View Full Version : Marco Polo

09-10-2009, 10:48 AM
On Ebay: a Herreshoff Marco Polo that has apparently been sitting unfinished since 1978. http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Herreshoft-55-10-Marco-Polo_W0QQitemZ320422475564QQcmdZViewItemQQptZSailb oats?hash=item4a9aaaf72c&_trksid=p4506.c0.m245#v4-33
http://i.ebayimg.com/11/!BTzc,!wBGk~$(KGrHgoOKjUEjlLmTEG6BKKWu!5zcg~~_3.JP G

Thad Van Gilder
09-10-2009, 11:07 AM
wow, that looks nice....

wonder why its sitting there...

Jay Greer
09-10-2009, 11:25 AM
The "Marco Polo" was L. Francis Herreshoff's favorite design. I also have a great appreciation for it. My future son in law owns one and is delighted with the boat which was built by his father and grandfather. While many owners have opted to change the rig from the original three masted schooner design to a two masted rig and also have added bow sprits, my own prefrence is to leave the rig as designed as it allows the boat to be handled by one person if necessary. This is a true passage making vessle that can have a range of nearly three thousand miles under power alone! Greater when the engine is just allowed to tick over and the sails take over the main work work of pushing the easily driven hull.

Ian McColgin
09-10-2009, 01:11 PM
I agree with Jay about the Marco Polo's virtues, as folk on this Forum who have been around a bit well know, but I must pick two wee bones:

The rig has excessive weather helm as designed. A bowsprit to sport a masthead jibstay putting a nice jib outside a boomed forestaysail is very nice. If you hang a twizzler out there for downwind you have a more versitile, less rolly, and more powerful downwind rig than the funkey squaresail.

And secondly, I am sure LFH never designed a boat in which he could not take perfectly justifiable pride, but he did not write (that I know of) about the Marco Polo the amazing line about the Golden Ball: "If I could have afforded her when I was younger, I would have had a boat to this design, because I think she is one of my best."

LFH designed a number of real ocean wanderers, well able to take a person, a couple, a family or whatever anywhere in the world. The Marco Polo is the most purely designed for this purpose, almost totally devoid to typical yachty grace notes - compare to Mistral, Tioga etc. - yet with lines show the deep, maybe deeper at least to my eye, beauty of total purpose.

For all that off-shore genius, LFH did relativly little off-shore cruising , preferring coastal cruising and gunkholing. Like the Marco Polo in her universe and like Bounty et al in theirs, Golden Ball is a supreme expression.

LFH's outstanding genius was that he could make cruisers and racers and dinks and everything in between and in almost every category he drew something that's the standard which almost all others fail to approach.

Jay Greer
09-10-2009, 01:22 PM
Ian, I seem to recall that you once owned a Marco Polo. I have found that the balance of the helm in most of LFH's designs is greatly effected by sail trim, infact, much more so than in designs by others. The Marco Polo I am familiar with is just so. Taking a little drive out of the #3main would balance the helm perfectly.

Ian McColgin
09-10-2009, 01:56 PM
Jay, there are so many wonderful tricks one can do with three sticks and (in Granuaile's case) five sails . . . But it just plain galls me to not have each sail drawing its best.

Granuaile was not especially weatherly. She'd padoodle along four points off the wind, tacking through an honest 90 degrees, but she'd then be moving so underpowered that her leeway was actually considerable. Better to hold her 50 degrees off the wind, tacking though 100, and gain power. In wild conditions, like beating into a Strong Gale to Storm (Force 9 - 10, sustained mid-40's with gusts over 55 knots), we'd sail 60 degrees off the wind, tacking through 120, and actually make good and comfortable headway of 6 knots through the water, netting the tacks 3 knots made good.

But back to the lighter conditions where all sails are up unreefed, I like the mizzen drawing and not smacked down to the centerline, other sails a little slacker to be right.

By the way, when crewed for sure and I found ways to so this solo, I found her tacks could be made more powerful if I kept the mizzen full through the tack, backing it as the other sails luff through. Sorta like having an outboard pushing her through the tack. To pull this off alone means having easily set and slipped beckets to hold the helm while I drop the jib, step back to push the mizzen, and then as she settles in move back into the cockpit to center the helm and trim the jib.

With backed mizzen and backed forestaysail or jib the Marco Polo can back under sail out of a slip or back down through an anchorage - she steers great in reverse - and then be made to pivot to where ever you want to go.

For mooring, anchoring or pulling the anchor, I took advantage of her ability to heave-to under centered mizzen and backed forestaysail. I'd put the foresail just a little slack so if I backed the staysail hard she'd bear off and the fore would drive her foreward while bringing the staysail more to center let her bear up and about stop. In short, I could steer anything from a square drift to stately fore-reaching about 4 points into the wind all from the bow. Very handy.

There's much more, which no doubt your son-in-law is learning to his great pleasure.

09-10-2009, 04:59 PM
I have a friend who built a series of Marco Polo tenders in Spain. He started and ran Myabca (http://www.myabcausa.com/). They had their own little racing class on Mallorcca. When he retired to Virginia, he brought two of them along, and now has them at the Chesapeake Bay. They are very able tenders and sail well too. The plans, as well as a sailing photo are shown in "Sensible Cruising Designs"

Ian McColgin
09-10-2009, 05:58 PM
Yes, yes. The tender is totally amazing. Especially wonderful is the fabulous way it rows laden or light. The very thing to take a kedge out in the dark and stormy.

11-20-2009, 08:30 AM
Hello to all Marco Polo Friends and Sailors.

I bought the old girl in CA. and will be finishing her in Texas. I have more questions than time, so if you will, let me get her home to my shop and study a bit more. I am at step 10 of a 10,000 steps. I have been building boats most of my life and are good with mechanics and drafting. Presently, I am learning about what this great Boat can do and how she can best be fitted out and rigged. The more I read the more I love her.

Question 1: I am not all that fond of the forward engine room concept. Seems like a lot of drive line (noise) and wasted space to commit to one 4 cyl. diesel. Any thoughts?

Again, great to be in touch with you and I sincerly appreciate all the help anyone can give towards this undertaking. I have the "Sensible Cruising Design" book which is some help.


Russ Manheimer
11-20-2009, 10:36 AM
Welcome Jim,

Look forward to hearing of your adventures. Do you have any ocean crossing plans with your new ship?


11-20-2009, 11:23 PM
HI Jim-Congratulations on your acquisition. I was hoping someone would get that boat and do something appropriate with her. While it has a long way to go it is a BIG JUMP ahead already.
I have a MP myself and am repowering for some of the reasons you are wondering about. But first: My Marco Polo was built in Hawaii in 1974, cold molded with longitudinal frames-otherwise is very much the same as drawn by LFH.
The rig is pretty much to the plan as well as the deck and interior arrangements.
The engine is quite large (GM4-53) and does reside in the best cabin on board. Also have about 500 gallons of D. fuel there in 2 tanks. After voyaging some and getting her to US East Coast I have decided to down-size engine and fuel capacity, moving engine aft and giving over the "engineroom" to friendlier accomodations. There is plenty of room fore engine beneath the main salon sole and I intend to use thrust bearing and sound isolating mounts to support the shaft and engine. This work is underway this fall/winter/spring.
The masts and rest of rig are all as drawn. After some experience with it (and with many others) I am contemplating how best to separate the bottom ends of Forestay and headstay. A short bowsprit to support the headstay (and an anchor) might be in order but also could move forestay inboard some. If you have ever tacked a big jib on headstay you will know why I want to do that.
Otherwise the boat is great-could use more cockpit room for those times when you have "others" with you. She steers well in my opinion, drives easily. I particularly enjoy the 3 masts and am building a new yard (old one broke in accident-not while aloft). I have all the hardware as per the drawings. A source for new copies of all the drawings is Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.
Sailing she is quite fast and steers well, tacks when you want to , etc. I have found her to be very dry way back aft there. There are some stories out there about excessivley lively motion although I have not found it to be half as bad a some people have presumed after reading R. Beebe's account of the first voyage of MP #1. But-more later-keep us posted on progress and questions/Cheers/JC

11-26-2009, 09:06 AM
I posted (I thought) a great big answer to your last entries. I see it did not take. will redo the darn thing again and send later.

11-27-2009, 06:02 PM
Here goes again.

I am planning on a trip out to the old girl on the 10th. to see her for the first time and just sit in the bilges, measure and think. I am thinking of building the trailer to move her (about 3 times) which will resemble a Hostar hydraulic. It will be more mechanical relating to the stablizing arms, but will use air bags for suspension and a two tine fork for layout. The trailer will be some 38-40' long to the goose neck. I am fairly handy when it comes to this stuff but the swing arm suspesion is giving me a little fit right now.

On boat layout, I am considering a Deutz engine air cooled. There are many advantages to this engine, but have not ruled out a Cummins 6 NA which I can get fairly cheep/. AC allows for waste heat to power hot water, cabin heat and amybe even the holding plate refrig. I am still looking into the size of the engine and my gut is telling me 80-120 HP at 2800. I like the larger engine as I would run her slower, but the weight is almost double the AC Deutz. I have used AC before and it was full of interesting issues most notably, exhaust of waste heat. But, like I said I can use most of it in other ways.

I think it will take me about 1.5 years to finish her at my speed. I have a 2400 shop to move here into.

I really want to use the forward cabin for something other than an engine room. I want to build a different layout the LH designed and this will take some thinking.

I am told deck edge immersion is at 16.5 degrees at 38000 pounds/ Can anyone confirm? I am a NA of sorts and can handle making a rough evaluation of the stability and such once I make a GHS model of the hull. Does anyone have this vessel modeled?

On sailing plans I am thinking of moving to South America with her as my home base some day/ I woke up one morning aith the words ACTS 7:3 in my head. I had no idea what that passage was about but now I know.

Hope you weekend plans are good. I am in Alabama for the next days.

Warm Regards,


Dave Davis
11-28-2009, 07:14 PM

"But first: My Marco Polo was built in Hawaii in 1974"

Would your boat's name be "HOPE"?


peter radclyffe
11-28-2009, 08:59 PM
have you heard an air cooled deutz running, & if you have, isnt it too noisy

12-03-2009, 05:50 PM
Hi Jim-Congrats again and keep on thinking. As I mentioned in my earlier response to your post I too was thinking to make "better" use of the "engine room" from LFH MP design. If you read his description and thoughts you will note that he considered (for this design anyway) his drawings to depict only one possible version of interior arrangement and that others with different cruising needs might place the auxiliary differently and/or have smaller fuel tanks, etc. In other words, you should not expect to be flogged if you make your arrangement different from drawings.
Re: AirCooled Deutz: I have lived with aircooled Listers and while they do provide plenty of warmed up air which you have to deal with they also provide plenty of noise.
Otherwise rearranging the interior layout is what everyone does to some degree. I wouldn't mess too much with the rig beyond getting a little more headsail forward, as mention in this thread.
And to Dave-Yes, my vessel was build through what seems to have been some "program" at Honolulu. I bought it from a later owner. Do you know some about the HOPE project? Cheers/JC

Dave Davis
12-03-2009, 06:48 PM

I knew the son of the builder. H.O.P.E. was moored in the basin by the CINCPACFLT boat house and had been for sale more or less--this would be early 1990s. He was asking a ton of money for the boat, with that huge diesel in the cabin that hadn't run, and she hadn't left the pier in quite some time. I did a quick survey of her and the construction seemed especially stout, custom castings, the rig was in good shape--tempted to buy her myself but other things got in the way. At the time she even had the Herreshoff tender aboard.

She was at one time advertised in the back of WB Mag, and when we left the islands we lost all track of the boat. It's great to hear she got an owner and pretty cool to know she's here on the east coast. You got a great boat.

Ian McColgin
12-03-2009, 10:06 PM
Granuaile had a Deutz tucked under the cockpit which was terrific. The air was vented outboard of the starboard side of the cockpit which took up a bit of space in that small well. The exhaust was out the side about halfway up the topsides from the waterline. There are a lot of quieter installations but it was not bad. The engin room was well sound insulated and had I carried out my plan for a stack up just inside the mizzen shrouds for both the air and exhaust it would have been about perfect.

My Deutz was considerably smaller than the amount of power most Marco Polos get - about 10 KW when new which was sometime in WWII. Drove her at about 8 knots in flat calm and gave enough umph that I could motor sail short tacking into anything we actually met like Hull to Sandwich beating into a Violent Storm (Force 11, sustained about 60 knots) under double reefed fore, and forestaysail - jib, main and mizzen furled.

Ah yes, Granna had a forestaysail a nudge smaller than the jib as drawn and a jib on a 6' bowsprit that ran to the foretruck. Good thing. Like many LFH designs, the MP can use a bit more sail area foreward.

The MP benefits greatly from fully battened high roach rounded head fore, main and mizzen. Gives a very sporty boost.

It's my opinion that the square course LFH designed is extra sluggy gear and that for down wind cruising the "twizzler" is just the right thing for this boat. More on that if you ask.


12-13-2009, 11:54 AM
Hello all.

Sorry for the delay,

Well I am at the boat finally.

Sacramento is cold and rainy, but the marco polo is is fantastic shape. Some checks in the hull where she has opened up but in great shape overall. I took pictures finally yesterday after a Nikon camera failure...exactly on que. I will post them soon on some site. The vessel keel timber bottom is 16" off the floor and is level overall within 1/4 degrees. Should be easy to move. This boat was built by Hans Gruber in Seattle somewhere...He did a fine job and every frame and bulkhead is right sized and right to print. Well done Hans.

I think I am missing or need a bilge stringer. Can someone confirm? Might be the outside ledge of the flooring. I am not sure when or if it is added, but it seems like a good idea on both strength at the bilge and floor support.

I am so excited to own her and cannot wait to get started. Maybe I can sail on a Marco Polo sometime so I can learn the ropes of the girl and what needs to be improved.

On the Deutz...I found a F4L912 natural at 72 HP which should be fine. I will pick it up hopefully next week. I am thinking of a ZF/Hurth V-drive so I can tuck her low under the cockpit, but not so low that maintaining her would be an issue. Normall I hat Vee Drives and they are a PITA but it allows me to use the existing shaft line which is already cut in. I estimate this is a 20' movement of some 700 pounds of weight. A 14K ft pound moment shift is nothing to snear at on this siz of boat. Of course I need to deduct the new added interior to the old ER from this calc. I am thinking of some needed bow weight that can be employed for final trim compensation. Station 28 is CG. Station 4 is where I am considering adding the weight. At station 4 it would need some 548 pounds to compensate for the engine shift if no interior add. I could always take the trim which would be about 1.25" up. Any ideas?

I am thinking of building a true master stateroom with a door forward to a guest stateroom which is aft of forepeak space. Rule #1 guests have to go outside to make the salon unless it is a wet or cold condition. The main salon looses the dedicated bunks but gets hingd backrests. The main needs to be a bit more organic in shapes. I think the settee can be shaped more and galley also for looks...even if it is just the countertop.

On the noise issue...I agree that the new ER needs sound relief. But it is aft of the main salon and is therefore in some isolation from living quarters. I will flex mount the engine and add 1 1/2" constrained layer dampening milar faced foam sheet on the forward ER bulkHead and cockpit floor to start.

I might even use a vacuum panel for sound deadening. I used this on a Navy project over the propeller tip in the hull with some great success. Lost 40 DB and would have more if it was over the full area.

I have a plan of sorts for the engine warm air discharge and will show up a sketch after the holidays. You have to make some hard choices on ducting. It dpends if I can find the "cabin heat option" for the deutz. This places a shroud on the discharge for ducting hot air.

What a fine boat...I am in love again...perfect for me in size and prefect for my needs. God is good.

12-13-2009, 06:59 PM
Well I am at the boat finally.

Have you found out anything of the story of this hull, how it came to sit unfinished for so long?

Roger Cumming
12-13-2009, 08:19 PM
There is no bilge stringer because LFH did not believe in them. His reason was that bilge stringers, being located at or near the neutral axis of the hull (the hull imagined as a longitudinal beam), contribute little to its strength or stiffness. Imagine a steel I-beam with most of its material in its flanges and a thin web. Its neutral axis, midway between its flanges, undergoes no stress in bending, neither tension nor compression. Adding material to the web therefore will add nothing to its strength in bending. In a hull the flanges are represented by its clamp, shelf and deck above the neutral axis and its keel below the axis, and of course the planking, either in tension or compression for a given load on the hull. If these components are proportioned properly for the bending stresses, the bilge stringer would seem to be superfluous. It does, however, add strength against loads normal to the hull.

In light of the performance and adequacy of LFH's many designs, all lacking bilge stringers, I would think twice before adding one to a proven design.

12-15-2009, 12:39 AM

I have a story to tell on its history which I will do in another post.

I can agree some with the theory of the bilge stringer, however I will likely add one and use it to receive the floor plates. It makes for a cleaner attachment of the outside edge. I would like to add that ocean hulls also bend in the horizontal axis from the moment created between the CG, the dynamic loads applied and the resistance to those loads both structural and environmental. The stringer adds resistance to those actions and supports the hull from impacts. The weight is of little concern.

It will take some more thought. Thanks for you input and add to your thoughts if you think I am going down a wrong road.



12-15-2009, 01:05 AM
Yes, yes. The tender is totally amazing. Especially wonderful is the fabulous way it rows laden or light. The very thing to take a kedge out in the dark and stormy.

Noted , thank you !:)

Ian McColgin
12-15-2009, 08:10 AM
I join those who fancy that LFH was a pretty good engineer. I do not see how bilge stringers will do any good. In the three MP's I've spent real time on, there is none. The cabin soles that are low enough land on the floors. The higher ones, above some impressive tankage, land on beams.

This very narrow hull has amazing strength, and the rigging loads are relativly light. The hull should not flex in a way that will be helped by bilge stringers. There are hulls designed with stringers and absent them, the hull will flap a bit. But some hulls designed without stringers really must not have them as it creates a hard spot at the turn of the bilge and you get cracking frames. My impression of the Marco Polo is that the hull form is so inherantly stabile that I'd be surprised if stringers do any actual harm. Just they do no good.

I very like alternative arrangement plans. Before her loss, I'd outlined a new accomodation for her general rebuild. In essence, I made a saloon-pilot house in the area of the planned cockpit and "afterberth" as we called the aft stateroom. Granuaile did not have the turtle decks fore and aft and I liked that better, so the rest of the hull was flush decked. The effect is quite charming and shows off what's actually a very nice hull shape. It does make horning in copacious tankage rather harder, but not really impossible.

You're right to consider how the weights move about but it's a big hull and most as actually built get the engine either under the cockpit or under the saloon sole. It's just rational engineering.

The Marco Polo requires a different approach to accomodation than any other boat due to her ready assumption of quite a heel. You need accomodation that is thoroughly comfortable at 30 degrees and workable at 45. This means that gimballed stove and table are probably out as the swing takes up too much space and - draw the table and you'll see - you really can't use it when one side is down below knee level and the other overhead.

So, deep pots, great fiddles, very deep sinks, and berths that have meaningful fiddleboards matter. Also you do not want long distances athwartship anywhere. If a crew member slips as she drops off a 20' wave in a violent storm (Force 11, wind up around 60 knots - with a Marco Polo you will go there and will like it) you don't want them to work up too much kinetic energy before fetching up.

I recommend you make some mock-ups of key accomodations - galley and head especially - mount them on some sort of fulcrum, and get a buch of beefy friends to tip and shake them while you try to do your business inside.

And make at least one head on each side so you can tend your duty sitting comfotably on the lee side.


12-15-2009, 12:35 PM
All good thoughts Ian.

How did the floors terminate at the frames then? Some are obviously narrow and need nothing. Some will be wide above tankage and deck beams can carry it all, but the ends are sloppy fashioned around each frame. I am thinking of the hard spot issue more as this has some impact on frame flex.

You mentioned some larger routine heeling angles. I suspect these angles will require some thought on all you mentioned and maybe some innovation on floors.

Ian McColgin
12-15-2009, 12:55 PM
On Grana the low soles landed on the floors. The high soles were really much of the boat as the previous owner had made the high cabin trunk run from the cockpit right up to just abaft the foremast. This allowed for huge tankage both diesel and water, about 1,000 gallons each!, and space in the bilge between tanks that was really deep and great for all manner of parts and supplies. The high trunk make her very easily ventilated and, with the life line on one side and the grab rail atop the trunk on the other, made going forward on deck safe and easy, especially if you realized that it was easier and more secure to go forward on the lee side. The disadvantage was that it looked, in all honesty, ugly. It also always seemed to me a point of potential weakness in a hard chance but this never prooved the case as the hull's amazing seaworthiness rode happily over anything I sailed in and rode in relative comfort a Caribbian hurricane the former owner got stuck on the dangerous hemi- and spent three days essentially hove-to.

Especially if you go with lots of flush deck, give thought to extensive ventilation.

Ian McColgin
12-15-2009, 01:02 PM
Oh yeah - the point of the reply. There were uprights in the bilge as part of the framing to hold the tanks and these served to land some sole beams on and provide support on either side of the removeable sole lift-offs. Most of the outboard end of the sole was under some cabin furniture anyway, but the neatness of the connection was made by the fact that, being properly made, Grana had ceiling from the sole up along inside the topsides.

Ceiling is an important part of a wooden boat being happy and I'm an advocate of having it tight, rather than the slats spaced. Done right, open at the bottom where it meets the sole and at the top just under shelf and clamp, this provides for convection venting of the bilge area keeping the whole boat fresh and mold-free.

The ceiling also keeps any damp at bay should there be moisture coming in through a little seam damage or washing up from the bilge when the boat's hard over. Nothing more annoying than having slop get inside drawers, lockers or against a berth.


12-16-2009, 09:16 AM
I hate to say this....but Skipper Herreshoff had a habit of stating "she is my favorite design" for whichever boat in his stable one expressed interest. This is not a criticism, he was truly gifted, but I know it is true having been told by owners of all sorts of LFH boats.

12-16-2009, 12:06 PM
Thanks Ian and others for their comments.

I agree with the side panels as they perform as defined and it makes the boat more attractive. I am handy on designing tankage and soles. I am giving thought to the outer edges which could be on 30 degrees or so for easy walking in a strong heel. The furniture bases would be also cut back so as to allow for leg room in the bias.

I have decided to build her layout as follows starting aft:

(old Nav space) Now combination navigation, store room and 1 or 2 bunks.

(old store room under cockpit) Now main engine room, small generator, tools and misc. storage. Main access to space through Nav space. Secondary access under Main Saloon port companionway. Cockpit floor is now a removable FRP tub liner for engine pull, etc. I have made wood cockpits before and they don't last unless very well sealed and drained. Easier to maintain in FRP/Alum.

(Main Saloon) This layout will be somewhat different in that the galley will be moved to aft bulkhead. and stbd. I like galleys that are not too far from the helm. Access to Master right of centerline stbd. of mast. (shown in photos coming). Port forward will be extended side settee with hi-low table for extra double bunk. Length of settee along side is sufficient for day bunk. Lockers and entertainment opposite of settee.

(old engine room) Now master stateroom. Double bunk on port aft. Lockers along stbd side in combination of full length at rear to upper lower along forward end. Head/shower forward of bunk. TV/Ent on head wall facing aft exterior to moisture. Forward door to guest. (Not normally used except in weather.)

(Old Guest) Same as drawn with improvements. WT door between sail locker (fore peak) and Guest. Normal access is over the deck. Storm access is though master.

(Forward Sail locker) Same as drawn with improvements. I am looking for a means to incorporate a second head/shower in this space and think I can aft port side. A mast is in play however which is making layout a bit more difficult. I will be making some ventilated bins for sails and rigging. Large deck vent.

Overall there ill be three rigging trunks through the boat an a limber trunk. Rigging will be air, elect and plumbing.

Also, I am very attentive to damage control so everything will be removable below waterline. I want to ventilate, see and have access to, every inch if possible.

On style below...I am interested in a mix of old and new. I will be using teak accents over durable faces. I have about 1000 board feet of the stuff now I bought from a deck removal of an old cruise ship. Have not decided what those main faces will be, but would appreciate any and all suggestions. I am looking for a brighter and more airy appeal in the style. Low weight is a criteria for all items. I have used FRP panels, Formica, embossed plastics, finished wood, etc. so anything is possible.

On the house trunk I agree the height is a real design issue. I am thinking of extending the house over the master also as I am 6'2" tall and right now I have 5'11". Not an issue as I have lived hunched over, but the dockside height would be marvelous.

How are you handling the ref/freezer? This is a point for deeper thoughts. Holding plate I am sure. Engine driven? Self contained unit off gen? Any suggestions or ideas>?

I will be using a low power approach to this boat. LED lights, etc. Just sufficient to run a small chill water system I am designing now for salon, master, nav and guest. This is sort of interesting in that it will be a warm/cold system. On warm, it uses the engine cooling air running through the glycol heat exchanger. On cold, a parallel exchanger is used that is also glycol based, but loops out to the cooling circuit. Either way any space can be cooled or heated on demand. Heat Exchanger fans in each space are sufficient for circulation or through on simple valve control exchanger for hot/cold discharge .

I will be using wind gen and solar panels on house. DC systems will be 12V deep cycle (split 4D's). A/C systems will be gen supplied/dockside as needed. Buc/Boost will be used on full isolation transformer.

A lot to consider, but I can't think of any better friends to share it with then this group.

Warm Regards,


12-16-2009, 12:32 PM
On her history:

Built 1978 by Franz Gruber in WA.

Titled 1981 as best I can tell tell to first owner Guy (somebody) with a DA Buda engine. Still unfinished and sitting in water in WA. He did almost nothing with/to her.

Sold 1986 to Jeff and Cydney Welch less engine that went away before the sale. Jeff and Cydney did a great job and put a lot of effort into her hull. They hauled, drydocked, scraped, sanded, painted and fixed hull in spots.

Lived on her in SF harbor for about a year under a tarp. Coldest event in Cydney's memory. Towed up river to storage in about 1990 or thereabouts. Some delay in hauling. Hauled and blocked outside for hull work and repaint.
Moved to pictured storage building in Isletown CA. Been sitting as you see it ever since....some 13 years.

Quick assessment. Great shape.

Hull has some openings between sheathing. Main floor timbers in great shape. Frames all good. Deck beams all good and sound. Some laminated deck beams need to be re-fastened together but in plane and tight. Long bolts through keel plate and knees need replacement. Inner hull needs sanding in places as does some deck beams. Low dust and dirt thoughout as it was partially covered and not open to road dirt.

Sitting now 1/2 degree to port and level keel. I would have preferred move side supports but it is sufficient for a few more months.

I have a house to build before I can get to her. Should take about 2-3 months. Trailer another month. I should be there to get her before spring ends or early summer.


12-17-2009, 08:45 AM
Here is the photos I promised.


Ian McColgin
12-17-2009, 10:11 AM
Lots of work but it will go. Looks like you're keeping the foredeck and aft turtles. They make going out there in flat conditions a nudge harder but the arc gives better footing if you go out the weather side in rough weather. The arc makes reclining impossible but makes siting out there while sailing easier. I liked Grana's solution of a normal deck and a very strong but high sided and pretty big (3x4) hatch that also gave headroom in the fo'c'stle. That made a great place to sit. What I did not like about having a trunk cabin rather than turtle aft was putting the mizzen through the coach roof right next to the hatch. But it wasn't really weaker than the turtle and the coach made for fantastic extra seating abaft the cockpit. Six to one half dozen the other. But so long as you only have some beams, something to wonder at.

Really secure berths are truely essential. I like solid fiddleboards rather than leecloths because all you need to do is spend one stormy off-watch sagging against the cloth and praying that whoever is on deck will tack. No need for padding - you just want a notch to rest in.

Grana's fiddles were mahogoney boards salvaged from a wreck cabin cruiser. Since I like a berth that's wider than is good for sitting on, the fiddles had three positions: About 1/3 in from the hull, making a nice back for a suitable seat with secure stowage for the bedding behind it; At the inboard seat edge held at the bottome by Murry Snap-Apart hinges and the top by barrel bolts; And flat from the inboard edge to make an expansion double for those lazy days in port.

Since the cabins had rails everywhere, there was no need for a dip at the center of any fiddle to get in or out.


01-22-2010, 10:22 PM
Sorry Ian for the departure. It has been a long holiday and most of it was work. Had some van problems and it took me out for a week alone. The crazy thing is it ended up being 3 problems. A broken ground on the fuel pump module. A bad O2 sensor and a bad mass air flow. That's behind me and she runs like she did new. It's my work truck and I seem to live in the darn thing.

Now on the boat. I love the use of movable fiddle boards an will adopt the plan of attack to use taller and multi-positional ones, yet only two positions I think. I am going to keep the turtles. they are distinctive and I can see heeling advantages..though the traditional hatches are not adequate for anything but a beer to pass through. Companionways are for sails, etc.

I am looking for some advice on the windlass. I have gone from manual to electric 12VDC in my mind...leaving VAC and hydraulic out of the question for a variety of obvious reasons.

I found a Deutz F6 and working with the man on the sale now. The 6 has some advantages in that it can produce over 100HP at 1800. It is my thought to put a selectable electronic governor on it to hold 1800 in all conditions....the rpm's needed to run a gen on remote with electric or manual clutch. This gives me the drive HP and doubles to power the A/C for the topics and the house VAC when needed.

I have thrown down the concept of driving an AC motor for propulsion. Great for motor placement...bad for weight aft with the motor weight, Freq. controller, etc. Instead, I am going to V-Drive with a "through gear" ZF 62. This will be a bit odd looking but the engine is out of the bilge and the air in and out will be a breeze. I am going to draw main combustion air through demisters naturally as this evacs the engine room. Cooling air will be direct to demisters via flex tube. Discharge heat will be ducted with dampers overboard or through cabin heat trunk. Nice when it is 40 outside and blowing. Thinking of running cooling heat through an exchanger for hot water. I would use a convection closed loop system with make-up valve. Should make enough for about 20-30 gallon storage in conventional 220 VAC unit. VAC would be dockside.

On the floor soles/beams, I agree with you completely as to bilge ventilation and clothes. Nothing worse than damp clothes, bedding and the mold that follows. I like tight. hhhhhhh Tankage may be as proposed by FH but I am not sure about the fills, etc. Thinking of a means to decant tanks in addition to dual Racors, but not wanting anything more than a stainless tap valve.

Have you seen a centrifuge oil cleaner? They are incredibly effective and cheep when compared to early overhauls. They make oil last longer...even though the oil will ultimately wash with fuel in time.

Thanks for your counsel on my rants...hhhhhh I have a long way to go but it is falling in place.

All the best,


Ian McColgin
01-22-2010, 11:12 PM
Sounds very cool, Jim. I am very much a rag& stick guy and anything involving petrolium or electricity tends to leave me glassy eyed. One cool thing about the Marco Polo is that she can be so satisfying to such diverse sailors from the mechanically inept, like myself, to fantastic engineers.

Granuaile's Deutz was all of 10 KW so I should say you have plenty of power. The Marco Polo actually does well with abundant power - I see you cruising down the Dead Sea (Long Island Sound) with sails up to steady any roll but under power and making a very comfortable 10 -12 knots. Or doing like Grana but faster, making way against a snotty Storm, Force 10, wind over 50 knots.

Given the wide range of conditions, give some real thought to either a Hundested or Saab controlabe pitch prop or something like the AutoProp self-controling pitch.

I did totally fine with a manual windlass but Roll&Go, probably now restored by a lurker and genius boat rebuilder, had a trescool rig. Her engine was located as LFH shows and has a shaft out the front of the engine as well as the main drive shaft going aft. The forward shaft landed on half a truck's differential which went up to turn a capstan. I think this drive could probably winch the boat up a verticle cliff.

One thing - as you start making the sailing rig, give her at least 6' of bowsprit, a mast head jib, and a forestaysail a nudge smaller than the jib LFH drew. She needs it.

I deeply believe that this design especially benefits from a very high roach fully battened suit of sails - fore, main and mizzen. It will turn her from a bit of a sailing slug into really quite an able boat.


01-28-2010, 08:39 PM
Many thanks for the advise on the sails. I am all for the battens and high roach. I was unaware of the forestaysail requirement, but I am not there yet.

I am not sure what happened to the engine guy...maybe he dropped off the face of the earth. No matter I see them all the time. I really wanted to use a 4TA, but the 6 NA will run slower.

I have used CP before and built a small ship for a guy with it once. It was a real interesting set-up. I like simple so maybe a auto-feathering prop. I will have to check but backing down is still an issue and I need reverse.

On the trip. I realy want to go north, then park in some Florida cracker hole for the next leg then the islands south, then miss Cuba for Mexico.

Thanks again...


01-30-2010, 10:30 AM
Here are the stated gear/propulsion makers of CP.



01-30-2010, 05:34 PM
When I did the initial drawings for my 44 footer....I purchased about $350 of 4 x 8 cardboard sheet and duct tape......a pneumatic staple gun and a bunch of 1 x 2 stringers.....I mocked up the entire interior....3 or 4 times...then re-did each compartment 3-4 times until I could sit down comfortably......every panel in the boat was made with 1/4 inch marine ply with 1 inch laminated stringers on the perimeter and 1 "maai mhion hoom, a Thai wood strong as fir but lighter than spruce......so that I could place fasteners in it. I filled the interior with Airex foam.....I only made one real, booboo after that when running the electrical wiring.....I spent 6 months trying to work it out before cutting the first piece....
Good luck on your project. It's a beautiful craft.

Ian McColgin
01-30-2010, 10:44 PM
I've mentioned it before, but Chuck's on the right drift, especially with the Marco Polo shape and her comfortable life at 45 degrees heel. Good sea berths are easy. But make full sized mocks of the galley, saloon and head(s). Try using them as a few of your burley friends tilt and shake the everluvenbeejezus out of them.

02-17-2010, 07:34 AM
I mocked up before and think Chuck is right on with this advice and method. I see that on the MP the deck edge is immersed at some 32 degrees.

On the soles 45 is a lot of heel on any boat. Sails spill approaching this angle so I should ride closer to 30. I might make the whole interior soles in 3 planes. Level center and biased on sides to 25 degrees up. What I mean by up is plus 25 degrees. Would make for a change of only about 12" at extreme ends. Otherwise you could walk as needed.

I finally have the 2400' shop cleaned out...almost enough to get the vessel in there. I am working on my house building now and lots of stuff will come out of the shop in the next month or two. Like an entire high end kitchen I removed from a different house and will repurpose into my new house. I saved 5 to 6 grand to do this. Yea more boat funds.

Ian McColgin
02-17-2010, 08:54 AM
On Granuaile, the rail kissed the water at just a bit steeper than 40 degrees, but I'll grant that 45 was not routine except when I grounded on a falling tide.

It does spill the air. I tried with full sail in a Near Gale (Force 7, wind about 30 knots) to trim all tight and go to a beam reach. She heeled to the rail still just up and stopped right there. Between the air spilling off the sails, the lee of the hull, and the huge buoyancy of those high slab sides, there's no putting her further over.

We did a few times take knock-downs that got the decks wet but did not reach the cabin side and she popped right up.

The ultimate sea boat.

05-31-2010, 08:24 AM
Hi Guys,

Been busy building the 1800 ft2 house next to the shop. Complete in about a month. Life will slow down then and I can return to getting the Marco Polo home for completion.