Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mast Hardware

I've been working on the boat a lot recently.  I'm rushing to get the boat in the water within a month so I can have some sailing time before winter.  Progress is slow.  I'm installing purchased hardware and fabricating some of my own.  I'm making my own hardware because some weren't available for purchase or were too expensive.  I bought a 1 ft X 2 ft sheet of 16 gauge stainless steel for numerous pieces of hardware.  I cut out the steel using an angle grinder with metal cutoff wheel.  To bend the steel, I clamped the steel to a piece of wood or to the side of the workbench and gave it some wacks with a mallet.  I didn't take any pics of this process, probably because I was in such a bad mood while doing it. 

Below are some pics of some of the hardware installed.  Later, when the boat is nearing completion, I'll describe how everything works in more detail.  (Well, maybe after the sailing season is over).  Until then, you'll have to figure it out based on my vague descriptions and close-up photos.

At the top of the mast is a sheave wheel (right above the mainsail slot) for the main halyard (the line that raises the main sail).  I made this piece.  This piece, like everything but the smallest of hardware, is through-bolted to secure it since the loads on it are large.  The block on the side is for the topping lift line that holds the boom horizontal when the mainsail isn't raised.

Homemade masthead fitting for wood mast
Slightly below the top of the mast is the jibhead fitting.  This is where all the shrouds (that keep the mast from falling over) are attached as well as the block for the jib halyard.
Homemade jibhead fitting for wood mast
I cut some aluminum pipe for the diamond stay spreaders.  The diamond stays stiffen and straighten the mast and keep it from buckling under the compressive forces of the shrouds.
Diamond stay
 Here is a pic of the end of the diamond stay.  The stainless steel wire has swagged ends.  I did this at home using an inexpensive swagging tool.  The wire is attached to a turnbuckle that is used to adjust the tension of the wire.

Typical stainless steel wire attachment.
 Hardware toward the bottom of the mast includes the gooseneck, which is a universal joint for the boom, as well as some cleats to tie the halyards off to.

I'm also working on the rudder hardware.  I purchased the gudgeons and pintles to attach the rudder to the transom.  I fabricated the u-shaped piece that secures the rudder out of some aluminum sheet I had laying around.  This is just the top half of the rudder.  A larger bottom half hinges on the bolt toward the bottom of the pic.
Rudder hardware dryfit.
 I made the tiller out of multiple laminations of douglas fir sandwiching a piece of marine plywood.  (This is how the plans showed to make it.)  The tiller extension is attached near the handle. (It's for controlling the rudder when your arms are too short.)
Laminated tiller
 I made a foredeck cleat out of a chuck of white oak.  It serves a dual purpose of supporting the mast while trailering.
Foredeck wooden cleat
 The shrouds attach on either side of the boat on a chain plate that is bolted through the hull.  The hull is reinforced inside with small pads of plywood.  I bought some shroud adjusters, which serve the same purpose as turnbuckles, only they are cheaper.

Chain plate and shroud adjuster

So I'm just slowly dry fitting hardware on the hull and spars.  When I'm all done, I have to take all the hardware off, coat the insides of all the holes with epoxy, paint the hull and spars, THEN reinstall all of the hardware with sealant underneath each piece of hardware.

But before I do all that, I couldn't resist raising the sails in the driveway.  Well, this was necessary to help me decide where to put some of the hardware and figure out how long the shrouds had to be.  Unfortunately, there wasn't even enough wind to get the wrinkles out of the sails.


  1. Long-time lurker here - glad to see you continue with your project. The boat looks beautiful, can't wait to see her splash. And the other reason why I'm writing this is to say that yours is a most excellent boatbuilding blog. Please do keep us posted :)

  2. Thanks for the kind words Mr. Anonymous

  3. cool! but what did you use to preserve the wood in that boat?

  4. Hi Geary. Its now almost two years since you launched your boat. (beautiful job by the way). Now that you've been sailing it for a while, is there anything you'd do differently during the construction?

    I've just started building a TS14 in Sydney and have been encouraged to read through your construction blog - thanks for posting all the photos and information. It is very helpful.
    I was thinking that I would do the following things differently to what you had done and am wondering what you thought of my proposed changes:
    1. Taking the side combings out to the gunnel as per plan. That way the seats can be narrower than yours, allowing for more cockpit room between the seats.
    2. Keeping the cabin entry step to below the height of the centreboard case to allow for easier cabin entry & egress.
    3. Widening the sides of the cabin entrance to allow for a more open feel. I realise this will make it harder to close up the cabin but Sydney's weather is probably much milder that where you live.
    4. Do you have any observations regarding sail area? Is it under/over powered or just right?
    5. Is the rig balanced nicely when the board is fully down (ie balanced helm) or do you need to rake your centreboard to take weather helm off the rudder?
    I would love to hear your thoughts before I get too far into the build. Cheers, Len