Hawse Pipe

Another project that needed immediate attention was the port hawse pipe on Valkyr. I was walking up to her on the dock and just happened to notice that the hawse pipe was about to fall off. So I pulled it all the way off. I thought some of the rest of you would be interested in how the sides of the boat here are designed. It is hollow up in there.

This is a project that  needs to be revisited. I found that the holes the bronze wood screws are going into need to be re-glassed and drilled again. (you heard it correctly all that as holding it in is some wood screws.  Actually what it needs is not wood screws but machine screws that go all the way through to the plate on the inside and I need to tap threads into the plate and and have the bolts hold them together. Right now I have new bronze screws in place and lots of 3M 4200 as bedding compound. It is working but not as strong as I would like it to be.

While I had the hawse pipe out I polished it up also. here are some before and after shots. I just used a little generic polishing compound and some 3M 1500 grit sand paper. I tried using a scotchbrite pad but it just didn’t get the job done. The 1500 grit got the job done and left a very smooth surface. Smoother than it was to start with.

And here it is installed. I  actually had to take it back out after this and turn the hawse pipe over as it it didn’t fit flush to the plate on the inside. You can see this in the picture.


s/v BlueSky: Durban, East London and Mossel Bay, December 2009

The day before we left Richards Bay to begin our voyage around the bottom of Africa we had a “braai” for Drake’s 10th birthday. The Zululand Yacht Club has huge lawns that are dotted with Bar-B-Que “braai” cook stations. Along with a resident Hippo who will occassionaly surface in the middle of the harbor.

Inviting all the cruising yachts from both Tuza Gazi Marina and Zululand, along with the local friends we met. A Braai really isn’t about the food you cook, but the company you enjoy it with. Pictured above is Drake with Duncan from s/v Moose. He is wearing a new Brazilian Football Jersey that Karin & Russ off s/v Moonwalker kindly gave him. When we check into Brazil in the next couple of months, I’ll make sure Drake is sporting his new gear!

Diligently checking the weather we finally had a window to work our way down the treacherous east coast, with nicknames such as the wild coast, the windy coast and the ship wreck coast. Appropriately named, as this part of the South African coast is renowned for the presence of abnormal waves, with the strong Agulhas current flowing south, sometimes up to six knots or more. Our charts reflected over 100 ship wrecks in this area. Leaving Richards Bay with predicted fine weather, we were cruising along with a two knot current in our favor. The weather announcement came over the VHF and forecasted a “light” southerly that would come at us about 0800. Well light southerly against the Agulhas current is one thing, thirty plus knots of wind directly opposed to the current builds up quick, steep seas very rapidly. Immediately we realized that the strength of the southerly was not going to abate so we pointed Blue Sky […]

Headliner Replacement: s/v Gracie Emmett DE32

Gracie Emmett DE 32 is for sale. Email: (see following link for extensive photos and detailed boat inventory):


By: Duane Nealon

The original headliner material was vinyl, attached to thin strips of non-marine plywood and non-stainless steel staples. The real problem with this original, factory installed headliner is that it prevented access to all of the deck mounted hardware. Another serious problem with the deck mounted hardware is that it was embedded into the fiberglass at the factory, requiring a chisel and hammer to gain access to the underside of the deck hardware. If a DE has not removed the original headliner there is every possibility that all of the deck hardware bedding is original and has long since failed, thereby exposing the deck core to water infiltration.

We took the time to remove the old vinyl (vile) headliner and attachments (weeks of work plucking rusted staples) and installed a headliner system that can be removed to allow continual access to deck hardware in order to inspect and replace, as needed. We installed a product called Spectropile and used Velcro strips bedded with 5200 marine caulk and stainless steel staples. (We have since embed the Velcro with epoxy putty. Or another option is Velcro now comes in has self-adhesive strips, however, there has been no reviews as to how the glue will hold up to the marine environment.)

The original vinyl/foam backed headliner was susceptible to mildew and mold formation. Also, from a structural standpoint, preventing access to deck mounted hardware maintenance and inspection is a real structural issue.

Spectopile is not an inexpensive material, but is well suited to a marine application, such as headliner. (We also use if for chafe protection and removable fender covers–very durable.) Not only is Spectropile made from recycled materials it is […]

Bowsprit Replacement: Gracie Emmet DE32

Gracie Emmett DE 32 is for sale. Email: (see following link for extensive photos and detailed boat inventory):


By: Duane Nealon

Attached are severalphotos of the steel bow sprit/anchor platform, and a few thoughts of about this project. Typical of many boat projects, this one started out modest and innocent enough. When I first purchased the boat I wanted to remove the anchor windlass to clean and service it. After removal though, I found rot around the mounting bolt. There begins the real motivation for the bow sprit/anchor platform redesign.

The bow sprit/anchor platform was completely redesigned and replaced with cruising in mind. It is constructed of steel tubing. Aesthetically I believe there is no significant difference in appearance from the original painted wooden bow sprit.

The primary difference is that the wooden bow sprit was actually heavier and the lamination and wood are higher maintenance than steel.

The new steel bow sprit has transferred the weight of the anchors inboard and provides a strong, integrated bow pulpit assembly; which, provides greater structural integrity than the original arrangement. The anchor rollers are custom designed to receive the two bow anchors (CQR and Plow). There are also additional custom features included such as attachment points for fair leads/snatch blocks for the anchor roads, jack lines, jib downhaul and difter (spinnaker). A few photos are included to illustrate the new platform with and without the platform base. The new bow sprit is extremely seaworthy with strong backing plates and reinforced platform assembly. It should hold under extreme sea anchoring as well as conventional anchoring conditions.



Windsong: The Journey, Final leg: Merritt Island to St. Augustine

The final leg of The Journey was to take Windsong from Harbortown Marina in Merritt Island up to Oasis Boat Yard in St. Augustine to be hauled out. I had convinced a few friends to crew for me and to entice them I arranged the final leg to be when one of the last shuttle launches was happening.

I wanted to have a good view of the shuttle launch, and I also wanted the final leg to be easy going so I got a head start by sailing up the ICW about 17 nm to Titusville Municipal Marina. Jenny and I did the sail on a Saturday after my month in Harbortown was done. The weather was great, with Southeast winds at 15 knots. The ride was relatively uneventful but definitely a fun day. It was my first time under full sail in the ICW, something different since steering between the markers under sail was a bit more difficult than steering offshore. I kept Windsong in Titusville for a couple of weeks until May 14th when the shuttle was set to launch. We all met up on Friday morning before the launch to load up the boat and get ready for the weekend cruise. The crew was Jenny, Jeff (from the first leg) and our friend Brian who flew down from Connecticut. The traffic was getting crazy pretty for the shuttle launch, so we were glad to get an early start. The launch was at 2:20 p.m., but we were ready to go by noon. We got some fuel from the marina and then decided to wait out the remaining time at anchor in the ICW. The marina is very spacious, but my slip was near the basin wall and I had 15-20knot winds pushing me forward into my slip. […]