Monday, April 4, 2016


OK, now it is time for that traveller upgrade. The First 235 has a 2:1 Harken traveller which, for the most part, does a great job. Seeing as we are racing now, and the hardware is original, it was time to think about replacing the 2:1 with a 4:1 to make things easier. Another reason is that the 235 has mid boom sheeting, loads are higher when using the traveller and main sheet than on a boat with end boom sheeting.

I started doing my research on this at the end of the season last year. Worked out the parts needed and how much it was all going to cost. A fair amount to be honest. I was hoping to utilize the original track as I really didn’t want to deal with pulling the track off the boat. I bet you already know where this is going….. Anyone who has worked on a sailboat and needed to remove and add hardware knows that access most of the time require one to be a contortionist with small but agile and strong hands……

I ordered all the hardware from Vela Sailing Supply in Texas. These guys are great, awesome prices and top notch service when you need it. Took a couple of days for it to arrive but that was of no consequence because at the time, there was still snow on the ground and the temps were in the low teens most of the day.

So I was poking around the Harken website and I was looking at the parts lists that they had and I came to a realization…… I had ordered the wrong car. The one I had was for light loads and I had too much sail area for it. So I had a quick conversation with Vella customer service, got an RMA, and then sent the incorrect car back. At this time I was the luck owner of 2 traveller cars as they of course couldn’t refund me until they got the one I previously ordered back. Lucky me eh?

I love the smell of new hardware in the morning.

So the weather hadn’t really been cooperating anyway but there was a weather window on a Friday in early March, so I took the day off with visions of removing hardware and adding the new stuff utilizing the existing track. I took off one of the end stops easy enough and then I slid the car off the track. Torlon balls everywhere!! Oh how they roll…….  I initially thought they were very worn to do that. That was until I tried to slide the new car on with the captive bearings. Hell, the new end slipped on fine, I was on a roll. /rimshot…… So as you can imagine the new car would not slide on…. Hmmm…. Oh yeah, there is that clip holding the bearings in. Oh looky, directions….. So now I RTFM and find out that on track older than like 2000 or something, mine is at least 1992, you have to remove the clips, very carefully (their words) put the bearings in a box or bag, pull the track (sigh), and then carefully slip the same number of balls in to each side of the car. Ummmm, yeah, gonna have to pull the track anyway now… no to the ball bearing step. Order new track. Back to Vella’s website cause spending money unexpectedly is fun!

That put an end to the work for the day but, hey, I had the day off and it was Friday!
So the following week a long box shows up with the track in it. I pull it out and the first thing I notice is that it is the high beam track. Ok, no big deal as it would still work. Then I notice there are no holes in it. Definitely the wrong track. Wait, check your order Dan! So I do and I ordered the low beam track that has the predrilled holes. Back to Vela, no worries, here is a return label for FedEx. Your correct track will be shipped today. Nice! Still cold as a well digger’s @@@ anyway. This is all starting to remind me of the turnbuckle cluster of couple years ago with the old and slow boat……

So the correct track shows up and I can finally figure out when to do all this. As I know it will be a two person job, Clay and I get together at my place after proper motivation and we start un-bolting. Of course access is nonexistent for some of the bolts. On my '92, some of them were behind the bulkhead that the companionway stairs attach to. This could be different on other 235’s. So we cut a circular hole that an access port cover will eventually fill. Remember my contortionist with small strong thin hands comment? Oh yea, that was fun to get out. I think there were 5 like that.

Yeah, that is easy to work inside.

So next on the list when the weather cooperates is to fill these old holes with thickened epoxy, damn do I love epoxy, and then get the new track set. Did that on the next weekend and that went OK. At this point of beers, which happens frequently as you probably can tell now, Clay and I were discussing the track and how maybe I should have gone with the Lewmar system. They have their bolts in the track and they slide and then you can match your original pattern. Well seeing as I didn’t plan on new track or even pulling the old one that was not a consideration. Ahhhh 20/20 hindsight. About half the cost too. See how Clay did it on Blue J here.

So I had been puttering about when I could, getting things marked, drilled, filled, etc for the new track. Finally the weather was decent last Sunday and Clay came over and I had been working earlier getting the holes drilled and was putting Butyl Tape around each hole. After some more contortioning on my part, we got it mounted with the ends and the new car, ran the line and were done.

All told if I would have thought it through a bit more, I probably would have gone with the Lewmar system instead. Just due to cost savings to be honest. Half the price…..

Anyway, Seeker has a new 4:1 Harken traveller system which, does not suck as Harken is the original vendor. Launch is this coming Saturday and that will give us nearly 4 weeks of sailing before the first race. Liking that for sure.

Here is the parts list;

  • Harken 2731 car.
  • Harken 2743 end control. Set of 2.
  • Harken 342 double block. 2 of these.
  • Harken 22mm low beam track. 1.5 meter length. Cut down to 51"

Original track was 42", new track is 51". Gained about 5" or 6" more track travel.

That time of year comes early

Spring has sprung, very early here in Minnesota. Ice out on Minnetonka was the second earliest on record, March 17th 12:17am. I had taken the cover off of Seeker back in late February as the snow was pretty much done. My project list for spring before launching was as follows;
  • ·         New motor mount for the outboard. I had swapped out the massive all electric bells and whistles 9.9HP Yamaha with a nice simple 6hp Yamaha. Got a bunch of credit as well. This mount also raises the motor out of the water a bit so, less drag when sailing.
  • ·         New rudder bushings. The lower ones were shot and the rudder slid back and forth.
  • ·         Modifications to the jib car controls. Make them no longer pin stop and easily adjustable. Got the hardware for Christmas for that.
  • ·         New Traveller. 2:1 traveller being replaced by all new Harken hardware and making it a 4:1.
  • ·         Anything else that comes up.

Not bad for February.

A fine late February Saturday was hitting the mid 50’s for temps, yeah like I said, very early spring. So I started early in the day and got a bunch of things done. Motor mount, rudder bushings, took a look at the traveller and went, yep gotta go. 

Out with the old.

Comparing new to completely shot.

Yep, that's a motor mount.

I also saw that a nice little chunk had been taken out of the trailing edge of my rudder. Well, seeing as I needed to fill the holes for the electrical wires for the old beast motor, I was going to be mixing up epoxy anyway. So I backed it with the multi-tool known as duct tape and had at it. Wasn’t a big deal and it is on the trailing edge above the water line, so should be pretty harmless. 


All better.

Got the other holes filled including the ones for the bimini brackets that were just screwed in to the deck. Why anyone would think I bimini works on a 235 is beyond me. Was a very successful day, especially for being February in Minnesota. Ya gotta take advantage of warm temps as much as possible. At this point I had the traveller upgrade and the jib car mod left to do. Time to spend a few $$ and order the traveller hardware. As this was a pretty extensive mod, that will be covered in an upcoming post. 

I know, you all can hardly wait…..