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Some Modifications over the Years

click the pictures to see more...

Bowsprit: The bowsprit reduces weather helm and makes a great perch when the autopilot is engaged.

A navigation center built into the port side of the companionway, just inside the cabin. I can sit on the starboard cockpit seat and have every switch and instrument right at my fingertips.

Instead of tying a portable ladder to the stern rail, I decided to make a permanent arrangement. It works really well, if a wee bit narrow.

Improvements to the mast, including an inner forestay, running backstays, a new  masthead and more

I like to sail offshore, sometimes hundreds of miles, so over the years I have tried to keep that in mind as I make changes to the Bristol. More cockpit drains was an easy mod...

New custom chain stopper for my anchor allows me to haul up my anchor chain and lock it easily between grabs.

Removing the Rudder (from my Blog)

   Now here is a gut straining, cursing, groaning bit of a job I have done once and sits at the top of my list of “Jobs I Will Never Do Again”. The Bristol’s rudder is build like the Queen Mary’s. It’s solid fiberglass with a bronze webbing welded to the solid bronze rudderpost inside. It weighs about 80 or 90 pounds and sits on a 1-inch diameter bronze pintel at the rudder shoe. Its only weakness is that pintel should be stainless instead of bronze. The pintel will typically wear on the forward edge—from the weight of the rudder (it hangs “down” since the aft edge of the keel slants forward). The wear on the pintel creates play that is expressed in the tiller vibrating at speed. It’s probably nothing to ever worry about, but I like to have everything perfect on the boat and “new” if at all possible.

So I removed the rudder and replaced the pintel. That’s a fun little job: dig about a 4-ft hole under the rudder—if you are lucky enough not to have your boat on pavement in the boat yard. Then cock the rudder full over to port and there is just enough room to lift it off the pintel—it’s quite a lift and slide the rudder down, maintaining the angle of the rudderpost until it is out.

It lays on the ground like a dead tuna and the yard foreman looked at it and said I needed their fiberglass shop to design and build me a new one. As usual, he had no idea what he was talking about. I told him the rudder was stronger than anything he could build for me. He countered with, “It’s full of water”. I drilled some ¼” holes—all dry, all solid glass. He tried some more excuses before finally leaving.

Then I rebuilt the stuffing box where the rudder post enters the hull. That’s a fun little project. Little being the operative word. You have to scoot head-first down into the lazerette on the sloping hull to try to undo the 30-plus year old hose clamps and worry off the ancient hose. Eventually, with enough prayer, it all came loose. The stuffing box is identical to the one for the propeller shaft. I rebuilt it as I did the engine one using Teflon impregnated Drip-Free packing, a new hose and proper 316 stainless hose clamps. It should now outlive me. Then I rebuilt the cockpit sole bearing where the rudder post passes through the floor of the cockpit. I expected there to be play and the shaft to be worn at the bearing. Wrong on both counts. The bronze Bristol used is tough stuff and the rudder post showed no signs of any wear. The bearing was fine and I re-plated the housing in gunmetal gray nickel plating.

Installing the rudder was at least five times harder than dropping it. Somebody please kick me if I ever get a notion to drop it again.

More about the rudder here.

Repowering with a Yanmar

Adding a flexible fuel tank under the engine

How to remove the rudder

How to replace the exhaust riser and keep from ruining your engine

...More coming as I have time...


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