Winter Upgrades to our Rival 34 Sailboat

It’s winter break, and I’m spending a few days on the boat.  I had a very good meeting with Kemp Sails and Kiwi Rigging (both in Gosport) this morning about some winter upgrades to be done in the next few weeks.  I’d like to think that I have a small pot of money to use every two years for some nice upgrades to our boat.  Two years ago it was new primary winches from Lewmar.  This year it’s all about the sails and rigging.

First, we are having Kemp build us one of their modern stack packs with lazy jacks.  This should make dropping the sail and putting in reefs easier with a husband/wife crew like ours, and our current sail tie and sail cover system are end of life anyway.  This is a relatively affordable upgrade, and we look forward to it.  (In particular my wife seems to like the idea of me doing less ping-ponging up and down on the fore deck as we enter Poole or similar rough entry areas.)

Second, it’s been embarassing that we haven’t had a good preventer system for the boom for down-run sailing in choppy conditions.  As you might guess, the English Channel is typically choppy conditions.  At the London boat show I picked up all the gear (line, Harken block, stainless fittings) for a nice end of book preventer that runs to the bow and back, and I have that all set up.  Once the stackpack from Kemp cleans up our boom, I might consider rigging the preventer to be under the boom and ready all the time.
Third, we had the genoa taken down today and Kemp is going to shorten the head by 2-3 inches so that we can increase the tension on the halyard.  It runs right to the block now, but we don’t seem to get enough tension and this affects upwind performance.  That should be an easy fix and should be done in a couple of days.  Otherwise, the North Sails genoa is in great shape, and no other cleaning or repairs are needed at this time.

Fourth, now that the mainsail has been measured for the stackpack, I’m taking it off later this week to deliver to Kemp for repairs and cleaning.  That should be done in 2-3 weeks.  I like our North Sails main, but it’s developed some mildew spots and has one or two holes worn through up by the luff of the sail.

Kiwi Rigging of Gosport is visiting our boat next week to install the two blocks for the lazy jacks and to do a rigging check.  Since I’m a touch lazy this year, I’ve also asked them to repack all five of our winches (since it’s been two years).  I don’t expect anything negative from the rigging check, but I like having one done every two years.

Other things– I need to change the oil this week and I plan to upgrade the fuel filter from a CAV to a Racor spin-on.  In previous years, I always get a 50/50 chance that the dumb multiple seals on the three part CAV filter don’t perfectly align and leak, so I have to disassemble and redo a second time (and this is far back behind the engine in a painful to reach space).  I was inspired by Paul Heiney to do this upgrade, since he reminded me that  replacing clogged CAV filters at sea could be extremely difficult and nausea producing.  The spin-on Racors will still need to be bled, but at least they won’t require the three part glass and metal and rubber O ring dance.

If I have any funds left, I’d like some LED cabin lights for reading, but they can wait.  Also, in the future I’d like Lith-ion batteries, but not yet.  If I were sailing the Azores this year (and I wish I were), I might also consider installing a Walden boom-brake (which I also saw at the London Boat Show, or I could bring one back from the states), but I don’t think we need it for this season of sailing.  Maybe next year!

Cal 20 Restoration 7

I just posted our final set of Cal 20 restoration photos at

This set shows the original ’67 Evinrude we used to motor from Schooner Creek Boat Works to McCuddy’s Moorage (barely), some final deck hardware bedding, our new Mercury 4 hp 4 stroke, and then some pics from our maiden sail this evening on the Columbia River (in very light winds).

Thanks to everyone who helped out with advice, parts, and general encouragement. Special thanks to Kevin C for lending us his trailer for three months. The project was enormously rewarding, and my brother actually misses having the boat in his driveway (nothing to stare at in the evenings). Luckily, I’ve located a Pearson 26 that only needs a little…

Project costs: $600 for the boat, sails, and original motor. Then about $2000 in paints, materials, wood, stainless fittings, almost new jib from North sails, running rigging, new rub rail, etc. Then about $1215 for the motor, and $600 for the first year of fleet moorage. Oh, and about 3 months of thinking about working on it, and actually working on it during evenings and weekends.

Main achievement: learning the process and procedures of dealing with repairs and refinishing. And, happy wife and kids on boat.

Lucky factors: being able to borrow a trailer, share the work between two of us, share the costs between two of us, and having a deadline to finish the project so we could return the trailer.

Cal 20 Restoration 6

We had a great experience at Schooner Creek Boatworks yesterday as we launched our Cal 20. After all the hectic preparations, it was great to be met by helpful and enthusiastic help when it was time to raise the mast and have the boat lifted and lowered into the basin. For neophytes like us, this was just what we needed.

Here’s the pictures from the day:

Today, we plan to sail/motor to McCuddy’s later in the afternoon. Before then, we need to work on our old Evinrude 6 hp since the new Mercury 4 hp hasn’t arrived yet. We were graciously offered the loan of a 3.5 hp today if we can’t get the Evinrude running reliably enough. Hmmm– maybe meeting the people who enjoy boats is best part of sailing.

Cal 20 Restoration 5

Well, we’re close. Our launch is set for tomorrow afternoon. The ninth set of restoration photos is at

The previous photo set ended with the application of six coats of VC Tar2 barrier coat, and this new set starts with our VC 17 anti-fouling coats. After that, we re-installed all deck hardware (bedded with Life Caulk), applied two coats of West System clear epoxy to all brightwork, installed brightwork, installed new hardwood backing plates, sanded and waxed the mast, installed new mast hardware (heavy duty spreader brackets, sheaves, jib sheet block), sanded and waxed the topsides, installed new rub-rail (from Steve Seal), painted the name on the transom and put on new license numbers.

The hours involved with this list were significant– just chasing down replacement stainless nuts and bolts took a lot of time. We’ve worked all weekend on the boat, and all evenings after work. I couldn’t take many pictures, because it’s getting dark sooner and normally it was too dark to take pictures once we finished for the evening.

Tomorrow, we’re scheduled for an afternoon launch at Schooner Creek boatworks. One missing part: our new Mercury 4 HP four stroke hasn’t arrived yet, so we may revive the original 6 HP Evinrude to motor from the launch site to our mooring with the fleet. Maybe we’ll go sailing in all our spare time when this is done…

Cal 20 Restoration 4

Aurora is nearing completion as we approach exhaustion. The eighth set of restoration photos is at

In the last week, we continued to have problems with the deck paint. On the second from last coat, we covered the boat with a tarp too soon and “cross hatched” most of the high areas. On Wednesday evening after an hour of sanding off the cross hatch, we finished the final coat and left the boat uncovered overnight, only to find that the morning dew turned the shiny finish to caulk in the morning. Ugh. To recover, we had to change color to Matterhorn white (couldn’t wait to special order what we had before), and did two more coats in the morning hours (my brother took two days off from work) so that the paint could dry all day before be covered with a tarp. It looks great now, but at $70 a quart, and one quart per coat, we definitely don’t want to do any more.

After the decks, it was almost a pleasure to do final hull repairs and prep, including the removal and filling in of both thru hulls (which were there for the marine toilet). We finished the painting of the deck, and cleaned and sealed the deck hull joint with 5200. We then used boards and ropes to secure the boat laterally so that we could lower all four trailer pads at once to paint the bottom. Pretty much all the weight of the boat is on the bulb of the keel, and the four support boards did a fine job of holding the boat as we painted the bottom, although we won’t go aboard again until the boat is back on the pads.

We chose VC Tar2 for our barrier coats. It’s glossy black and went on well. We needed two hours between overcoats, but we still managed to apply six coats in one day, starting at nine a.m. and finishing after nine p.m. The six coats took four quarts, and doing all the coats in one day allowed us to use part of a quart for one coat and then the rest on the next (four hour pot life). Between coats, we also “color matched” the topsides with repair resin and started to fill in scratches. The boat spent the last eight years sitting on barrels, so there are more than a few topsides imperfections. Still, we’d rather sand, clean and wax the topsides than paint them, so…

Today we’ll apply two coats of VC-17m anti-fouling paint (amazing how fast it dries), and tomorrow we hope to put the boat back down on the trailer pads and get started on re-installed deck hardware. We ordered a new Mercury 4 HP 4 Stroke outboard for it yesterday, but it won’t likely make it for a launch next Friday, so our new launch date is Friday, September 16th.

Cal 20 Restoration 3

The seventh set of Cal 20 Restoration Pictues is now available at

For reasons unknown, we soldier on with our Cal 20 restoration. This week, we finished the epoxy repairs on deck cracks and points of damage, and then we did a complete sanding of the entire deck before the first coat of Interlux Primekote primer.

At that point, we made a mistake and didn’t add 20-25% thinner, and as a result the primer went on like spackle. The quart covered less than half of the deck, and the vertical areas had pretty terrible brush strokes. It took four hours of sanding to flatten everything out again.

We then used two more quarts of thinned Primekote and completed two complete coats. Then we sanded a little and painted on two coats of Interlux Perfection Mediterranean White. It dried with a much higher shine than we expected, even if a bit “whiter” than we hoped.

Now we’re working on deck hardware, wood and fittings. We’ve found that a portable planner is literally recovering warped wood that we thought was ruined. The washboards and mounting wood all planed out flat and pretty once again.

After that, we’re doing 5-6 coats of VC Tar2 barrier coats before the VC 17 antifouling. We hope to launch on September 10th.

Cal 20 Restoration 2

Here’s the link to the sixth set of restoration photos:

During the last week, we Easypoxied the interior, finished the ceiling repairs, fabricated and installed new plywood supports under the cockpit, scrubbed and sanded the deck, opened and patched cracks in the deck, did final sanding on topsides and below waterline, cleaned and waxed the boom, and wire brushed the hull/deck joint. We also ordered deck paint, a used North Sails jib, and new gunnel rubber (from Steve Seal).

This week, we plan to finish deck prep, prime the deck, do two coats of Interlux Perfection on the decks, re-install deck hardware, and then begin the epoxy barrier coats below the waterline.

Some questions for knowledgeable Cal 20 mavens:

1) I need to order or buy new running rigging. Does anyone have any recent measurements for correct lengths of lines needed? Also, we need to figure out how the mainsheet is supposed to be routed between the pulleys on the side decks, the end of the boom, and central pulley in the middle of the aft deck.

2) Is it safe to have a remote gas tank under the cockpit seat hatch? I noticed there’s a notch for the line, but it seems like fumes from the vent would go into the bilge area. On the club boats we sail, the remote tanks are always in a locker that is sealed from the bilge.

Cal 20 Restoration 1

My brother and I purchased a Cal 20 that needed work, and we’ve posted five sets of photos of our progress so far. The latest set is available at

Links to the previous four sets of photos are at the top of page.

So far, we’ve dropped and refinished the keel, and reconnected it with stainless keel bolts. We’ve prepped the hull for epoxy barrier coats, and over the last three days we’ve prepped the interior and primed it for Pettit EasyPoxy. Next weekend, we hope to finish the deck prep and paint it. All hardware is removed, and we’ve begun work on crack repairs.