XVII. Attaching the Deck Hardware

Building the Core Sound 20

Attaching the deck hardware is tedious, slow work. After so much effort to make our deck look nice, a drilling or layout mistake would be catastrophic. That's why we waited until our masts were finished to begin attaching deck hardware: so that we could actually run the rigging on deck and establish a fair, workable route for each line.

Attaching hardware is the only part of the building process for which we found the plan sheets to be inadequate. If you're new to the sprit rig like we are, it is difficult to understand how each piece should be placed—even when you're working with neatly labeled bags of parts like those the designer sent to us. For this reason, we'll go into more detail than usual about the rigging, as I suspect it will be helpful to future Core Sound 20 builders. Keep in mind that there are many possible variations on this rigging, but we've chosen a setup that should serve the design well.

Regardless of the rigging setup you choose, it is imperative that every hole you drill for attaching hardware be carefully sealed to prevent water intrusion. The fastener holes are typically the "weak link" in an epoxy-encapsulated boat, often becoming the first sites of rot. There are two common methods for preventing this. The simplest and quickest is to drill each fastener hole about 1/64" oversized and seal the edges of the hole carefully with raw epoxy. we used a pipe cleaner for this purpose and gave two coats of epoxy to every hole we drilled. With a good sealant applied to each fastener you attach, this method can give years of good, rot-free service, though it pays to be vigilant by inspecting the fasteners periodically for signs of trouble. Since our deck is bright-finished and will require annual maintenance, we will probably remove the hardware every year, permitting quick, easy inspection and an opportunity to "refresh" the epoxy coating on the inside of each fastener hole. For this reason, we elected to seal most of our fastener holes using this simpler method.

Another, more time-consuming, but more reliable method of protecting fastener holes (considered the "gold standard" by most builders) is to overdrill each fastener hole by an appreciable amount (say, at least 1/8", but possibly 1/4" or more), re-fill the hole with thickened epoxy, then drill through the cured filler to the correct fastener hole size. This creates a durable epoxy bushing around each fastener, virtually eliminating any chance of rot from abrasion caused by a fastener "chafing" or twisting inside of its fastener hole. However, there is still a danger that the hardware pieces may torque, bind, or crush against the plywood deck, producing small gaps or cracks that permit water to enter. In other words, this method is not infallible, though it is less susceptible to problems than the other. The real drawback to this method is the sheer amount of time it takes to complete, as well as the greater potential it has to create messy or extra work if the holes are not bedded in the most fastidious manner. We chose to use this method only for fastener holes subject to high strains, such as those for attaching the anchor roller to the bowsprit.

Main Sheet

The main sheet is the control line for the main (forward) sail. Our setup consists of two side-mounted clam cleats (mounted on the face of the coaming, on the port and starboard sides), two bullseyes (mounted on the seat tops, about flush with the coaming), two stand-up blocks (mounted on the forward edge of the thwart), and a single block (attached to a short rope tied to the end of the sprit or clew).

The angle of the sheet as it runs from the side-mounted clam cleat to the bullseye, and again from the bullseye to the stand-up block, should be as gentle as you can conveniently make it in the space available. Tighter angles will exert more friction on the hardware and increase the likelihood of tangles and wear on the sheets. It is especially important that the ends of the sheets lead fairly into the clam cleats for a secure hold, and that the bullseyes be oriented so that they bisect the angle of the sheet equally.

The pictures above show the steepest angle at which the main sheet can enter the side-mounted clam cleats (from the bullseye) without jamming or losing hold. It also shows how, through thoughtful hardware placement, we routed the sheet across the least usable areas of the seat (where the thwart would prevent anyone from sitting naturally anyway).

Mizzen Sheet

The mizzen sheet is the control line for the main (aft) sail. Our setup consists of two cam cleats (mounted just aft of the cockpit coaming, on the port and starboard sides), two bullseyes (mounted on the aft deck), two standup blocks (screwed deeply into the transom stringer), and a single block (attached to a short rope tied to the end of the sprit or clew).

As you can see in the picture above, the starboard-side bullseye is necessary to route the mizzen sheet around the off-centered hatch (allow clearance for the hatch hinges also, lest they pinch the sheet when the hatch opens). The port bullseye is less important, but is useful to preserve the symmetry of the sheets and to keep a space clear for sitting on the aft deck.

Main and Mizzen Halyards

The main and mizzen halyards raise the sails on the sail track. Each consists of a halyard sheave (bolted to the top of each mast) and a clamcleat to secure the halyard line. The main halyard also makes use of a stand-up block and a cheek block (mounted on the foredeck) to route the halyard line back to the cockpit for easier access while sailing.

Main and Mizzen Snotters

The main and mizzen snotters attach the sprits to each mast and help to control the sail shape by adjusting the tension of the sprit. Each snotter consists of a stainless hook attached to a single block with becket, a cheek block mounted to the sprit end, and a clamcleat to secure the snotter line. The main snotter also makes use of a stand-up block and a cheek block (mounted on the foredeck) to route the snotter line back to the cockpit for easier access while sailing.

Main and Mizzen Downhauls

The main and mizzen downhauls pull downward on the tack of the sail for adjusting the luff tension and for reefing. Our setup for the main downhaul consists of a single block with stainless hook (attached to the clew), an eyestrap (at the base of the mast, starboard side, to dead-end the line), a stand-up block (at the base of the mast, port side), a cheek block (mounted on the foredeck, port side), and a cleat (mounted on the side deck, port side).

Our setup for the mizzen downhaul consists of a single block with stainless hook (attached to the clew), a hole drilled in the thwart (at the base of the mast, slightly to port, to dead-end the line), a stand-up block (at the base of the mast, slightly to starboard), and a clam cleat (to secure the line and adjust tension).

** More to come ... **

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© 2008, Wesley Kisting


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