Upgrading the deck gear on your boat can seriously enhance your sailing pleasure. Once youve sailed a boat set up with low-friction blocks, good rope clutches and jammers, and genoa-sheet cars that are quick and easy to adjust, its hard to go back to the creaky, friction-riddled 30- or 40-year-old deck gear that so many older boats are still saddled with.
We had always planned to replace and upgrade deck hardware as part of the makeover of Castaway, an Ericson 34 and the BoatWorks Bailout boat. Much of the existing hardware was original, and some had been added over the years; some of it no longer worked. The refinishing of the deck presented a good opportunity to bring Castaways deck gear up to date, and Lewmar generously offered to supply the new equipment.
The hardest part of the project was choosing the hardware we needed from Lewmars extensive catalogue and with new paint on the deck, the last thing we wanted was to make a bad choice and mess up the paint surface.
Owner John Smith and I had already removed the old hardware in preparation for painting. It took us four days to install the new gear, mostly because we followed the guidance of my old woodworking teacher: Measure twice and drill once. We also spent a good deal of time with a length of rope making sure that the leads to winches, blocks, and clutches were positioned correctly.