Westsail 32 Sea Hood - Companionway Hatch Turtle

We finally completed the Sea Hood project. This item has been on the list for a long time and we were a bit surprised to see how little time it actually took to complete. I built the basic mold in about 6 hours at a shop that belongs to a very good friend....thank you Gordy!

I gave the mold to John at Salt Creek Boat Works of St Pete, FL. He was suppose to insert a radius on each of the corners and then lay up the fiberglass. I waited for 3 weeks to receive the finished sea hood. The wait was in vain. The job was never completed and John went into the hide mode and it took me 4 hours to smoke him out. (That is a whole different blog)
Hence no referral here!

As our time began to be constrained I had no other option than to build by own turtle. Virgin territory!! Thank goodness for Google!!

First stop was by Fiberglass Solutions of St Pete where I purchased structural fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. Then off to Lowe's where I purchased 3/8 plywood. I must admit I was a bit nervous considering all I had already been through with John. But there I stood purchasing all of these supplies that I was not quite sure what I was going to do with. After careful research and planning it was time to get to work.

With assistance of Larry and Collin from the body shop next door to Gordy's shop I laid 4 layers of fiberglass sandwiching the extra plywood in between where the life raft would call home. After a few sandings it all became clear that this job was falling into place. Not to toot my own horn but toot toot, this fiber glassing stuff isn't all that I made it out to be. Woohooooooo.

Now it was time to start painting. I purchased my favorite paint, Signature Finish by Tom Fabula. http://www.signaturefinish.com/ Tom has the best product as well as customer service that I have came by in a very long time. He is always willing and cheerful to answer any questions you may have no matter how silly they seem. Strong good paint that will make you feel like a chemist when you are preparing it but it is well worth the extra effort.

I then had to drill installation holes into my master piece and mount the rack to hold the life raft. The rack listed with the life raft was $500 and not the quality or style that I was looking for so I designed the one I wanted and Suncoast Specialties built it. Once again.. Thank you Suncoast Specialties!

I placed a thin layer of high quality weather stripping on the flange of the sea hood leaving an opening for water to drain out and then installed it onto the cabin top.
Total time: 4 days minus the time lost that I spent jacking around with John @ Salt Creek!


Hauling Out Mary Rose V - Westsail 32

We have heard from many of you that our blog is long over due for an update. Well the reason for no recent updates is not for lack of activity but becasue we have been very very busy. We have both been working long hard hours at JOBS and also on our Yacht Mary Rose. Since our last post we have completely refinished all of the teak brightwork, painted the cabin top and non-skid areas. We have also installed new mast pulpits, SCUBA tank holders, dinghy outboard engine brackets, life ring, swim ladder, new toilet in the head and much much more.
Today we hauled Mary Rose out of the water to paint the hull below the water line, service the through hull seacocks and paint the water line boot stripe to match the new whale stripe in dark blue.
Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the scope and type of work completed.


Mast Compression Post – Westsail 32 – Inspection and Replacement

Mast Compression Post – Westsail 32 – Inspection and Replacement

The mast compression post has been of concern for some time now. The overriding evidence that there may be a problem occurred the first time we tightened down the rig for open water sailing. The door to the head compartment became misaligned to the point that the barrel lock would not work properly. The doors were also jamming tight against one another. I surmised that something had to be moving and it seemed logical that the something was the compression post. Mary Rose has had the recommended update to the aft mid-ship bulkhead for added strength so I was not terribly concerned about any major failures. We lossened the rig and we were ready to proceed.

I was hoping to be able to inspect and fix the problem by gaining access from the shower pan side of the bulkhead. This would require cutting the bottom of the shower pan out. I was planning on doing this anyway to be able to store additional anchor chain low and mid ship. However I soon realized that it would be much quicker to drain the forward water tank, pull it out of the bilge and fix the compression post.

Draining the tank and removing it took less than 30 minutes and we were ready to tackle the problem. It was easy to see that the wood supporting the mast support post was showing signs of rot and was soft at the base. Under the mast support post there was a bulkhead that went across the bilge from each side of the hull. Below this bulk head was very soft and black piece of wood that extended from the keel to the bottom of this bulkhead. There was a large block of wood approximately 3 inches thick and 5 inches wide that was screwed into this bulkhead and extended from the keel to the mast beam at the under side of the cabin sole.

All of the old support pieces were removed and discarded and we were ready to begin the repair. I made up a couple of believable reasons why I had to go get supplies to finish the project and went ashore. The Admiral stayed aboard and took advantage of the water tank being out of the bilge and proceeded to clean and sanitize the bilge in the area of the forward water tank. She did a great job and her efforts had a huge impact on the overall project.

I cut two ¾ inch starboard pieces to the exact thickness of the area under the bulkhead and drove them into place for a very tight fit. I used a thick knife blade to shave them to the exact size. The knife blade was used as a draw blade. After they were firmly set in place, they were screwed them together so that they could not separate in the future.

The next step required placing a two pieces of blood wood to fit the exact distance from the keel to the base of the cabin sole on the forward side of the keel supported bulkhead directly under the mast support post. I placed a ¼ inch thick piece of brass plate on the bottom next to the keel to prevent future rot problems from keel/bilge moisture. I drove the first piece of blood wood into place and screwed it to the starboard support and the keel bulkhead. This locked all three parts of the mast compression support into place. Starboard block, bulkhead, post support.

The next step was to drive the second piece of blood wood into place for a tight fit and add additional screws to prevent any chance of the supports sliding out of place.
The final step was to use some minute mend two part epoxy to bond the brass plate and wood support pieces together with the keel to further reduce the chances of any future movement. Yes, I know this was a bit of overkill but I really do not want to ever have to do this project again.

We taped cross cut sections of 4" vinyl hose to the bottom of the water tanks to keep them off the bottom of the keel and allow water movement in the event we get water in the bilge.

We then replaced the water tanks into the shiny clean bilge and the project was complete. The entire project took about 4 hours and cost less than $25. We used blood wood because it is extremely hard and rot resistant along with several other qualities. Boat builders used blood wood for motor mounts a very long time ago.


Old Tampa Bay Waterspout

Nature is a wonderful gift and the amazing part of this gift is how simple it is to receive. I recently realized how easy it is for me to get wrapped up in this thing we call life. I think at some point we all get wrapped up in everyday living and end up missing so many of the little things that can warm our hearts, intrigue our minds and bring a smile to our faces.

Just the other day, while Don and I were traveling via car over the Old Tampa Bay Bridge I looked to my right to assess the formation of some ominous looking clouds. As I watched I noticed a tail-like formation begin to drop down from these clouds. It wasn't much to look at but it was unusual. As I observed this tail I noticed that it began to grow, at this point I brought it to the Captain's attention. He thought it was a waterspout forming... we both unison said, "Let's go follow it!" So off we went!! Waterspout chasers!! The enthusiasm in the truck was off the charts! We followed the side roads that took us through neighborhoods trying to find the shoreline. At last water!! We sat in the truck and watched in awe as we saw at least 4 waterspouts form and dissipate. There was one that really caught out attention.... we both sat speechless as the waterspout began methodically dancing back into the clouds... the spray from the water was moving in slow circular motions. The sun tried to break through the thick low hanging clouds to cast it's light and in doing so gave this view a miraculous blessing. It appeared as if there were angels dancing in the atmosphere... mid-air... it was a spectacular vision! Our first waterspout blessing! Then the show was over. We returned to the bridge to continue on to our destination.

As we drove there was a silence in the truck that was abruptly broken as Capt Don declares, "Look there is another waterspout!" Low and behold there it is.. A HUGE waterspout heading right for us as we and many others pull to the side of the bridge to admire this bold powerful circulating vortex that is slowly drifting across the water. It moved with grace as it approached the bridge approximately 100 feet in front of us. What an amazing site!

No injuries, no damage just a wonderful gift.

Peace and love to all!!


Westsail 32 Lazarette - Lewmar Replacement

The original fiberglass and teak lazarette hatch cover was very sturdy and served it’s intended purpose well. However, with the recent modifications to the cockpit area it was a bit too large and bulky. We wanted to reclaim the cockpit area to make living aboard and long distance cruising more comfortable. We believe that this will add a great deal of usable deck space to the area as well as adding comfort.

This was one of the items on my “I’m afraid to do this” list. We were lucky to have had the opportunity to discuss this problem with Bud Taplin when he was on board for the 2009 Westsail Rendezvous. Bud assured me that he could get me a new hatch of the appropriate size and that it would not be difficult to replace. As ALWAYS, Bud was right!

The benefits we expected to gain from this modification.
- less height obstruction and tripping hazard.
- easier access
- the cover will be attached and not lose when opened
- increased comfort in the cockpit area

The first thing I had to do was to cut the teak board that held the old hatch cover in place above the deck. This task was made relatively easy with my new Fienmaster Multi tool that the Admiral gave me for my birthday. I have found this tool to be indespensible when doing rehab work on the boat. This tool and my Dremel seem to always get used on most every project. The Admiral also gave me the Dremel….hmmmmmmmmmm Am I seeing a pattern here? Anyway, here are the steps to accomplish the lazerette hatch cover.

1. I used the special blade for the multi tool which allows you to cut flush across a flat horizontal surface. It zipped right through and in no time at all this step was complete

2. The next step is to use the multi tool to sand the board smooth and flush with the fiberglass ring with the sanding head on the multi tool.

3. I then used the caulk remover attachment for the multi tool to remove the old caulking on the surface of the fiberglass ring. Mineral spitits was used to finish cleaning up the residue.

4. After taping the area and a careful test fit, I laid down several thick beads of 3M 5200 to give the new hatch ring a good tight seal.

5. I put the new hatch flange in place, predrilled the holes and screwed it down.

6. The edges were dressed with 5200 and excess was cleaned with mineral spirits. I also used mineral spirits on a rubber gloved hand to smooth the edges and give it a finished look.

We are quite please with the results. We think we accomplished our goals and we are grateful to Bud Taplin for his advice and support.


Westsail 32 - Tampa Bay Stainless Steel Fabrication - Stern Arch - Boom Gallows - Project Complete

Stainless Steel Fabrication - Stern Arch – Boom Gallows – Project Complete

We have made previous posts as this project progressed and now we are happy to report that the project is complete.

The new stern arch is a base support for radar, GPS receiver, VHF antennae, loud hailer, forward and aft looking flood lights, ships bell, boom gallows, stern navigation light, cockpit light, VHF RAM microphone, 330 total watts of solar power in three panels, sheet cleats, spinnaker blocks, bimini frame, United Stes Flag and outboard cockpit seating. The new 1” stainless steel tubing life lines also terminate at the forward leg of the arch.

Basic Construction:
The two base legs of the arch are 2 ½ inch double wall stainless steel pipe. The cross pieces are 2”. The arch legs have a rectangular base with a 1 ½ diameter pipe extending 2” through the cap rail. The arch is bolted through the wood and fiberglass cap rail with 2, ¼ X 20, 316 stainless steel bolts on each of the four legs. All opening in the caprail were seled with 3M 5200 upon installation. All wiring is internal and enters the hull through the four legs.

The radar is a Garmin 18” High Definition Radome that displays on the Garmin 5212 touch screen chart plotter. We had initial issues with the radome at first. We installed it and it would not work. The Garmin 5212 did not find radar. (radome new out of box ) No sound was heard from radome. I contacted the marine electronics supplier that I purchased the equipment from and he removed cover and saw that array was not turning. Array base was not connected to wave guide. The motor was turning but not contacting the array. Connecting screws were not there. It was obvious that the equipment was never tested by Garmin. The marine electronics dealer supplied screws and connected array base to wave guide as it should have been upon shipment from Garmin. We contacted Garmin and they so far have refused to pay for the labor and parts to repair the new equipment. We could have shipped the radar back to Garmin at our expense and waited several weeks for a new one. We like the Garmin products but we have issues with their repair and return policy. It is now working and we really like the display. I hope that Garmin sees the light and pays the repair bill.

GPS Receiver:
The GPS receiver is mounted aft and above the radar giving it an unobstructed view of the sky.

VHF Antenna and Loud Hailer:
The VHF antenna supports the back up VHF radio that is attached to the loud hailer which has automated fog horn signals.

Spot Lights:
The forward and aft looking spot lights are safety equipment and controlled from switches on the arch in the overhead dash board.
Ships Bell:
A gift from a very dear friend and it just looks damn cool!!!!!!!

Boom Gallows:
The Admiral and I had long debates over using star board or teak. We filled in previous bolt holes, trimmed it to fit, gave it a new finish and used the original teak boom gallows.

Stern Navigation Light
We replaced the old light with a sexy new LED Stern Navigation light.

Cockpit Lighting:
We installed an exterior Alpenglo dual power night vision light. This modification has already been very useful. http://www.alpenglowlights.com/html/overhead_lights.html

VHF RAM Microphone:
This installation in the overhead dashboard of the arch allows us to communicate from the cockpit and control the loud hailer.

Solar Panels:

We have a Kyocera 135 watt solar panels attached to each side of the arch on articulating arms. The articulating arms allow us to follow the sun with the face of the panel or stow them against the rails for weather or when sailing conditions dictate. We have one 65 watt solar panel mounted above and aft of the arch with the ability to lower the aft edge when it will improve performance. All 330 watts are controlled by one 60 amp xantrex three stage pulse modulated controller and attached to the grid with a 50 amp breaker for protection. This system provides all of the energy that we require at anchor with generous reserve. We may install a diverter in the future to power a heating element for hot water if the system proves to have enough reserve. We estimate that the solar system will payback in about 18 months through fuel savings by not running the engine to charge the 440 amp hour battery bank.

Outboard Cockpit Seating:
This modification may be the single best overall comfort benefit from the design of the new stern arch. The seats are aft of the arch and forward of the split back stays. They are sturdy, roomy and attractive. The forward edge is welded to the arch and the aft end is attached with trough bolts with backing to the cap rail. We used ¾ inch white Star Board for the seat base and will have cushions constructed. When you are seated underway you have an improved forward view as you are seated outboard of the hull giving you a line of sight down the outboard rail. We absolutely love this modification!!!!!

1” Stainless Steel Tubing Life Lines
We are now completely surrounded by stainless steel tubing from bow to stern except for the gates. We moved the gates to mid ship. They are now positioned on the stanchion forward of the shrouds to the stanchion aft of the shrouds. We feel very secure when we are sailing and one of us needs to go forward while underway. We were quite surprised to learn that this was a relatively inexpensive modification. We held the cost down by doing our own grinding of the saddles on the stanchions to accept the tubing and we also cut the stainless loops off the stanchions where the old lifelines were attached. We also did other labor intensive chores so all we had to pay for was the tubing, welding and polishing. This modification was decided on solely for the increased safety at sea.

Old Glory
Last but certainly no least. We have a new place to fly the American Flog, High and Proud!

The welding and fabrication was completed by Suncoast Specialties of Largo, Florida.
We contracted with Suncoast Specialties, 9161 131st Pl Ste F, Largo, FL 33773,727-584-3252 for this project. Bill (owner) worked closely with us from concept to final welding. The design was a joint effort between Suncoast, Admiral Nelson and myself. Bill took the original measurements and created the base design. We then worked off of some rather crude scale drawings that I did to assist with placement of the items to be hung on the arch. Bill tacked the base design together and delivered it for a test fit on the hull. We made a few modifications and we brought it back again for another test fit. The second test fit proved to be a very good idea. It was still tacked together so we were able to move the angle of the feet on the base so that they fit perfectly on installation. Be sure to tell Bill where you heard about his work if you contact him.

This project has taken much longer than we had planned but we are very happy with the end result. The safety, comfort and functionality of Mary Rose has been greatly improved and well worth the resources required for completion.

Related blog posts:


Westsail Rendezvous

2009 Florida West Coast Rendezvous

The 2009 Florida West Coast Rendezvous was held on June 12-14, 2009 at the Harborage Marina in St. Petersburg, Florida. Lana and I were the hosts for this event. The gathering was well attended with over thirty people in attendance on Saturday. Westsailors came from seven southeastern states to attend the event. Friday was a casual gathering with dinner at the Yacht Sales Café and a general “get to know you” session on the dock and aboard host S/V Mary Rose V. Saturday morning began with coffee and doughnuts on the dock and photos from the top of the mast of Mary Rose. Don Montgomery climbed the mast of Mary Rose while Lana Nelson maintained the safety line on the wench. They removed the Lazy Jacks so that Bud Taplin could do a slicing demonstration.
The group moved to the air conditioned Captain’s lounge to escape the intense Florida sun and intently watched as Bud Taplin executed perfect slices time after time with little effort until the new lazy jack was complete. A few brave sailors attempted to construct an eye splice under Bud’s direction with a successful completion of the demonstration. The group moved to the Yacht Sales Café for lunch. John Kudulis of St Pete Beach, Florida gave a group presentation that detailed his sailing adventures aboard his Westsail 28, S/V Tomaida. John left Chicago on his vessel some 30+ years ago and made multiple trips to the Indian Ocean around Cape Horn. John made several Atlantic crossings, explored Brazil and the Caribbean before crossing the Panama Canal. After crossing the canal crossing, John made his way across the South Pacific to Hawaii and on to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. John continued sailing his W-28 for several years mixed with short stops to work before returning to Florida where he now resides. John was an inspiration to us all and gave several humorous accounts of his adventure. Saturday afternoon did not produce favorable winds so the opportunity to sail was lost but there was no lack of sailing stories, beverages and good fellowship. The group gathered under a thatched roof picnic area for a great evening of fun, food and fellowship. Lana prepared and lead the group in a game of Westsail Jeopardy. The categories were; How well do you know Bud, Famous Westsails, Name That Part, Westsail Construction and Nautical Terms. Lana did a great job and her research lead to questions that even stumped our Westsail Guru Bud Taplin. Bill and Mary Misenheimer of Bokeelia, FL announced that they will host the 2010 West Coast Florida Rendezvous in the spring. Lana and I hope that we will be able to sail back to Florida and join in the fun and festivities. Bill and Mary have an extensive sailing history and will make great hosts for this event. Be sure to watch the WOA message board for their announcements.