Copy Write 7/19/2001© Updated 12/16/2005
This area needs some major TLC nothing structural this year just a bunch of little stuff. The traveler car is showing some wear and tear. All the attached hardware needs pulling and re-bedding. The winches seem to work fine but no telling when they were serviced.
Stripping the cockpit hardware I started with the port side first. There is a jib track for a sliding jib car in front of each winch. I have been nervous about tearing into them from the moment I bought the boat. The jib track is aluminum and the flat head screws stainless steel. My fears of corrosion where well founded. After removing the nut from inside the cabin I find most of the bolts are welded tight and won't budge. Finally I get the port side free from the boat most of the stainless steel bolts are fused to the aluminum jib track.
I will see later if some penetrating oil may free them. I am unsure if I will purchase replacement track. I normally run my jib sheets all the way stern. Back in the days when I did use the jib track the car was either all the way forward or all the way back. I may just install two bullet leads on each side.
The winch has concerned me for some time, it carries a heavy load. I never dared to try to disassemble it. There is no telling when it was last serviced. Certainly not since the time I have owned the boat. Removing the port winch was a snap. The four nuts where removed from the underside and some light tapping on the winch housing, the whole assembly comes off the coaming. Looking at the winch I notice it is very easy to take apart. There is some kind of ring that kind of unscrews from the top holding the entire winch together. After successfully disassembling the winch I find the physical condition looks good and no visible wear and tear is evident on the parts.
The nuts for the winch cleat are more of a problem. One nut is rusted big time. Eventually the nuts are ground off leaving the bolt stems. The bolts are fused to the aluminum cleat, replacing these cleats is the only option.
The mounting hardware for the bimini has been a situation I have known of from the day of purchase. The fiberglass under the nut of one bolt failed and the bolt and nut are flopping up and down. The mounting hardware works but you can't get it tight. I will need to grind this from the outside, patch the hole with resin and drill a new hole.
Looking at the stern cleat and motor mount I want to remove and re-install both. Unfortunately I am too big to get back there. That area will wait until another time.
Accessing the various hardware attached to the coaming was possible only by removing a wooden panel that separated the cockpit lockers from the cabin, these panels were fabricated by the previous owner
The previous owner used some kind of lightweight plywood to seal up the cockpit lockers from the cabin. This job was terrible to say the least. Even by my limited carpentry knowledge the fit up was terrible. I think he used epoxy to seal the wood. What ever he used the mixture was way off because to this day the wood is sticky. Well this shoddy repair actually worked to my advantage.
It was easily kicked out opening the entire area and allowing me to lie down on the quarter berths slide up under and reach almost all the nuts. Later I will re build the panels and allow for them to be bolted in place for removal if needed later.
Many South Coast owners are considering or already have fabricated similar panels to block the flow of water from the cockpit lockers to the cabin. If you are such an owner make allowances for possible maintenance later.
Have you ever notice one side of something gives you problems and the other goes smooth. Stripping the starboard side hardware was just such a time. Everything unbolted smoothly and I didn't have to practice "speaking in tongues". I needed a grinder to completely remove the port side bimini mount and a rusted nut on the winch cleat. All the cockpit hardware is gone and it will be time to scrub everything up and start the sealing and installing process. This is going rather fast and smooth. I keep waiting for my friend Murphy to show up.
Once all the cockpit hardware has been removed and the cockpit cleaned and scrubbed, some preparation work is needed before filling the holes with Polyester resin. All the holes to be needed to be countersunk and the backside taped off with blue nonstick tape. Epoxy resin can be used over Polyester resin but not the other way around. To keep things simple fiberglass resin will be used to fill the holes. Later the filled holes will be drilled to accept the hardware.
Summertime here in the Florida Panhandle is prone to rain squalls in the afternoon. They build up offshore and roll in almost like clockwork. Naturally the resin I poured to fill all the holes had not kicked off before such a rain squall drifted overhead. I seem to have a problem and it is a mess. The resin I poured had not kicked off before a rain shower rolled through, resulting in resin dripping everywhere. To make things even more fun there has been daily showers preventing me from completing the holes. I guess it will dry up eventually.
What a mess to clean up! Some 100 grit wet / dry sandpaper is used on all the dripped and messed up fiberglass resin. A few spots on top of the gunwales the gel coat is sanded thin. Eventually everything is back smooth. Between the recent sanding and the normal wear and tear on a 20 + year old boat it is becoming obvious a paint job will be needed eventually.
All the holes for the cockpit hardware have been drilled and countersunk to reduce the likely hood of cracking also to give silicone sealer a place to bond to. Amazingly enough I actually find all the bolts and screws! For some strange reason putting things back together is not a much fun as taking them apart. First of all it is much harder to get the washers and nuts back on, crammed into a tight space. Trying to fit in the space between the cabin seats and sliding under the cockpit reaching back with one hand to put on a washer and nut is tough. The bolts for the jib track are not accepting nuts, just won't screw on. It is possible the ends are boogied up. The new bolts work just fine. I don't normally use this jib track so no real loss. I will take them off and work the bolts loose then install another day. All the nuts are being replaced with the nylon base nuts and over sized Stainless Steel washers. I wanted to work on an idea for a backing plate but have run out of time. The oversized washers I am installing are an improvement over the original just barely big enough washers. Silicone is applied and the bolts installed through the hardware. In the past I have found it better (if possible) to let the silicone dry before trying to apply the nuts.
Both of the jib tracks are aluminum with Stainless Steel bolts. Most of the bolts are fused to the aluminum. A few that were damaged removing the tracks I was able to work free and replace with out too much bother. I do not use the jib car, so for now the jib track will be re-installed and the serviceable bots used to hold it in place. Eventually I will need to either replace the jib track or decide upon other options.
The traveler car is in reasonable shape. There were two built in pulleys for the traveler sheets. Both of the sheaves are showing serious wear and UV degradation. Two blocks were purchased and it was possible to attach them to the posts that supported the original sheaves. I think the new pulleys with ball bearing sheaves will work better than previous sheaves with no bearings. The new pulleys are rated up to 500 lbs, should be more than enough.
The winches proved most frustrating. The original bolts are just barely long enough to fit a small washer and the nut. When I bought oversized washers I never considered if the bolts would be long enough. So everything had to be stopped a quick trip to West Marine and back with new bolts ½ " longer. I like the new bolts much better because they are Phillips head instead of slot. It is still tough reaching thru the cockpit locker opening, holding a socket to the nut while turning the bolt from the top. The bimini mounts and the one winch cleat that is useable go in with out too much bother. I don't use the winch cleats that often I can get by for a bit before replacing both of them. I want bigger cleats anyway.
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