PSC 34 sloop to cutter conversion - SailNet Community

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Old 11-21-2009
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PSC 34 sloop to cutter conversion

I'm new to this forum. I've been sailing a Bristol 32 for a number of years. However, I've decided that I need a boat more suited for bluewater work. I've found a clean PSC 34 with a sloop rig which I would like to convert to a cutter rig. I've spoken with PSC and they can supply the parts. Apparently the mast head needs to be modified and there may be a problem installing a backing plate for the deck hardware. Has anyone done this conversion? If so any tips or pointers would be appreciated

Last edited by Arclight; 11-21-2009 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 11-21-2009
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The hard part will be carrying the forces of the staysail stay OUT TO THE HULL. Just putting a backing plate in may not be a good idea. You may just succeed in lifting the deck off the hull.

I've seen it done by rigging a permanent post from the underside of the deck down to the hull, and STRONGLY glassing in at both ends, with a tie through the deck. I can imagine you could do it with a fitting on the deck, then a removable chain to a fitting on the hull. If it were me, I'd find a naval architect (i.e., someone who knows what they're talking about) to help you figure out how to distribute those forces.

And you may need to look at running backstays.
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Old 11-21-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lshick View Post
The hard part will be carrying the forces of the staysail stay OUT TO THE HULL. Just putting a backing plate in may not be a good idea. You may just succeed in lifting the deck off the hull.

And you may need to look at running backstays.
The PS deck is thru-bolted every 4 inches, and the plate should be pretty close to the bow (~12") where there is plenty of support, assuming its same configuration as the 31.
Tom
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Old 11-22-2009
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Check out Dave Mancini's site at swancruise.com
I believe he made the conversion on his 34 and posted some pics on his site. He checks in every once in a while and last I heard he was in the Marshall Islands!

John S.
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Old 11-22-2009
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The PSC 34 (and other PSCs) has molded-in deck reinforcement as per the attached pic copied from Dave M's Swancruise website (thank you Dave) to help cope with the strain from the inner forestay. I haven't heard of the factory or anyone doing the sloop-to-cutter conversion doing anything beyond using the matching backing plate for the deck tack plate on these boats (but would be interested to hear if otherwise).

See also a couple posts on this topic within the PSC List Serve Archive John P. has posted as a "Sticky" thread.
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Old 11-22-2009
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John and MC1 are correct. The deck is strong enough to handle the forestay's loads with just a backing plate on the tack fitting. Also, the chain locker bulkhead with its heavy deck beam support the deck at that point.

Actually, the hardest part of the conversion is installing the track on the house because you have to remove the grab rails in the cabin in order to install the bolts for the track. The plywood support for the grab rails, between the headliner and the underside of the deck is also in the way. You'll see what I mean when you get to it. Even so, the conversion is fairly straight forward and certainly worth the effort.

Good luck,

Dave Mancini
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Old 11-22-2009
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thanks all... according to the factory the mast placement and deck construction is identical on both the sloop and the cutter versions...at this point it's a matter of getting a list of required parts from the factory and a drawing showing the necessary mast head modifications...i'm beginning to wonder if it might be easier to find a cutter version or set the sloop version up for bluewater work with a storm jib and trisail...again any thoughts on the above are certainly appreciated
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Old 11-23-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
i'm beginning to wonder if it might be easier to find a cutter version or set the sloop version up for bluewater work with a storm jib and trisail...again any thoughts on the above are certainly appreciated
For offshore work, you definitely want a cutter rig. Having the sail forces more centered prevents hobby-horsing, the difference in motion between a reefed genoa versus staysail is dramatic on my 31.
TJ
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Old 11-23-2009
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Arclight - I wouldn't let this conversion project be the deciding factor on which boat to go with - the project isn't that difficult in the grand scheme of things. Dave M. gives a good pictoral overview of the project on his Swancruise website and has mentioned the most challenging part in his response above - not too bad.

The overall costs of the upgrade should be considered when comparing the boat you have in mind to others that are already cutter rigged of course. It's not too expensive if you plan to do the installation work yourself.

One thing I'm a little unclear of though is why the mast head would need to be modified (unless the thought is to rig a Solent stay, which would be unusual for these boats). Unless the boat is very new, it probably has a LeFiel mast, which may have an attachment point already welded onto the front of the mast, about 2/3rds of the way up. You may want to confirm whether this is the case. If so, you just need the double jaw toggle (etc.) for connecting the wire.

If you decide to go with a hanked on staysail (instead of a roller furler), you'll need to decide how you want to attach the deck end of the stay to the tack plate. Ideally, it would be removable in some way so you can sail the boat as a sloop for coastal sailing (it'll make tacking easier, etc.). I chose a Highfield lever, but see also Dave's approach on his Swancruise web site.

You may also want to consider mechanical terminals on the wire (e.g., Sta-loks, Hi Mod, etc.) instead of swagged terminals.
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Old 11-23-2009
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teejayevans, i agree, a cutter it will be and mc1, thank you for your well thought out and helpfull reply...dave's website was indeed most imformative (once i found the area dealing with the rigging conversion)...i like the idea of using a removable inner forestay for the versatility that it affords...the upper attachment point was most likely what the factory was referring to, it's possible that if it is a seldon mast that i will have to add a tang
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