Mast and Electrical

(Year Four, spring and summer)

Underneath the companionway and cockpit floor, where originally the inboard engine was mounted but now will be my battery bank.
Note how the shaft tube is at a slight angle to port (an Albin feature.) Instead of just glassing over the shaft tube, I filled it with grease and a stainless steel threaded shaft, secured on both ends by a washer and two nuts (and a seal of 4200 on the outside.) Yes, I know; stainless is not the best metal to put under the waterline. The original shaft is actually a shaft within another tube (for the combi-prop), and without a prop fixture at the end of it, seawater would enter the shaft housing. I looked around for an old shaft of suitable diameter and length, but couldn’t find anything handy. For the price of bronze stock, I got enough stainless (sold in 6 foot lengths) to give this try, evaluate the whole assembly after the first haul, and if need be replace it with the spare length while I find a better solution. The shaft protrudes from the hull long enough to attach a zinc and function as an electrical ground.
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To build a secure platform for the battery bank, first I tried to use the original motor mounts to secure a flat surface that would be level while sitting in flat water. Well, remember how the shaft tube is angled to the side? It’s also angled down just a tad, so trying to square off the surface with shims was much harder in practice than in theory. Also, I figured if I’m going to make a bed for the batteries, I might as well extend it a little aft to better make use of the space otherwise just curving into the bilge. Note the thickened resin tabs under the small blocks of leftover mahogony to hold the bed screws. Yes, this would have been easier and faster if I had done this before I primed and painted the bilge and installed the surrounding wood pieces . . . BUT it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun!
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I think the base is 5/8″ hardwood plywood coated with resin on the bottom, fiberglass and resin on top.
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All the wiring in one place . . .
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The board hinged up.
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The old antennae support was bendable by hand with hardly any effort.
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I ran new wire for the VHF antennae and LED tri-color nav light, and to keep the wires from banging around and against the inside of the mast I used thick zip ties every foot or so, in a circular pattern. It seems to work well. I installed a lightening protector on top of the mast, too. I’ve been told it is an “elephant chaser” (you know, “Ya don’t see any elephants around here, do ya?”)
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LED tricolor light
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The old spreader bases. Notice the crack in one and the repair on the other!
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The new spreader bases. After tracking down the mast manufacturer’s company sale from Great Britain to California to South Carolina, I finally just had these machined from aluminum block by a guy about 4 miles from the boat for I think it was $60 apiece. Looookin’ good!
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I replaced the old traveler (below) with a new one (above) from Garhauer. Big difference.
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I replaced all of the standing rigging. There were a few broken strands on the old stays and shrouds, but mostly they were just a big unknown — I’m pretty sure it was the original rigging, nearly 40 years old. It cost about $1000 (a.k.a. “One boat unit”), but now I know exactly what I have.

    Two tips in case you replace your rig:

  1. Expect to have great fun getting accurate measurements of the old rig. (Is the mast straight? Port and starboard, fore and aft, and not bent? Oh, it is, is it? Then why are your pairs of measurements different? Now, which of your friends can you con to climb back up the mast to do it all over again?)
  2. Make sure your clevis pins are the appropriate size for the tang holes and turnbuckles. I don’t mean close — I mean appropriate. If it fits correctly, the strain is distributed along the entire semi–circle of the pin; if it is too small, the “load–bearing point” is exactly that — a point at the bottom of the semi–circle of the pin / hole. As always, if at all possible, distribute the strain evenly.