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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-13-2015 04:17 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

Another thought I had thinking about this rotational inertia stuff.

If putting mass further way from the center of rotation dampens the effect of spin, i.e. putting a mast on a boat, then by the same logic, wouldn't putting heavier weight at the ends of the boat, as opposed the middle of the boat, dampen the effect of pitching?

Maybe some of your physicists here can answer that question.
10-13-2015 04:10 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

Originally Posted by krisscross View Post
You could also balance the boat by stowing a lot of heavy stuff above the water line. Can't see that it would have been hard to mimic the arm and weight of the mast by lashing a bunch of jerrycans with water on both sides mid ship for example, or on top of the cabin.
I'm no expert on physics, but that seems counter intuitive to me. I had thought that a sailboat mast prevented rolling only by the force of wind on the sail, but more knowledgeable folks here convinced me otherwise, one post in particular by making the reference to an ice skater who spins fast with arms tucked in and slows with arms extended. From my limited research this has to do with "rotational inertia" and "angular momentum". This article explains the phenomenon.

http: // www

Under this principle, simply adding weight on deck wouldn't help, you'd have to add weight aloft to get the increase between the "axis of rotation" and mass, increasing the "moment of inertia."

The effect apparently depends on the amount of mass and the distance it is away from the center of axis. Thus, having a top heavy mast would apparently reduce the speed of roll compared to a lightweight carbon job, which would allow for faster roll.

Again, sounds counter intuitive to me, but consistent with the posts of more knowledgeable and experienced members.

But I have a cat so all this is irrelevant to me.
10-09-2015 08:13 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

You could also balance the boat by stowing a lot of heavy stuff above the water line. Can't see that it would have been hard to mimic the arm and weight of the mast by lashing a bunch of jerrycans with water on both sides mid ship for example, or on top of the cabin.
10-09-2015 03:42 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

Thanks Jeff, sound advice.

Our boat is a PDQ 32 cat, so the rolling should not an issue. That it might make more sense to buy and sell a trawler versus putting a thousand or so hours on the engines is an interesting proposition I'll have to mull a bit.
10-09-2015 03:12 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

This somewhat depends on the boat in question and on you. I don't have experience making the loop but I have a little experience on boats without their masts. There have been a few times when I have had to move a sailboat without a mast. In one case, after my Folkboat lost its mast, and another bringing an approximately 40 foot boat to Direcktors to get a new mast when I worked there in the 1970's. In both cases the motion on these boats was so violent that even moving safely around the decks was very difficult. Power boat wakes (we were in the Intercoastal Waterway) were shocking events that made standing almost impossible and moving about the cabin quite dangerous.

But what I am not sure about is whether these were a unique experiences or typical. I have never been sure whether there was something about these specific boats that resulted in the experiences that I had. I have purposely asked people who have motored with their masts on their deck whether they have noticed a different motion. All say that they have and most said that it was bearable. I don't know how much worse not having a mast aboard would be from there.

So, in my mind the answer would seem to lie in the specifics of the boat and your tolerance for uncomfortable motion. If I was considering doing something like that, I would have the mast removed and put on the dock, and then go out in snotty weather or a busy weekend and see whether I was comfortable or not. If I was marginally comfortable, I would then add some ballast to get the boat to sit on her lines, (or down in the bow a little since you are motoring and most boats squat when they are motoring) and go out and try that again, and see how that felt.

If it was acceptable to you, you have your answer. If its not acceptable to you, then you had planned to have the mast removed for the trip anyway, and at that point, I would build a cradle to support the mast on deck and try that to see if that is any more comfortable. If that was not bearable, do some maintenance on your mast and then put it back up and look for other options.

But frankly, if it were me, as others have suggested, you probably would be way ahead of the game buying a small trawler yacht, make the trip, and then selling her when you got back. The depreciation on the trawler should not be all that much worse than having to rebuild the engine on your sailboat after putting a couple thousand hours on it, and the shallower draft and larger accommodations would make the trip more comfortable.

10-09-2015 02:31 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

I know this is an old thread -- but it is a ongoing question.

I wouldn't buy a sailboat to use permanently as a non-sailboat for reasons others have mentioned.

But for purposely of doing the Great Loop (mentioned in the OP) only, I see some logic to removing the mast for the trip.

I have not done the Great Loop, but when I took a sailboat up the ICW a few years back, the "sail" part of the boat was not an advantage. There were very few places that were actually practical to sail in, and having a mast meant innumerable times waiting for bridges to open. Most of the times we just motored, and waited for bridges.

There were few area where we had to navigate any kind of signficant wave action, Albermarle Sound comes to mind, and Chasapeake Bay. But mostly the biggest problem with waves were from other boats.

Except for the Great Lakes, it seems that most of the rest of the Great Loop is probably in the same category. I'm guessing you're probably not going to be actually sailing much. And to go thru the Eire locks and Chicago, you've got to take down the mast and put it back up, twice.

We are planning a Great Loop trip on a sailboat in a couple years, and I'm thinking of leaving my mast at a yard in one of the Okeechobee storage places. No waiting on bridges, and the costs of the extra fuel needed for areas I could actually sail would probably be less than the costs of unstepping and stepping the mast a couple times. And we don't have to deal with the mast laying on our deck and hanging over the ends for half the trip.

For sailors who have actually done the Great Loop, I'd appreciate your views. Did you do a lot of actual sailing on the trip?
01-13-2015 10:36 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

I love it; "If one could repower up a bit to have a frankenstein trawler cat that would be efficient at low speed (trawler-like gph) but have some 'umph' when you needed/wished to go faster, too."
Yeah, that's the poor man's way, let's just repower! A couple of BIGGER diesels will probably need bigger shafts, different screws and perhaps even struts.
Never mind that most cats have very narrow engine spaces, and oh, I guess we will need to reinforce the engine beds for the greater horsepower. Of course, adding a few hundred pounds to the stern of any boat, let alone a cat, should really improve performance as well, wouldn't you think?
Repowering with bigger engines to go slow is like buying a shrimp trawler or a tug boat to make long distance voyages; it is never economical.
I love how some people will come on here with a rather impractical idea and abuse those who have a pretty good idea of that impracticality, ignoring some pretty good advice. If I had a buck.......
01-13-2015 10:30 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

I guess this is how it goes. I want to do something stupid, but if you think its stupid, you're stupid.
01-13-2015 09:11 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

Originally Posted by Digot View Post
Wow. I've been thinking of doing something similar to the OP and read this entire thread with interest. What a waste of time, as most were just critical off-topic replies which wouldn't be much help to the OP. Wherever you are, OP, I hope you are enjoying your boat.

I've wondered about the feasibility of purchasing a 32'-38' sailing catamaran and removing the mast and sails to sell (hopefully offset the purchase cost somewhat). Even used power cats are always so expensive but more older sailing cats to be found more reasonably priced. I realize that power cats have different hulls but the sailing cat sans sails should still be pretty darn efficient and loads of room for a liveaboard. If one could repower up a bit to have a frankenstein trawler cat that would be efficient at low speed (trawler-like gph) but have some 'umph' when you needed/wished to go faster, too. A poor man's power catamaran, so to speak. I wish I knew where to find info on doing something like that. Anyone know of a blog of resource of anyone that has done that or documented attempting?

The OP is gone, I think, so feel free to bash me now instead. Thanks.
feel better now?

You have MY permission to do what you will with any boat you wish to make into a power boat.

It is feasible and very affordable until you try to make them go fast. Most sailboats, even cats have "displacement" type hulls and tend to build dam like wake as they are pushed beyond the theoretical hull speed. Applying more power beyond that makes them churn the water and actually ride lower in their own wake even go slower.

You could get lucky and find some that will plane like some of the high end racing sailboats. but I'm really not an expert on all this. There are some very well qualified naval engineer/ architects here on the forum that could help on that.

I don't think you find much about making sail into power because it's all a very low tech way to make a power boat. Purists won't be much help. Motor sailers, even some trawlers have sails to compliment the power of the vessel, and to not have that available is a real loss in the vessel's actual design. Power boats do go better with power; Just the way things have evolved in boat design. Sails and wind pressure (there is a formula) can be converted to horsepower AND it's amazing how much power sails really do develop! It's way way beyond what just a motor can do because "lift" is also part of the equation.

"motor sailing" (Usually jib deployed and motor running) a method many of us use to make way in good time. This can't be done if the "new" boat is without sails, end result; it will motor slower then if it were "motor sailing"

This "make a sail boat a power boat" really is nothing new as some people just never bothered to raise the mast and or sails.

ps I only really read what you just posted.
01-13-2015 04:02 PM
Re: Sailboat without a mast

Originally Posted by white74 View Post
should think canal boat instead of repurposed sailboat
Wow. More of the same. Thanks a bunch.

Never mind. I found another forum about converting sail cats to power cats was being discussed. And people actually read before replying! I marvel!! Bye.
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