Refit & Repairs to Sails and Rigging

Photo: Gyatso under sail during our Atlantic Crossing on the leg from Antigua to Bermuda. Photo courtesy of s/y Bobo.
Gyatso under sail during our Atlantic Crossing on the leg from Antigua to Bermuda. Photo courtesy of s/y Bobo.

Sails

We used the 20-year old head sails for a year while we were getting to know our 1985 Tayana 37 cutter which helped us work with a sailmaker to get exactly what we wanted when the time came for this item to rise to the top of the list.  It did in 2006 while we were in Annapolis, and after shopping around, we selected the UK Halsey loft for the job, mainly because of our respect for Scott Allan there.  We were very pleased with the sails.

Other than minor repairs, we continue to use the fully-battened main sail which came with the boat when we purchased it in 2005.  The previous owner had it made at Jasper and Bailey in Newport Rhode Island.   After a careful inspection, the five-year old sail was well-made and looked lightly used.  Here are some photos of our sails:

After crossing the Atlantic, our only regret in terms of preparing the sails for the voyage is that we didn’t install a third reef point in the main sail when it was at the UK Halsey loft in Annapolis for inspection and repairs. We made due, however, and always have the option of sailing with the staysail alone which we did once while heaving to and letting storm force conditions pass ahead of us to the east.

Photo: Tayana 37 Gyatso under sail in the Caribbean's Windward Islands. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Gyatso under sail in the Caribbean’s Windward Islands. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Gyatso enjoyed the sailing conditions in the Eastern Caribbean as much as we did. Most days we would ask, “Should we put in one reef or two?”  During the month of January, we kept the first reef in the main sail almost the entire time. With roller furling head sails, we could respond quickly to changing conditions such as the frequent afternoon squalls.

Photo: Gyatso's headsails were designed and made by UK Halsey in Annapolis, Maryland. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Gyatso’s headsails were designed and made by UK Halsey in Annapolis, Maryland. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Our new headsails were designed and made by UK Halsey in Annapolis, Maryland. We were extremely pleased with their work and for the brilliant advice of Scott Allan when he suggested we keep the high-cut Yankee. We contemplated switching to a more traditional jib or genoa but decided to stick with the original sail plan for the Tayana 37 cutter. The new roller furling Yankee is slightly larger than the old one.

Photo: Tayana 37 Gyatso at anchor in Tobago Cay, The Grenadines. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Gyatso at anchor in Tobago Cay, The Grenadines. Photo by Lisa Borre.

Contrary to the recommendations of several riggers who have inspected the boat, we have kept the club-footed staysail arrangement and are very pleased with it.

Rigging

While we were in our homeport of Annapolis in 2006 preparing to sail offshore from the Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean with the Caribbean 1500 Rally, we decided to replace all of the standing rigging and life lines. We thought this would be a straight forward project, however, it didn’t end-up that way.

After un-stepping the mast, we took a closer look at the chainplates which are mounted to knees on the inside of the hull. We had been concerned about the chainplates since the very first inspection of the boat when we found signs of moisture in the cabinetry around them. We had hoped at the time that it was simply the lack of properly maintaining and re-bedding the deck plate covers where the chainplates pass through the deck. We had also hoped that this had not caused damage to the chainplates or bolts holding them in place.  Unfortunately, we didn’t like what we found. While attempting to clean-up the chainplates for a closer inspection, David noticed that in addition to very rusty bolts and chainplates, several of the bolts were loose and could not be removed because the plate they were mounted to was embedded in the fiberglass-covered knee. We considered this a serious flaw in the chainplate design because there was no way to get at the hardware without digging it out.

We consulted other experts on the topic and reviewed how others dealt with this issue on the very helpful Tayana Owner’s Groupwebsite. In the end, we decided to replace all of the chainplates, but it cost us dearly. Time was running out, and we had already signed up for the rally. We contracted the work out, and It was a major undertaking (=$$$) as can be seen in the photos below.

Except for a few minor issues, we did not have any particular problem with the work of the individual technicians or sub-contractors on the job, most of whom did their jobs very well.  In particular, the work that was sub-contracted out was done with great care. Without going into a lot of details, we wished that the rigging company we contracted would have identified the additional problems (i.e. chainplates) upfront. After expressing our concerns, we looked to them for their expertise but got conflicting advice. We did make it to the start of the rally on time, but just barely.

We found a few small, but significant technical flaws in their work, but luckily we discovered them before any problems occurred. One was the use of a standard bolt to re-attach the roller furler on the staysail to the deck fitting. Upon arrival in the BVIs after 1500 miles offshore, we found that the nut on the end of the bolt had come loose. If the bolt had failed, the results could have been disastrous. However, we quickly fixed the problem with the installation of a part specified for this purpose by the Pro Furl manufacturer. Thousands of miles later, including an Atlantic crossing, and we haven’t had a problem since.

Another problem we encountered was the new halyard the rigging company made for the staysail, the end of which jammed where the halyard is fed out the mast. Had we needed to drop the sail for any reason while at sea, we wouldn’t have been able to without climbing the mast. Luckily, we discovered this problem during our post-passage inspection in the BVI’s.  We fixed it by cutting out the splice and using a knot called a “baby fist” instead. See below for photos and details from the rigging project.

Bow Pulpit and Anchor Rollers

Photo: Tayana 37 Gyatso's bow pulpit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Gyatso’s bow pulpit. Credit: Lisa Borre.

We removed the bow pulpit and anchor rollers so that both could be repaired. The cranze ring was also removed which gave Lisa the opportunity to lay on nine coats of varnish. David removed the windlass and worked with cousin Will to overhaul it.

Chainplates

At first, everything looked okay with the old chainplates as they emerged from the deck even though improper maintenance of the chainplate covers over the years had allowed water to seep below the deck surface.

Photo: Tayana 37 Gyatso's chainplates. Credit: Lisa Borre.
On first inspection, Gyatso’s chain plates appeared fine where they emerged from the deck. Credit: Lisa Borre.

After the chainplates failed a more thorough inspection when we returned from Michigan in September, we removed all seven to find that all had signs of serious crevice corrosion and would need to be rebuilt.

Photo: These old Tayana 37 chainplates did not pass a more thorough inspection. Credit: Lisa Borre.
After removal, the chainplates failed a more thorough inspection. Credit: Lisa Borre.

The aft chainplate was one of the easiest to remove, but it also showed signs of corrosion.

Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Removing the aft chainplate during our refit of the Tayana 37 standing rigging on Gyatso. Credit: Lisa Borre.

The most difficult aspect of the chainplate project was removing the daughter plates to which they attach. When we removed the chainplates, one of 35 bolts sheered off and two others were spinning in place. We consulted the Tayana Owner’s Group (TOG) website and learned that the daughter plates were buried behind layers of plywood and fiberglassed in. There was no way to inspect or service them without just digging them out.

Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Plywood filler was buried under fiberglass to hold the original daughter plates. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Each chainplate was in a different condition, but the plywood in several of the knees was completely water-logged and had structurally failed. The photo at left shows the pulpy, decomposed nature of the plywood filler found in knees.

Photo: Waterlogged plywood filler surrounding the old chainplates on our Tayana 37. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Removing waterlogged plywood filler surrounding the daughter plates. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Each daughter plate took at least a half a day to dig out of the fiberglass over plywood knees on the inside of the hull.  Once removed, they looked exactly like the ones found on the TOG website. Rather than replacing them using the same flawed design, we decided to build on the lessons from other Tayana owners. Thomas Rich at Mount Ranier Boatworks was brought on to oversee the reinstallation of new chainplates which included a daughter plate on the exterior of the hull.

Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
A damaged daughter plate removed during our Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Josh at Port Annapolis Marina removed the old chainplates with help from David and then replaced the knees with new filler and fiberglass in preparation for re-attachment of the new ones. The entire project was complicated by the fact that the chainplates were located inside of our beautiful cabinetry. Great care was taken to minimize removal or damage to the cabinets.

Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
After removing the chainplates, the knees needed to be rebuilt. Credit: Lisa Borre.

The new chain plates were exactly the same as the old chainplates except they were slightly thicker so that we could use stock stainless steel. Kado Marine fabricated the new chainplates as well as the daughter plates to be mounted on the exterior of the hull. We kept the 3/8″ bolts but went with much longer carriage bolts to reach the outside of the hull.

Photo: New chainplates for our Tayana 37. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The new chainplates were the similar to the old ones except the daughter plates were mounted on the exterior of the hull. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Thomas drilled a guide hole through the hull as the old chainplates are removed. This hole will be used along with a jig to drill the holes for the new chainplates.

Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Guide holes had to be drilled as the old chainplates were removed. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Thomas used a jig once the old chainplates were removed. He worked tirelessly to get the job done in time for us to make the rally start.

Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
A jig was used to install the new daughter plates. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Rather than burying the daughter plates in plywood and fiberglass on the inside of the hull, we opted for a new design which required drilling 35 holes through the hull, mounting daughter plates on the exterior of the hull, and attaching the new chainplates to the knees on the interior of the hull.

Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Holes were drilled to mount the daughter plates on the exterior of the hull. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Two of the daughter plates on the starboard side after installation. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Photo: Tayana 37 chainplate refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The chainplates installation on the port side required working from the raft. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Standing Rigging

Thomas had to crawl into the chain locker, not an easy feat, while removing and replacing the bobstay fitting at the water line. Lisa assisted by sitting in the cockpit and recruiting people to join her in order to keep the bow (and the two holes for the bolts) out of the water during the procedure.

Photo: Tayana 37 bobstay refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The bobstay fitting had to be accessed via the anchor chain locker. Credit: Lisa Borre.

All of the standing rigging was replaced as well as having a new wind instrument installed and several halyards replaced.

Photo: Tayana 37 standing rigging refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Riggers prepare the mast for re-stepping after it had been in the cradle for over two months. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Photo: Restepping mast of Tayana 37 Gyatso at Port Annapolis Marina. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The crane at Port Annapolis Marina lifts the mast toward Gyatso. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Photo: Tayana 37 re-stepping mast. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Re-stepping the mast. Credit: Lisa Borre.

A strong squall threatened as the mast was being re-stepped, but luckily the stays were attached before it hit with gusts over 35 knots. It was so windy that afternoon that we did not move the boat back to its slip until the following morning. A bald eagle soared overhead as the mast was being re-stepped which we took as a good omen.

Photo: Tayana 37 Gyatso at Port Annapolis. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Photo: A strong squall moved through after the mast was re-stepped. Credit: Lisa Borre.
Photo: Tayana 37 lifeline refit. Credit: Lisa Borre.
The old coated lifelines were removed and replaced with new, uncoated ones. Credit: Lisa Borre.

Mainsail Boom

In 2010, we refinished the mainsail boom while wintering-over in Marmaris, Turkey: