Dilemma on what boat to use for first conversion

  • 23 Nov 2022 10:34
    Reply # 12999579 on 12989762


    Your profile says that your home port is Seward AK, which I remember visiting in July 2013 in Tystie. My log mentions a high "wow!" factor in NW Fiord, and of course Kenai in general and Prince William Sound are glorious cruising grounds. I feel that it would be a mistake to convert a WWP that I wouldn't be too happy about taking outside of Resurrection Bay. A 29ft would be a better bet.

    But your profile also says that you own a Thomas gilder blue moon - is that a typo for a Thomas Gillmer Blue Moon 23? If so, is there a reason that you're not considering it for conversion? I'd take that out to Prince William.

  • 22 Nov 2022 02:37
    Reply # 12998047 on 12989762

    My advice is get the Columbia, this is the boat that suits the weather conditions you are going to encounter in your sailing area. There is no point in converting a boat and then not be able to sail it much because of the weather in your area. This would be a waste of money, time and effort.

    All the best with the project.


  • 18 Nov 2022 20:04
    Reply # 12994750 on 12989762


    have you the tale of crossing the North Sea in a WWP?  You can find it on YouTube, a great story of  the designer/ builder delivering one to Sweden in winter. 
    Personally I would go straight for the big boat.  Either is going to be a project, you might not have the energy/ enthusiasm to tackle two.  There is so much good advice here from very experienced junkies, sure you won’t go wrong. 
    Perhaps aim to get her sailing first season, then do the fit out later.  That way you can have time and experience to better inform how you will fit her out.  I guess where you sail, as in Scotland where I am, keeping the interior dry is no one issue.  Most yachts assume we lounge around in the sunshine.  So, do you have hanging space for wet oilskins by the companion way, where to put the heating stove and my first considerations.  Also, you can build in watertight bulkheads and compartments, especially important where you are with all those logs floating about. 
    Have fun! 

  • 18 Nov 2022 04:02
    Reply # 12993817 on 12989762

    I actually did the drawing of the Columbia because I happened across the schematic.. I’m still looking for one for the west wight 19. 
    part of my dilemma is that I live in Alaska and classic plastic boats are hard to come by. Both the wwp19 and the Columbia seem to be unicorns. If I had unlimited funds I’d buy both and put the Columbia on the back burner. That’s crazy though.

    realistically if I want to sail on a junk rig then wwp is the quickest and most forgiving of mistakes. If I want a junk rig that I can sail in crazy Alaska weather then the Columbia would be the better choice


  • 17 Nov 2022 21:36
    Reply # 12993482 on 12989762

    Hello Dean,

    In my opinion you should convert the WWP19 if you want to sail on a junk rigged WWP19.

    If what you really want is to sail on a junk rigged Columbia 29, but you want some practice doing a conversion first, then you should find a rowing and sailing dinghy that can later be used as a tender for the Columbia 29. This can be your first conversion AND it will still have some use to you later. Even if the rig is not perfect on the dinghy, it will still work fine with oars.

    I see that you attached a sketch for a Columbia 29 conversion but no sketches for a WWP19 conversion. I think this may indicate what you really want to do.

    Last modified: 17 Nov 2022 21:39 | Anonymous member
  • 16 Nov 2022 20:49
    Reply # 12992050 on 12989762
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    My advice (for what it is worth, maybe not much) is to go for the smaller option which will get you on the water quicker - and especially because it is a centreboard boat in which centreboard adjustment, and position of crew weight are significant factors in getting the helm balance right. In other words, "CLR" and "CoE" (so-called) are a lot less critical. If you position the new rig so that its geometric centre is not too far away from the geometric centre of the old rig, you won't go too far wrong - and just shifting your weight a little, or adjusting the centreboard a little, will be enough to get the helm balance how you want it. With a small boat you can't really go too far wrong, you will learn a lot and you will be confident when the time comes to tackle a larger conversion.

    Summary: In the case of a dinghy or small centreboard boat, it is normal for weather helm to develop as the boat heels, and if it becomes too much you can reef (that's the beauty of junk rig) but in any any case, you can raise the centreboard a little, or shift your weight aft a little - in order to take a bit of weight off the helm - and that is normal.

    If you choose the option of converting a larger boat with a fixed keel and more displacement - then it is certainly wise to be a little more careful about rig position etc (though I would maintain it is an art rather than an exact science) and it would be worth taking the advice of someone experienced, like Arne, before committing to the rig. There is more at stake, and perhaps it is not so easy to compensate later if the helm balance ends up not quite right. Even so, with some rigs it is possible to adjust the rig a little bit, later, to get things just right. You have done the right thing by providing a decent drawing of your proposed conversion - and by considering its position in relation to the original rig, which is shown - and by noting that the boat tends to have weather helm under its original rig. Hopefully this will attract some good advice from people who have had experience converting this type of boat. (To me, the junk rig looks to be a bit too far forward on your drawing, perhaps reducing the mast balance, or shifting the whole thing aft a little, might be better?)

    For reasons given above, weather helm is not just a matter of rig position - the shape of the hull and rudder, and angle of heel all contribute. I would be wary of over-compensating by shifting the rig too far forward. It is normal for weather helm to develop if a boat is pressed too hard - and too much lee helm is much worse a problem than too much weather helm. If a helm balance problem remains AFTER the new rig has been fitted, you can still consider things like a larger rudder, or an adjustment to the rig itself.

    As a learning experience and a prototype, I would be more in favour of the smaller option. There is less at stake, you can't go too far wrong with rig position - and structural considerations will be far less of an issue also.  However, looking on the internet I could not find a decent drawing and original sail plan of the Potter 19.

    Last modified: 16 Nov 2022 21:16 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 15 Nov 2022 14:42
    Message # 12989762

    I’m converting my first boat. There is a west wight potter 19 for sale. It’s small and reportedly fun to sail. Seems like a great candidate to make mistakes on. My concern with this boat is I don’t know how its constructed. The interior is a molded piece. If I count into it to make a mast step am I somehow compromising the hull and deck joint somehow? I don’t know. To make it pretty again I’d have to redo the entire interior. Not necessarily a deal breaker but its a consideration. The centerboard on the potter may also be impacted by the destruction of the hull liner. Again no idea. The WWP19 is a stepping stone to learn on and do the same to a larger sailboat in the future. 

    My other option is to buy a Columbia 29 and convert that boat. gutting it down to bare hull would be a huge undertaking, especially with long winters in Alaska. That said it could be worth it as I could do longer sailing on that one. The cost for a mast would probably be twice as expensive. I’m looking at getting a flag pole for the WWP 19. For the Columbia i would get a hurricane rated flagpole. The longest i could get in 1 piece in Alaska is 35 feet.

    I did make my first sketch of what the sail would approximately be. I think the mast is a little far forward. I put the junk rig CE on the same vertical line the Bermuda rig has its new ce. This drawing fixes problems with the weather helm of the this boat.

    Anyway what are your opinions? Go WWP19 and spend less money so less impactful mistakes and take a chance on weirdness with small boat construction?

    Or go with Columbia 29, still make mistakes but invest resources to make a longer term sailing vessel.

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