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Thread: Rigging a Penguin woody

  1. #1


    I just purchased a woody Penguin (#4066) for frostbiting. It will need some minor restoration including the replacement of some small wood pieces that have rotted and replacement of the standing and running rigging. I have a few questions for the experts on the panel:

    1) There is an area of small rot beneath the stem knee that I dug out. However, as I did that I noticed that in the area where the two chines, keel, and stem intersect, there is some rot. It would be difficult to repair this small area by replacing the pieces. Is Git-Rot, or other penetrating epoxies, a good solution?

    2) The boat has two incredibly beautiful wood spars in great shape. Extremely light, stiff, and straight -- so, I'd like to keep them (they need to be revarnished). However, I cannot locate, nor does the class web site have, detailed photos of how to rig a Penguin with wood spars (e.g., traveler, vang, mast rotator, centerboard, shroud track adjusters, etc). I've never sailed a Penguin before so if anyone has pix they can post of their rigged Penguin (a woody, not fiberglass), I would be eternally greatful!

  2. #2



    Congratulations on getting a Penguin.

    I have no experience with repairs (yet )

    Here is a link to a good site that helped me rig my boat:

    Have fun, stay warm, go sailing (thanx DockDog)


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    East Coast



    Welcome to the penguin class. I have 4318 built in 1953 so yours must be even older.
    On your rot problem. I hope that it is not too extensive because the piece of wood that you must be referring to is the plank keel (may also be called a keelson, or a hog) that runs down the centerline connecting the stem, all frames, and the transom. This piece is tapered at the ends and beveled to accept the plywood bottom pieces on either side. It is key to (1) not having a leak and (2) having enough structure to keep the boat together (especially important near the mast step and mast partners). Your best hope is to clean out all the rot then scarf in a replacement piece. If the rot is extensive (worst case scenario and highly unlikely), you may have to do major surgery by removing the plywood and scarfing a replacement section into the keel-- in your boat the plywood is probably held in place by bronze wood screws spaced every 1.5 - 2 inches screwed into the chine logs and the keel.

    On my boat I didn't need to replace anything but the glue that held the ply to the chines and keel had turned to dust so I peeled back the plywood (as described) and glued everything with epoxy. The screws wiegh a ton so, don't replace them, just use sheet rock screws then remove those when the epoxy is dry.

    If you're serious about racing, you may notice that all the other boats have their mast partners positioned about 1 ft further forward than you. You've got to move the partners (and the adjustable mast step) to have it sail right. I can give you the correct position measurement if you like but it would be best to look at an already rigged example (bring a tape measure).

    Rigging is done the same regardless of the material of construction (fg or wood). If you are racing, this is a case where wood (I bite my tongue and say through gritted teeth) just doesn't work out. You've got to plan to get (eventually) a procter c-section (I think that's the one) aluminium mast because its lighter, stiffer and thats the one North cuts their sails for.

    You really need to look at an example boat but when you do you will notice that the side stays run to allow the boom to be let all the way out on a run or, on a broad reach, to prevent the stay from screwing with the sail shape by releasing the leeward stay. The old method used a set of highfield levers but everyone around here uses a track and car system (I salvaged my track from a much bigger sailboat mast track).

    Good luck and feel free to ask for advice (I have returned a few of these boats to service). One last thing -- for inspiration here are a couple of penguins ((the s.o.b (a good guy on shore though!)) in front fouled me by entering the two-boat length circle on port forcing me to change course then tacking, sheesh!


  4. #4



    First, thank you for your very helpful advice and second, let me congratulate you on the restoration of the S boat. It looks like an incredible endeavor -- good luck with it.

    The rot on the keelson is isolated to the area where the knee screws into the keel and extends about 3/8" on either side. It's about 1/4" - 1/2" deep. It sounds like the best way to fix it is to scarf a short piece of wood to replace the rot -- the only problem is I don't know what kind of wood it is. The plans call out spruce, mahogany, or cedar. I suspect it is either cedar or spruce but the discoloration makes it difficult to tell and frankly I don't know how to read the grain. I ordered some spruce from Aircraft Spruce and Specialty to replace that area.

    Another area of concern are the plywood gussets at the rib elbows right at the chine -- my concern is that the builder used a total of four finishing brads, two on each side. A few of the gussets have pulled from the ribs -- easy enough to fix, but why not use small brass or bronze screws? Can I just epoxy these to the ribs and not use fasteners at all? If so, what type of filler should I use with the epoxy?

    Thanks again for your help.


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