No. 53 - June 1983

INSTALLING THE ADJUSTABLE BACKSTAY

John Charters

 

Now that the adjustable backstay is Class legal, some of you may wish to install a split backstay, as a first step. This is a simple task, can be done singlehanded (I did) but will go easier and faster if you have a helper. The smaller the better.

 

Tools needed: Electric drill with a 9/64" bit and a 5/16" bit, wrench or spanner, pair Vice Grips and possibly a screw driver - plus some polysulphide caulking com­pound. A tape measure and a pencil complete the kit.

 

I suppose you could chase all over town and find chain plates and all the other needed items. Don't bother. Save your time and effort for something more worth while. Order a pair of chain plates #40020 and a pair of chain plate covers #40100 from the factory. Be sure to ask for all fasteners. Unless you have a rigger close by who can make up the bridle for you, you may find it simpler to order the complete split backstay kit (#92273) for $130 from the factory.

 

Installation: The first thing you will notice, is the standard backstay chain plate is not 4.5" off-centre as shown on the plans. It is closer to 6.5". I measured a half dozen boats around our club, and they were all the same. Not to worry, find the centre line and measure 23" each side and mark the transom coaming. Using a chain plate cover as a guide; draw the cut-out. The present backstay chain plate will indicate just how close to the transom the cut-out should be.

 

Drill the cut-out, using the 9/64" bit; about six holes close together will do it. Then by moving your drill laterally, you will break through each hole and end up with a more or less rectangular slot. If it is a touch too small for the chain­plate, you can enlarge the slot with a small file, or even with the drill. No one is ever going to see this hole, so precision work is not needed.

 

When you get the chain plate kit, you will notice the chain plate has four mounting holes, but only three 5/16" bolts. Again don't worry; your original backstay chain plate is attached with only four, now you are going to split the load with a total of six bolts. Earlier Tanzers had backstay chain plates fiberglassed into the transom, current models are bolted. I have been asked frequently if it is necessary to beef-up the transom where these new plates will be installed. The answer is no! The transom is probably twice as strong as it needs to be. (As is the rest of the boat.)

 

Now is when your little helper comes in handy. Insert one of the chain plates, using a pair of Vice-grips to hold it at the top. If you open the seat hatch and look aft, you will find you can only see the last or bottom hole of the chain plate. Send your little helper in with the 5/16" drill and have him or her drill through the transom and when finished insert one of the bolts supplied, through the chain­plate and out the transom. Fine and good you say, but how do I know at what angle to install this chain plate, and how far should it stick up? The answer is you don't know, and within reason, it doesn't matter. Ideally it should be on a direct line with the bridle, when installed. However, when you get around to installing the backstay adjuster kit, you'll find the angle will vary with adjustment. So use the drawing in the last Newsletter as a guide. One of mine is slightly more angled than the other, and it is about .25" higher. Frankly, I don't think it matters one little bit and I'm not going to worry about it!

 

Now comes the tricky part. From the outside you need to drill the rema1n1ng two holes. Here's the simplest way. Take the other chainp1ate and attach it to that bolt your helper just fitted, securing with a nut. A couple of turns will do.

Now line up the top holes of both chainp1ates. I used a screw driver. A better method would be to use a longer bolt and tighten. This gives you a template, which unfortunately is some distance away from the transom because of the rub rail. If you take care and make sure the drill is parallel to the ground and at right angles you'll hit each hole right on. I missed slightly with only one.

 

I used some epoxy I had and filled the hole where it was slightly oversize, although it was so little it probably wasn't necessary.

 

And that is all there is to it! Repeat for the other side. Caulk the bolts and chainp1ates and with the assistance of your helper inside, tighten all bolts. Don't forget the lock washers. Install the chainp1ate covers, making sure to caulk. The rest of the installation is straight forward and needs no further words from me.

 

ADDENDUM

If you are going to install the additional chainp1ates without the aid of a helper, your most valuable tool will be a pair of Vice Grips. Use these to hold the ends of the 5/16" bolts, to stop them from turning while you are tightening the nuts.

 

If you can beg, borrow or steal a couple of 3" x 5/16" bolts, it will be slightly easier to line up the two chainp1ates, when you are ready to drill the holes.

 

A most useful wrench, not only for this job, but for any, is the open end wrench made by 'Lockjaw', (U.S.Pat. #3785226). These are made of stainless steel, and are cleverly designed to work like a ratchet wrench. For the 5/16" bolts, you will need a .5" wrench.

 

BRAIN STORMING ALONG WITH JOHN

John Charters

 

Just what are the secrets for a successful one-design fleet, anyway? Well, it depends on a number of things. Size, location, make-up, experience and probably a dozen other factors, all contribute to the success or failure of a fleet. Let us take a look at some of these factors and see how they may apply to your fleet.

 

One thing I would like to make clear right at the start. It is not absolutely necessary to have racing as your major activity. In fact, some fleets don't race, ever! Mind you, there is a latent spirit of competitiveness in all of us, and planned or otherwise, most fleets will become involved with some form of competition. However, racing often looks after itself. My purpose here is to explore other activities that might help to make a fleet more successful.

 

Let us start then with the one thing a fleet has in common: the boat. It is probably safe to assume that all members love their boats, some with a passion bordering on obsession. I have yet to meet someone who didn't want to "improve" his boat, just a touch. Whether it was to make it easier to single-hand, or go faster, or more comfortable, or safer, whatever, there is that inborn desire to modify and improve what the manufacturer didn't think of. Breathes there a skipper who doesn't want to discuss, often at length, just how he has made his boat so much better than all the rest. During the sailing season, encourage fleet members to take slides of what they have done, or write a description, or prepare a short talk. Now you have the makings for an interesting and informative winter meeting. It doesn't matter whether it is a different anchoring technique, a jib downhaul, a nifty storage idea, an antifouling method, mast raising, the list is endless. If you have a small fleet, arrange an evening at a member's home. A large fleet may wish to arrange a supper meeting at a local restaurant that has a private dining room. Believe me, everyone loves to get together during those long winter evenings and talk about their favourite subject.

 

When the Tanzer 22 Class was in its infancy an informal seminar was presented at the home of one of the members. At the end of the meeting, everyone present expressed a desire to have another. Within a few years these informal meetings had grown into bi-weekly seminars held at a local yacht club - sometimes with an attendance of over a hundred. Initially these seminars were restricted to Tanzer 22 owners. However, they became so popular others asked if they could attend. I'm sure, as a result, many non-Tanzer sailors became converts, and eventually bought a 22.

 

What sort of programme should be presented? Initially a fleet will probably call upon its own members to talk about their own specialty: A bareboat cruise in the Caribbean - a local cruise with another boat - or how they won the yacht club championship. It could even be a non-sailing subject. Explore the interests and experiences of fleet members. You may find all sorts of hidden interests and talents.

 

Eventually you will run out of local talent, and will have to look afield. Is there a sail maker nearby? I assure you, he would just love to come to your meeting and talk about sails and trim, tuning, care and maintenance, setting, etc. Is there a local sailor who has raced the Trans Pac, or SORC? Ask him to address your group. How about an evening on engine maintenance? Surely the local dealer would be glad to share his knowledge with a captive audience. How about a movie night? Either home grown or professional. Every once in a while the sailing magazines list available movies, many free. If your fleet is near the plant where your boat was built, a plant tour could easily be arranged. Perhaps a local dealer can be persuaded to put on a fiberglass repair demonstration. If your fleet is race oriented, why not have an evening on starting techniques, racing rules, protest procedures, tactics, and so on? How about a visit to the local meteorology office for a discussion on weather? Do you have a local marine museum?

 

Unless your fleet is enormous, (which is unlikely), you will not be able to attract, nor afford, the really big names in sailing. But perhaps you can combine forces with another group. Not long ago, the Montreal area Tanzer 22 fleets, the Tanzer 7.5 Class and the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club combined to sponsor two evenings with Hal Roth. Admission was charged and both evenings were a sell-out. Hal and Margaret showed their new movie, "Two against Cape Horn". A charming and fascinating couple, I don't think I'll ever forget Hal introducing the evening by singing a sea shanty. Unaccompanied!

 

At the other end of the scale, an informal get-together to discuss and plan summer activities. Which might include a group cruise to some local anchorage for a week­end. Combine that with a cook out, a corn boil or a hot dog roast. If you live near the ocean, how about an evening of lobster or oysters? Or a pot luck supper. As mentioned earlier, racing may not be the main interest of your fleet, but surely some informal racing may attract even the most reluctant competitor. A pursuit race, for example, with boats handicapped by their sail inventory, or skipper experience. I know one group that holds a Friday evening "race to the restaurant". The wives join their husbands, after the race, for dinner. I'm told the sail back is some­thing else again!

 

Summer of course, is what sailing is all about. But it is probably a mistake to try to over-organize the summer activities. It would be a rare fleet that wanted every weekend planned around a fleet activity. In any case, even the most inventive fleet captain would soon run out of ideas. And let's face it, not everyone wants to be organized into group activities. Let us not try to imitate the Activity Director at the local Boys' Camp! Remember, sailing by its very nature, does tend to attract loners, and those that like to do their own thing. Sailing is one of the few remaining sports that have so far avoided the over regulation so common in other activities. The wind is still -free, thank God! So I think it is wise to avoid too many fleet functions. After all, you were chosen to be the Fleet Captain, not a tour director.

 

However, if your fleet is located at a yacht club or marina, I urge you to make use of the club's notice board. Example: "Joe & Mary- Smith are planning a cruise to Elbow Sound on the 7th. Any members of Fleet 27 wishing to join them, rendezvous at buoy 3A around 10.00 AM". In this way you've left it open. Those that wish to join will, and no one feels pressured. And I suppose there is bound to be one or two fleet members that never join any fleet activities. You should probably respect their desire to be left alone, once you have made sure it is not shyness that is keeping them away.

 

Even in the summertime, not all fleet activities need be directly associated with sailing. Perhaps a fleet get-together before a yacht club supper would be enjoyable. Or perhaps reserve a fleet table, complete with sign or banner. Of course it is expected all fleet members will help each other at spring launching and fall haul­out. Even that most despised job, bottom painting, can be made easier if done en masse. Can a member be persuaded to bring along their boat stove, to brew a pot of coffee - maybe even laced with rum?

 

I have left the racing programme to the end, as so many new fleets seem to feel compelled to think only in terms of racing. I have been asked why one should organize a fleet, when no one is interested in racing. It is true, many families buying a cruising boat, even a one-design, have little or no initial interest in racing. That is, until they meet one of their sister ships on the water. Then quietly, so no one will notice, the jib sheet is tweaked a bit, the main eased a hair, and the race is on. So, even if yours is a cruising fleet, you should plan an annual race or regatta. But be warned! A poorly run race will do your fleet more harm than good. Try to get the best RCO (Race Committee Officer) you can find. Someone with experience, and a reputation for running good races. Much has been written about race management and the subject is well beyond the scope of this article. However, the following points may be helpful.

 

Make sure the start line is good and long. Many a good race has been spoiled by having too short a line. One and a half, even two, times the length of the total number of boats starting should be allowed. Try to get the line at right angles to the wind. Stand at the front of the committee boat, face the wind, and when you feel the wind evenly on both ears, raise your arm. That will be the direction of the line. It's that simple. Try to have the first leg of the course as up-wind as possible. Do not start a race using a government buoy that marks a narrow channel. A large power cruiser bearing down on the starting boats does not make for a good start. Keep the course simple. The more complicated, the greater the chance some competitors will get confused, and go the wrong way. And lastly, remember as the RCO it is your job to run the race for the competitors. It is not intended to be your one chance to get even with the rest of the fleet. Whatever you do, try to base all your decisions on doing what is fair for all the entrants. There are some that feel all races should be run the same way, that is an Olympic course, or something similar. While this is no doubt true for any serious or important event, there are variations for the less serious.

 

An informal cruise race is one. You don't even need a race committee. It is easier if you can find someone to start you off, but if necessary, a competitor can signal the start, using a Freon fog horn. Here's how it works. A skippers' meeting is held, at which the RCO for the day (take turns) describes the course, to some favourite anchorage, preferably with a permanent marker or buoy nearby. First one to finish quickly drops sails and records the rest of the fleet as it finishes. Then everyone rafts up for lunch or supper and a swim. At the end of the day, a quiet cruise back home.

 

Or perhaps a seamanship race. Everyone starts from anchor, or mooring, sails furled or stowed. At the signal, sails are bent on, anchors raised and the race is on. There are many variations. A man overboard drill at the half way mark, using a floating cushion. Or have all boats heave to on a given signal, while one crew member swims around the boat. Or rows around, if everybody is towing a dinghy. Slightly more serious, how about match racing, or a single handed race, or a ladies race, with the regular skipper as crew. A novice rate, where the more experienced skippers sail with the less experienced, as a sort of coach, is a useful experiment.

 

One last thought. It is my impression most organizations fail to keep their members properly informed. People lose interest because they don't know what is going on. Months go by, and nothing is heard. If you expect fleet members to be active and enthusiastic, it is vital they hear from their fleet executive at least once a month. So don't make the mistake of delaying the mailing of, say, a news­letter because you are waiting for some insert. Before you know it, six weeks will have gone by and then someone else will want the mailing held for another notice. I know stamps are expensive, and addressing envelopes take time, but it pays off - as do phone calls, or notices in yacht club newsletters about fleet activities. It doesn't matter how you keep in touch, just so you do. We want our fleet captains to wear out, not rust out.

I'm sure there are many more ideas I haven't even thought of. If you have some, please share them with me. In the meantime - happy sailing.

 

FOGGED PORTS

John Charters

 

You have two options. Option one is to replace the Plexiglas with new Plexiglas. This is not nearly as difficult as it sounds, but will cost you a few dollars. If you decide to go this route let me know and I'll give you the part numbers and prices so you can order from the factory, plus instructions on just how to install them.

 

But before you resort to this drastic cure, you might like to try option two. Polish them. With Brasso, or any other brass polish. This generally restores the ports to 'like new'. Then polish the ports, including that grey rubber gasket, with a marine polish, like 'Starbright'.

 

This should last for several years, then it's back to the Brasso! Good luck, please let us know how it turns out.

 

 
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