Off the rails.

My new coachroof rails have been cut by Fine’s Lumber – I drove to Austin and collected them, and must now fettle and fit them.

The old ones have some inch and a half of curvature at the mid point. 

The profile of the original is asymmetric, more rounded on top than the bottom, whereas my new ones are symmetric. I will round off the top edges.

The new ones are also undrilled, so I have to get the holes lined up correctly. As Frank is 3 hours drive away, I do not want to be shuttling back and forth, and am not sure whether to drill and measure at the boat or at home, using the old rails as patterns.

Then I shall need to decide how to treat the new teak – oil, varnish, 

SailTimer Wireless Wind Instrument

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My new SailTimer wind instrument finally arrived today.

It is a Bluetooth wireless device, to replace the NASA Marine Clipper unit, which has a cable from masthead to cockpit, where the display unit site. The Clipper stopped working months ago, with the masthead unit having given up the ghost and, I suspect, the wire having some breaks in it.

This Sailtimer unit should transmit to my iPhone(s), iPad, etc as well as give me access to Crowdsourced wind wherever there are users – both historical and in realtime.

The Unit:


How it is supposed to look, once installed:


I will use my Aloft Alone kit to shimmy up the mast and install it – perhaps next weekend.

Wayward Halyard

I have lost the halyard several times – so now I wire it in place. It usually happens when I am reefing the main in a sudden blow, but it has happened when I have (for some reason) loosened it, and the wind snatches it from my hand, or it wraps itself around the head of the mast.

Shortly after leaving Camarinas, in a blow, as I was reefing, I heard a “ping!” As the shackle pin went flying one way and the shackle another. I took this photo of the halyard. 

I used my Aloft Alone kit to climb the mast mid Atlantic, somewhere off Portugal, but could not untangle it. I used the topping lift, as the halyard shifted position for several days, looking like a python, languidly lazing in the standing rigging.

Then, as I approached Porto Santos, it just fell loose!

I raced to the mast and grabbed it, still wrapped around the mast but in my reach at last, and tied it to a shroud before shackling it securely at the foot of the mast.
Below is Frank in Porto Santos, to the north east of Medeira. I stayed 12 hours to dry out and secure the halyard shackle pin with some seizing wire and headed on to the Caribbean. 

I heartily recommend Porto Santos – the marina is reminiscent of Portland, being an ex NATO base – not used much, sheltered and friendly. The beaches are wonderful and the shops nearby are superb. Apparently, finding a berth Madeira is hard but Porto Santos is great.

An Ode to an Anode

The hull anode, to which the engine is earthed, is a large, 8″ pear-shaped lump on the port side and towards the stern, near the centreline.

It is mounted on two through-hull bolts. When it was replaced in September of 2014, Craig was unable to free the forward nut holding the anode in place. So it was cut off, and disappeared into the gap between inner and outer hulls. A new bolt was fitted.

Water was entering the gap between hulls through the bolt hole, and upon inspection at Hooking Bull I saw that the new bolt was very badly corroded. With advice from the Sadler Owners’ forum (tremendously useful!) I set about replacing the bolt but also curing the problem of water ingress.

So I drilled a 2″ hole in the inner hull centred around each anode bolt, but not through the outer hull. Natch!

I discovered the old nut and bolt, and also drained out some water. There was a previous and poorly-executed attempt at filling the hole, as evidenced by some filler that I also removed. Remember, the gap is “filled” with a water resistant foam but there are gaps, and here was a gap.

I took these pics of the job:

The hole. Somewhere, I have pics of the finished job, and will add them.

I drilled new holes and cut new threads into the filled “bung” with a tap and die set, sealing the deal with 3M below waterlne adhesive Sealant (the stuff that can be removed, not the permanent stuff!)

The anode before new bolts were fitted. I reused the anode, making a new rubber gasket to go between the hull and the anode.

News of The Screws

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In St Croix I greased the MaxProp propeller, which involves buying some expensive grease and injecting it through a screw-in nipple. I also polished the bronze, added a new zinc and   also serviced the rope cutter (new zinc and bearing). I had bought some antifoul for the prop and shaft but decided to save it for another time.

Nine or 10 weeks later she was out of the water again, and I was amazed at the barnacles which were on the screw and shaft! 

This is the screw after 11 months in the water, from September 2014 Gosport to July St Croix.


Contrast with how the prop looked just after Frank was “re-branded” and put back in the water in Spring of 2014. 

Below are some pics of the MaxProp in various stages of undress at Hooking Bull boatyard, Rockport TX, May 2016. Somewhere I have pics of the screw with its new coat of antifoul. I hope it will last the season.

For a 3boat driven byna 8hp engine Frank was always reluctant to get a move on. I suspected that the settings were wrong (the MaxProp is a self-feathering blade which can be fine tuned to match the gearbox), and the guy at the distributor kindly gave me the correct settings to match my 2.14 reduction ratio gearbox. The difference is readily apparent. I can now turn the power on and off quickly, which is much better for navigating marinas or driving and turning through tough seas.

Note the alpha settings on the outer ring.

The prop is offset, making a clockwise turn easy but an anti clockwise turn, especially in reverse, is a nightmare. Go slow, be prepared to do lots of to-ing and fro-ing to manoeuver at close quarters, and be ready to use a power dump to halt momentum and start again!

I left the 1″ zinc on, and added one.

That square plate is a ground plate, magnesium alloy. Designed to correctly ground a SSB radio. It has two mounting points and is removeable for cleaning. The gap between the plate and hull is designed to maximise grounding. Most grounding plates have multiple mounting points – with this, fewer mounting bolts through the hull mean fewer holes through the hull.

Keel Over

Some pics of the keel refit at Hooking Bull, Rockport TX. This took three months or so, because we had to get a slot in the calendar, wait weeks for the “glue”, and schedule the rigger to unstep and restep the mast, tune the rigging, etc.

The mast is dropped..

Before the keel is dropped..

We had to wait whilst Hooking Bull found the time and then ordered the two-part keel adhesive sealant.

Lifting the hull, with the keel bolts loosened. The mast is off, to prevent the unballasted hull toppling over if the keel becomes detached.

Loosening the keel slowly to lower it from the hull..

The keel is hanging on..

Separation. There was water in the hull, which was drained out over several hours. No osmosis, thank heavens.

Interesting hole in the cast iron keel.

Applying the Pettit FlexPoxy, a 2-part epoxy adhesive sealant designed for keel joints, from Pettit Marine Paint. It has a carteidge to ensure that components A and B combine in a 2:1 ratio.

Inside the boat.

Dropping Frank back onto the keel, to compress the joint, and tightening the bolts..

Finishing off.

The finished job

Off the rails..

I headed down to Corpus today, to remove the rails from the coachroof.

As I suspected, the hairline crack in the port rail was a clean break. It is old, so probably predates my purchase of frank.


Now I will try to get new ones made, with the fallback of repairing and revarnishing.

Starting on the woodwork

The survey is finished, and next week I will go to start the paperchase with US Customs, to get Frank imported and then reflagged.

I spent last night and all day today stripping 31 years of varnish from the floorboards. 

Almost done.

The grotty boards at the bottom (below) are my deck at home, not Frank’s deck!


I have to finish stripping the varnish: the discolored areas you can see are varnish stripper – where there is no varnish residue, it has evaporated, so I just have a few areas left to scrape.

The inlay is actually very thin, and in some areas it has been worn away. However, a good coat or three of varnish will distract from those flaws. 

The board at the back of the saloon, nearest the heads, has a crack on the underside, which I will patch up amd reinforce.

Tomorrow I will head to Corpus and remove the handrails, bring them home and start refinishing them. I also need to order the new Stack Pack sail cover, to replace the damaged one, from the guy in Port Aransas, if I can find his number.

Frank – The 67th Sadler 34

Since buying her in 2013 I have been trying to find the hull number of Frank – when Sadler was building the boats they did not have a formal way of marking the hulls with the build number.

Thanks to the Sadler Discussion Forum and The Sadler Owner’s Association I now know that Frank was the 67th Sadler 34. 

“My records show [the first buyer] bought the Sadler 34SE in 1985 with the Hull

number 34/067, sail number K8652Y…

Interestingly enough she was built alongside a 34 build no. 066 which was

for the Yachting World editor, Andrew Bray. ” (Nigel Thomas, of the owners’ association).

So now I know. Built 31 years ago, hull number 67.