Dragonfly is a sweet 1983 Bristol 35.5, based in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She still sports most of her original deck gear and the old Merriman genoa lead cars and tracks, while still functional, had seen better days. Owner Tim Sheehy sails shorthanded and wants to get the best performance out of his new suit of North sails, so he decided to upgrade to Lewmar sliding bolt track and Ocean series towable genoa cars.
The existing sheet tracks had been leaking at the after end, where the lead cars spent most of their time, and would have had to come off in any case so the offending fasteners could be rebedded.
Tim found that the hardest part of the project was getting the tracks off. The Bristol’s build quality worked against him here; the bolts went through nearly three inches of deck and interior teak trim. It took two afternoons of hard work with impact driver, hammer, and a bottle of Debond 2000 caulking remover to get the fasteners out. Projects like this explain how yard bills can escalate out of all proportion to the complexity of the task.
But that was the hard part. The process of installing the sliding bolt track was fast and problem-free. Once the cars were in place it was another hour’s work to install the track end fittings and the Spinlock jammers for the tow line. Because the new tracks were shorter Tim had to fill in some exposed fastener holes, but the deck was due for a repaint anyway.