This page is devoted to clever tips, tricks, and methods which various skippers and crew have used to improve life aboard. Sometimes it's just a fix for a persistent problem and sometimes it a whole new way of doing things. Some solutions are simple and some are not. There a lot of things to put on this page.
On this page:
A Swim Step for Blackwattle
Tie-Downs for the Galley Island Counter
Removing the Cutless™ Bearing
s/v Passage - Too Numerous to Mention
Where to put SCUBA Tanks?
Replacing the Genoa Track with Strops and Low Friction Rings
Mike Nossiter of Blackwattle had designed a Swim Step for his F46. Mike writes "just had the old girl painted (by hand) in Awl Grip. This is launch day. The swim platform has an access ladder from the toe rail. I actually found myself in the drink the other day (don't ask) and was able to lower the swim platform from the water to get back onboard. Photo tells all for design. Previous owners swear by it, and I think it is great."
If you live in Seattle you have to have an espresso maker on board. Here is one way to tie down that espresso machine, toaster, whatever, using shippy-looking (but unfortunately expensive) Harken dinghy hardware. This requires two 24" lengths of Dinghy Jib Lead Track and as many Dinghy Jib Lead Cars w/Eyestrap
as you need. Another use of this hardware is for securely holding books on a shelf, as shown in the photo below. Tracks also come in 12" and 18" lengths. (from Jeff on Beatrix)
This picture shows line reels attached to the boom gallows on Beatrix. In the Pacific Northwest of the USA it is often necessary to stern tie to the shore. This arrangement makes it easy to carry shrimp and crab-pot lines as well. The reels are the standard plastic reels which I get from my chandlery for free when they are done selling all the line. The fittings are made of a stainless rod, starboard mounts, and delrin end plugs. A 1.5" stainless tube carries the reels. You'll need to borrow a lathe to make the end plugs. When the boat was purchased it was set up with the life-raft mount inside of the traveler as shown, and it is a good location from a space point of view, but I have some concern that manual intervention might be needed to deploy it.
On the KP44 the Cutless™ bearing is threaded on one end and screwed into a carrier plate. The carrier plate is generally held to the hull with silicon-bronze wood screws threaded into epoxy. It can't easily be extracted by prying without damaging the surrounding epoxy material.
There is a simple method to remove the Cutless™ bearing and bearing plate from the stern of the boat. Drill and tap two ¼-20 or 6mm holes into the bronze plate. Go no deeper than necessary to tap the thread. Then screw in two long machine screws which will gently push the plate out of it's socket. When the plate is out apply epoxy to fill in the extra material removed during the tapping process. When re-installing, use two ¼ bronze hex-head machine screws to fill the holes during normal use. They are only place-holders until the next bearing replacement. — Jeff on s/v Beatrix
* Note 1: Cutless™ Bearing on KP44 is 1.25" Shaft Dia. x 1.75" Outside Dia. x 5 inch length: Johnson Duramax Model "BIRD". Threads are reported to be 11TPI.
* Note 2: Cutless™ Bearing on KP46 is 1.5" Shaft Dia. x 2-3/8" Outside Dia. x 6 inch length: Johnson Duramax Model "BRAD"
Jeff Stander on Beatrix has installed new push latches throughout the boat. They are LAMP latches, made by Sugastune, a company that manufactures a lot of stainless stuff suitable for boats. This particular latch is the chrome PKL-08 push latch. Full Installation details are available.
Tim Balfour on Taj has solved the problem of the prop rotating while under sail with this simple shaft brake controlled from the aft companionway.
"This cheap (under $20) shaft brake has worked well for me. A 4" to 5" V-belt pulley wheel on an arbor is fastened to the shaft with two allen screws. The pulley is located under the aft companionway ladder with a slot cut out of the sole above it. Part of a V-belt is secured on the sole to one side of the slot, goes under the pulley and up through the slot the other side and is attached to a length of Spectra line.This line leads to a cam cleat on the side of the companionway (I have a loop knotted in the end so I can grab it easily and it can't fall back through the clamcleat). A gentle tug and it locks the shaft very effectively. Letting go again sometimes neccesitates going below and 'joggling'it. A rod, instead of the line, with some sort of 'catch' might avoid this. Or, and I haven't tried this yet, a quick touch on reverse might free it."
Bud and Nita are the owners of KP44 Passage. Their multi-year refit has incorporated many clever, functional, and beautiful ideas. These photos show only a few of them. There are many more photos of them at the Passage page on this site. Also see their original drawings for the galley remodel, one of the first contributions to this site.
Comments: Adam on KP46 Bravo wrote this: [Mounting] on the mast pulpits might get in the way of using the pulpits to brace your butt against when the weather is really snotty... Also might cut down on visibility forward, and take the brunt of waves coming aboard, not the best to continually douse tanks w/ salt spray... Storage of scuba tanks are a problem, for sure. Bravo came with a pair of aluminum racks, each for 2 tanks. The racks mount on the rear pushpit. While I really hate the buildup of "crapondaback", this seems to me like the best place for them. The racks are removeable, so I have 'em off now, but will put back when I take off.
Link: This company, Max Storage Systems, has what appears to me to be the most versatile SCUBA tank holders around. Their brochure is available on this site:
Scuba Tank Holders from Max Holding Systems (Adobe PDF File, 1.7 MB,Jun 19 2020 15:56)
Mark Norman on KP44 En Passant has developed a very nice method for using dyneema strops to obviate the need for a genoa track. Mark writes:
"A common topic over the years has been the expense and hassle of replacing the gunwhale mounted genoa tracks on KP44's. Mine were starting to lift at corroded bolts so after a bit of testing I decided to remove them and close up all the bolt holes.
We have now sailed some 2000 miles with the sheets lead through low friction aluminum rings (Antal, Harkin, Wichard all make them). The rings are on 6mm dynemma strops which are lead through one of four reinforced holes cut through the bulwark. The lead legs are quickly and easily moved fore or aft as the inside legs of the strop are looped around a "dogbone" ( 4 inch length of round batton). In addition to the strop lead holes I put one just ahead of the cheek block and lashed a ring there for a jib sheet fair lead.
So far the experiment has worked on all points of sail, with jib, staysail, spinnaker and pole guy. I was quite exercised about the length of leg to use and various combinations for sheeting angles. In practice two lengths, 12 " and 18", have been perfect. In addition being able to put the ring inside out for the staysail has given a flatter lead that I could get with a car. One of the benefits is I am able to flatten the staysail by leading the strop of a LFR from outside inboard so that the staysail sheet leads straight on to a winch. We are in Bonaire after a 500 mile windward passage from Cuba and I appreciated the flatter staysail.
The total material cost was $300 (six rings, dyneema, and fabrication of mushroom headed reinforcing tubes). Time was considerably less than replacing the track as I drove down most of the bolts after I cut off the heads , then epoxied and wooden plugged the holes."