Friday, September 15, 2017


I've been a bit slow on the updates lately, but I've been picking away at a lot of little things and not really finishing any one thing.  After painting the boat, I gave the paint a few days to dry, my son and I flipped the boat back over onto the trailer bunks so I could get more work done on the interior. There aren't any big jobs left, but lots of little things that will just suck up time. On top of all of that, I had my hip replaced last Thursday and I had a bunch of non-boat related things to take care of before getting my hip chopped and taking a few weeks off work.

Anyway, once the boat was flipped over I started on the bow area to get that completed.  It was in pretty decent shape, but I still had to frame in the hatch opening and fair a few spots on the deck.  I glued in the plywood riser pieces and followed up with a round of fairing compound on the surrounding deck area.  Another round of fairing and a bunch of sanding and I felt like the foredeck area was good for primer.  

At the same time, I started working on the mast partner assembly.  Knowing at the start that the mast step and foredeck design was of my own doing, there was no plan to follow, so it took me quite a bit of thought (ie. drinking beer while staring at boat) to come up with a design.  The number one feature I wanted in the mast partners was that it should be able to be easily opened and closed so the mast could be stepped and unstepped in seconds.

What I came
up with is best described with photos, but a few words on how it works can't hurt.  So the design is basically a thick piece of Sapele with a 4 in circle cut in the center and then that piece cut across the circle perpendicular to the centerline of the boat.  On the aft piece, I mounted a 1/8" stainless steel plate in which 2 - 5/16" bolts come up from the surrounding deck area and capture the piece with wingnuts.

It took a bunch of trial and error to come up with the final design, but I think it should work pretty well and should certainly be strong enough.  For some of the final test fittings, I pulled the boat out of the shop and did a trail step and it seemed to work as planned.  I slide the butt of the mast into the step, raise it up to full height, and then slip the aft piece over the 5/16" bolts and then snug it all down with wingnuts.

After I was satisfied with the design, I leathered the new partner to protect the mast from chafing. I had never done it before but found a number of tutorials online and it didn't seem too hard.  I found some suitable leather pieces and 1/2" copper tacks online and went to town.  I cut out the pattern lathered up both the back of the leather and wood with contact cement and once dry I set the leather onto the wood and tacked it all in place with the copper tacks.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, we'll see how it holds up over time.

Finally, I put a few coats of varnish on the partner assembly (not on the leather) and put two coats of primer down on the foredeck that I had faired and prepped earlier.


  1. Interesting mast partner design. I see the attraction of the slot, easy to get up and down, all the advantages of a tabernacle without the weaknesses. OTOH, I have to admit that I really HATE wingnuts... just the thing to get yourself or a rope caught on, painful to turn when your fingers are wet and cold. Suggestion? Keep a crescent wrench handy.....

    Apologies for "throwing cold water" on your idea, this is just my not-at-all-humble opinion. For next boat - or when you get tired of those wingnuts: That's a Bolger Micro, BTW. A brick of a boat, but lots of genius ideas.

    1. Hey Tom, I don't think you could do a tabernacle with an unstayed rig, and I need the partner up as high as possible to stay within the design parameters. At the same time, dropping a 20+ pound mast into a hole in a bumpy seaway can be a challenge, hence the opening partner.
      I'm not a big fan of wingnuts either, and will probably replace them with knobs, but I may replace it if I come up with a better plan.

  2. I hear you. As for tabernacle, I just meant that the mast "slot" works a lot like a tabernacle, without the downsides (extra sticks above the deck, ugh!). Yes, knobs will be a more elegant eventual solution