View Full Version : Landlubber with a new old boat

12-28-2015, 09:05 PM
I, having never sailed anything nor even driven a power boat recently bought an18' wooden day sailer built in 1990 by Dave Cross here in Tacoma and BOY do I have some questions. I'm 46 years old and decided I'd waited long enough to do this.
My journey into this is as such: she's currently stored on land under cover at Point Defiance Marina. Thus far I've been spending weekends at the marina with my 9 year old daughter/first mate going over the boat. She appears to be in good shape and I'm starting to identify things to spend my money on. Here's what I've found and the corresponding questions (please forgive any shortcomings in terminology. Remember I'm new)
1) Many of the screws that hold the floor planks to the frame have pulled out. Question: do I replace them with bigger/longer screws or plug the holes and use the same size? Either way, does anyone know of a good source for the proper screws in the Tacoma area?
2) Some of the wires on the rigging have broken strands. Question: Is replacing them something I can do or is this strictly the domain of the professional rigger?
3) Among the rigging that needs attention is the wire halyard that runs inside the aluminum mast. I've been reading about switching the wire with line. Questions: Again is this something I can do or best left to the pros? The mast is off the boat. If I can do it how do I determine the size/diameter and type of line to use?
I'm headed to Port Townsend this weekend so please also give me any recommendations for stores I need to stop by.
I'm taking sailing lessons in the spring (I bought them a couple years ago but had a sudden move to Hawaii) and the goal is to have her on the Puget Sound this summer.
Thanks for reading and I appreciate any feedback, input, and of course encouragement!

Hugh MacD
12-29-2015, 12:37 AM
First off...Good on Ya! Keep your daughter going on all aspects of the project. Gouple of questions for you, though:
1. Have the screws backed out of the inside floor planks or from the outside hull planking? Remedial treatment may differ slightly. If possible replace the screws with bronze (not brass). I'd start with Tacoma Screw.
2. I'd be inclined to go with a rigger if you want swaged fittings the same as what are on the boat. If you're good with using thimbles and clamps you can do it yourself, but it tends to be a bit ugly once you get it wrapped up enough to cover the ensuing meat hooks.
3. Changing halyards is pretty easy and modern aramids are as strong as the stainless or stronger. The limiting factor is going to be how it feels to your hand. Anything smaller than 1/4" is kinda hard to handle, but it'll easily pick your boat up with you in it. I'd be inclined to start with a low stretch double braid dacron, just for hand feel. I'm assuming you're not racing so absolute minimum stretch shouldn't be too much of an issue. Marine grade line has UV inhibitors in the outer jacket that extend the life, but sometimes you can find 1/4 dacron in 50' coils at Harbour Freight for $5.00 a coil....you can replace it pretty easily. If you switch out halyards, look at the masthead pulley....you'll want to anyway. The groove diameter should roughly match whatever line is going in it.
I'm not sure if I'd recommend taking your daughter to the Chandlery at the CFWB. It may not be good for a 9 year old to watch dad drool.
Port Townsend guys? Where's best?

12-29-2015, 05:28 PM
Thanks for the input. I'll get some pictures up and learn more accurate terminology so I don't have to say "The thing on the part that keeps water away and stuff."
The planks I'm describing are inside the hull; the deck I walk on inside the cockpit. It doesn't look like a problem, just like they're old and probably weren't checked much.

12-29-2015, 10:00 PM
The planks I'm describing are inside the hull; the deck I walk on inside the cockpit. It doesn't look like a problem, just like they're old and probably weren't checked much.

Photos would help, but the one big question that comes to mind is that while its the floorboards that were fastened down, what's the condition of the wood (frames? floor timbers?) that the floorboard screws were screwed *into*? That'll determine a lot of the remedial action. Could be simple, could be big.

I get my fasteners from Top Notch, on line. In a pinch, Admiral, in PT, or Tacoma Screw locally --though TacScrew only carries square-drive (which I don't like) in bronze, and has a somewhat limited inventory.

As for the rigging, consider going with all aramid fiber, including the standing rigging. As far as I know you'll want wire for the forestay to take the chafe of the jib hanks (someone here probably knows a way around that), but if you go with aramid on the shrouds, you can do all the replacement / splicing yourself. I like Hugh MacD's advice on the halyard.

Sounds like a good project. Go to it!


Roger Cumming
12-29-2015, 11:44 PM
Find someone who has some experience in repairing or building wooden boats to visit the boat with you and make recommendations about what needs to be repaired. This person will also be able to help you with sources for materials. Make a plan so that critical work is done before you go sailing (for safety's sake) and other work can be done over time. This will be preferable to acting as your own marine surveyor without any knowledge whatsoever about boats, boat materials, or boat construction. It might also get you on the water sailing sooner than if you try to figure out everything yourself. You may discover that some things that look bad are not so bad and can be fixed easily, and others things that you missed are bad and must be addressed. It's the best way to learn and get on the water with confidence.

12-30-2015, 07:22 PM
Thanks to everyone! Now.....who on here is in Tacoma looking to act as Yoda to my Luke? I'll get pics posted next week when I get back to the marina after my Port Townsend extravaganza.

12-30-2015, 07:54 PM
If it were my boat, I would replace all the wire standing rigging with synthetic -- dyneema, etc. It's really easy to do yourself, and doesn't require fancy tools. But yes, photos would help a lot!