Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Seeing that you are a new sailor you probably do not understand the dynamics of yacht design, but reducing the size of the mainsail, and increasing the size of the jib will do two things, it will result in a boat with "Lee-helm" and will make the boat much harder to manhandle.
The first item, lee helm, is very dangerous. In a gust you want the boat to change course towards the wind so that the sails will empty a little and the boat heel less. That tendancy to turn towards the wind (head up) is called a 'weather-helm' and it is a real life saver in a small boat in gusty conditions.
Lee helm is the tendancy for the boat to head away from the wind, (fall off)and that means in a gust the boat wants to turn more perpendicular to the wind, and so can lead to some serious and potentially dangerous knock downs. The desireability of weather-helm (and the dangers of lee-helm) is especially acute for new sailors whose natural reactions to a gust have not developed yet.
I understand your goal of enclosing the cockpit thereby adding more living space, and your goal of adding more headroom under the boom while sailing, but trying to sail with a full cockpit enclosure on a small small boat generally does not work in terms of sail handling, but more significantly, in terms of dangerously altering the sailing characteristics of the boat. And unless the boat was designed with headroom under the boom, there is almost no way to raise the boom sufficiently to gain full headroom without screwing up the sailing ability of your boat.
As a fellow 60 year old, I can assure you that mainsails are much easier to handle than jibs and so in terms of adding a smaller mainsail and a huge jib, you are really making your boat much harder to to sail and so less suitable for an older sailer. Most cruisers can actually get by with a smaller headsail which makes the sailing much easier with a proper sized mainsail and proper sail handling gear.
In terms of the outboard, an 8 horsepower outboard is a very big engine for a 24 footer. A 4 hp two-stroke is normally enough to push a boat this size at hull speed in most condituons. If you are not able to achieve hull speed (roughly 4 1/2 knots) then you probably have a fouled bottom on your boat or else the wrong prop and gearing on the outboard.
But at the heart of it, I would strongly suggest that you learn to sail well before deciding whether to and how to modify your boat. In doing so you will learn how your boat behaves in a variety of winds. You will understand the trade-offs involved in making changes to a boat. Trying to abitrarily make changes without even understanding the basics is somewhat akin to saying, I am going to design and build an airplane before I learn to fly, if you see what I mean.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 01-14-2011 at 08:23 AM.