Monday, May 8, 2017


Today was a bit of a watershed. Karl the haul out manager introduced me to Jeff who renovates marine diesel engines. He is able to do the whole 'Whoa to Goa' - engine beds, mounts, shaft, prop, stern gland, engine, electrics etc, etc. I am pleased that I have found someone who can do the work locally here in Whangarei  especially as I am now confronted with the unexpected work that is required concerning the water ingress around the keel. But I am a bit sad that a swash buckling engine-less pirate raid north is not now required. Cussing parrots on shoulders, bottles of rum and roaming the Spanish main will have to be put to one side for more basic things:

Today I bought a new anchor and talked to Terrry a stainless steel fabricator wizard who will modify 'Mariners' bow fitting to make my new anchor self stowing. For years I have pulled the Danforth onto the deck under the lifelines and secured it to the anchor bollard. At 65 years of age I don't want to endure these gymnastics any more and will be doing other modifications to make my retirement sailing a whole lot easier, namely:

1 - I will get Brendon from 'Canvas and Covers' (who made an excellent boat cover for my Zephyr 'Slipstream') to make a 'Stacker system' for the mains'l complete with Lazy Jacks which will ensure that the (to be modified) fully battened mains'l can be tamed with ease.

2 - Install a roller - furl jib system. This modification has been a long time coming and will make stowing the jib a synch.

3 - Install a removable inner fore stay (with High Field lever) to which I can set a small jib (including a storm jib) which will be installed aft of the roller furler. This system is something I have seen on my good mate and companion Zephyr centreboard dinghy sailor  Bernies 39' Cavalier  yacht.

4 - Relocate the current mains'l sheeting track from the bridge deck to the cabin top just in front of the spray dodger.

5 - Change the current folding canvas dodger to a rigid dodger  - again Bernies Cav 39 'Morning Mist' has a good example of a rigid dodger.

All of these modifications will make retirement sailing safer, drier and easier.

Bernies Cav 39 "Morning Mist' (Above in photo) is hauled out at the moment in the same boatyard as 'Mariner' which has meant that the 'Apres Work' beer sessions elicit oceans of talk about racing our Zephyrs together, the upcoming Zephyr Nationals next year and the whole gamut of keel boat and centre board sailing - great stuff. Us old yachtee buggers need a good dose of this sailing camaraderie.

This photograph of Bernies yacht shows a good example of a cabin top mounted mains'l track system. It also shows a good example of the only kind of rigid spray dodger that I would ever contemplate fitting. The frame of the boats old canvas, soft, folding dodger has been used as a pattern for the rigid one. The stainless steel frame of the soft dodger is used as a building armature or mold. Thin plywood is bent and glued over the frame, building up layers of plywood until its final coat of fiberglass cloth and resin - the mold has been removed and is not part of the completed dodger. It means that a more streamlined look is obtained as opposed to the more 'boxy' versions that occur when the vertical and horizontal planes of the cabin truck are used as reference points.

Working on Mariner; Modifying Mariners old dinghy tender into a gaff riffed day sailer; Working on my Zephyr 'Slipstream'; fixing up Mariners new small lightweight tender .......... I might be retired but I have never been busier!


Steve-the-Wargamer said...

All change by the sound of it Alden.. it looks good, but will you not miss being able to fold the spray hood down?

Alden Smith said...

Good question Steve. In my situation, on balance, the rigid spray dodger I think will be the best option. If it doesn't work out for some reason, I can always remove the new rigid model and put the soft top back (albeit with a bit of work involved).

Bursledon Blogger said...

Rigid dodger sounds good, in over 10,000Nm I don.t recall ever folding our canvass dodger down.

I like the idea of a gaff riffed daysailer, good old autocorrect


Alden Smith said...

Max, thanks for your endorsement - all things considered a rigid dodger makes sense especially as the moment you come on the wind in any sort of breeze the spray starts flying. I have some ideas for making access from the dodger area down the companionway steps in my smaller 30 foot yacht which will increase the practicality of my version of a rigid dodger - I will blog about it when the time comes.

I could pretend that my "gaff riffed daysailer" is a reference to this skippers ability to pluck his rigging side stays a la Dire Straits - but alas it is "good old autocorrect" : > )