Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Honeoye, NY
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Questions about altering keel, motor size . . .?
Hi. I've been lurking here a while, and on other sites, trying to pick up information. I'm a total novice, and would like some educated opinions on my maybe-crazy idea. I know that others have done this, but detailed information is sketchy.
I'm pushing 58 and will retire hopefully in 6-8 years. I live in upstate NY in the Finger Lakes area and would like to spend time, when I retire, cruising the NYS Barge Canal system. I cannot spend a lot of money on my project boat, but here is what I've come up with. I was going to buy a used pontoon boat and convert it into a simple, very spartan houseboat. A guy at another website suggested buying an old sailboat because it would already have berths, sink, stove, head, etc., remove the mast and just motor it. The speed limit on the canal is only 10 mph in most places anyway, and I'm not trying to get anywhere fast, just relax and have fun. So far, the sailboat option seems the way to go. I'm thinking somewhere in the 22-26 foot range, enough for at least a couple to travel on. Most of the time there would likely be a motel and/or restaurant available at night as an option, so it's not like we'd be stuck on the boat for days on end.
Now for the technical questions, mostly concerning the keel. I've read up on the various kinds of keels, centerboards, etc., but am not sure what is the best thing to do. I of course want a shallow draft, but what keel should I lean towards, assuming I would have to radically alter it in one way or another? If I get a shoal draft boat, should I just leave the keel alone, remove the mast and be on my merry way?
Also, I've read a little about "hull speed," but am not sure how one would determine the correct sized motor and correct prop to get. I want to get maximum speed at the best fuel ecomomy.
The boat will never see wave action beyond what the Finger Lakes might offer, maybe 2 feet or so, and it would have to be trailerable.
Any advice, tips, tricks, things to watch out for will be greatly appreciated!