An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Sail Boats 15' and up. Please include the boat type in your question.
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Netpackrat
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An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by Netpackrat »

I've got a concept/design program I have been turning over in my mind for a while now and I think I need to seek some outside input to tell me if I am full of crap or if it is at all viable. Last time I spent much time here I know there were some bad feelings going both ways and I wasn't planning on coming back, but the fact remains that there are some projects going on here that I find really interesting, this is where my favorite boat designer hangs out, and out of all the places I can think of to post this, I will probably still get the most open minded hearing at Bateau. Anyway bygones are probably best left being bygones. Apologies in advance for how long this post is going to end up.

Based on having enjoyed my experiences (admittedly limited) with dinghy sailing, I think I want to get a bigger boat that is capable of more. Something in the 23-25 foot range, that I can take my family (myself, wife, and 2 kids who are currently 4 and 7) out for possibly as long as a week or two, or alternately myself and 1-2 other guys for hunting trips of similar length to the islands in Prince William Sound for deer. And also weekend excursions to some of the lakes around here. Trailering to Haines and cruising part of southeast AK would be neat someday. Some particulars:

-Must be trailerable behind full size pickup without oversize permit. I live in Anchorage, which is probably the most inaccurately named town ever. We've got all of this water in upper Cook Inlet, which is basically useless due to the extreme tides. There's not actually any anchorage or marina, just a sketchy boat launch which you have to time right and then haul ass south to avoid getting stranded on a giant mudflat. Everybody who owns a boat here either keeps it in or trailers it to Whittier, Seward, Valdez, etc. And I am not willing to have a boat that I can't keep close enough to check on the lines, etc myself if the wind comes up. If I still lived in a place where I could realistically keep a boat in the water (I grew up in Cordova), I would happily get something bigger. I'd probably already have VG26 plans on hand, as far as that goes.

-Keel centerboarder with shoal draft. See above about extreme tides. Shallow draft capability (as well as reasonable height when being trailered and for ease of launching) is a big deal, and just screams for the type of keel used by the Vagabond series

-Sleeps 4, 1-2 of whom can be less than 6' tall.

-Basic galley. If I can boil water and run a skillet, and have some minimal dish washing capacity I am happy there.

-Inside steering capability. So here is the first possibly unrealistic demand (blame Fuzz, he got me thinking this way when he mentioned pilothouses in an email last year)... Even in the summer, the weather here can turn to absolute crap fairly quickly, and hypothermia is always lurking. Nearly all boats in this size range are operated exclusively from the cockpit, out in the elements. I wouldn't plan on going out in the kind of crap that would make a pilothouse boat necessary (my sailing season would be done by early-mid fall), but if I am out there and the weather turns nasty, I want some minimal capability to steer from inside and see well enough outside to avoid running into anything (clearly I would still need to go outside to adjust sails, etc). Emphasis on minimal inside steering capability... As in a cable operated control that could be attached to the tiller with a quick release pin, and a throttle for the auxilliary. And a folding and/or dismountable place to sit. I would not plan on using it unless I had to. Just to get home or to a more sheltered location.

-Enclosed head (assumed to be horribly cramped). The second possibly unrealistic demand... I have read pretty much every Vagabond thread I could find on this forum, and I am well aware of Jacques' stance on adding such to a boat of this size. I.E. it's just asking too much, and you sacrifice too much in space. The bottom line is I am willing to make that sacrifice for my own privacy and that of whomever I have with me, and especially given the aforementioned crap weather, it isn't necessarily realistic to ask everyone else to go out in the cockpit while one does their business. Other boats in this size range and even a few smaller ones manage, so it's not too far out of bounds.

-Outboard auxilliary. An inboard takes up too much space and costs too much, plus through hulls that aren't there can't leak. The boat will have to winter outdoors on its trailer, and being able to store the engine indoors as well as easily remove it for maintenance is highly desirable. And if I decide I just want to buy a new motor every few years and sell the old one for reliability's sake, that's not totally unreasonable with an outboard on a bracket (not saying I would do this, but it has a certain appeal).

-Aluminum construction preferred, composite acceptable. Likely I am barking up the wrong tree here but I thought I would throw it out there. While I am comfortable working with composites and have built 2 small boats with stitch and glue, at heart I am a metalworker. And an alloy hull has a lot of appeal to me durability wise. Unfortunately there is a near total dearth of available plans (or factory sailboats) out of aluminum until you get somewhere over 30 feet in length. Plywood plans can theoretically be adapted but you are on your own as far as figuring out plate thicknesses and stringers, etc. They both may use developable surfaces, but aluminum boats are built differently under the skin from S&G. One of the reasons I find the Welsford Penguin so intriguing, is that while it is a lapstrake boat, if you look at the way it is put together, it is very similar to aluminum construction (and he managed to fit a head into it). I saw where at least one guy made an aluminum Welsford Scamp, so I am not the only person to look at JW's designs and have that thought. Anyway I will almost certainly end up with a composite boat. 8^/

-One other constraint if I build rather than buy, is work space. I could do a 20-21 foot boat fairly easily in the extended portion of my garage (previous owner basically added a one car garage sized extension out the back of the original 2 -more like 1.5 given modern SUVs/pickups- car garage), 23 with some difficulty, 25 would be really pushing it and probably require the extension to be extended further. I need to retain the ability to make emergency vehicle repairs inside during the winter if I have to. So the bottom line is I can buy a bigger boat than I have room to realistically build from scratch.

I am also not necessarily committed to the idea of building from scratch. If I can find a boat I can afford that will fit my needs, or that I can modify to do so, then I am A-OK with that, especially given how the world seems to be absolutely lousy with old fiberglass sailboats. Here in AK there is not always a lot to choose from and they cost about twice what you would expect to pay down south, but something like a used Catalina 25 is still fairly affordable from what I have seen. While I would love building from plans, I also have no lack of other projects to keep myself busy with. And even if I were to build, I will probably still buy a used boat first just to make sure sailing a boat larger than a dinghy is really something I want to do. The Catalina 25 actually has a lot of appeal; already has the enclosed head and available with the keel type I am after. Most of them seem to have the "pop top" which should lend itself to building a new (permanent, non poppable) cabin top out of foam sandwich that is raised enough in the rear to allow outward visibility when using the inside steering.

Another boat that comes close is the Compac 23 pilothouse, but it isn't quite what I am looking for, and also they are all fairly new and therefore well out of my price range. The cost of one of those is a LOT of money for a 23 foot boat any way you slice it.

All of that said, things designed specifically for their purpose are usually better than things modified for the same purpose, so if I can find the right set of plans, then I will buy the learning boat, and then build the one I actually want. I just haven't found anything quite like it out there in the world of boat plans, and am not sure if that means it's a bad idea, or just that there is a very limited market for it.



terrulian
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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by terrulian »

It's a great idea and you have obviously put in a lot of thought about it.
I think the Catalina 25 is your best option for a bunch of reasons. Though I assume you are a skilled builder, it will still take a long time to build a boat that big. Catalina 25's were very popular and therefore there are a lot available. https://whichsailboat.com/2014/07/27/ca ... 25-review/
Frank Butler was a genius designer, although since his boats were not as fast as those by drawn by others, he is not as venerated. His boats have always been forgiving, seaworthy, and stable, and have a lot of space for their length. This is true even of the early versions. I personally only lament my Catalina 22's speed when racing...so I gave up racing. As a cruiser, it is great. For a decade I have kept it 1/2 the year in Tomales Bay on northern California's Pacific Coast, which, like your environment, has a shoal area around the launch ramp and so the swing keel is perfect. After launch it is left on a mooring. The folks there have been doing moorings for over 100 years and know how to keep the lines safe in the gales that blow through, although it is wise to make yearly inspections and keep up the maintenance.
In terms of the inside steering station, I would just get a tiller pilot with a remote. Then perhaps modify the pop-top as you suggest. Otherwise, rigging a system with cables in a small space may clutter things a bit. If you figure it out, however, let us know your solution.
One thing I don't think I'd given a whole lot of consideration to is the launch prep. Unlike others who brag about how fast they can get into the water, it takes me half a day. This is perhaps because I am overly fussy about the rig and always tune it from scratch at the beginning of every season. If you just marked it you'd probably save time; but it is still a job getting the mast set up right.
One other consideration in a small boat is that, at least in my 22 (which is considerably smaller inside than the 25), it takes quite a while to change over from sleeping to eating to sailing configurations. You need to get up into the 30-footers and above to make this transition a no-brainer.
Let us know how your plans develop.
Tony
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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by jacquesmm »

I don't remember your previous posts, sorry.
It took me a while to realize that you want a sailboat.
To put all your requests together in one easily trailerable sailboat is a challenge. I don't think I can do it.
You mentioned John Welsford. He is a real professional designer. I met him once, he knows what he is doing plus he is an experienced sailor.
I say professional because it matters when everybody who downloads Delft thinks he can design a boat.
JW has several very seaworthy designs that would fit the bill with always one or two of your requirements missing.
I don't think the VG2o would work for you. Maybe the VG23 but it is big to tow and has an open cockpit. A dodger is possible. Several have made transatlantic crosssings and one has sailed half around the world.
The separate head you ask for is impossible. It exist in the VG26 but that boat is not trailerable. The 26 has a wide beam which is fine for accommodations but the VG23 has better proportions.

I like Terrulian's advice. Not trailerable but a good proven boat. Find a good hull and rig and customize.
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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by jacquesmm »

More:
IF you would accept a power boat, I would design something in the style of the Nimble boats:
http://nimbleboatworks.com/category/new-boats/

I am thinking of such a design since 20 years and will not need much convincing to draw one. I love those little trawlers.
I could design one with a motorsailor underbody, Atkins has designed a few with a box keel.
It will never be a great sailboat but the sail with stabilize the boat and should be considered a "get home" rig.
And that hull shape can be made from Al but I would design for my material, it's easy to adapt.
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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by terrulian »

Jacques, it pains me to ever take exception to you but the Catalina 25 is trailerable in the swing keel configuration:
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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by jacquesmm »

You are correct, I forgot that version existed. Thanks for the correction.
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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by JoshuaAhab »

How close does this come to your ideal?

http://www.atkinboatplans.com/Sail/ShoreLiner.html

I believe Jacques drafted his version of Shore Liner for another customer already.

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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by jacquesmm »

By coincidence, I did the lofting of the Atkins Shoreliner for one of our builders: faired full size lofted lines and all hull panels.
Those files are available (for a fee) if somebody decides to build her and buy the plans from Atkins.
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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by Netpackrat »

terrulian wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:04 am Jacques, it pains me to ever take exception to you but the Catalina 25 is trailerable in the swing keel configuration:
Image
Yes, that's the one. There were a couple of Cat 25s on Craigslist here last summer; one was the swing keel version that needed some work for (IIRC) $6K, and another was the fin keel version for somewhat more. The ad for the fin keeler had pictures of it on a tall trailer, but I wouldn't have wanted to tow that setup any distance or try to actually launch it. From looking at ads here vs what the same boats go for down south, the Alaska price is usually around double what similar boats go for down south, and there's a lot less to choose from.
JoshuaAhab wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 2:37 pm How close does this come to your ideal?

http://www.atkinboatplans.com/Sail/ShoreLiner.html

I believe Jacques drafted his version of Shore Liner for another customer already.
At 9' of beam that's not trailerable without an oversize permit. And I know that the state troopers actually look for that, because a guy I work for was ticketed for towing his powerboat which they said was over width. I believe he ended up selling that boat rather than deal with the hassle. And unfortunately I am going to be in Anchorage for the forseeable future, so trailerability is probably the most crucial of the items on my wish list. Within reason, towing weight is of less concern since I drive a relatively new crew cab pickup truck with a V-8 engine.
jacquesmm wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:53 am More:
IF you would accept a power boat, I would design something in the style of the Nimble boats:
http://nimbleboatworks.com/category/new-boats/

I am thinking of such a design since 20 years and will not need much convincing to draw one. I love those little trawlers.
I could design one with a motorsailor underbody, Atkins has designed a few with a box keel.
It will never be a great sailboat but the sail with stabilize the boat and should be considered a "get home" rig.
And that hull shape can be made from Al but I would design for my material, it's easy to adapt.
I like the Nimble boats, but I do want a sailboat. The Nimble Arctic is another good one with a similar program to what I am after, but I think it has an inboard engine, and a rounded stern. Does not appear to sleep 4 either, but maybe with some rearrangement and/or folding bunks it could work. I don't have anything against power boats, I just don't think I would use one as much as I would use a sailboat. For a power boat you wouldn't necessarily need to design anything new, as I like your DE25 a lot... As my kids get bigger, I'd just make one of them sleep on an air mattress on the floor. 8^)
terrulian wrote: Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:07 am In terms of the inside steering station, I would just get a tiller pilot with a remote. Then perhaps modify the pop-top as you suggest. Otherwise, rigging a system with cables in a small space may clutter things a bit. If you figure it out, however, let us know your solution.
That's actually a really good idea if it works, thanks. Given that I will probably want a tiller pilot anyway, I can try that first and see how well it works. Then I would only have to worry about engine controls, but I think that can also be done electrically rather than with cables.

Anyway, thank you for all of the input. You are right that a scratch build would be a huge project, and while I would enjoy it a lot, starting with a factory boat makes a lot of sense, especially given I plan to buy one anyway to get a better feel for sailing the bigger boats.

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Re: An All-Season Trailerable Sailboat

Post by Fuzz »

Hey couple of ideas. Check with DMV but I think you can get a permit for less than 10 foot wide that is good for a year at a time. All you need is wide load signs and a warning light on the tow rig. But give them a call to make sure.
About what boat have you looked at the Woods multi hulls? The ones that fold could fit you bill, maybe.

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