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Marking the rode

Posted on Fri 27 May 2011 in Systems - Ground Tackle

When we got to Poulsbo last weekend, we were using the ground tackle for the first time we weren’t sure we were going to be able to decipher the marking system we’d done months before. We actually had no clue what we done. However, once the chain started to go over the side it was VERY easy to figure out and required no secret decoder ring. That’s ladies and gentlemen is what we call good design. Winking

Some people use paint or other flags, we used colored zip ties (which is also common) and this is our color coding scheme:

  • White – 10 Feet
  • Black – 50 Feet
  • Red – 100 Feet

The way the system works is you add up the zip ties.

3 white = 30 feet\ 1 red + 1 Black + 2 white = 170 feet

Very intuitive and easy to maintain by just replacing zip ties when they inevitably break off after a while.

New Chain Locker and Windlass Relocation Complete

Posted on Thu 30 December 2010 in Projects

Before Foredeck Before

Main Berth Before

After After

Tonight we marked the chain and loaded it into our new chain locker with the windlass. This project has been over a year in the making since it was November 2009 when we removed the windlass from it’s original location and closed up the holes in the deck.

The reasons for moving the windlass were many, but the main ones were to remove the rubber hose hawse pipe from the middle of the mattress in the v-berth (which prevented any cuddling) and to create a proper chain locker in the bow below the original (and useless) foredeck anchor locker.

I did most of the demolition and prep work and <<The Yard>> did all the structural and finish work. Here are some shots of the fiberglass work in progress there are more pics on flickr.




We also installed a bow padeye for attaching an anchor snubber closer to the level of the waterline which is a better angle for the boat to pull on the ground tackle to keep the anchor digging in. It also removes some the up and down motion on the ground tackle as well which should also make the boat rider more comfortable at anchor as well. We used the 1/2” bolts coming into the chain locker to attach an eye nut which I used to attach the bitter end of the chain.

The inside of the locker was prepped, primed and painted by Dawn with Interlux Bilgekote. She used gray primer and white paint to help here see how things were covering. She applied two coats of primer and three coats of paint over the Christmas holiday weekend. She was wearing a full set of coveralls a painters hood and a respirator. I’ve done that when grinding fiberglass and I can tell you it sucks! We originally thought we’d go slap on some paint and go sailing, but it takes 24 hours between coats then you have to sand, clean and put on the next layer. It was not how we planned to spend Christmas, but it looks awesome and I’m confident the fiberglass is well protected!


Once the paint was dry Dawn literally went inside the chain locker and we shut her into it so she could place two starboard guides on the inside of the bulkhead so our 1/2” inner panel would have a place to rest and line up properly. It basically fits in place like one giant hatch board. This bears all the weight of the chain. I was originally planning this elaborate and over engineered inner hatch that would also be water tight. Instead we put the original cover board back in place with a single screw on the top. We’re going to see how that goes if our toes get wet then I’ll resort to something more complicated. This is inline with the advice from fellow sailors and comparisons to other boats.

In addition to all of that we added proper up and down windlass foot controls (and control box) on the foredeck, port and starboard chain locker drains and just because we were in there doing stuff I replaced the very corroded port and starboard running lights with shiny new ones. We also re-marked our rode, but I’ll save that for another post. There are more posts in the Systems - Ground Tackle category if you want to see more details.

This means we can go sailing and anchor at fun places!! Woo Hoo !!

Chain Locker Bulkhead Design and Material Issues

Posted on Wed 08 December 2010 in Projects

Preparing to make a huge

I’m hemming and hawing a bit on the chain locker bulkhead. I need to make a removable panel that keeps the chain and water out of the v-berth. There probably won’t ever be any substantial amount of water in the chain locker, just the normal mess from brining up the chain.

The bulkhead itself is 1/2” thick. The design seems pretty straight forward. I need to make a 1/2” thick piece that fits neatly into the hole and then another 1/2” piece about 1” bigger than the hole. This 2nd piece will be bolted to the bulkhead. Since it needs to be removable and you can’t get to the inside once the panel is in place I’ve decided it will be attached with tee-nuts and machine screws.

I’ve been going back and forth on a couple of things:

Should the panel be bolted on the outside or the inside?\ \ If the panel is on the outside the bolts alone will have to hold the weight of the chain if it rests against the panel. This could be alleviated by putting in a removable set of panel on the inside to bear the weight. A guy at <<The Yard>> mentioned they have done this before and used starboard. Basically it would look like hatch boards.

If the panel is on the inside thee is NO way you’re going to remove the panel without first removing the chain from the locker. This seems like a deal breaker for inside, but I’m already resolved that I will likely add a small water tight deck plate above the panel for quick access to deal with chain castling or other quick inspection needs.

Should the panel be made out of starboard or marine grade plywood coated in epoxy?

Both materials seem fine and I don’t think the plywood would be much cheaper. Joining two 1/2” pieces of starboard seems impossible. I don’t’ think epoxy alone will hold, it would also need to be screwed together. Epoxying two plywood 1/2” thick pieces would be easy and wood is easy to work with. We (pronounced Dawn) also have pretty good epoxy skills. We could put a layer of fiberglass on the inside surface to protect it even more from chain hitting it. We could put a Formica surface on the outside to match the existing bulkhead.

Another option is to use 1” thick material and basically mill the hatch out of the solid material. This would probably be the way to go with starboard.

I’ve looked at G10FRP4 panels and I don’t think they’d be easy to work with especially since I have never seen the stuff in person. I’ve also looked at aluminum and stainless steel sheet metal, but they are way more expensive.

No real conclusions yet, but I need to make my mind up quickly. I’m going to send this to the Pearson 424 list and see what they think if any of you have suggestions please do use the comments.

Windlass Update

Posted on Fri 12 November 2010 in Fiberglass

Board to fill the anchor locker door hole

Saturday morning we’re going back into the yard to have the foredeck fiberglass work completed. I’ve done a lot of the prep work, but I want this structural work to be done by skilled professionals.

When it’s completed the foredeck will be closed off completely, removing the anchor locker door and the only hole will be the hawse pipe for the chain. There will be foot switches and a chain stopper but the only hole that is open all the time will be the hawse pipe.

On the left you can see the board I made to be the core for the deck area where the door (also pictured) used to be. This is a 1/2” marine grade plywood which will sit on top of an additional 1/2” of marine grade plywood that is the length and width of almost the entire foredeck. The entire foredeck is going to have an additional 1/2” glassed underneath it and then the area where the windlass will sit will be at least 1” thick of plywood and fiberglass. It should be VERY stout!

With this close to completion we’re already making plans for Thanksgiving and Xmas Cruises! We’ll have some fun things to talk about then (Dawn’s Job) but I’ll still have the technical stuff for all you geeks out there.

Chain Locker and updates

Posted on Sat 25 September 2010 in Projects


I spent a few hours grinding out the chain locker to remove the old loose gelcoat (maybe it’s paint?) and to get to clean fiberglass where the floor of the locker will be installed. It was a messy job. Most of it done while kneeling in the v-berth and sticking my upper body through the hole you see at the bottom of the picture.

Dawn did some touch up and finish work in the head. We had to cut a notch in the corner of one of the walls so the new portholes could swing open fully. We had our fears about how it might come out, but as usual, Dawn rocked the landing and it’s a 10! More pics on that later.

We ticked a few smaller things off as well, all the halyards are finally installed, the Doel-Fin is installed on the outboard.

Tonight (and every night this week) I’ve been working on those feature comparisons for Liferafts, EPIRBs, Watermakers, etc. I’m also working on the final part list for our NMEA 2000 network.

Windlass Project is ramping up

Posted on Fri 24 September 2010 in Fiberglass

Preparing to make a huge mess


This week I got a quote on the work to create a proper chain locker. That estimate was higher than I thought it was going to be so I’ve started to do some of the prep and demolition work myself.

Pictured on the left you can see that I’ve bagged off the beautiful ash battens that Dawn installed and closed off the storage under the v-berth as well.

On the right (if this works), I started doing some demolition. I cut out the floor of the anchor locker and now it’s open to the lower area and will create what I’m calling a chain locker.

When this is all done, the deck will be cut open and a new solid deck without a door is what you see. It will be ship shape and water tight, just like we like it!

Making a windlass plan of attack – Step one: Pontificate

Posted on Wed 18 August 2010 in Projects

I have and plan on reusing the Lofrans Progress that came with my boat. The motor is the same large one that comes with the Tigres.

You may remember that my windlass was originally mounted so far aft that the hawse pipe went through the v-berth and into the decommissioned water tank; basically rendering it impossible for use to sleep there comfortably. This winter I removed it had the the deck closed up and am now making my plans to place the windlass further forward on the deck and to run the chain through the shallow anchor locker and into the unused chain locker below.

Seems as though I have one of four choices:

  1. Place the windlass forward of the locker and use a PVC hawse pipe to run the chain aft to achieve adequate fall. Meridian has this kind of setup as does Syringa.
  2. Place the windlass motor and mount just aft of the locker and use a PVC pipe to run the chain foreward and through the locker. Parallax has this setup with a similar if not the same windlass.
  3. Build a stand for the windlass in the anchor locker at the highest point of the chain fall and modify the door to go around the windlass. There are some horizontals which have been done that way.
  4. Install the windlass on the door itself (or a beefed up hatch without hinges) and essentially leave the locker closed except for maintenance purposes. Another derivation of this is to bolt down a more permanent opening, possibly thicker and have it closed with a more bolt down fittings like they use on aircraft.

1 and 2 seem like the least work, but I’m worried about how well the chain will run. I don’t want to be having to deal with kinked up chain in the anchor locker all the time. Also number 1 doesn’t really seem possible on our boat because we don’t have a bow sprit for our anchor and our anchor comes all the way back to the deck. I also plan to put a padeye on the deck just aft of the anchors for the solent stay so again number 1 seems like a no-go. If I can alleviate my concerns about the flow of chain then number 2 is probably the best idea.

number 3 sounds a lot of work and I’m not sure how to make the door water tight once I cut into it. I also am not sure that the drive shaft of the windlass would be long enough to reach through the entire pad.

I think number 4 would be a big upgrade. It would also close off the deck better than the door does today. It would however remove a storage spot from the foredeck, which is handy for wet  things like hoses and our folding anchors.

SO number 2 and number 4 seem like the most viable options at this point with number 2 probably winning out based on the simplicity. If you have any thoughts please do chime in.