Know how: Upgrades on a Classic Boat

Author:
Publish date:
The new system in all its glory

The new system in all its glory

Our Allied Seabreeze 35, Keewaydin, has just turned 50, so it seemed appropriate to give her (and us) a small present to simplify sail handling—a new traveler. We’d already added a Tides Marine sail track, new halyard winches, and replaced the original quirky roller-furling boom with a slick single-line reefing boom and vang setup from Selden. The original mainsheet setup consisted of two blocks on deck, a double block at the boom end and a miniscule winch. It was awkward to use, unsafe to trim in any kind of a blow and didn’t do much to shape the mainsail.

A traveler installation is a simple and moderately easy project on most boats, but it does require some planning. The first step was to remove all the old hardware, fill the holes with West System Six-10 epoxy and roughly sand them smooth. After that, I called Schaefer Marine with basic rig dimensions to spec the correct model traveler. We then measured the length that could be accommodated across the deck and made sure there were no obstructions above or below deck where fasteners would go. I also made a pattern of the deck camber (so the track could be pre-bent) onto a board, cut out the curve and then traced it onto a piece of drafting paper. Finally, I sent the dimensions and the tracing to Schaefer, and a couple of days later a perfectly bent piece of track arrived at my door, along with a couple of pre-drilled aluminum backing plates.

Changing out a traveler is a pretty straightforward DIY project. Here’s how it’s done:

Next, I drilled the holes through the deck, using a new 1/4in bit. The two center holes in the track would be right over a compression post (preventing a through-bolt), so I drilled a couple of oversized holes into the post and filled them with Six-10 epoxy. I let this cure before drilling the holes anew with a slightly smaller bit to accommodate the 4in stainless steel wood screws.

The backing plates were cut just long enough to fit between the compression post and the end of the track, and I pre-drilled very slightly oversized holes to fit the bolts that were also included in the kit (thank you, Schaefer)! After dry-fitting the entire track system, we applied bedding compound to the undersides of each plate to surround the fastener holes, placed a couple of bolts through the track for positioning, held the plates in place (with moderate gymnastics) and tightened the nuts. Everything fit perfectly, and after some rigging with New England Ropes Sta-Set, we were ready to go sailing.

I didn’t want to cut into the teak cockpit coamings, so I installed the traveler control blocks backward (facing aft). Since I don’t anticipate working the traveler like a race boat, I think this will be fine. If we change our minds, I will reverse them and cut some fairlead holes through the coamings for the control lines.

This installation has already proved to be worth the trouble. The first sail this season brought some 20 knot gusts, and instead of having to hand over the wheel to release the mainsheet, the six-part tackle was super easy to let go without losing control.

Andy and Gay Howe cruise Keewaydin in Maine each summer, with their two dogs for crew

August 2017

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The back door Satisfied with your headsails? So was I, until one day I took a long, hard look up the luff of my genoa, making sure I inspected the leeward side as well. The sail had plenty of life ...read more

04b-Squall1

Thoughts from a Bluewater Newbie

I arrived on the docks of Beaufort, North Carolina, in late April with two backpacks filled with new gear—everything I’d need for my first offshore passage. Though I’d been sailing for 16 years, graduating from dinghies to keelboats to a J/122, I’d spent my time racing and, in ...read more

Squall

The Face of a Squall

They are the worst of times, they are the best of times There’s a fabulous line from an old Paul Simon song that I often sing to myself while sailing: I can gather all the news I need from the weather report. It is part of the magic of sailing, this ancient process by which we ...read more

ntcktshtrstk

Cruising Southern New England Waters

One of the most wonderful childhood vacations I can remember was back in 1971 when my best friend invited me to his family’s summer home on Nantucket Island. For a 10-year-old kid, this was a thrilling trip for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact it was also my ...read more

IMG_8287GR16Mykonos

Cultural Charters: Mykonos

In last month’s column, I covered the amazing mix of cultures that have called the Dalmatian Coast home over the centuries. Croatia cruising is like a smorgasbord of intertwined centuries, and the islands are a movie set. A little farther south, though, you’ve also got Greece, ...read more

cookinglead

Cruising: No Oven? No Worries

Many cruising boats, especially smaller ones, don’t have a conventional oven. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have all the baked foods you want, from bread to brownies to breakfast rolls to casseroles and even a roast chicken. All it takes is the right bit of gear and a ...read more

ZK-Seaboot-900

Gear: Zhik’s Seaboot 900

A Better Sea Boot Following up on its successful ZK Seaboot 800, Zhik’s Seaboot 900 was created in partnership with team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng Race Team, the latter the overall winner of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. Designed for serious, long-distance offshore racers and ...read more

01-LEAD-FP-Astrea-42-Gilles-martin-rajet---Navigation

Switching to Solar Offshore

No sensible bluewater sailor would consider setting off on a long cruise these days without some means of generating power other than by burning fossil fuels. The good news is that solar energy is becoming less expensive by the day, making it an obvious answer for providing the ...read more