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Old 03-17-2015, 05:39 PM   #1
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Convert trawler to motorsailer?

I purchased a 2008 Island Packet PY Cruiser in November. The "cousin" to this boat is the SP Cruiser, which is the same boat but with a sail rig.

I bought my boat in a repo auction fairly cheap, probably because the PY doesn't have much of a following. I could turn my PY into an SP with a factory refit, and still be in the boat for 20% less than what like year model and equipped SPs are selling for now (actual sales prices from a brokers report-- not asking prices). Plus, the SPs seem to have more of a market since there are more of them.

My question is, is that worth doing? My longer range plans are to cruise the Caribbean, and if we actually do that then the refit seems to make sense for stability and get home ability, plus we can sail if we want to. If we don't make it to the Caribbean then it probably doesn't make sense.

My plan is to spend some time on the boat this summer cruising the Keys with my wife and see if the boat really fits us, and then maybe think harder about doing the refit after that.

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Old 03-17-2015, 05:42 PM   #2
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I love the SP cruiser. (except for the hot tub). Adding sail to it seems like a logical choice depending on cost.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:09 PM   #3
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I actually like the "hot tub". Kind of an interesting place to sit with the table inserted. But it does make the lines of the boat a little funky looking.

Do you think my assumption is correct about when it comes time to sell, the SP would be more desirable? Plus, the sail rig would still be fairly new if I decide to sell in say 5 years.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:24 PM   #4
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Simple answer is decide if you want to sail after this summer. You can probably buy a cruising lifetime of fuel for the price of the sail rig. Maybe the boat sells better with the sail rig. Maybe you don't recover the price of the sail rig when you sell it, who knows. I wouldn't waste the energy over thinking this till after you cruise it for the summer. If you decide to sell, then the question is pure economics.

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Old 03-17-2015, 06:27 PM   #5
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It's easy for me to spend your money and tell you to go for it but waiting a year seems more prudent. In our case we simply didn't know what we didn't know after purchasing our boat. I suspect it is the same with many boat owners but a year or two of use really puts feathers on the darts of your ideas.

How could a sail rig adversely affect your current use? Bridge or dock clearance and such. If halyard slap is annoying in the marina it won't be more palatable in the anchorage you choose. That kind of stuff. Motor sailors are a niche market but it sounds like your powerboat version may be more so.
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Old 03-17-2015, 06:50 PM   #6
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I would do it. If you don't like it, sell it to me in a few years.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:03 PM   #7
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I would do it...
2012, we were in Trinidad and later that year in Grenada. We spent time with the then current owner of Bruce Van Sant's boat, author of Gentleman's Guide to Passages South. The boat is a Shucker 440. The current owner was on his way to Saint Martins to put a mast back on. Bruce got rid of the standing rigging and turned the Shucker into a full displacement trawler. If you want to do the EC in a FD vessel, stabilization is important.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:32 PM   #8
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Convert trawler to motorsailer?

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2012, we were in Trinidad and later that year in Grenada. We spent time with the then current owner of Bruce Van Sant's boat, author of Gentleman's Guide to Passages South. The boat is a Shucker 440. The current owner was on his way to Saint Martins to put a mast back on. Bruce got rid of the standing rigging and turned the Shucker into a full displacement trawler. If you want to do the EC in a FD vessel, stabilization is important.

That's funny. Reading Bruce's book got me looking at Schuckers. I also looked at the SP Cruisers (kind of like a modern-day Schucker IMO) but didn't want to pay that kind of $$$.

Finally, I stumbled onto this PY and liked it, partly because it was similar to a demasted Schucker maybe? Who knows...

Now I'm thinking about remasting a PY. 😳

But I agree, I probably need to cruise around for longer than a summer before I spend the money to refit my boat with a sail rig. I have this buddy who is a sailor however, and he's making me think in strange ways.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:34 PM   #9
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Convert trawler to motorsailer?

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I would do it. If you don't like it, sell it to me in a few years.

Deal. Let's draw up the option contract now so we both have a contingency plan. What's that option worth?

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Old 03-17-2015, 09:40 PM   #10
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Is the sail version exactly the same below the water line?
Contrary to the SP/PY balance of sales, motorsailers have never enjoyed much popularity, having a tendency to do two things rather poorly compared to purpose built boats. Go cruising for awhile, get out there. Pay attention to how many actual cruising sailboats have their sails up at any point in time, let alone motorsailers.
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:52 PM   #11
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Do you think my assumption is correct about when it comes time to sell, the SP would be more desirable? Plus, the sail rig would still be fairly new if I decide to sell in say 5 years.

Last time I looked on YW, there was only 1 used sp cruiser for sale. So the answer is most likely, "yes".
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:57 PM   #12
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Is the sail version exactly the same below the water line?
Contrary to the SP/PY balance of sales, motorsailers have never enjoyed much popularity, having a tendency to do two things rather poorly compared to purpose built boats. Go cruising for awhile, get out there. Pay attention to how many actual cruising sailboats have their sails up at any point in time, let alone motorsailers.

Yes, it's the same. Also the same 5000 LB ballast.

I agree. Need to use the boat as is for awhile, but the boat is in FL and I'm in Texas so my mind wanders...
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:02 PM   #13
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cd - I agree with doing it, and also not rushing into it.

Make a list of all the differences between the PY & the SP. Mast, sails, standing rigging, running rigging are obvious. Is the rudder the same? Is deck reinforcing required for mast, chain plates or winch installations?

Then you can start sniffing around for deals. It may be possible to find a wrecked hull with all the main components required for the makeover. Then it will only require a large amount of money and hundreds of hours labour. Much better than a massive amount of money and hundreds of hours labour.

btw -Don't expect your sailing friends to fully agree with your proposal. A motorsailer owner is a bit like a halfbreed. You'll never be accepted completely by either community.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:02 PM   #14
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Convert trawler to motorsailer?

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Last time I looked on YW, there was only 1 used sp cruiser for sale. So the answer is most likely, "yes".

Just looked at the SPs for sale on YW. Looks like two for sale. Asking like $400k for each for the ones in the US. Strange thing is, two are for sale in in the UK and they are waaaaay cheaper-- $264k and $317k. I don't understand that.

http://m.yachtworld.com/mobile/searc...=3&Ntk=boatsEN
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:11 PM   #15
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I'm with Ted on this to use the boat at least one summer . My boat has a ceiling fan over the back deck . That was the first thing I was going to take off when I got the boat . But I left it on and now I don't think we could live without it . The sail rig to me kinda balances out the look of the boat but it would be a pricey add on .
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:20 PM   #16
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Convert trawler to motorsailer?

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I'm with Ted on this to use the boat at least one summer . My boat has a ceiling fan over the back deck . That was the first thing I was going to take off when I got the boat . But I left it on and now I don't think we could live without it . The sail rig to me kinda balances out the look of the boat but it would be a pricey add on .

Yeah, the full factory rig is very pricey with all the electric winches and roller furling sails and adding the chain plates and running the lines under the saloon floor etc etc.

I wonder what it would cost to rig up a simple steady/get home sail. Maybe $10000 or so? Can you do a short mast without having to mount chain plates?
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:31 PM   #17
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cd - I agree with doing it, and also not rushing into it.

btw -Don't expect your sailing friends to fully agree with your proposal. A motorsailer owner is a bit like a halfbreed. You'll never be accepted completely by either community.
Yeah, Bill. Your riding dangerously on the edge of acceptability to TF trawler puritans already, a place where subsequent anchor selection or esteemed hull-displacement classification may be the only rescue options available!

I think you've got a really good boat there. Don't do what I did. Spend the bucks on fun instead of equipment and improvements.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:37 PM   #18
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While you use the boat look for a used sail rig of similar size or shorter mast. You really don't need all the fancy stuff a reliable roller furling head sail and lazy jacks and jiffy reefing will do. If I were doing it I would use about 3/4th of the mast height a full batten main and small working jib and use the boat as a true motor sailor. That way you would hardly ever have to reef and would have all the stability get home and efficency advantages.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:39 PM   #19
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Yeah, the full factory rig is very pricey with all the electric winches and roller furling sails and adding the chain plates and running the lines under the saloon floor etc etc.

I wonder what it would cost to rig up a simple steady/get home sail. Maybe $10000 or so? Can you do a short mast without having to mount chain plates?
It all depends on the sail area and the stresses involved, and how solid your deck to hull attachment is . I only have a chainplate bolted to the bow for the the forestay. The other standing rigging is just bolted through the deck with a backing plate. But I only have 300 ft2 of sail area. I'd guess the factory SP has at least double this amount of sail.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:58 PM   #20
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While you use the boat look for a used sail rig of similar size or shorter mast. You really don't need all the fancy stuff a reliable roller furling head sail and lazy jacks and jiffy reefing will do. If I were doing it I would use about 3/4th of the mast height a full batten main and small working jib and use the boat as a true motor sailor. That way you would hardly ever have to reef and would have all the stability get home and efficency advantages.


A motorsailer will never be a club racer; Keep it simple, reliable and easy to operate.
Keep your eye out for a rig with about 500 square feet of total sail area.
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