A shipwright on the road

It’s time to be a boat builder again, this time in northern Mexico, to make some major upgrades. The Cabrales yard in Puerto Penasco seems like a good place to tackle projects that solve stuff that we’ve found less than ideal during the year+ out cruising around. The first wave of work happened over 15 days in December. I had figured on ten days total. That was a big underestimation. It’ll probably take another 15 days or so in January to finish the list.

This first video shows the first week of work. In the second week, the new engine mount was built and I’m really happy with it. I didn’t originally put the motor on the back of the boat because of concern for it being subjected to waves coming from behind. That will be a risk now, but it’s rare. The existing side-mount subjects the motor to wave hits between the hulls, during choppy seas. This has been a danger because sea water has hit the powerhead hard enough to sneak around the seals. The other big advantage we’re going for is the ability to steer the engine with the main tiller. Turning the motor thrust will be a big help in low speed, tight quarters maneuvers like backing into a dock.

The big project in the video is changing out our on & off leaky deadlights, ie the polycarbonate fixed windows in the main cabin. They fit around the curved cabin sides, but didn’t stay sealed well enough. Living in the warm climate, there’s not enough ventilation, so we decided to cure all of this with six opening, screened ports. They have to be mounted on flat surfaces, so that means a big job to create flat planes in the curved cabin top. When I left the boat the other day, all of the prep work was done, with the interior complete and the exterior in primer. I decided not to make the cuts until the painting is done, to minimize the time with open holes in the boat. So that will be a big motivator to get back to Cabrales.

Merry Christmas to you all, and I hope we can keep you entertained for 26 minutes here…

4 thoughts on “A shipwright on the road

  1. Being able to steer the motor easily is great for reversing the boat as you say. The other big win is in shallow water. The propellor is at a shallower depth than the rudder tip so it gives you steerage even in water too shallow for the rudder and daggerboard to be down. That’s great for the bars at some harbour entrances.


    • Great point Dave; I had not thought of being able to steer the outboard even with the rudder raised. I can see situations with the dagger mostly retracted, and the rudder up to a similar depth as the engine. Anything shallower, and I’m turning back!


  2. Greg, I really admire your work in, admittedly, not ideal conditions. Do you have a vacuum cleaner sucking simultaneously with your sanding inside the boat? Thankfully, peel-ply keeps that to a minimum. Any concern about the outboard prop coming out of the water after the relocation? You’ve obviously thought it through and consider the relocation preferable to making a protective fairing in front of the motor head in its present location. Having the motor steerable works great in most situations. On my Telstar they’re not coupled and I’ve occasionally had the tiller hard over to, e.g., port, while the motor was hard over to starboard and in reverse in order to swing the aft end to port in tight quarters while simultaneously slowing down while the boat was still moving forward. Merry Christmas! JoeS.


    • Hi Joe. Yes, I have a good Festool vacuum that attaches to either sander. It is very effective, but I also wear the respirator while sanding. And yes, the prop will be more likely to ventilate than the old side-mount, but I have made the engine sit about as low as it does on the Corsair 37. On that hull, the hobby-horsing of the engine wasn’t really a factor for Transit of Venus, and a couple of other owners I’ve talked to. So I’m feeling OK about it. We’re good about keeping a sail up during motoring, and that REALLY helps keep the prop in the water during wave conditions. Hope you have a good 2021. -greg


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