No. 99 - October 1992



George sails his Tanzer 22 "Tremeraire" on the Upper Chesapeake Bay out of Bohemia Yacht Basin. He (and I am sure many others) has found it awkward and inconvenient having to raise the gas tank hatch when pump priming or turning the tank air nozzle. His solution was to cut a four and a half inch hole in the forward hatch face and he then neated up the job with a Beckson deck plate. ($5.95 US)


The top of the hole is two inches down from the vertical hatch drop. The left (looking aft) side of the hole 1s six and three quarter inches from the starboard edge of the hatch.

Although the Beckson deck plate comes with a cover, George doesn't bother to use it and suggests that if you can find a ring by itself, it would suffice. The opening is more than ample to reach the tank while keeping tiller control and a good lookout.


Drill the six screw holes for the #8, half inch pan head, self­tapping, stainless screws. Make the gelcoat start of the hole slightly larger than the deep part to prevent the self-tapping action from cracking the gelcoat. Seal with silicone caulk.




I finally got around to converting to a top loading ice box and used the old ice box to boot. I cut the plastic flange off three sides of the original ice box so it would fit the space under the counter on its back. The ice box rests on a piece of 3/4" plywood 12" X 28" attached with screws through the top of the starboard coffin berth. Then I attached a piece of plywood from the end of this shelf to the hull to fully support the ice box. Screws can be angled through the plastic edge where the flange used to be, into the counter top to hold it in place. I had to shim up one end to make everything tight.


Then I built a three shelf unit that fits fairly tight through the old door opening against the side of the ice box, securing it through the back of the shelf unit into the edge of the shelf holding the ice box. Then I finished off the opening with two louvered doors. After I cut out the top, approximately 8" X 12", I screwed the top to a slightly larger white plastic cutting board. Everything worked out very nicely. The shelves idea came from other Newsletters and for that I thank the appropriate members. But I feel good about having recycled the old ice box when it could easily have been just wasted See Newsletter #80, December 1988 or page 58 of Compendium IV, thanks Rudi!




I installed an adjustable backstay in about 20 minutes. From my local chandlery I purchased two double blocks, about 2 1/2" in dia­meter. One with a becket, one nicro-press sleeve, one twisted shackle and about 20 feet of sheeting, one fairlead and one cam cleat. About $100.00. They lent me the wire cutter and nicro-press crimper. I cut about two feet off the backstay (traumatic!) and installed the blocks between the existing chainplate and the freshly applied nicro­press sleeve, bolted the fairlead and clamcleat into position and that's it!




Some of our members may be interested in an easy to install jiffy reefing system. I have all halyards led to the cockpit including the Cunningham. When I suspect or when it happens that reefing is going to be considered, I hook the Cunningham hook in the first luff reef point. I have run a line from the outhaul cleat up through the leech reef point down to a cheek block which is riveted to the boom opposite the outhaul cleat. The line then goes along the boom to a clamcleat that holds the line even if uncleated.


To reef the mainsail I simply release the main halyard (I marked it so I can tell that the halyard has released the same distance as from the luff reef point to the goose neck) to the reef mark, pull the cunningham hook down to the gooseneck and cleat. Then pull the aft reef line on the boom so the leech reef point is near the aft end of the boom. The length of reef line left now is enough to feed through the remaining reef points and wrap the loose sail around the boom.




I was first introduced to "Spirit's" fin keel at the end of the 1987 season when she was hauled in Mamaroneck, NY for inspection by a marine surveyor and to a lessor extent, me. In those days, Spirit wore a beautiful coat of bright white tin-based Micron 33, so it was easy to inspect her bottom.


The surveyor seemed a little displeased by the fouling on the very bottom of the keel, but didn't seem at all concerned about the orange rust stains and flaking paint on either side of the keel. I guess maybe he knew that the rust wasn't a major problem, just a major headache for the boat's new owner.


Spirit passed her inspection easily and within a few weeks was at her new home in Branford, CT. All winter long, as she sat on her cradle, snuggled under her bright blue tarp, I agonized over how I would attack the problem in the Spring.


A review of the articles in the Association's Compendiums was the first clue that something was "up" and that this was going to be no small task. Judging by the large number of articles on the subject, it appeared that many Tanzer 22 owners had battled with their fin keels using many different weapons. Unfortunately, in the end (the end of the season, that is), the keel, with its rust and flaking paint, would win the war.


I talked to a number of people who had used coat-tar epoxy as a barrier coat but they complained that it was very difficult to sand. I called one of the major paint companies and they sent me a booklet outlining their recommended "system" for coating iron keels. After careful consideration, I invested in the various primers and compounds they suggested. The "heart" of their system was a two-part epoxy barrier coat designed to "encapsulate" the keel. I diligently followed all of the directions and, at the end of the season, (you guessed it) the rust and flaking was worse than the year before. In fact, not only was the paint peeling, but now there were also thick layers of flaking epoxy barrier coat.


Naturally, I assumed that I must have done something wrong so, the following year, I repeated the procedure. Although the keel again looked beautiful when the boat was launched, at the end of the season the results were as miserable as the year before.

I may make the same mistake twice, but never three times in a row. In year three, I bought comparable products from the Pettit Paint Company and set out to again battle the iron beast. As every Tanzer 22 owner knows, the first step in the keel war is to grind the keel to bright, bare metal (the world's most awful job). After getting that monster as bright as is humanly possible, I paused to examine the keel and reread the instructions on the products I was about to use. Pettit's system also involved an epoxy encapsulation process on top of a special metal primer. The instructions, like those with the previous company's products, required that the metal be completely clean and rust free. I stared at the shiny hunk of sanded metal and it occurred to me that no matter how well I were to sand it, it would never be entirely clean or without some rust. I theorized that with all its grooves, pits and other imperfections, there would always be some rust on its surface. In fact, in the generally damp environment of a shoreline boat yard, its entire surface probably starts rusting the moment the sander is turned off.

Before doing anything else, I walked to a pay phone, called Pettit and spoke with one of their technical representatives. Not only did he not laugh at my theory, but he agreed with it. It is possible that we are using primers designed for "clean" metal on "dirty" keels and then encapsulating an already rusted surface. The encapsulation procedure is supposed to keep the water out, but if the keel is already rusting, by the end of the season the material over the most severely rusted areas flakes off. In other words, it rusts from the inside out.


Rather than using their "standard" products, the representative advised me to use Pettit's Rustlok steel Primer #6980. I have used this primer for several seasons with great results and it has become the heart of my formula for "easy" keel preparation.


First, sand the keel until it is as clean and bright as possible. Be sure to remove all of the antifouling paint at the top of the keel. Wipe the keel several times with paint thinner to remove all sanding dust. Apply a brush coat of the Rustlok primer. Wait one to one and a half hours (it dries very fast) and apply a second coat. Wait another one to one and a half hours and then apply the first coat of antifouling paint. Apply a second coat (or more) of antifouling in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.


Be sure to recoat the primer or apply the first coat of anti­fouling within the one to one and a half hour "window". If you wait longer, it has to be sanded. Also, be sure to wear gloves and remove your wristwatch before applying the primer. I can tell you from per­sonal experience that although it wears off your hands in several days, not even the strongest thinner will get it off a plastic sports watch. Other than these caveats, the primer is really easy to work with and, for the most part, it allows the entire keel procedure to be completed in one day.


The exception to the "one day" rule, of course is if the keel requires faring (don't they all), or if the keel-hull joint needs to be recaulked. For the joint, first remove all the old caulking using as many suitable thin-bladed implements of destruction as needed. Hand sand the top of the keel as best you can and then brush the Rust­lok on (and in) to the top edge of the keel (the joint is always going to rust, but at least this way you can feel like you did something). Caulk the joint with one of the popular polyurethane caulks such as 3M #5200 or Sikaflex (I did mine with #5200 and have not had to touch it for three years). Don't use polysulfide caulk for this application.

It takes forever to cure (another personal experience).


To fair the keel, apply the compound over the first coat of Rustlok. You'll have to sand all of the primer before it can be recoated, but you'll be sanding the faring compound anyway so it shouldn't be too big a problem. After you've finished faring and sanding, apply two coats of the Rustlok to the entire keel (be sure to cover the caulked keel-hull joint) and then apply the antifouling as described above.


If all goes well, when the boat is hauled at the end of the season, the keel should look pretty good, I followed this process three years ago, and all I've had to do each season since is lightly sand a few small rust spots, touch them up with two coats of Rustlok and then apply the antifouling. Although still a miserable job, this method has given me the best results with the least amount of work.




Some things only come to some of us very slowly. Like dawn and adjustable backstays, for example.


I remember how Hans Tanzer used to say that over tightening it would damage the mast, or the support beam or overflex the hull. And others said it made no difference with a masthead rig, because the shape of the main could not be altered if the mast wasn't going to bend. With a fractional rig it made sense, but not on a Tanzer.


Others said it really made a difference going downwind if you let it off, because the slack forestay opened the space between the jib and the mast. I had lots of difficulty understanding how such a small thing could have any significant measurable effect.

A few years ago, as the Spring rigging tension stretched into September, without my noticing, all had grown slack and I did very poorly in the Quebec Keelboat Regatta. The boat just didn't seem to point. My friends alerted me it was perhaps that my backstay (alias forestay) was too slack. So, I tightened up, feeling stupid and did better.


Gradually I realized that to point you have to have a tight forestay and a slack-ish jib halyard so the entry of the genoa will be fine (forestay) and the camber will be fairly far back in the sail (halyard tension) and the sail will also not be too baggy (forestay again). I used to let the back stay off when not sailing to give the hull a rest.


Well, last weekend my son (who works for North Sails, Toronto) came to look at my 15-knots-and-over No. 1 Genoa. The wind was light and he said YOUR BACKSTAY IS TOO TIGHT!" Well, let me tell you, that was a big surprise! TOO TIGHT!


So then he went on to explain that there really is an optimum amount of curvature or camber in the genoa. He couldn't remember if my sail had actually been cut flatter than the standard, but he said I could be successful with it in light airs if I let off the backstay. So, he said, as the forestay sags, the cloth goes back into the body of the sail which becomes fuller and would give my slim sail more power, just like I need on the reaches.

So now I know. What I want for my birthday is a camber meter that will tell me the equation between pointing and horsepower. One that I can input the wind speed and the angle of sailing and have it come back and say "too full" or "too flat".


So now I've decided to let off my backstay when I'm off the wind, like the main outhaul. But I still need a professional jib-setter to tell me how much.




In an earlier Newsletter I mentioned that I had bought a Loran C Micrologic hand held Voyager SportNav. I have been using it for two seasons now and am most certainly glad I bought it. And if waypoints are entered by actually being in their location - I am told Loran is just about as accurate as GPS and at a fraction of the price. We cruise the Maine coast and now have more than 30 waypoints entered.


Although most authorities suggest that waypoints be entered in a log book, I prefer to enter them directly on the chart. I use a red (Eagle Verithin) pencil that is not affected by water. Some colored pencils are water soluble, these should be avoided. I write the number of the waypoint near the feature on the chart, taking care not to obliterate anything important, and put a circle around it. The small scale chart of Penobscot Bay shows all the navigational aids and it is on this chart that my waypoint numbers are written. Every couple of years I buy a new chart and re-enter those numbers on the new one. But I still keep the old chart, just in case I have for­gotten to enter one of the waypoints.


At the time of writing, we have been very lucky and have not had to sail in fog. However, one of these days we will be caught out and for that reason, I have been using my Loran even in good visibility in order to become familiar with its use. So far I have found it to be deadly accurate and brings me within matter of yards of my objective.


I have made one modification. I have installed a permanent Loran C antenna at the stern. I checked with the manufacturer and was told that this would indeed improve reception it gets the antenna out from under the cone of protection of the mast and shrouds. I have also grounded the set, once again on the recommendation of the man­ufacturer. At the moment these connections are temporary - two wires with alligator clips on each end. One from the stern antenna to the antenna (retracted) on the set and the other from the case of the set to the base of the mast. Which in turn is grounded to the keel. De­pending on the day and the location, the set will lock in a matter of a couple of minutes.




I had a letter the other day from a member whose chain plates seemed to be creeping up. He rather suspects that water has been seeping through the deck of the boat and into the bulkheads, where it has weakened the wood. He asked for help.


The first thing to do is to remove the chain plates and try to find out just how bad the wood has been damaged or how much rot has developed. A sharp tool like an ice pick could be used to poke around the chain plate holes.


At worst, the bulkheads could be so badly affected they would need to be replaced entirely. Which is not the subject of this article and hopefully, not the case!


Assuming the rot or damage is not too severe, there are several things one can do.


Easiest first! Having made sure the wood is completely dry; you could fill each hole with an epoxy filler. Something like body filler. Tape the back of each hole with masking tape - force as much filler as you can into the hole then seal the front with more masking tape. Allow to cure. Then re-install the chain plates in their original location being careful to drill the holes no larger than necessary.


Second method. With a hole saw, drill out each hole as large as possible, but not so large so as to show when the chain plates are put back. Then plug each of the enlarged holes with a hardwood plug of the right diameter. To be on the safe side, the plugs should be glued in with a good epoxy glue. Then re-install the chain plates as described above.


The final step would be to properly seal where the chain plates go through the deck. Life Caulk is my favorite.


I have seen a product - I think it is called "Glu-vitt" which is supposed to be used to harden rotted wood. As I recall, one is required to drill a bunch of small holes, then inject the stuff into rotted wood and allow to cure. The wood, of course, must be dry. I gather the rotten wood acts more or less like a sponge, soaking up the material while it is still in a liquid state. Once it cures (this is a two part product), the wood becomes hard and I would guess, immune to further rot.


I have not used this product and know little about it. If any member has used it I would like to hear more about their experiences.


One might be able to obtain similar results using regular poly­ester resin and injecting it with a syringe. I have never tried this so I can't recommend it. Once again, I would like to hear from anyone that has tried using resin to "cure" rotted wood.


Like they say - prevention is worth a hundred cures. When you consider the strain under which these chain plates live, it is a wonder we haven't heard complaints from more owners.


Part of every Spring commissioning, should be a regular inspect­ion of all through deck fittings. Now, please don't go removing every nut and bolt. As I have said before - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


But it wouldn't hurt to remove those little stainless chainplate covers and squirt a little caulking around where the chain plates go through the deck. Also the screw holes for the covers.

At the same time you should check from below, each and every through bolt to see if any water has been leaking in. A brown stain around the nut should be regarded with suspicion. It could mean water seeping through the bolt hole and picking up some color from the ply­wood sandwiched between the deck Fiberglas. No matter how well a boat is made they do take a terrible beating and more often than not, a fair amount of neglect.


Even a Tanzer 22 needs a little tender loving care now and then.