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Sailboat Conversion to Trawler

Feb 21, 2013
3,777
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Welcome to the forum!!

What do you plan to do to modify a sailboat to a trawler.........add a pilothouse, reduce the draft, add fuel tankage, remodel the rest to taste? Might see what this boater did to convert his: Winnie the Pooh, sailboat to trawler conversion - Trawlers & Trawlering (trawlersandtrawlering.com)

Interesting threads on the same subject:
Converting a 33.5 from sailing yacht to trawler... | Sailboat Owners Forums
Sailboat converted to . . . trawler? | Sailboat Owners Forums
Converting a sailboat into a power boat. | Sailboat Owners Forums
 

capta

.
Jun 4, 2009
4,306
Pearson 530 Admiralty Bay, Bequia SVG
Since you are into wooden boats, retired Northern Trollers are for sale at extremely reasonable prices on the West Coast. These are very economical vessels (not designed to pull nets) and excellent sea boats in unkind weather. Turning a sailboat into a motor boat seems a no win proposition to me. Too much money and time and most likely you will end up with a boat that doesn't do what you are converting it to do well.
Never mind that the same size motor boat will have lots more room and comfort. However, from your replies so far, you are going ahead with the project no matter how many posts suggest it is a fool's errand. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
 
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Sep 17, 2021
15
Cal 21 James River
Thanks for the reply. You are ritght, I'm going ahead with this little project. I'm reading a lot about these conversions online. Seems I'm not the only crazy out there. I'll post pics as the project moves forward.
 
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Sep 17, 2021
15
Cal 21 James River
Adding ballast may help, but it will be higher up than the swing keel was, so the boat will behave differently - likely rolling a lot with the canoe body the Cal21 has. Concrete is not actually all that dense as ballast. Getting it wet with salt water (inevitable) may cause it to disintegrate. Pump "sand" out of the bilge, and there goes your ballast. As All U Get mentioned, the mast also helps dampen rolling - much like the balancing stick that tightrope walkers use. Removing the ballast keel leaves you with nothing to keep you from going sideways in any wind. You will need to add some sort of keel structure as well as install an engine. The weight of the engine, fuel tank and battery(ies) will need to be placed carefully in such a small, light boat, Unless you get a sail drive, the hull's shape may prevent the propeller shaft from the most effective (horizontal) angle. If you enjoy building wooden boats, it might be quicker and cheaper to build something like one of Bolger's or Sam Devlin's designs. A big dory would have a hull more suitable for fitting out as a trawler than what you have.
Thanks for the reply. All good points most of which I've already considered. Some I have not and I thank you for the heads up. As a lot of people have said in their replies this is a small boat and although I have sailed her in some rougher weather she will not see any of that in her new conversion. Plans are for lakes and rivers. She will never see the Chesapeake Bay. I do plan to install a 3/4 length keel of about 2.5 to 3 feet in depth. That along with some fore and aft strips on either side of the new keel she should be pretty stable. All new additions will be of hard wood and then glassed in for additional strength and waterproofing. I'm also considering some additions for the engine that may turn out to harden up the chine a little. All in the planning stages now...
Deep Sea
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,624
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 28400 Portland OR
To get an idea of the possibilities, you might want to d/l from the 'net some pix and drawings of the successful Ranger 21 Tug. Marvelous looking boat when I last saw one powering along on a sunny day near Pt Townsend.
:)
 
Sep 17, 2021
15
Cal 21 James River
Sweet looking ride FastOlson but that is no sailboat conversion. I like the two person cabin with the covered after deck. Thanks
Deep Sea
 
Apr 26, 2015
642
S2 26 Mid On Trailer
Several trawler to sailboats and sailboats to trawler designs around. The Willard and Fishers come to mind.

Leave a third of the mast (re-rig of course) and use paravane stabilizers.

Since my S2 8.0 Center Cockpit shoal draft is already ugly, according to some people, it would make a nice trawler. I could remove half the ballast in the upper section of the keel, add a pilot house, another fuel tank (to give the old Atomic 4 500 mile range) and have a nice trawler. What do you think @walt ?
 

walt

.
Jun 1, 2007
3,443
Macgregor 26S Hobie TI Ridgway Colorado
At least while I have a sailboat.. I hope you keep yours as a sailboat (looking forward to November!!!). But.. I think that would make a really nice comfortable trawler.
 
May 24, 2004
6,790
CC 30 South Florida
We were in the middle of a 10 day trip in the Chesapeake Bay on our way To St. Michaels when we lost the mast to our trailerable Starwind 223. We narrowed it down to the loss of an upper clevis pin in one of the port shrouds. Other than having a 2/3 mast strapped to our deck we now had the definition of a trawler. We continued our trip to a stay in St. Michaels and motored up the the Kent Narrows and our destination in Baltimore. The first thing we noticed is how much of the sunlight the sails blocked. We had to huddle under the relatively small bimini. Forward visibility improved dramatically. Do not recall noticing any excessive rolling, the boat has a short fixed keel with a centerboard combo. I would say the largest drawback in converting a sailboat is that the cabin top is a useless space for sitting or lounging as it lacks protection from the elements. The other drawback is that motoring at 4.5 knots is boring, none of the attention required for when under sail was needed. For the right person that may just want a small motor boat to putter around and may already own a small sailboat it may be a good idea, they make a good small trailer camper and perhaps some sort of a weekend house boat.
 
Dec 28, 2015
1,357
Laser, Hunter H30 Cherubini Tacoma
Include costs of disposal once done with it and buying an applicable powerboat as, more than likely, it will not sell for any value.
 
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Jul 21, 2021
24
Helsen HMS 23 Bloomington
I've just been reading some articles about converting my small sailboat to a Trawler. Does anyone have any information or experience with this project? Pictures and design ideas would be very helpful. Thanks
Deep Sea
There are only a few sailboats that would convert without a lot of reworking, Nimble, since they come in both sail and trawler from the factory but why convert a sail back to just a trawler since it is probably easier to find a trawler model than a sail, my boat if you can find one of the few made, a Helsen or Allmand HMS 23, a Compac Pilothouse.
 
Sep 17, 2021
15
Cal 21 James River
Leeward Rail, Jssailem, All U Get, PaulK, shemander, DeniseO30, Stu Jackson & walt, sail fsbay, capta, FastOlson, LeeandRick, Benny, & MikeHoncho;

Thanks for all of the valuable input to my conversion project. I have been (over the last few days) doing a lot of reading and following your posted links to gain more ideas and suggestions.

As I posted previously, I love being on (and in) the water but I can’t do everything at once. Right now, my focus is on building wooden boats and converting my (now not usable) sailboat into something that I can enjoy.
Tired of bailing 5 to 10 gallons of water out of the bilge after each day of sailing I opted to put the boat on the hardstand and remove the keel for needed repairs. I found that I am not comfortable with the repairs needed to repair the keel and the damage done to the boat. If these repairs were completed then all I would have is a small sailboat which I have already sailed extensively. Time to move on and start motoring. I already have a great boat hull (thanks to Mr. Lapworth) and I am very comfortable creating a conversion using wood and glass.

A lot has been posted about boat roll. I’m 71 years old and I’ve been on the water since I was 9. Boats roll! I’m sorry but that is a fact. As stated in your posts a lot is dependent on your level of comfort and danger to the boat, crew, and passengers. All of this has to be factored in to my conversion.

Winnie the Pooh is a great inspiration as are many of the other links and suggestions that everyone has provided. I don’t plan to do the great loop in my new conversion but rather explore the beauty (at a slow pace without the work of sailing) of my local rivers and lakes. Most sail boats don’t go very fast anyway unless you’re riding in a performance catamaran or flying in an America’s Cup style foiling hull. Speed is not my desired style of boating.

As for resale. I have given all of the boats away to friends and family that I have built to date. This one will be no different. My enjoyment comes in the build and the giving.
Thanks to everyone;
Deep Sea
 
Jun 12, 2021
71
Hunter 240 Aqualand Marina, Lake Lanier
After planning on doing the Great Loop i discovered that my wife did not want to do it. One of the books I read from an experienced Looper, described his boat that he had used to loop over six times. I was a 28 foot, fixed keel sloop. He had removed the mast and rigging and had the keel cut where the boat would draw less than three and a half feet of water. The inboard diesel engine sipped fuel at a rate less than a fraction of any single engine trawler. If I can find the book I will post the details. There is no more efficient displacement hull than a sailboat.
Here is a link:
 
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Sep 17, 2021
15
Cal 21 James River
After planning on doing the Great Loop i discovered that my wife did not want to do it. One of the books I read from an experienced Looper, described his boat that he had used to loop over six times. I was a 28 foot, fixed keel sloop. He had removed the mast and rigging and had the keel cut where the boat would draw less than three and a half feet of water. The inboard diesel engine sipped fuel at a rate less than a fraction of any single engine trawler. If I can find the book I will post the details. There is no more efficient displacement hull than a sailboat.
Thanks Pat. I'd really be interested in reading his book. I've read a lot about the loop and would like to do it but I believe that my first mate and I are just a bit long in the tooth to attack the loop. Another great cruise (much shorter) is the Rideau Canal in Canada. 125 miles from Kingston to Ottawa with no commercial traffic. Great scenery, people, and history in that cruise. We rented a 30' out of Merrickville and spent 3 weeks on this historic waterway. I don't know about efficient displacement hulls but the Cal 21 is a great hull.
Deep Sea
 
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Nov 26, 2012
1,525
Hunter 34 Berkeley
There is no reason you cannot do it. Motoring around a sailboat is not very efficient. Slow and guzzles fuel and cannot go in shallow water but if you are willing to live with those things then more power to you. (No pun intended) Just take the sails and the boom off. If you really want to go nuts take the mast off. In spite of what you may have heard taking off the mast will not hurt a thing.
 
Sep 17, 2021
15
Cal 21 James River
There is no reason you cannot do it. Motoring around a sailboat is not very efficient. Slow and guzzles fuel and cannot go in shallow water but if you are willing to live with those things then more power to you. (No pun intended) Just take the sails and the boom off. If you really want to go nuts take the mast off. In spite of what you may have heard taking off the mast will not hurt a thing.
I don’t know how much gas it will guzzle but the conversion that I’m looking at should only draw about 2 feet. She won’t have any of the rigging or superstructure that she was borne with. I’m going to have a lot of fun with it.
Deep Sea
 
Apr 26, 2015
642
S2 26 Mid On Trailer
Trawler: driving inside, forward, laughing at the rain. Conversion, likely sitting in stern, in the rain, crew laughing at you!
Just get a bubble for the forward hatch and a remote for the autopilot. You could sit in a folding directors chair in your on little bubble.:laugh::beer:
 
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