|Once the mast height had been decided on, and the boom height off the deck was a known number since the origin of the rig
design, I knew how far down from the masthead to trim the top of the spar, and exactly how much above the gooseneck fitting
and below the gooseneck fitting the base had to be. I wish I'd had a table saw big enough to make those perfectly square cuts you
can make on smaller stuff, but I had to just jig it up and do the best I could. Since the way to make a strong splice like this is to
cut other sections from the extra extrusion and trim it vertically so it can be forced into the two parts to be joined and make a
perfectly straight joint. However, the hope is the two joined ends will fit together perfectly square. You can see by the gap on the
first photo above I missed the mark a bit. I knew I would and compensated by making the splicers for the inside twice as long as
normal, leaving lots of room for lots of fasteners. I also doubled the splicer stock for extra strength. The splice is at the deck, so
the extra weight is not a problem. I used almost a hundred screws, all drilled, tapped, and sealed into the joint.
|I took the opportunity to make the mast base block for the masts while they were being finished on the sawhorses where it was
easy to sand to fit and try them out over and over again. I also made sure I made and installed the special fitting to attach the
throat and peak halyards to before sealing the ends of the track slots, making them impossible to get into the slots. They are
visible in the first shot.
I used a single part poly paint - Interlux Brightsides - for easy application, touch up, and as you can see, a fine gloss. It uses the
same thinner as the blue, so for my hull and my rig, I only need to carry three cans. One blue, one white, and one thinner. The
deck is another story completely. It's Awlgrip Ice Blue, and very cool on the bare feet, even in the blistering Naples sun.
|The new masts were now far more than just 'strong enough', but the 18 foot main boom still lacked rigidity, in my opinion. I
wanted it stiffer and stronger, and made an 18 foot core, by laminating several pieces of solid strapping, then coarse sanded it
into shape with the big grinder and 60 grit paper. The entire core is the same width as the inside of the boom, and tapers on the
tip to fit up inside. This was sort of a long hard process, but well worth it by the end. I cut away the sides for 18 inches at the
gooseneck end so I could fit in these to 1/2 by 2 inch aluminum bars. The entire length of the core was epoxied and coated with
thickened epoxy prior to driving it in, not only for a better installation, but because it was hard to fit and the epoxy was slippery. I
had to hammer the two bars in and the ends show the evidence. I also made two additional outside stiffening plates which can be
seen here, though only one of them is completed. The other still needs a bit more smithing. Once done, they were attached with
3M 5200 and bolts, and filled the gaps in the end of the boom with 5200. I used matching bolts with normal nuts, cut the bolts
off a tad long, and peened them over the nuts like rivets. I can't imagine a situation where I would ever want to remove them.
The fore boom has a nice bronze tiller casting for its gooseneck. I made the pivot blocks from a chunk of solid 1 inch by 2 inch
brass bar stock Tony Harling gave me long ago.
|The lesser goosenecks for higher places, those attaching the gaffs to the masts, were another area where I needed to inject a great
deal more reliability. The original cars were for the much smaller J24 sticks and I never really had faith in them. They were a first
try and from the moment I finished them, I knew I had to try again. The much bigger masts with bigger slots were better to work
with. Realizing there would often be great strain on the goosenecks, I wanted to make them as strong as possible, but they also
had to slide up and down the mast grooves, with or without heavy side-loading, and survive extended use.
As chance would have it, my bucket full of various turnbuckles and other fittings, produced a couple of strong, SS turnbuckles
with toggles I knew would never find use anywhere else. They were adapted into the gaff gooseneck fittings. Some heavy SS
track, a chunk of old bronze prop shaft, some SS angle, a couple of 3/8 inch SS bolts and finally, these awesome little threaded
eye-bolt ends. After much hand cutting and filing and fitting, some drilling and tapping, some grinding and trimming and testing,
here is what I came up with. They work great, but don't try this at home.
|It was time to rig Falcon, and was certainly possible to arrange with the yard to use the small crane at the top of the Travel Lift,
but no. This kind of rigging and hoisting is just my cup of tea, and while it is always challenging, it has also always been fun. I
wanted to do it myself, my way, in my time.
This affair was to take place in full view of the yard and there was no way I would ever allow any part of it to look hurried,
desperate or dangerous. It simply would not do to have anyone suddenly drop what they were doing and rush over as if to save
my life. No sir. There'll be none of that.
Working slowly and deliberately, the heavy and unwieldy foremast was first aboard - on my shoulder - set on the cabin roof and
starting getting its suit of rigging wire and halyards. One of my tall sawhorses came aboard to prop up the upper section of the
mast. After securing the base so it could only rock right into position, and the forestay and shrouds so the masthead could only
go straight up, I took hold of the 6 to 1 block and tackle and stood the foremast up. Piece of cake. Inside of an hour, every shroud,
halyard and stay, was connected and tightened, except the triatic stay. It would be connected to the main masthead and used to
hoist the mainmast up.
|By now, everyone in the yard noticed the foremast standing on my boat and came over and asked how I did it. Some jokes about
porn and Viagra went around until my method was quickly and easily brushed over. Though the writing and reading of it is quick
and easy, the job itself tired me out and all the energy I had left went into cleaning up the deck and getting ready for the
mainmast the next day.
The next day the wind howled as I rigged and raised the main, with gusts exceeding 50 MPH while the mast was halfway up. Still,
it was so well rigged there was never a problem and the mainmast was up in a couple of hours, stepped and rigged. I had so much
block and tackle tied to the spar it looked like a twig caught in a spiderweb. The entire mast was held suspended in the air most
of the time.
While the mainmast was being raised, I had to start on the steering gear by cutting the holes in the aft deck for the inspection
ports. This had to be done so I could install the tow bits and rear cleats and use them for raising the masts.
The last 1500 pounds of lead was on the rear deck, ready to be melted into the keel. I cut these lumps of lead into manageable
sizes for the small pot, with a table saw and ATF lubricant. The lead 'sawdust' was swept up and melted into the keel as well.
When I did this, the boat was light aft, and the additional ballast leveled her out. I have since had to take 900 pounds of this aft
lead back out of the keel, as Falcon, in her finally stages, no longer needed the weight. It was much harder taking out than
putting in. I don't want to talk about it.
The blue look to the photos below is because I'd suspended one of the blue plastic tarps overhead and not due to overheated film.
|I had long since given away my 50 pound lead melting pot and burner so had to come up with a new system. The burner from a
turkey deep fryer and a poorly rigged a handle on a SS pot almost filled the bill. The first attempt at this didn't work so well, as I'd
used a simple long handle above the pot held with only two hooks. When I picked up the first pot of molten lead, it quickly spun
over and coated my feet with medieval castle scientologist repellent. I can see why it worked so well. It didn't blister much. I
hosed off my feet and made another pot.
The second pot, with a triple grip handle, is the one above. This was only a bit more cumbersome than the first, but considerably
better on the feet. You should have felt how heavy my shoes were until I peeled the lead off. Anyway, I completed this job by
melting the last of the lead into the keel, for a total of 8600 pounds of ballast.
|My illness had progressed to the point where hospital care was needed and that care could only be had at the Bay Pines VA
Hospital in St. Petersburg, next door to Tampa and 140 miles as the crow flies. Since boats don't travel much like crows, the trip
by schooner is considerably longer.
I left Naples on a Sunday from a deserted Royal Yacht Service and began an adventurous week or so in bad weather, racing ahead
of Hurricane Charlie, up the coast to Palmetto. I got there, in case you're wondering.
These are some shots of Regatta Point Marina, where I went to from Naples. The entire trip is documented on Falcon's Log 12
starting about halfway down the page. I never got a bit of work done on Falcon during the three months I spent at Regatta Point.
It was being managed by two greedy crooks named Klaus and Laura, who were fired some time after they tossed me out for being
I have become long time friend with Angie and Richard, who I met there, and George Pappas, until he died of Pancreatic Cancer
on September 29, 2011. The sweet little Westsail 28 was George's. His lady Kim now owns it and I have not heard from her in a
|In November of 2004 Falcon moved to the Seafood Shack Marina in Cortez and I went with her because I had no other place to
live. These are a couple of shots of the marina in Cortez, on the western tip of Bradenton, Florida. Falcon is out there near the
end on the outside. I just noticed these almost fit together perfectly into a large, single shot, so I overlapped them. This water is
the Intracoastal Waterway and that Island in the background is Anna Maria.
|Yeah, pretty cobby picture patchwork, I know. I'm standing right here looking at it. No need to rub it in.
|I like this view of Falcon with her new bow graphics on and dual anchors. Above right is my first spastic attempt at a Bimini. It's
not bad. There are good things. Protection from the sun: silly in New England, essential in Florida. No stupid straps holding it up
to trip over and replace every year. One inch tubing and fittings so it's a strong unit. Donny Capron, a friend who I met in Cortez,
gave me the roll of striped Sunbrella material and I have come to really admire it. Sewing this Bimini was my first real job on my
new Sailrite sewing machine.
The photo at the top of the next page is of me and Don Capron. We appear a little old in this shot, but we're really still both in our
thirties. Or sixties. I'm starting to forget things. As I am writing this, Donny and his wife, Barbara, are off cruising the Florida
Keys, then the Abacos, in their new 35 foot Catamaran. Before the Catamaran, Donny had this sweet little 25 foot Cape Dory and
a lot of people would have liked to have it, but he gave it to a broker to sell and did well on it.
|The two spars below each carry their own stories. One of our old customers from years before,brought in a 35 foot sloop and had
us start working on it. He took a lot of stuff off and brought it to his house,but left the hull and rig in our yard. After some years,
it became apparent he either was out of money or out of interest. The yacht became ours. We stripped it and had the hull brought
to the dump and crushed. Left behind was a 55 foot spar with a beautiful, tapered top.
About this time in Falcon's build, another customer, polite, but as condescending as Frasier Crane, broke his mast by crashing
into a bridge on the Intercoastal Waterway. Once the boat made it to our yard - with all the broken pieces - the mast was in two
pieces, I surveyed the situation and recommended he give us $1000 for the 55 footer we had,and we could shorten the base
enough to fit his boat perfectly.
"No,no!" says he, confident he can acquire a new unit for that price, "But,you can have the broken pieces if you have a use for
them." Thank you very much, and I took them. At the same time, Paul told me I should also take the used 55 footer and make
use of it as well, for free.
Below you will see how I made use of both these strong, much better, spars for Falcon. They worked beautifully. Sometime later,
after I'd done all the cutting and joining and was ready to install the finished spars, the man came back and found me in the yard.
He explained how he'd investigated getting a new spar, made for his boat by the yacht manufacturer, and how the raw prices was
a staggering $12,000. The he said he was ready to accept the 55 footer I'd offered him. It was my sad duty to explain that ship had
left the dock, the bus had pulled out of the depot, the train had left the station. I showed him both the cut down 55 footer, and
the re-assembled sections of his old mast.
I never saw him again. I think he lives in a motorhome in Idaho.
|2003 - 2007
|After all is said and done, I like the material on the Bimini and so does everyone else. Who knew? It is different and it does
look good, not to mention it seems to have both the color of the hull and the color of the deck in it. Not exactly, but close enough.
Next thing you know, folks are trying to get me to do canvas work for them. Right now, I have jobs for George Pappas, Randy
Stewart and myself waiting to be done.
So there I am, all this time, looking at the huge, long main boom and worrying, fretting, thinking - (how am I going to attach
the mainsheet so it doesn't interfere with the Bimini and how can I be sure the boom - even though it's heavily reinforced
internally - will not snap it's tip off in a gybe?) and I came up with a solution. I just happened to have a 7 foot section of 4 inch
by 1/4 inch aluminum flat stock in my bag of tricks, so I cut it in half and secured it to the main boom with a putty made of
West System epoxy and aluminum powder. Of course, I stripped the boom to bare aluminum first and treated it for the epoxy,
as well as the flat stock. I used three bolts to hold it for clamping, but eventually made the two outer bolts permanent and will
use a bigger, stronger stud, threaded on each end, for the center, where the sheet will be attached. When it was done, it was
filled and smoother all around and I've coated it with several layers of fiberglass cloth and smoothed it.
|And now, for something completely different. I finally bit the bullet and tore out the old steps. They were a bit punk in some
areas and never did really work as functionally as I'd hoped when I first made them. For one thing, I'd attached the battery
switches on the inside of them, above and behind the engine, which meant I had to lean in over the motor to change the
switches. Pain in the butt, not to mention I wanted to add several more switches. I now had six batteries instead of three (all Gel
cells - 4 8D and 2 4D), and I am convinced that my system of inverting the switches and wiring through huge busses in the only
right way to go. More on that later.
Anyway, out with the old steps and here is the new look of the cockpit front. I installed the top shelf, a 2 by 8 plank, and the
vertical panel, 3/4 inch plywood, all epoxied and SS screwed, then glassed it a couple of layers. Next, I made a sweet threshold out
of Ipe and recessed it into the beam and interior planking on the companionway. I met a guy named Chris who was in serious,
okay, 'desperate' need of help in saving his Fast Passage 39 interior from the ravages of his attempts to install new Hood SS
portholes. We made a deal. When it was over, his boat was all right and tight and I had all new instruments and senders and a
200 foot piece of 5/16 BBB anchor chain for my second anchor. A good deal, all in all.
|I thought long and hard before coming up with the retro pattern and shape for the instrument panel. I had to keep trying things
over and over until something not only worked right, but fit Falcon's design and character. People don't notice the resemblance
to a 1920's Bugatti racing dash, or an old Fokker Biplane, but I do. It suits me. A little artsy and all. These are Teleflex 'Lido'
I run the hot leads from my batteries to the center post of the switch normally the output. Then the numbers on the face of the
switches are to select 'Battery 1', 'Both', or 'Battery 2'. In my system, power comes in through the center post and can either be
routed to 'Buss 1', 'Both Busses', or 'Buss 2'. Buss 1 is the engine buss and buss 2 is the house buss. Those buss bars are 2 inch by
1/4 inch solid copper. This nitemare system was way too complex and is now gone. More later.
|A lot of things had to be happening at the same time here and I wasn't diligent with the camera. I had to redo the whole 'stuffing
box' layout because it would be next to impossible to work on once I redid the battery box and installed it, which I had to do to fit
the batteries - 3 8D and 1 4D - into it and make them secure, so I could measure, make and install all of the 40 or so huge battery
cables and mount and wire in the battery switches, which meant the cockpit seats had to be designed, built and installed so the
last of the switches could be mounted, and the cockpit center hatch had to be worked out prior to mounting the seats because I'd
have to get at the bottom of those seats to set up the hatch, which would also be impossible with the seats and batteries already
in place. If you think that sentence was long, imagine the work and solutions it describes. The cover of the battery switch box is
Ipe and epoxied, but sealed below with 5200.
|This girl is Lace Rose Alenius. I'm on the dock here, at Falcon, doing my work on one thing or another (you can see the Sailrite
sitting there) and she comes out on the dock with her boyfriend and starts fishing. They're not catching and she comes and asks
me if there might be a way to improve their luck. I tell her to fish right at the end of this dock, only because I saw some fish
feeding there a little while ago. They fish, then she comes back to me and says they seem to be feeding the fish rather than
catching the fish. I tell her to let the fish eat instead of snatching the food away the second they nibble. They start catching fish.
She comes back again. It seems her boyfriend can't get the hook out of the fish he caught to release it. Sensing the need for
needle nose pliers, I go out to him with her and said tool and gently extract the hook, assuring them careful removal does not
harm the fish and it will be just fine. Then I recognize him and ask his name. It's Matt Dillon, the movie star. Well, batter me and
fry me up. We talk for a couple of minutes and I notice that the girl is a little 'antsy', and talks right into my face. "Oh, no", I'm
thinking, "I'm supposed to recognize her, too, but I don't."
They leave and she comes back a couple of days later with her Mom and Dad. They live in Bradenton and I talk to her
again when she stops by to say 'Hi'. I have found a way to make it right for her and claim I recognize her, but can't remember
from where. She was greatly relieved and explained she'd been featured in 4 issues of Playboy - the 'Coeds' and 'Lingerie' and
whatever and I made believe I remembered. The truth is, I haven't bought one of those magazines in 20 years or more. I got to
know her very well and she stopped by often. She is a smart young woman and pleasant as well. Here, she is autographing photos
of herself to send to a wounded Iraq War Vet who is recovering in Texas. She dated Randy briefly, then moved to New York for a
|As a graduate of the school of 'Advanced Meddling, If It's Fine, Fix It Anyway', it was impossible for me not to want to change
Falcon's prop. The thing is, having slapped an old, salvage prop on the boat to hurriedly get out of Naples, I couldn't shake the
notion it needed attention. The engine, transmission and Falcon herself were all perfectly happy with the 17 x 16 three-blade unit.
Fuel economy had been pretty good at between 10 and 11 miles per gallon, in all conditions.
Okay, I have to qualify such a statement for the purists. Nautical fuel consumption is never spoken of in 'Miles Per Gallon'
because those terms are for automobiles and such figures around boats result strokes and near-fatal butt cramps. On the water,
we like to say 'Gallons Per Hour'. It's gentler and not readily definable. You have to do a bit of mental math and refraining from
doing so saves you from the truth. Using 28 gallons per hour on a nice, big Hatteras doesn't seem like much when you have 2000
gallons aboard, but when you realize you're traveling at 21 miles per hour it appears you've switched from miles per gallon to
gallons per mile and $9000 to 'fill 'er up!' is butt clenching for Earth people.
Falcon holds 110 gallons full. She burns just about 2/3 of a gallon at 6 knots. Nautical miles to statute miles is 1:1.15078 (just so
you don't think I'm 'fudging'). It comes to about 10.5 mpg, or a range under power of over 1100 statute miles. My life has already
been branded by statute over nautical miles and I can muster no desire to change it.
Back to the future: I began watching props for sale on EBay and finally saw one I thought might be 'more perfect' for Falcon -
well, okay, I'm not a moron - the thing is, early on I'd deduced through both calculation and trial and error the biggest wheel
Falcon should swing and still have better than 10% tip clearance, is 18 inches. When stopping, moving at slow speed (when
would Falcon ever move at anything BUT slow speed) accelerating, and powering over lumps or pulling back away from a
grounding, the bigger the prop you swing, the better. It doesn't do any good to try to load up a big wheel on an engine to weak to
spin it, but if you've got the grunt, you need the best prop to take advantage of it.
I found an 18 inch diameter with 15 inches of pitch, to replace the 17 by 16 on Falcon. A check with one of the best prop shops in
the state, General Propeller, here in Bradenton, returned a quote of about $650 for the same prop. Sniping at the last second won
the prop for $201.59. At first a bid of $201 even showed as the winner, but a second later my bid topped it and I won. We must
have both sniped at the last second and mine was higher. Someone out there was doing the Homer Simpson DOOHH!! as he
watched me take his prize for only 59 cents. $25 shipping and the prop came with nuts, cotter key and a cotter pin. Brand
spanking new Michigan Wheel.
The other thing next to it might still be a question mark. Originally, I was going to build in my water tanks, making them of
fiberglass with vinylester resin and 1708 biaxial fabmat. Recovering from Hep C and the impact on my liver from exposure to
toxins, the difficulty of the construction itself and the potential for leaks outweighed the potential of slightly more water storage
aboard. Originally, the plan was to make 3 water tanks, 2 fuel tanks and a holding tank. Since, I have bought and installed 2 50
gallon fuel tanks (which hold 55 gallons each due to bulge). There are now 4 Plastimo flexible water tanks on board and
scheduled to be installed. Two 52.5 gallon and two 31 gallon. It sounds like 167 gallons of water capacity, but the spaces I'm
putting them in will not allow full capacity and I'll have to count 5 gallon containers to see what they really hold. Since this was
first written, one of the smaller, triangular tanks was holed and discarded. Measuring water going in showed a total of 82 gallons
with the three remaining tanks and 113 if I replace the missing tank. With a watermaker soon on the horizon there is no need to
replace the fourth tank.
The manifold is to allow me, from the galley, to select which tank to draw water from. The fifth valve, without the white button,
is water coming from the Village Marine Watermaker. From this manifold, I can also select which tank to put Reverse Osmosis
|I took this picture right after making the white handles for the wheel. They will
never be done until I find a suitable button to fit in the outboard ends of each
handle. A button not annoying or able to chafe a blister into the palm of my
hand - like the old handles did.
The little furry guy is a stuffed orangutan who wandered aboard wearing an
old leather hat with a feather band. If he stays quiet he stays. Any squawking or
throwing pooh and he goes. His name is Harry, from the end of 'House' where
someone says, "That's some bad hat, Harry." Too high maintenance. I gave him
away. Already too much stuff on board just sitting there.
Meanwhile, a dozen or more complex fixtures needed to be supported and
incorporated into a console needing construction NOW around the Edson
Steering Gear. Back in the law suit spending spree of '92, I bought a special
| shaft support bearing and wheel brake and carried them around for years, occasionally taking them out to look at, sigh, and put
away. Along with the Autohelm 6000 autopilot, I got the chain and sprockets to connect the drive unit to what? That's right -
Edson 1 inch steering shafts. How cool is that?
Experimenting with placement, direction, spacers and fasteners until settling on the only suitable way to get everything mounted
on an 1/8 inch aluminum plate, I began cutting and drilling and didn't stop until it was obvious the little console would work. I
made starboard spacers and one bronze collar and put all this together, leaving just the right amount of space for the wheel. As a
sidebar, I can shorten the collar behind the wheel any time to allow a thicker wheel. Next, I used a heavy fiberglass angle with a
bit of shimming for alignment to support the Type 2 drive unit for the autopilot, then shortened the chain a tad before clamping
it up and drilling the holes. It was still some years before this autopilot worked - a fried controller - but now it does and it works
|Everything was tried and adjusted again and again to make it steer smoothly and easily - the Autopilot drive unit added a bit
of drag, but nothing significant. Lacing the control cables was another one of those chores. I got it done, but it means one small
area of the storage locker needs to be protected with a panel so fenders or whatever can't wrinkle the engines control cables.
After a few years of looking at the excess plywood beneath the quadrant gear for the steering, I finally marked it and cut it off.
The side panels for the console - yeah, that's right, you heard me, I called it a console - were pretty tricky and I made patterns of
cardboard, then thin plywood, before cutting out the real pieces. Even then, I must have taken them off and on a dozen times to
grind here, file there and shave here, until they fit right. Each side was slightly different.
|These two side panels were attached in every way and with all the strength I could build into them. I have been out in Falcon in
enough heavy weather to know how desperately you sometimes hold onto that wheel to keep from being tossed around. After
battens on the inside were epoxied and screwed to the rear of the cockpit and a batten across the top was made and installed, the
unit in got solidly glassed in.
The wheel lock handle got shortened and a special starboard bearing was made for it where it goes into the console. I also had to
make special clamps to mount the throttle and shifter cables inside. The ignition key, of course, starts the engine. The first pull
switch turns on the instrument lights and the rotary dial behind the wheel is an instrument light dimmer. The second pull switch
turns on the compass light.
As you can see, it got fairly congested inside the box and it has become a bit of a pain to work on things in it, but what are you
going to do. I like it. I'm mounting the cockpit VHF Radio in the bottom of it, but I'm still not sure where to mount the compass.
I'll think of something. I'd carried the two compasses below for a long time. I actually had three, but sold the least desirable a
couple of years ago for $100. Then a few weeks ago, I gave the one on the right to Eddie and Sandy for the top station on their
trawler 'Tarquin'. Eddie and Sandy didn't name the boat.
|I've kept the sweet Constellation compass without the cover. It has the only magnetic compensator and it's tight and has a great
card. The other compass I gave Eddie has the same card, but the oil was a mixture and would turn red if left in the sun for a
couple of days. I told Eddie to get new oil and drain this stuff out. It's the oil in the other compass that makes the card look
yellow. It's actually as white as the one on the left.
|With the instrument panel installed and wired and the console wired, I finally mounted the stern light properly and ran it's
wiring forward to join the harness coming from the console and heading forward over the port fuel tank. I wired the fuel tank
pick-up and joined those wires into the bundle as well, then ran them all to the main bulkhead at the aft end of the cabin. Wiring
for the starboard fuel tank pick-up ran into the engine room from the opposite direction. In the past,wiring things from cars to
boats to houses, where small bundles of few wires required a minimum of identifying tags and were easily sorted later. This time
I made up my mind to label every wire properly. It was a noble idea with insufficient steam to make it through to the end, but it
was started nicely. I opened Word and began a session of typing a word, copying it, then paste, paste, paste until I had tons of
wire labels waiting to be patiently cut out while watching football. Clear packing tape attached them to the wires. A bit tedious,
but I'm happy with it. There's going to be a lot of wiring before this project is over.
|My introduction to proper operational systems wiring was as an autopilot and compass systems specialist in the Air Force. I
worked on the big cargo planes from old C-97's to C-124's, 130's, 133's, and 141's. Most of my time was spent on C-141's. These
planes had huge electrical junction boxes with dozens of rows of terminal strips and thousands of skinny little white
wires with numeric codes on them that looked like European phone numbers. After a little while, you could find any wire
anywhere, separate it at a terminal strip and check it in one direction, then the other, and determine where the problem was. For
this reason, I still like terminal strips and intend to use them wherever practical.
The main reason for the terminal strip above is it is the only way to remove the whole instrument panel in one piece if I have to
replace an instrument or repaint the panel. It is also a convenient way to gang grounds and connect a few other devices, such as
the two fuel tank sender units.
|This was a great time for me. For years, this cockpit wasn't even a vision in my mind. I could never get it to gel into something
simple and functional.. Now, with certain elements solidifying, the battery switch box, the control console and full length seats, it
seemed to be coming along. The two round holes in the instrument bulkhead are for speakers and it wasn't long after this I
installed the Autopilot control on one side and the Depth sounder head and on the other.
|This was my first try making cushions and covers and I used what materials I had. At first, I wasn't all enthusiastic about the
material, but I had it and it matched so I found a way to cut it so it worked. I used scrap Pacific blue - a Sunbrella name and
product - for the edges and some dark blue scrap for the bottoms. It's all Sunbrella. The bad fit and wrinkly look were a
disappointment, not to mention the edges around the bottom didn't come out right and all puckered up a little and made me go
'ummnn' and frown. Just as I was scratching my head and wondering how to fix it, along came Ray Glover from Sunshine Canvas
who does all this for a living. I've known him for years and we've always been friendly. He always has good things to say and this
day was no exception. He told me the 'cushion and cover' secrets and told me how to make the covers tight and make them sew
up perfectly without mismatched edges or unwanted puckers. It involved gluing on extra foam and stapling the cover together,
inside out, over the foam, going end to end, side to side, a little at a time, until it's perfect, then unzip it and remove the foam and
stitch it up, removing the staples as you go. The excellent results are below. I am SO the cushion making man.
|As unbelievable as this may be, when I am not posting to the website it is not because Kathy Bates has me tied to a bed
somewhere with broken ankles, but almost. What happens is I am pulled away from the boat by other things. I was careful just
then not to say 'other interests', because I am not always 'interested' in what takes me away. Sometimes I get involved with
helping someone else - a problem with forcing a big, fat 'NO' out of my mouth (something I'm getting better at), or I have to
complete an obligation I'd begun eons before which is haunting me like Mrs. Miurs Ghost.
|Sooner or later, I always get back to the boat. One of the things I'd been avoiding was the shortening of the rudder post so I could
put a cushion on the aft deck and steer Falcon in relaxed comfort. It is two inches of solid 400 series stainless steel, solid, and as
you can see by the scarring on the deck surround the cut off shaft, it was a long, grueling siege in the sun. It took about five
hours to complete. Now I have to grind the top off smooth and repair the deck, then fashion an emergency tiller and a cover.
Believe it or not, the hard part is over.
The stainless Boom Gallows supporting the main boom is a long, slow, thought process coupled with trial and error until a
suitable structure was arrived at. It started with a discarded tow hitch for water skiing, and ended up as you see it here.
Originally, the thick legs bent backwards 90 degrees at the bottom, and the thinner legs went straight down to the deck at a 45
degree angle. Unable to simply weld and bend at will, I made do by fitting internal sleeves, using 3M 5200 and pop rivets, then
covered the joints with high-end electrical shrink tubing. I also wired the gallows internally and into the boat to facilitate
possibly moving the stern light up for better visibility. I finally installed the little flag mast I've been carrying around forever.
|Once back to work, I emptied the cockpit of everything, including the seats, and cleaned and coated all the raw wood with
epoxy.Next, several coats of single-part poly paint were applied to all surfaces, including the steering console. Well, except for the
aluminum plate - I haven't done that yet. It needs special primer.
Below is the sunshade I made for the cabin top between the masts. I cut it from an old sail and sewed good webbing around all
the edges before installing grommets. I also sewed two old seat belts together and sewed that into the center as a vertical rib. It
works great and is tough as nails. We'll see how long it takes for the sun to rot the threads. Here, it is hanging to dry after a good
|I'd decided on the deck positions of the mainsheet blocks some time before, sorting out many other items in the process. I first
had to decide where to attach to the boom and position the Bimini for swing clearance, then locate the beams below the deck,
and blah, blah, blah. Make believe I said everything.
I used the stainless Wichard eyebolts once assigned to secure the lower ends of the inner shrouds. Since those shrouds were
eliminated when going to the heavy masts, the parts were there for the using. Plenty of support above and below, as well as
After more thought and anguish than I'd care to talk about, I chucked the idea of a nice, stainless bail with which to attach the
mainsheets to the boom and instead opted for a sewn and sealed, bolted web hoop with two heavy stainless rings. This allows me
to drop the cross side sheet when the boom goes over the opposite side of the boat.
|Someday I may find the receipt for these deck organizers and clutches and know for just how many years I carried these pretty
little desk ornaments around before enlisting them into service on Falcon. However long it was, it was a good deal
cheaper to buy them then than it would be now. Everything is Garhauer, and so far, I like it just fine. AHHH, wait! I just
remembered! I bought these after a boat show in Boston and during the big law suit spendathon! 1992. Not used for 15 years. My,
how time flies. My friend Espin gnashes his teeth and points a wagging finger as he declares how much needless friction I am
deliberately inserting into every action I have to take on board. Well, what can I say. He's right. But I carried these things for 15
years and come heaven, hell or high water - especially high water - I'm putting them on. No sensible person would design a
modern boat with deadeyes and lanyards anyway, so the block and tackle fit right in.