No. 69 - September 1986


Hints and tips

One of the best all-purpose cleaners useful around a boat is not a boat cleaner at all. It's a paint brush cleaner! True! The kind you should look for is the type that is "water soluble". Polyclens is one brand - but I'm sure there are others. Use full strength on a rag.


From Dal Godwin.

" ..... I spent about two weeks and $20.00 to fix the old "stuck centerboard" but I think I got her licked! I hired a crane to pick up #1360, then after a bit of swearing and effort removed the centerboard from the trunk. I took a grinder to the rust and after the centerboard was nice and shiny, took it to a place in Anchorage that varnished and baked it for three days. The result was a super thin but extremely hard coating of baked varnish that totally sealed the centerboard. I put on a new cable, cleaned the trunk, greased the fulcrum area and reinstal­led it. So far so good. Goes up and down and there shouldn't be any more rust problems even in salt water."

Editor’s note: The place that Dal took his centerboard to was a company that rebuilds electric motors.


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TUNING - by John Charters #1000

A question I am often asked by Tanzer owners is just how tight should the standing rigging be. In the past I've suggested everything hand tight, then six more turns on each upper shroud. Then three each on the lowers. While this is a good starting point - it is perhaps a little crude.

In a recent conversation with Kevin Brown of North Sails we discussed rigging tension. Kevin used to race a Tanzer 22 and was the Ontario Champion. Here is his advice.

First off - he likes the mast to be raked aft about 10".

Hang something heavy from your main halyard to just clear the keel of the mast. 10" aft is where you want this weight to end up after it stops swinging around.

Assuming you have hand tightened all the stays and the mast is not only straight, but perpendicular - here is what Kevin suggests.

Forestay and backstay - 900 lb. tension, upper shrouds between 750 lb. and 850 lb. Lowers about 150 lb. less.

How does one measure tension? A Loos Tension Gauge [Loos & Co. 370 Cable Road. Pomfret, CT 06258, (203) 928-7981) is not too expensive and is just as accurate as the more expensive ones.

With tension as high as this you'll appreciate that the hull will certainly be under quite a strain. After a few weeks you may have to re-tune, especially the forestay and backstay which exert the most strain. Better still install an adjustable backstay so you can ease the tension when not sail­ing.


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Our 1986 Cruise by Mike Nicoll-Griffith

I have an urge to write about this because it was very satisfying.

This one was just under three weeks with the pair of us - Margaret and I. What made it satisfying was that I felt I almost had the boat's maintenance under control as it were with things as I like them - but that could be false impression - work on the boat is never finished! You know how it is. There are always things to be done to the boat, and that is the nice thing about boats. To maintain interest and enjoyment you can acquire two-­foot-itis, or spend time tinkering and fitting. In my partic­ular case, the boat stays at home in the winter outside the kit­chen, in the driveway. Therefore with such temptation and 16 years of ownership, I have had plenty of opportunity and incentive for installing gadgets and little things. Maybe more than most of you. Most of these gadgets and items fail sooner or later. But this year they seem to have come under control.


Let me run sentimentally over "Mindemoya" [#40] from bow to stern.

Those stainless rings that I attached to the pulpit in 1971 with temporary wire and black tape to hold the spinnaker bag are still there. They're OK. One down.

I do need a new anchor-well hatch 'cos mine is all ratty at the edges. But, with the demise of the factory, a new one is not likely to show up for a while.

Then there is the bollard idea. If I was to fit a bollard between the fairleads. [which on our boat have always been called "Farley Moats", after a famous Maritime author), then I could moor to the dock without my lines chafing. The cleat on the foredeck aft of the anchor well is too far away and hence the chafe. Maybe the thing to do is to tie clove hitches around the pulpit stanchion bases.

I put a ventilator up forward many years ago. For some reason, it was never screened. So it is a primary entry point, I have discovered, for mosquitoes and the spiders that eat them.

The holding bag [I have a black French rubber one] is almost watertight now, so that is better.

This year we used it hard, a bit as a test, until it had enough pressure to flow its contents back into the head.  A friend in a Pearson 27 said that was normal and a warning that it was time to pump. His boat always worked like that.  But I wonder at the normalness of such an arrangement.

That can be solved by running the hose up higher than the highest contents so that it takes a positive force to run over the top. That is how I have it for the overboard discharge [higher than the external waterline] but I never went high enough for the discharge to the bag. This weakness has also resulted in the lake flowing into the bag during the night, via the bowl of the head. We can almost sink. Luckily, with us two people up forward and the bag filled up with fresh water, the toilet doesn't quite overflow its rim so we don't actually sink. The first time we woke up with the condition, I was quite worried and uncertain how to tell Margaret.


My wires are all tidy along the forward face of the support beam. Most of them run starboard to the battery which is under the starboard V berth. The lightning wire and the wire from the masthead wind instrument run over on port. [That should fix the instrument if we ever get stuck.] The lightning is supposed to go to the keel and the wind instrument input runs down behind the teak strip on port. We bought the strip to be like the new boats and hide the moldy white rubber that supposedly closes the hull deck join of our vintage boat.

The wires in the mast are something else. Every roll of the boat, in sunshine and storm, daylight or night, harbor or quiet anchorage - clang, jing, thump, clatter, dang, thwang, spluck, ding and dong. My mast contains about 39 Styrofoam cups through which the wires run. I think the cement I used to attach the cups to the wire dissolved the bottom of the cups where the wire goes through, so the cups are all either at the bottom, at the top or stuck on a screw at the spreader level.

It is hard to get anything up the mast to stop the clanging what with the obstructions all the way down inside. But have you ever imagined the state of your co-ax cable of your wind instrument wire, where it passes over the metal-tapping screws and pop-rivet ends? Or have you ever wondered why the masthead light has such difficulty working consistently? Or why you blow fuses? I've heard of people filling their mast with those peanut-shaped pieces of foam that sometimes come in Christmas parcels. Another idea is to enclose all wires in Styrofoam pipe insulation tubes. [Expensive for insulating the house, I think, but suited for the boat, I'm sure.] Such types might be silent, but would they shred on the screws?

While we are up the mast, there are the spreaders.  I never put a flag halyard pulley up there in 1971 because it seemed a shame to drill a hole when I could merely cast a line over the spreader and put a flag on that. For racing the line could be pulled down and nothing would be there to upset the air flow into the main. But a pulley is better. It saves having to tension the line to stop the flag from sliding inboard or running over to the shroud and jamming. This tension is what is partially re­sponsible for pulling the spreaders down into a drooping angle and loosening the upper pop-rivets in the spreader base. Droopy spreaders really make a boat look sloppy, don't you think? So, 16 years later, holes will get drilled and pulleys inserted.

I didn't buy Tanzer's vang with the boat, 'cos I was poorer in those days and I was trying to get as much going as a limited budget would allow. Next year I may get a stronger vang. If you have high mainsail sheeting, which is now the style, then you need a strong vang to maintain leech tension.

I have learned a bit about this lately, in connection with my POST, about which I am going to write an article. Photos have to be taken first,

Anyway, mainsails are cut for a certain amount of leech tension. I have one that expects a little and one that expects a lot. If I pull down too much on the first it forms ripples in front of the battens. If I pull down too little on the other, it falls away to leeward. So one needs a strong vang to cope with this sort of thing. Use of the mainsheet for the same purpose hardens the leech more when beating and less when running, which is not necessarily the effect you want. The only reason the mainsheet needs to be such heavy line is for the thump at the end of an accidental gibe.

I could go on to tell you about the floor-boards and the table and the icebox and the curtains, but that is enough for now.

I don't need another boat, just like I don't need another wife. I haven't finished my work with the current one yet - and even if I had, why would I ever want to dispose of such a lifetime driveway investment?


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Use lacquer thinner to remove the glue left behind by sail numbers that have peeled off.

Turpentine and Tide will remove silicone wax - use equal quantities of each.