This article is the second in a series by the author detailing the refit of a 1978 C&C 25. To read the previous article click here: Refitting for Performance.
Nonetheless, it is time to get back to preparing Mark McGivney's C&C 25, so that when the spring does finally arrive we will have completed our upgrades and can go sailing. In our previous article, we pointed out the problems and limitations that Mark had noticed with his boat's performance. It is always easy to identify problems. The trick is to figure out the most efficient and economical way to fix them. So we took our to-do list and started talking with experts in the sailing industry to come up with solutions.
Our firststop was Waterline Systems/US Watercraft, owned and run by Randy "Dunes" Borges. Dunes and his staff are the premier choice for serious racers who want to have the bottoms of their boat's faired and painted in this part of the country. Last year Waterline worked on my father's J/105 after a nasty run-in with a rock. The final product was spectacular. My father referred to the finished product as "a piece of art," and I couldn't agree more.
Despite being wary about such serious chemicals, this approach sounded like a good alternative to sanding. If we could get most of the paint of using the stripper we would then only have to do a quick sanding over the nearly bare underbody to remove lingering troubled spots and rough up the gelcoat in preparation for the first barrier coat.
|"When it comes to rigs or deck systems, Phil is my go-to guy because his advice is good and comes with no ego attached.|
Our next call was to Phil Garland of Hall Spars and Rigging. Hall engineers and constructs high-tech spars and rigging for racers and serious cruisers. Hall has worked with high-profile professional syndicates in the America Cup and other premier racing venues. (The Hall brothers, Eric and Ben, are also known for making wicked carbon hockey sticks.) Phil is a wealth of sailing knowledge and he has the big-boat belts to prove it. When it comes to rigs or deck systems, Phil is my go-to guy because his advice is good and comes with no ego attached.
I told Phil of the trouble Mark was having with the traveler. It would bind and was in the way. Then I explained how it was mounted in the cockpit just aft of the companionway. I told him of our idea to either move it forward on the coach top or all the way aft an mounted to the stern section. After a couple of questions, Phil suggested that the best set-up would be the Harken High Load Traveler car and track for small boats; the same system found on J/24s. This system reduces frition by using ball bearings to disperse the loads. It would be easy to release and would glide down the track without binding.
Next we had to decide what genoa track system to use and the best way to install it. We found out after taking a closer look down below that this particular boat had a plastic headliner to cover the unfinished fiberglass on the underside of the deck. We would have to cut away some of this liner to install the track, and Mark was not thrilled with compromising the boat's aesthetics. Once again Phil had the solution. He told us to cut away the necessary liner and install the new track, and then use a nice piece of teak as the backing plate. The bolts would come through the teak and be secured with large fender washers and lock nuts, but the teak would add a bit of ornamentation that a metal backing plate lacks.
Our choice for track was either an adjustable car that can be moved under load or a simple car with a plunger-style set pin that could be easily moved, but not when the car was loaded. For Mark's sailing purposes we opted for the latter since he would not be racing much, and the adjustable system was twice the price. We decided to go with Schaeffer spring-loaded cars with 360 rotation. Our sailmaker would tell us the optimal track location and length. That was good enough for now. We'd get back to Phil about running rigging, outhaul systems, and a backstay when we got these other projects complete.
Armed with this information, Mark and I were ready to start our project. The first task would be to strip the bottom. I was interested to see the results of using the Interstripper versus sanding. Would it really be as effective as Waterline said, and would we actually save time? Then we would let the bottom sit and paint it later when the weather gets warmer. In the meantime we could take off the old traveler and install the new one, and install the new genoa track. The work starts tomorrow, as long as we are not too busy shoveling our drivewaysagain.
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