``The boat'': 505 number 7839

I have recently become re-obsessed with my boat. Here's what's on my mind...

The boat is a Parker type 24. It is a bag boat with a varnished plywood deck, wooden CB trunk cap, and wooden thwarts. The thwarts are really 1 1/4'' square, so they are really more like bars. The construction is foam core Kevlar; I am not sure to what extent, but at least in the back of the cockpit and the tanks.

The mast is Proctor ``D'', the forestay is adjustable, and the shrouds are adjustable: they turn at the rails, enter a tube through the tanks, turn at the base of the mast step, and are terminated at a lever mounted in front of the mast step. The boom is pretty rad: it has big lightening holes for most of its length, and has a fine taper at the back to reduce weight. The boat has a bridle mainsheet.

I don't know when the boat was built, but right now my ``good'' sails are Norths with 1991 East Coast Champs measurement stamp on them. Ali Meller told me thinks Parker built this boat especially for a customer.

I bought the boat in Spring 1999 from Ted Ferrarone. Ted had refinished the foredeck, and acquired a slightly newer spinnaker which came with the boat. He had also replaced the traveller bar which had become mangled at some point while he had the boat.


I acquired this boat ``ready to race''. Which was true: I sailed the boat several times and raced it at one regatta until I figured out at least a little bit of what the hell I was doing, and had a list of boat work. I'm not saying I know much, but at least now I am staying in the boat and keeping it upright. Also, I wanted to feel less like the poor cousin when I pulled into the boat park next to the superboats. Here are some things I changed, in no particular order:

  1. Fixed crack in hull. This crack came from the dolly i was using, which wasn't wide enough, so the dolly's upright arms pressed in on the boat. The crack probably occured when I trailered the boat from Larchmont, NY to the Cape. I took the boat to Guck and it came out better than new, at least where the crack was. I had to sport for a new dolly as well...
  2. Fixed back of spine where it tapers into the cockpit floor. Guck did this at the same time as the hull crack.
  3. New spinnaker sheets. Watch as the pole magically bends around the forestay.... not so much anymore, thank goodness.
  4. New shroud and forestay control lines. The old ones didn't run easily, were too long (messy), and weren't marked well for the various rig settings. I cut the new ones so that at max ease they had no slack floating around in the cockpit.
  5. Modified jib cleats. The old ones were too low and couldn't be cleated easily by the crew. The new ones didn't fare too well either, unfortunately. They were easy to cleat but ripped out of one of the thwarts (taking part of the thwart with them). New cleats (note lashing for strength after other side broke):
  6. Take-ups. I added shockcord take-ups to the vang and cunningham control lines to keep them off the floor of the boat. Very important and good improvement: it prevents them getting sucked into the bailer, going through the mainsheet ratchet, and otherwise tying themselves around your legs...
  7. Little plastic balls. These are also neat (and really cheap). I put them on the end of the shroud and forestay adjustments where there was no place for takeups. This keeps those controls out of the bailer, and helps you find the end of the line to pull. Different colors are nice.
  8. Jibing and pumping strap for the main, attached the mainsheet block on the boom.

More Improvements

I decided to go to the midwinters in Feburary 2002, for fun, but also as a way to force myself to do some much needed work on the boat. A lot of this stuff I have figured out from all the excellent 505 resources on the web, patient E-mail correspondents, and the friendly and open members of the class who love to talk about boats. Also, I get a lot of advice (both solicited and unsolicited) from the crew down at the MIT Sailing Pavilion.

Despite all the headaches this boat has given me, on the whole I am really glad I got sucked in, and have enjoyed my experiences so far. Here's what I have completed or am in the process of completing to get ready for midwinters:

  1. Refinish the foredeck. The plywood had split and become wet, acquiring many dark spots. I sanded the deck, and epoxied and varnished the deck again. The varnish is to keep the sun off of the epoxy, which would otherwise turn ugly yellow. Hopefully I won't have to this again for a long time. 4 hours and 8 sanding discs later, all the old coat is gone. Two coats of WEST system epoxy (applied with 15 minutes of each other), followed by a third coat of epoxy once the first two are tacky (two hours later). I applied the epoxy with a thin foam roller, and then tipped it with a foam brush to smooth it out. I sanded the epoxy by hand to smooth out bumbs and prep for the varnish. Unfortunately, because the plywood itself was so uneven and because I started with a large sanding block, I sanded through the epoxy in a few spots, which I patched up. Then, two coats of polyurethane varnish separated by 24 hours and a very light sanding. This deck job was the first time I had ever refinished wood, and was a repair I had intended to skip, but it looks really great now.

    After sanding:

    2 1/2 epoxy coats:

    Sanded before varnishing:

    First coat of varnish just applied:

    Second coat of varnish finished:

    That was a lot of work!

  2. Paint rear of cockpit floor, where boom scraped. Two coats of white ``Easypoxy'' polyurethane paint add a distinctive racing stripe to the gray cockpit interior.
  3. Touch up bare spots on interior woodwork with epoxy.
  4. Fill and sand rudder and CB dings. Make sure CB moves well in trunk.
  5. New high tech mainsheet. 3/8'' Yale light spliced into 3/16'' Spectron 12, which is then spliced into a split tail. If this doesn't keep the mainsheet out of the water on the run, then I don't know what will. I don't know well the Yale light to Spectron splice will hold up: it didn't come out as clean as I would like, but I will at least set the length so that splice never reaches the ratchet block.

    Yale light to Spectron splice:

  6. New forestay adjuster tail. The old tail was breaking where it runs through the sheave at the bow.
  7. New jib halyard system. The old halyard didn't adjust with the forestay, so when you raked the mast back the jib luff tightened up. Plus the old cleat was crap and in the way, right under the gooseneck.
  8. New shroud system. The old lever system was simple and light, but didn't have nearly enought range to accommodate the current North / Proctor ``D'' tuning settings. When the mast is raked aggressively, the lever can't put on enough shroud tension. The new system replaces the level with a mulipart tackle between the shroud tails and the old lever pivot pin.
  9. ``Even more take-ups''.
  10. New jib sheet mounts (yes, again...): I am widening the thwarts to allow me to mount the cleats and turning block with vertical screws. The vertical pieces of wood are epoxied on and then coated with epoxy to be waterproof.

  11. ``Instrument panel'': I first saw this on the ``Bass Master'', sailed by Dave Dyson and Neal Fowler. They had indicator strings on the bulkhead that moved with the forestay and shroud controls, which allow you to easily read and modify your rake settings. I think I have seen this on some other boats as well.
  12. Bailer grids and gaskets. Just say no to leaks and tangles in the bailer! But at over $11 for each little slice of neoprene, the gaskets are the bad deal of the season.

Random Pictures

In the Bat Cave, waiting to leap into action: