No. 73 - June 87


by John Charters


Suddenly, I've been getting inquiries from owners of older boats asking what things they should be checking on their boat.

Let me start off by saying I'm of the school that says "If it aint broke don't fix it". More harm is often done by over zealous skippers taking things apart to see if they need fixing when they don't. So, for heavens sake, don't go around unscrewing every nut and bolt.

But there are a few areas one should keep an eye on.


SPREADER BASES to name one. At the factory they were installed with 1/4 inch pop rivets. With time, they do become loose and should be replaced. But you'll need a heavy duty pop rivet gun, the standard one you buy at the hardware store won't work. But be careful! There is a bolt that runs from one base to the other.  Inside the mast is a spacer tube, through which this bolt passes. This spacer tube is what keeps the mast from being compressed from the forces generated when you tighten up the shrouds. So, leave this bolt alone unless, that is, the nut has sheared off. Then it must be replaced. Hopefully that spacer tube will still be in place, otherwise you’ll have to find it, probably at the base of the mast.

If you have the keel centerboard model you may be tempted to locate the centerboard pin.  After Sail #281 the location was changed. On early boats this pin was located 6 1/4" up and 1 3/4" back from the forward bottom corner of the keel. As shown in the Owners Manual. But after #281 the pin is located 3 3/4" further aft than shown. Same distance up. And I have heard of owners that have not found this pin in either place, but some­where else! The early boats had a tapered stainless steel pin, after #281 a larger pin was used, and no longer tapered but seal­ed at each end with a wooden bung.

But before you take anything apart, check with Eric Spencer of Yachting Services to see if he has or can get replacement parts. If you bust it and can't get a new part, you are in deep trouble. There are some items that are not available at all the old style centerboard winch, for example.

KEEL BOLTS. Unless you have reason to believe the keel is loose or is leaking leave them alone. If you must tighten them, go very gently, if you strip the threads you'll drill a larger size hole, re-thread and install a larger bolt.


* * * * *




An easy way to dress up the cabin of a Tanzer 22 is to replace the carpet with a teak and holly sole. It really makes an- improvement in the appearance of the cabin and is easier to clean than either a rug or the bare Fiberglas.


To make the new sole you will need a 2' x 8' piece of 1/4" teak and holly veneer plywood, six feet of 6" x  1/2" teak (from Goldberg's, etc.], a handful of brass screws and some waterproof glue.

I was a bit scared to cut the plywood, so I first made a cardboard mock up of the new sole to be sure my measurements were correct. I then cut a piece of plywood to fit the cabin sole and another to fit under the head. Both have a 1/16" clearance all around. My boat is a CB model, so I made a piece of teak with a rabbet and a notch on one edge to fit around the tube at the aft end of the cabin sole.  A similar strip fits over the aft end of the plywood under the head. A small hole cut in the plywood leaves the table leg hold down plate exposed.  A 1" hole drilled through both the plywood and the keel bolt cover plate gives a view into the bilge and a way to get that last drop of water out with a turkey baster. Strips of 1/2" x 1/2" teak were ripped from the remainder of the teak board to make the molding. One corner of the molding was rounded a bit with a rasp and sandpaper. The molding was screwed and glued to the plywood to fit tightly against the hull liner. The fit is good enough to allow the pieces to be simply pressed into place. The cabin sole can easily be pulled out to clean or to allow access to the bilge. The screws that hold the head in place secure the plywood under the head and two stainless steel screws keep the teak strip at its aft edge in place.  A few minutes with some sandpaper and teak oil finishes the job.

For about four hours work and $75.00 you get a $500.00 im­provement in the cabin appearance.


* * * * *

In October of 1986 "Practical Sailor" published an article on boat graphics. They investigated stock machine cut letters, custom vinyl graphics and painted graphics. One thing that they did not look into was contact paper graphics.

Five years ago when I bought my Tanzer 22, I named her "Canary" because of her yellow shear and waterline stripes. I found a picture in a coloring book of a canary that I liked. It was easily scaled up to the proper size using graph paper. A paper pattern of the wing was cut out and glued with rubber cement to a piece of yellow vinyl contact paper. I cut the wing out and stuck it to a black piece of contact paper.

This was then trimmed to form the black border for the wing.  The wing and its border were then stuck to a piece of yellow con­tact paper. A paper pattern of the whole canary was then glued with rubber cement to the yellow contact paper with the wing correctly aligned beneath. The canary was cut out and stuck onto another piece of black contact paper. This was again trimmed to form the border for the whole bird. After peeling off the paper patterns, the canary was stuck onto the boat transom.

Letters were drawn on individual paper patterns, glued to yellow contact paper and cut out. The letters were positioned on a piece of black contact paper and stuck into place. The black contact paper was then trimmed, the pattern removed and the boat name stuck on the boat.

The contact paper has been on the boat for five years now and is still OK. The vinyl weathers well and has been well worth the 75 cents that I have invested in it. Practical, huh?


* * * * *



by John Charters


The other weekend I was witness to what could have been serious, but in fact was more or less a comedy of errors. But it reminded me of something a friend of mine said many years ago.

We used to race together and often between races this friend, who happened to be a surgeon, would relate some of his more interesting experiences. I think I made the remark that often people, when confronted with an emergency, tend to react too quickly and often do the wrong thing. My doctor friend said, "I have a little story for you, a true story."

"When I was a very young and inexperienced doctor, I was assisting a famous surgeon when, by mistake, he cut an artery in the patents stomach. The surgeon grabbed a couple of sponges, put them in my hand and jammed my hand into the open wound and over the severed artery. Then he walked over to the window and looked out. I thought, my God he has panicked! Nothing happened for it seemed like hours, then finally, he returned to the operating table and in a very precise and orderly fashion, he outlined the procedure he was going to follow. It was only in later years that I realized what had happened. The surgeon knew that for the moment, the patient was not going to die, but a hurried decision on just what to do, might very well kill the poor soul! He took the time to think out every last step - then took the time to explain to the operating staff, just what he wanted done. The artery was re-joined, the operation continued, the patient recovered."

Now, let me tell you what happened last weekend!

I was asked to join a friend and his cousin for an evening sail on his Tanzer 22. It was further decided we should stop at a shore side restaurant where the best sea food in town was serv­ed. We had a delightful sail and just before dusk, headed up river to this restaurant. Part way, there was a narrow, twisted channel, but well buoyed.


By the time we had finished eating it was good and dark.  Cousin asked if we had a flashlight on board, to pick up the channel buoys. No, said my skipper, but not to worry, I know this area like the back of my hand. [I bet you know what is coming next!] You are wrong.  We found the channel without any trouble at all. However, part way through, our propeller snagged a line of some sort and the motor came to a grinding halt.  Cousing, who had made several Atlantic crossings plus a number of offshore long distance races, immediately took over. "Quick, quick, I'll get the main up!"  Now, dear reader, as you know, the shackle on the main halyard of a Tanzer 22 is a bit of a fiddle. And if you don't make sure it is properly fastened it will let go when the mainsail is half way up the mast. [This time you are right!] That is exactly what happened. "I'll get the Genoa up". This, for a change went up without mishap and we continued along the channel under genny alone while our skipper tried to cut the line free from his prop.

Just as we were approaching the red buoy which we were re­quired to leave to port, our skipper announced he had got the line free and proceeded to lower the motor into the water and start the engine. Which he did. Now, remember, our skipper had been facing backwards for the last ten or fifteen minutes and when he turned around to face forward and steer the boat, now under power, he became momentarily disoriented and turned hard a port to pass the buoy to starboard. Hard a port and hard aground! It is now 10.30 p.m., black as can be and not a soul around. I won't bore you with our antics to get off.  Suffice to say we were finally towed off by the Coast Guard. The fact that we did not have running lights, nor enough life jackets on board is another story.

The moral is obvious. Cousin should have taken just a minute longer to make sure the main halyard shackle was properly fastened. Or at least asked for help from either of us as we were the only ones on board who were experienced Tanzer 22 sail­ors and could be expected to be familiar with that wretched shackle. Then we would have been able to sail under main alone which, as we all know, gives better balance than trying to sail with a Genoa. Also better visibility.

The second lesson is that our skipper should have taken an extra second to ask his crew where we were and what side of the buoy we were going to pass before altering course.


We were never in danger; we had all the time in the world to take the proper action. Which, in this case, could well have been to anchor temporarily while we freed the propeller or to get the main up. Instead, haste took over and rather than getting home at 11:00 pm, we got there at 2:30 am!

Take the time to do the job properly!

* * * * *

"There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew

Who had so many things that he wanted to do

That whenever he thought it was time to begin

He couldn't because of the state he was in."