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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Having made the best and the worst boat purchase imaginable (more on that later), I set sail to capture my prize in Isleton, California. This is between Sacramento and San Francisco.

Main item is a 1978 S2 from the original owner. Most wonderful people you can possibly imagine, the guy loved his boat to death back in their heyday. Approaching 80 years of age, the old sailing group had, more or less, moved on to "gentler" pursuits. So the boat sat moored and unused for............eight long years. There are numerous dark spots and a musty odor in the cockpit. It will take a week of cleaning to make her sparkle again. I found no signs of structural faults.

The trailer is a bit of a gorilla on my back. For unknown reasons, the owner purchased a 24' EZ Loader trailer with Extendable Tongue that used to carry a 27' swing keel boat. The trailer is in good condition with largely unused tires and light surface rust at various joints. We feel the trailer has seen very little usage. All of the rubber rollers look brand new. It has working surge brakes, bearing buddies, all lights work, and a 2 5/8" ball hitch.

The owner converted the swing keel to a wing keel that added ~900 pounds to the weight of the boat. This was done due to San Francisco Bay conditions, off shore boating, and family usage. Fine.

Why did he buy a swing keel trailer? His intention was to dry dock the wing keel boat behind his barn. His wife nixed that idea. So they tossed thousands of dollars on mooring fees before he was ready to let go.

I believe the almost full keel is at least 4' tall. There seems to be no way that the EZ Loader trailer can be adjusted to accommodate the keel. We returned with the trailer and many items that he simply gave me because they no longer could use them. A lot of scuba gear and a small rubber dinghy with 5hp motor. The boat also came with two additional head sails, a 140 and a beautiful multi-colored lapper, barely used.

Turns out the 10hp diesel Yanmar starts and works fine but it started running hotter so he removed it "for repair". I strongly suspect that the water ports got partially clogged with hyacinth or something else. The boat and motor have ~600 hours by the way.

Problem and a few possible solutions:
1) Convert swing keel trailer to wing keel trailer. How much is a normal fee?
2) Sell swing keel trailer and buy wing keel trailer.
3) Sell the boat for a small price (it badly needs a thorough cleaning) and is ~1250 miles away. I will not pay extended mooring fees in a location that I can hardly use. Mooring is paid through April.

Please don't poison the thread. This is a daunting challenge indeed.
 

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Freedom isn't free
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Lots of mention of this trailer (best part) and only passing mentions of the boat, except that it is dirty.

I am familiar with S2s only from the 7.9 line, and they are balsa cored... if the boat sat for 8 years unused (and probably unattended), how can you be sure there is even any core left? I know the older S2s are supposedly much heavier built and stronger, so maybe they are solid glass?

The trailer "rebuild" is probably just the start of this adventure. For what its worth, my money is on borrowing someone else's trailer to get the boat home, block it up, then attempt to upgrade/convert/sell the trailer it came with.

A new trailer for a 27 foot sailboat with 4-5 foot draft, and roughly 5000lb displacement will run you about $6500 (loadmaster and triad quoted me for such a thing in the last couple weeks). You COULD get away with a bare bones model that is painted without the ramp launch options for roughly around $5000.

The used trailer is likely worth between $1500 and $2500 in fully functional condition... So is it worth another $4000 for a brandy new trailer that properly fits the boat?

I still think focusing on the trailer is focusing on the immediate transport problem and not the larger problem of the value of the boat itself.
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for the reply. We spent time on the trailer adjusting the bearings and replacing a bulb. For bringing it back, we needed to assure a safe trailer. Not as much time on the boat, my helper needed to get back to Colorado after one day. On a Sunday, we were unable to get professionals to render assistance or opinion.

I walked around and looked. Everything felt very solid and I feel confident that these owners simply would not sell a boat, that needed major repair, without warning.

This purchase was to allow a few years of sailing experience before going liveaboard. Tax assessors have made the land lubbing life a financial nightmare. Plus I have always preferred the water. The name of my business is....my name plus water...for example. Loved using my boat to death prior to the theft and vandalism. Love sailing in good conditions.

The investment is manageable and will hopefully stay manageable. With a mediocre resale value and definite plans to sell, it makes no sense to pour larger volumes of money into this project.

I am looking at a used trailer, in a couple hours, that comes with an older wing keel cutter. I have five acres in remote country, the old wing keel cutter is likely to be stripped and parked for "flood emergencies". It needs too much work to make sense.

Thanks again!



Lots of mention of this trailer (best part) and only passing mentions of the boat, except that it is dirty.

I am familiar with S2s only from the 7.9 line, and they are balsa cored... if the boat sat for 8 years unused (and probably unattended), how can you be sure there is even any core left? I know the older S2s are supposedly much heavier built and stronger, so maybe they are solid glass?

The trailer "rebuild" is probably just the start of this adventure. For what its worth, my money is on borrowing someone else's trailer to get the boat home, block it up, then attempt to upgrade/convert/sell the trailer it came with.

A new trailer for a 27 foot sailboat with 4-5 foot draft, and roughly 5000lb displacement will run you about $6500 (loadmaster and triad quoted me for such a thing in the last couple weeks). You COULD get away with a bare bones model that is painted without the ramp launch options for roughly around $5000.

The used trailer is likely worth between $1500 and $2500 in fully functional condition... So is it worth another $4000 for a brandy new trailer that properly fits the boat?

I still think focusing on the trailer is focusing on the immediate transport problem and not the larger problem of the value of the boat itself.
 

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1. figure out if you want to keep the boat.
2. If you are keeping this boat, figure out if you want to store it on a trailer.
3. If you are not planning to keep it on a trailer, get a boat transport quote to your marina of choice. That would be my preference. Long way to tow it and rough mountains to deal with.
or:
3. Get a right, used trailer for it, in terms of boat weight and keel shape and tow it home. Converting existing trailer may not be an option. some trailers are mostly for yard use, not long haul of a heavy boat.
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the ideas and input.
1) Plan to keep boat for 2-3 years. Purchased to gain needed experience with a medium sized boat.
2) Colorado has no great sailing lakes in my opinion. Plan is to use the Sea of Cortez which isn't too far from southern Colorado. Far prefer saltwater with scuba diving opportunities.
3) Boat transport makes little sense. I have a large truck with a 488 and am well experienced with trailers...owning seven. Mountains can be easily circumvented by driving through New Mexico. Agreed.....have a creepy feeling about converting existing trailer. At least without somebody who is highly experienced in the matter. Don't like the risk one bit.

The boat used to weigh 5000 pounds. Now closer to 5700 pound without diesel engine. The large dual axle trailer is very likely strong enough, just not built for the wing keel.


1. figure out if you want to keep the boat.
2. If you are keeping this boat, figure out if you want to store it on a trailer.
3. If you are not planning to keep it on a trailer, get a boat transport quote to your marina of choice. That would be my preference. Long way to tow it and rough mountains to deal with.
or:
3. Get a right, used trailer for it, in terms of boat weight and keel shape and tow it home. Converting existing trailer may not be an option. some trailers are mostly for yard use, not long haul of a heavy boat.
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks again, I've been to San Carlos looking at a boat. 250 miles into Mexico is doable though I'd like to find something closer. The vast majority of their boats are unaffordable. I'm a "less than $5000" prole rather than plutocrat.

May have found a way to adjust existing trailer. Replace the adjustable 21" long and 1/2" thick plates with plates that are ~5' long and very well braced. I have "professional cobalt drilling gear" so I should be able to make accurate drill holes after the boat is pulled. Still very concerned with quality of cross bracing. A boat that sits that high could deliver significant "whiplash" energy.

Not going to keep the boat in California. That area is almost 1300 miles away. California offers spectacular beauty, however I am diametrically opposed to "California politics." I just can't stand it beyond a vacation.

If you want to keep the boat in Sea of Cortez, it makes more sense to buy a boat that is already there. One dealer example: Sailboats for sale in MexicoHow often can you sail there? With this boat maybe it makes more sense to keep it in California?
 

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Freedom isn't free
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I think you can make your plan for the trailer work. Sounds like you are more than equipped to handle the upgrade. A significant amount of weight is in that keel, so the center of gravity is still lower than you'd think. That being said, it's a lot higher than it was as a swinger. Good brakes and take your time in turns. Strap the boat down well to the trailer, when the boat stays on the trailer is one issue but also how it rides on that trailer is another. This isn't stuff you don't know just repeating what you do.

The more supports the better (if poppets) if bunks you should be well supported.

If you can pictures before and after (of both boat and trailer) would be great. I do seriously believe the older S2s are built like tanks. I have no doubt that if the decks weren't spongy they likely are solid glass! Even the older balsa cored S2s many have minor moisture issues, not major.
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Ugh.....the three axle trailer is simply an old trailer for a mobile home and exhibits numerous problems. The boat that is perched on it sports two large holes in the hull. Perhaps Blackbeard sent a cannon ball through it.

Now for the good news! My understanding of the depth of the fixed keel was possibly off. The past owner estimates the "extension of the shoal keel" to be "be pretty sure the extension did not add more than 1 ½ feet." The current keel is of an upside down T shape that adds 900 pounds. I have a photograph of it but do not know how to post it without using a smartphone tapatalk app that reportedly helps with image posting. I vastly prefer laptops by 1000 to 1.

EDIT: The last owner was kind enough to send a PDF. The shoal draft was 2'6". Adding 18" puts me at ~ 4'. Much easier to accommodate than 5' ... I would think.

Egads.....keels alone are enough to send the mind spinning.
 

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I wonder if all that extra weight on the keel could cause problems with the rig. When too much wind hits the rig, boats are supposed to heel. It's like a pressure relief valve for your rig.

Did you get a good look at the chain plates and standing rigging when you were at the boat?
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Yes and no....I looked it over good but have a negligible background in sailboat analysis. I'll say this:

Boat was purchased in 1978 and the keel modified in 1980.

The previous owner did say that perhaps a little too much weight was added towards the stern. The boat points slightly while docked.

He anchored off the stern. Felt that was best for him. FWIW, I also preferred to anchor off the stern with my outboard.

I wonder if it is possible that we are getting carried away with engineering details. The boat was successfully used for ~28 years after the modification.

I'd like to get back to the trailer mounting challenge which is still a daunting challenge. More on that in a minute...


I wonder if all that extra weight on the keel could cause problems with the rig. When too much wind hits the rig, boats are supposed to heel. It's like a pressure relief valve for your rig.

Did you get a good look at the chain plates and standing rigging when you were at the boat?
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Large steel plates are somewhat expensive. Have yet to explore too many options, this is what I have found. In order to get a 48" x 1/2" thick steel plate, I may have to get a 12" width (at least from the supplier that I studied):
Eight 12" x 1/2" x 48" A36 plates costs $950.
Weight: 654 pounds UPS shipping costs $603.

Since I am using eight plates, I see no need for 12" wide plates. We are not supporting a building.
 

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The trim could be an issue for a few different reasons. Sailing performance could be altered and anchoring stern to isn't always ideal.
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I hope you feel well exercised after jumping to so many conclusions. Without an image of the boat and keel, you can't make these assertions in any reasonably scientific way.


Is there any way you can unload this boat before it costs you any more money?

The trim is going to be a problem. She won't point, the bows going to blow around when maneuvering, the pivot points going to be altered, she's going to be too heavy for her designed sail area, she's not going to heave too and she's going to ship waves into the cockpit when anchored.

I'm not trying to be cute. This boat does not sound like a good boat to learn on.
 

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Take an empty water bottle, cap on. Fill your sink with water. Put a fan beside the sink, on. Push the water bottle towards the fan.

Then, get some duct tape and tape a loonie or something to the bottom of the bottle, aft of the centre of floatation and repeat the experiment.

Note any changes in the way your water bottles reacts to the wind from the fan.

Then tell me I don't understand the principles of boat trim.
 

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If I remember correctly, many of the S2 models came from the factory with swing keel/shoal keel/fin keel options. And for a time, the factory sold keel conversions for converting swing to shoal/fin.

So dismissing this S2 keel conversion out of hand is jumping to conclusions.

Even if this wasn't an official conversion, consider how much the center of effort, floatation and gravity changes on a swing keel in various states of "swing". Any after market conversion that is placed in the swing keel box area will likely be just fine in comparison.

Mark
 

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GreenasGrass
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298 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
It is not a full keel, it stops several feet short of the stern. Wish I could post a picture with my laptop. Then we could make more insightful judgements.

My business name is water plus my name. Not completely new to water movement. Starting to appreciate your effort though. :)


Take an empty water bottle, cap on. Fill your sink with water. Put a fan beside the sink, on. Push the water bottle towards the fan.

Then, get some duct tape and tape a loonie or something to the bottom of the bottle, aft of the centre of floatation and repeat the experiment.

Note any changes in the way your water bottles reacts to the wind from the fan.

Then tell me I don't understand the principles of boat trim.
 

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The older S2's did come in the swing / shoal / fin keel options. I have a 79 8.0b with the shoal draft and have wished for some larger keel traits when in heavier weather. Not enough to trade off being able to anchor in knee deep water though. The decks on all of them that I have seen are balsa cored but the boat is heavier built and has more big boat amenities than most of that size IMO. All that aside.... Realistically, until you see this thing out of the water and inspect what kind of a job was done, or even see how it might react under sail, its all pretty much just playing armchair quarterback....

As for getting the boat back, I would check on quotes to have it shipped so you can put it on jackstands where you are going to keep it and build the trailer up to fit at your convenience when you can take good measurements. It would be a real kick in the nuts to get all the way there and find out that the pdf and the actual boat aren't built exactly alike. Another option would be to take a few days and an equipment trailer if you have one available, have the boat hauled out at a marina, take a day to build a cradle out of wood and drop it on there to get it back. Unloading once back in Colorado might be the daunting end of that idea though!
 
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