a Motorsailer

I'm purchasing a 150-foot, 450-ton motor vessel and transforming it into a three-masted motorsailer with a retractable keel and advanced sailing systems. I would like your suggestions on the project and any useful addresses for designs of this transformation and for purchase of the sailing system parts.

Franco Capanna

Jon Shattuck responds:

Your plan sounds like a unique and complicated task. Retrofitting a powerboat into a motorsailer is like turning a car into an airplane. I'm sure it can be done, but you should definitely evaluate whether it's worth doing.

To add masts and sailing gear is one thing, but to add a retractable keel and overcome the inherent differences between the hull shape and stability of a motoryacht versus a sailing craft is a whole other issue.

You may be better off finding an existing motorsailer and refurbishing that to your personal tastes, or you might just want to start from the beginning with the construction of a new vessel to your specifications.

If the vessel you are planning to buy is somehow worthy of such a retrofit, I would start with a thorough survey and then engage a project manager to oversee every aspect (design, yard selection and relations, systems selection and purchasing, general trouble-shooting, etc.).

You'll find that your local boatyards or brokers are probably your best source for referrals for these positions. When it comes to sailing gear, SailNet's online Store can help with a lot of your needs. Of course some of your equipment will have to be custom-fabricated, and a lot of that can also be handled by SailNet's inhouse shops (rigging, canvas, sails, interiors, and canvas). I hope this is helpful to you.

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