Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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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.
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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; 10-09-2015 at 03:35 PM.