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Thread: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

  1. #1
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    Default Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Hi all, new member here seeking some advice on a sailboat.

    I live alongside a river that is roughly 15km upstream from the coast. About fifteen years ago I built an 11’ alloy flat bottomed boat, powered by a 10hp Mercury outboard. This has been used for hunting, fishing & duck shooting trips, as well as salvaging firewood as storms dislodge trees further upstream. It has been a really useful utility craft, even though she’s no beauty!

    I also have a locally made 10’ clinker built row boat, that I have used for shorter trips and lazing about on warm summer evenings.

    I have been thinking for a couple of years now about getting something bigger; something that will replace the alloy boat. I am thinking of something with a cabin suitable for extended overnight stays (or longer) and something that would cope beyond the river and handle runs along the coast. I have sailed as a boy with my father, but I was very young, so I am basically starting from scratch in that regard. He had a wee GRP dingy and a Westerly Jouster.

    I like the look of the ‘Folkboats’, so I am thinking of something along those lines, with an alloy mast and an inboard diesel engine. I like the inboard arrangement as it is all contained as one unit, ready to go when needed and it doesn’t detracted from the clean lines externally. I realise the inboard/outboard debate can be polarizing, but I have had enough of lugging an outboard around. I am looking for an existing boat; I am not looking to build one from scratch. Although getting something that needs some work doing on it would be okay.

    I am content to confine myself to the river (for a couple of years need be) while I get experience, however there are a couple of issues that will govern my options. Firstly road bridges, of which there are two downstream from me. The first is quite close from home and the second is just in from the river mouth.So I need a boat that I can easily lower the mast on and then raise it again single handed while on the water. Is this asking too much for a boat the size of a‘Folkboat’? Am I being unrealistic for a beginner? The second issue is, afterthe second bridge there is a bar at the mouth. There is ample calm water between the second bridge and the bar to hoist the mast and prepare, before motoring out over the bar though.

    There are lakes nearby also, but they are land locked. So I would have to have a trailer if I wanted to sail in them. Given a choice I would rather have a boat that was safer in coastal waters and not access the lakes. Rather than get something smaller, lighter that could be towed to the lakes, at a compromise to sea worthiness along the coast.

    I’d appreciate some thoughts and advice if this sounds feasible for a beginner. Is the bridge issue a common problem for others too? Apologies if I don’t respond for a few days, as I have to use town internet, when I can get there.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Welcome to the forum FF afloat. You have a broad range of criteria for your boat. I owned a folkboat for a while and had to drop the mast every time I went to sea. Doable, but not a trivial job. Given a choice I would look at boats with a mast short enough to clear the bridges. What is the minimum clearance you're dealing with? Trailering any boat is possible, it really just depends on the trailer, tow vehicle, and a decent boat ramp. I wouldn't want to do it with a folkboat just because the trailer would end up costing as much as the boat and the tow vehicle would be big and heavy. But, if money isn't an issue it should be possible to work out a manageable set up.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Welcome aboard, FF Afloat! A clue as to your home waters might help, too. You may find members nearby who have experience with exactly what you need to cope with There are river bars and there are river bars...some fairly easy to deal with, some....not so much.

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    Default

    Oughtred Grey Seal

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    You've given us a lot of good information -- bravo! But I think we'll need more to give any accurate advice.

    1. Clearance height of bridges at high tide?

    2. Depth of river areas where you'll be sailing? Will you be sailing from dock to dock, or beaching it to land?

    3. Location of sailing areas? This matters due to tides, currents and wave forms, which vary widely in different parts of the world.

    Overall without knowing much, I'd say you'll want to look at the type of boats used in the Broads in the UK. They're shallow draft designs with an easily-operated counter-balanced tabernacle to get under the many low bridges.



    Selway Fisher has several shallow draft designs with tabernacles like Simplicity and Rona - http://www.selway-fisher.com/Yacht2024.htm
    Last edited by Thorne; 04-11-2019 at 11:31 AM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    I understand your interest in having an inboard diesel engine in your boat. To my knowledge only a very few Folk Boats were fitted with inboards and I belive that was in a boat of modified design. What you are facing is having a hull large enough to accommodate and inboard so far as weight is concerned. This means that you are facing a boat that, ideally, would be between twenty five to twenty eight feet in length. Yanmar makes a ten HP. engine and Bukh makes a very reliable small engine as well. If an inboard is your forte then seek out the lightest and most reliable engine you can and then choose a design that will accomodate it.
    Wishing you good fortune with your dream boat!
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    I think a nice Cat Boat (wood or frozen snot) might be a good choice. They are shallow draft and you can lift the centerboard when you run aground. A modest inboard would be no problem.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    A catboat gives you the most accommodation for each linear foot. There are a variety of masts that are designed around some sort of tabernacle. One outfit is at https://www.com-pacyachts.com/mastendr-mastraising.html

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    More info, please. Is this boat for solo use, or does it need to overnight two or more? Also, are there strong currents in the river? Budget constraints?
    -Dave

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Here y;go...awesome offshore boat, not too deep draft, inboard capable and the mast could be mounted on a tabernacle. http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...or-sale-in-B-C

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh MacD View Post
    Here y;go...awesome offshore boat, not too deep draft, inboard capable and the mast could be mounted on a tabernacle. http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...or-sale-in-B-C
    That's a tall order to have a shallow draft boat with a tabernacle that is also an awesome offshore boat. Usually a good offshore boat has a deep draft and a fully stepped mast. I'm not saying that it doesn't exist, but here may be a need to make a few compromises somewhere.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Hi, Thank you for all the useful responses and sorry for omitting some vital details in my first post. I’ll add some more info based on your questions.

    I have measured the clearance under the first bridge and it is very low at 10' and would definitely need to lower the mast to pass under it and I think the second bridge will be too low as well, although I have never paid too much attention to it, as I have never needed to before. I hope to get some time next week to get out and check the clearances with a weighted stringline to be exact. I’m feeling less daunted about the raising/lowering of the mast now I have done some research on gin poles/A-frames and also found this video which was helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li7SadZL8ek

    Whilst towing capacity and building a trailer isn’t really an issue, I probably don’t want to be mucking around with a big trailer, but I guess it depends on what I find for sale, so not ruled out at this stage.

    Location is New Zealand, I probably should have mentioned that sooner. I have no experience with bars, but know enough to be super cautious. I good friend, is out there every weekend and knows it well. But I wouldn’t be attempting it until I had studied a few boats crossing it, talked to the local fishermen and crossed it with somebody else first so I know what to expect. I also need to find out some depths for high/low tide for it too. As I say, I’m happy to confine myself to the river until I have gained some experience.

    I have a small jetty outside my place and I can extend it if required, but I think it should be okay. I can also sink some deeper timber piles to tie up to if needed, by using the bucket of an excavator/digger to push them down into the bank. I doubt I would need to beach it to land anywhere, as the banks are pretty good and I can just tie up alongside. The river by me is still tidal and it can vary a lot. I took a measure at low tide and I have 6’ of water about 3’ off my jetty and about 12’ of water in the centre of the channel. The rivers flow is not fast flowing under normal conditions and on the odd times it is really running, I don’t go out anyway. I would normally pull my alloy boat out when it is really running, but with a larger boat, I’d just have to put extra lines to it to ensure it doesn’t break free.

    I know an inboard diesel obviously takes up valuable space, but I can accept that, knowing I can just turn a key when required without mucking around. All my vehicles are diesel, so I always have good stocks stored on site and it has a good ‘shelf life’ compared to petrol, so adding another diesel to the fleet is an easy decision on a broader practicality front.

    “Frozen Snot” Haa, I liked that!

    I checked out the Mastender link; I think I’d feel more comfortable taking a few minutes longer to raise the mast, than add a hinge into the mast. Seems like it’d be something else for me to worry about.

    As for budget, money is always an issue, but we always seem to find a way! I just don’t know enough yet to commit to a number. Something that floats would be an advantage, something that needs some tidying up is okay. I’m not building from scratch and I’m not buying new. I just need to look at sites like this and see what’s available locally to get a feel for things. The last few weeks have been pretty hectic, but I hope to be able to get out and visit some yards/marinas and see what’s around. It’s the start of a big learning curve and I know I don’t know half of what I’m looking at yet.

    Finally, I’m going to be mainly doing this single handed with a hound, maybe overnight accommodation for two up at most. I can be a miserable bugger at times; I can’t imagine many would want to be stuck in a small boat with me for long!



    Thanks!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Based on what you've said, there is plenty of water to float a folkboat (4' draft) and lowering the mast to get under low bridges can be done (but isn't trivial like on a small trailer sailer). I'm wondering about your planned use. If seaworthiness is important the folkboat is a good choice. If you plan to stay on the river or coastal waters where sheltered anchorages are readily accessible, a smaller boat may be a lot less work to go sailing. Really depends on what you want out of your boat.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    There is an active sailing community in NZ with some local designers, so you'll want to check local sources for suggestions and ideas. Here's one of many Facebook groups - https://www.facebook.com/groups/dinghycruisingNZ/

    Here's a long thread on this Forum of boaters from your neck of the woods - http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...ats-Connection

    I've never heard of anyone sailing folkboats anywhere in tidal rivers -- they all seem to be sailed in deeper waters like bays or lakes with docks / quays. As above the boats for river boating under low bridges are quite different from those used offshore, and I don't think there is a single design that can safely "do it all".
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Quote Originally Posted by FF Afloat View Post
    I’m feeling less daunted about the raising/lowering of the mast now I have done some research on gin poles/A-frames and also found this video which was helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li7SadZL8ek
    I raise the mast on my 20' boat in a similar fashion, no A-frame but with a tackle forward to the bowsprit. It's one thing on a trailer, another afloat with the boat rolling around.

    A gaff rig generally has a shorter mast than a marconi, nominally easier to get up and down. An unstayed balance or standing lug like on a Sooty Tern or Caledonia Yawl would make getting under those bridges very easy. Those are open boats but they have proven seaworthy and quite tentable.
    Steve

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Hi, again thanks for the feedback. I guess it is always going to be a trade off. To have a boat that I have complete confidence in on the open water, at the expense of a little practicality in the river, is acceptable. Also, being able to use my jetty means I can use it more regularly, keep the boat well aired, have added security/peace of mind over it and it would be a lot easier to do maintenance, etc. Otherwise I would have to drive 45 minutes each way to the nearest marina and have the associated costs of travelling and the weekly mooring rental,which would get tiresome pretty quickly.

    I checked out the second bridge with the mk1 eyeball and estimate its clearance height is only about 15’. I also spent an hour overlooking the bar area and watched several boats coming and going and there is a definite route they all were taking and later confirmed on Google earth.

    What in your opinion/s would be the upper size limit for an alloy mast to be lowered/raised single handed? Obviously if help was around I’d use it, but just planning worst case scenario and I have to do it on my own.

    Whilst I have been toying with this idea for a couple of years now, a recent change in circumstances means I will have some spare cash and think if I can find the right boat, I should go for it.
    Thank you for the links and the other suggestions, I will check them all out.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    It was pretty easy to raise/lower the 30' mast on my Merit 25, but that was lying alongside a dock at the marina. I used the spin pole as a gin pole and it went up/down quite easily. Don't think I'd want to try that rolling in a channel, though!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Thanks Hugh, I'm now thinking I should probably start with something a bit smaller, while I learn the ropes. We're coming into winter here now, so there should be a few boats going cheaply that people don't want to hanging around until the summer. If I can pick up a smaller bargain now (maybe 18'-20'), I can spend the winter sailing and getting experience and then re-evaluate things in a few months time.
    I looked at a couple of options today, but both I feel were over priced for the condition, so walked away.
    Cheers!

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Keep looking FF. It is a buyer's market with plenty to choose from. The right boat will turn up eventually.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    An even smaller boat may be better for learning to sail and exploring the river area, with the added advantage that you can keep it and use it as a tender for your larger boat. There are lots of sailing dinghies that aren't top-heavy racing machines, one of the 8'-10' pram-style may be best as they carry the most cargo and crew for their length. Much like driving a car, it is easier to learn on something smaller, and the shorter dinghies do less damage to other craft and docks when the inevitable learning mistakes are made...
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    “An even smaller boat may be better for learning to sail and exploring the river area….. Much like driving a car, it is easier to learn on something smaller, and the shorter dinghies do less damage to other craft and docks when the inevitable learning mistakes are made...” Thorne.

    That is exactly what I am thinking. It’ll get me on the water quickly and cheaply and give me time to make a more considered decision on what I want to end up with long term.

    I looked at a couple yesterday, both over priced and one was pretty rough. The other looked okay but on closer inspection I found a small patch of rot under the v-berth and awkwardly under the cockpit. I also noted that while all the fittings were good, they were all bolted through the deck with just washers, I think I would prefer to have seen some plates to spread the load. Around where the mast steps in, it felt springy and the trailer needed work too. So I happily walked away.

    A year or so ago I cleared a site for an old guy and removed the remains of a rotten 16’ plywood trailer sailor. I managed to remove the boat complete and then broke it down at my property and salvaged all the hardware, 21’ alloy mast/boom, sails, roller reefing, steel centre board, SS rigging, right down to the brass/SS fixings, etc. So I am also keeping that in mind while I look for a ‘learner’ boat.

    I still have the 10’ clinker to puddle around in while I look and I am going to go ahead and put some taller posts in around my jetty in preparation.

    Cheers!

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Why don't you find an existent sail boat and do some sailing? Learn how. Learn what you like. Maybe even get good enough to bareboat charter on the other side of the bridges. Then and only then will you have a rational basis for thinking about what sort of boat will actually suit your needs.

    Edited to add: Somehow post #21 had not struck me. You may be on a right track after all. G'luck.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Sounds like you're on the right track Keep in mind that your first boat is usually the first of several and it's where you learn what you really want.

  24. #24
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    Default

    Of course there's any number of small and not so small fibreglass trailer sailers that will do the job. The various Farrs are good boats. Although not many trailer sailers will have an inboard diesel.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Hi FF,
    Which river in NZ, may help give me a better idea of what you need with regard to bar crossings.
    A boat I could suggest on the east coast would be quite different to what i would suggest for the west coast.

    I would suggest that getting a mast up on anything serious when floating is actually quite hard.
    I would be leaning towards one of John Welsford's designs. They would be stable enough to allow you to walk around and get the realitifly small mast up in place.
    They are also seaworthly enough for most NZ coastal applications but I would be very careful in a yacht around any west coast bar harbor.
    Z

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    There are myriad boats that would work well. This is just one:

    A West Wight Potter 19. I've seen good deals on the used market. With the centerboard up, the bottom is flat for beaching. The mast is deck stepped to allow lowering underway. See the Book Dinghy Cruising by Margaret Dye; They cruised in a 15' open dinghy using a boom tent, the WWP 19 would be drier and more comfortable. They had the forestay running at the base to a 4:1 block controlled at the cockpit, and could lower and raise the mast at will.
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    It seems quite a difficult choice to me. The bar and bridge aspect shout light weight centre board or lift keel trailer sailor ,or a camp cruiser type like a Pathfinder plus cabin, but they're nearly always outboard. Even something like a Norwalk island sharpie will be outboard power. Getting a diesel in something of that type means a one off or character boat, they are out there but not common.
    A keel boat like a folk boat seems a bit counterintuitive to me but hey... could be fun making it work , it'll be interesting to see what you come up with, sounds like a cool sort of location you're in.
    Last edited by John B; 05-10-2019 at 10:35 AM.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Seeking some advice on a sailboat

    Thank you for the continued suggestions, I do look them up and have a good read on the specs’ etc.
    John B. I think the Welsford site has some great designs and I have completely read the Sundowner build thread start to finish here:
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...undowner-build
    I think it would be an incredible achievement and deeply satisfying, but not something I could embark on for a few reasons.
    Having spoken to several recreational boaties that regularly cross the bar, the general theme on the maximum draft seems to be 4’. I realise tides have a big influence and I intend to have a chat with a couple of the commercial guys there, to get their opinions.

    I had a look at another couple of interim trailer sailers last week. One was 16’ & one 19’; both glass over ply and both needed more work than I want to put into them, so again I happily walked away. Though I think I learn a bit more with every boat I look at, so a good exercise.

    I want to get some of your thoughts on the 10’ clinker row boat I have, but will start another thread on that, once I have taken some pictures or I might try making a video.

    Thanks all.

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