I am writing this blog for present and perspective owners of the Passport 40. I intend to share my experiences in dealing with design flaws as well as things I have done over the years to increase the boat’s cruising comfort, performance and integrity. I am hoping this will impart to the reader an appreciation of the ageless excellence of one of Bob Perry’s finest cruising designs. I would also like to persuade future dreamers that it is not necessary to buy one of the new modern expensive impersonal cruising boats that are now on the market. Passport’s lines are ageless, the interiors unmatched by modern designs and their performance is as good or better than what is being produced today.
Grendel was built by Wendle Ranken, the then owner of Passport Yachts, as the flag-ship for the east coast boat shows. This being the case the boat, hull 20, reflects many of the upgraded features one finds in future builds. I saw the boat at the Newport Boat Show, and both my wife and I fell in love with it, which I must say, continues to this day. To make a long story short we eventually bought the boat and took deliver in Westport, Connecticut in March of 1983. We bought the boat from Passport Yachts East in Annapolis. This was the first boat sold by Thom Wagner and Vince Paris the then owners of Passport Yachts East. To this day I chide Thom that I put him in business. Thom has been very successful having acquired Passport Yachts, which he now calls Royal Passport Yachts. He has continued the Passport tradition by building high quality semi custom cruising yachts.
Over the years we have considered upgrading to a larger boat. After careful consideration of what we owned and what we would get in return, it always resulted in a marginal improvement at a great expense. I can not count how many times we went through this analysis., but it has always ended in an upgrade of what we owned, Grendel.
During the ensuing years we originally cruised the Long Island Sound, the Massachusetts islands, Maine, Bermuda and the Chesapeake. This expanded to the Bahamas which lead to a five-year cruise through the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, the Leeward, the Windward, Trinidad and the Venezuelan coast. After this we settled in our new home on Marco Island, Florida, where we now reside.
Initially we lived through the typical new boat commissioning ranging from a potential electrocution, resulting from a pinched AC wire under a genoa track screw, to an decoupling of the prop shaft from its collar, and any number things in between. I will review with you in detail all the major issues which needed attention. But, first I am going to review the changes I have made over the years to improve Grendel’s cruising performance, comfort and integrity. I will start on the topsides and then deal with below deck.
One of the most significant changes was to convert the rig to a cutter rig. To do this I contacted Bob Perry for his plans for a cutter rig for the Passport. This involved installing a staysail stay, staysail tracks on the deck house and running back stays. Initially the staysail stay was detachable but after I learned the utility of this rig I made it permanent with roller furling and a yankee jib on the forestay. The advantage is good off wind performance, versatility in changing sail area and motor sailing. With a staysail’s ability to be sheeted in close to the boat’s center line, under motor one can get drive from both the main and the staysail to within ten degrees of apparent wind.
The first of the three pictures show the furled head and staysails, both on ProFurl furlers. The second shows the staysail tracks on the cabin top and the last shows the running back stays.
The mainsail is fully batten with Bat Cars and sail slides in a Strong Track System, which is a polyethylene extrusion in the mast’s mainsail track. This system is used to reduce friction in the slides to make the mainsail easier to set. I use a Doyle Pack cover and lazy jack system modified to allow the lazy jacks to be retracted and deployed from the cockpit. The main, which is new, has two levels of reefing with both a tack and clew lines for each level, all leading back to the cockpit. With this setup I am able to set and reef the mainsail from the cockpit. It is made quite painless with the assistance of a Lewmar 40 electric powered halyard winch.
Below is a picture of the mainsail. Notice the new Passport ensigna.
The back stay is insulated to provide an antenna connected to an automatic tuner for the Kenwood TS-850 Ham(SSB) Radio.
The boat came with a CQR anchor, rode, and a manual windless. Not being a proponent of the CQR anchor and being of the belief that you can not have too large an anchor, I replaced it with a 66 lb Bruce with 300 ft of 5/16 HT chain. In Bahamas I needed a second anchor, I used a 35 lb Danforth which I launched by hand off the bow. After severely straining my back, I decided this was not a good idea. I added another anchor roller along side the existing roller with a second 66 lb Bruce. This one with 300 ft of rode and 50 ft of chain. Also I installed a deck mounted chain cap to allow access to the second compartment forward in the chain locker. The manual windless was nowhere up to the task and was replaced with a Maxwell 3000 electric windless.
The first of these two pictures show the two Bruces nested at the bow. The next shows the deck arrangement of anchor rollers, windless and the access cap for the second anchor rode.
Now the problem was retrieving a decent amount of chain before there is a chain jam preventing further retrieval. This boat has an insufficient height in the chain locker for the chain to fall before the chain builds up on itself, or cones, and blocks the retrieval of additional chain. The only choice one has in this case is to run below to the chain locker and push the coned chain over to make room for more chain. For years my wife was the official decone-er while we were retrieving the anchor. This got to the point where it was intolerable. So I came up with a technique which would allow deconing top side near the windless. It consists of a handle connected to a cable which can be pulled and is in close proximity to the windless. This cable leads down through the deck with a series of pulleys which swings an attached paddle to knock over the coned chain. This works like a champ, relieving my wife to pursue her many other duties.
The first photo shows the handle which is pulled, it comes out the cap which accesses the second anchor rode. The next photo shows the cable which is led through a pulley and attached to the end of the paddle. The paddle is hinged to the bulk head. When pulled, the cable swings the paddle to knock the coned chain over. The shaft zinc on the paddle is to provide weight to return the paddle to its vertical down position.
The next problem one faces when anchoring is cleaning the mud off the chain as it is retrieved. To ease this burden I have installed a pump and fitting to provide pressurize sea water topsides at the bow. Additionally, through a manifold of valves and hoses, I direct a stream of water over the anchor rollers shooting down at the chain as it is retrieved. These valves allow me to select one or both anchor rollers or a deck wash down hose. The first photo shows the arrangement of hose valves, hoses leading to the anchor rollers and the deck wash down hose. The second shows the flow of seawater down onto the anchor roller and chain.
Continuing on our journey top sides I should mention the two hatches I installed over the master stateroom. This eventually became an option on all boats.
The most significant recent upgrade was having the hull and deck painted. Awl Craft for the hull and cabin, and Awl Grip for the anti-skid. Awl Craft can be easily repaired but is somewhat intolerant of wear, where Awl Grip can not be repaired but is more tolerant of wear. Deciding to paint Grendel opened the genie in the bottle. It allow me the opportunity to address some of the worse pet peeves I had with the boat. The first was top side teak. If you don’t sail in the tropics you will not be able to relate. But teak does not belong on the outside of a boat. The Passport, relatively speaking, has only a modest amount of teak and up north it was tolerable, not so down south. Especially cruising, the last thing you want to do is maintain teak. My nemesis was particularly the eyebrow that goes around the top of the cabin top. I have had to remove and rebed it twice for leaks and it needed it again. Also it was hard to maintain, when sanding one would inevitably sand off the surrounding gel coat and when painting it was tedious at best. The second pet peeve was the handrails, same problem but worse to paint. Naturally you could let the teak go natural, but I don’t like the look. I varnished for many years but that came to a halt when I got to the tropics. Since then I have been using Cetol. This I found to be the best alternative, but it certainly not a bed of roses. In any event since I decided to have the cabin painted I had the eyebrow removed and filled. When you remove the teak eyebrow you are left with and indent around the top of the cabin top. I had this filled providing an eye pleasing bevel around the top of the cabin. In addition I removed the teak handrails and replaced them with ones made from 316 stainless.
The first photo clearly shows the resulting beveled edge around the top of the cabin after removing the teak and filling. The second shows the stainless handrails. What remains are the teak cap rails. This is OK, they are not that difficult to maintain and they continue to provide a traditional look to the boat.
The bronze portholes were a problem over the years with leaks, the glass was discoloring as the lamination became compromised plus their attractive patina would eventually turn an unattractive brown/black/green. Inside the boat it really looked bad. I decided since I was redoing the boat from teak/bronze, eliminating a lot of the maintenance issues, I would bite the bullet and replace all of the portholes. I chose New Found Metal portholes which are 316 stainless, excellent design, and of beautiful construction. They just light up the inside of the boat. The above photo shows the streamline outside of the porthole and the lower photo the inside. What is nice is that the port is held up with friction, no need for those hanging chains. Also they are easier to open and close without those wing nut fasteners.
Naturally all of this left the bronze hawsers and the bronze frame around the large unopening porthole. For sake of consistency I removed them and had them chrome plated using a special marine processing technique. The teak pad aft of the winch has since been change to fiberglass non-skid with the same pattern as the cabin top non-skid.
One of the issues I have had with Grendel has been my dodger. When I had it built I made it a height so I could just see over it. Since the vinyl windows are difficult to see through and it seems in no time they deteriorate making them impossible to see through, I required that I have that option. Not being very tall it made for a very sleek-looking form. However, as time went on the changes in electronics allowed the navigational tools to move from the navigation area below decks out into the cockpit where they were more accessible. Also as time went on we did not get any younger making it difficult to bend and twist to get below, particularly in a running sea. Additionally there was less and less room for electronics. Plus, frankly, we needed more protection from the elements. But not the least of which, the dodger was beyond its end of life and needed to be replaced. This, along with the painting of the cabin top, lead me to think of a hard dodger. A hard dodger high enough to stand under, solid windows with no optical distortion, large enough to contain the electronics while still allowing visibility, providing easier access to below decks and of sufficient size to provide greater protection from the elements. This had to be accomplished while allowing operation of winches and accessibility to sheets, since Grendel is arranged to allow total sailing functions from the cockpit. To do this I recognized my desire of form following function would have to be changed a bit to allow for some function following form. This was necessary since I felt any increase in dodger height, whether it be a cloth or hard dodger, detracts from the sleek lines of the boat. But it had to be, however, I would not build it permanently onto the boat so it can be removed easily by a future owner. But, anyone who has served any time offshore would immediately see the utility of the addition of a hard dodger. I chose to construct the dodger using a compose structure of Divinycell foam sandwiched between a top and bottom layer of fiberglass. This creates a very strong structure. I added two opening ports and a cockpit light. I had it painted the same color as the cabin top.
The following photos of the hard dodger plus one of the freshly painted hull. As a matter of note, I found green to be a very stable color. The original gel coat only lasted several years before it began to fad. The Awl Grip that followed lasted 20 years, as a matter of fact when the yard removed the vinyl letters on the stern, the surface under the letters was pretty much the same color as the surrounding surface. The reason I had the hull painted, over the years I had to have scratches repaired. Since Awl Grip could not be the repaired, feathering is not possible, they used another paint formulation and this is what faded. The hull was blotchy looking and not very attractive. Also, I had heard dark hulls make for a hot interior in the tropics. I did not find this to be true.
A new bimini was added to compliment the new dodger. It was fashioned to allow for a complete cockpit enclosure.
After many years with a Monitor Windvane I purchase an industrial strength autopilot, a W-H Autopilot. I found I was not ever using the Monitor so I removed it allowing me now to add davits. I added Garhauer 316 Stainless steel davits for my 9.5 ft AB dingy with a 15 hp Yamaha.
The photos show the dingy on the davits and the telescoping stern ladder. On either side of the ladder is the generator and the bilge blower vents.
In the port boarding gate, as can be seen in the lower photo, I mounted a boarding ladder. This ladder can be deployed from the water if necessary. Also I have installed a stern anchor well, the access cap can be seen in the next photo.
Mounted on the port corner of the cockpit is a Four Winds Wind Generator which was great to have in the Caribbean. I have had problems getting spare parts for the Four Wind particularly a motor which had to be replaced. I have since decided to go solar, having installed a 205W solar panel on top of the davits. I designed and installed a solar panel control box in the aft stateroom. The system works very well, taking care of my AH needs during the day. What would be ideal would be the addition once again of a wind generator(with wind) for the night time hours. Not shown but above the Solar Control Panel is a Borel exhaust temperature system panel which detects and alarms if the raw water flow in the engine or generator where to fail.
In the starboard aft lazarette I installed a 4 KW Next Generation Generator. I have been very happy with it compared to the Apollo Generator, which I had previously. It was a complete unmitigated disaster!
The photo shows the generator in the lazarette, mounted on a fiberglassed in platform and a removable access panel in the front side of the lazarette. The generator was totally rebuilt in 2008.
The top sides would not be complete without attention given to the teak decks. Passport built the decks using 1/2 inch thick teak. With proper attention they last a long time. I have been watching the deck very carefully, rebonging and reseaming as necessary over the years. Grendel’s decks are in good shape, the only problem I see is on the top port and starboard quarter of the cockpit combing, where the teak is a 1/8 inch thick, it is getting a little thin. That being the case I decided to convert these teak pads to fiberglass using the same pyramid pattern which is on the cabin top non-skid. (entire deck replaced August 2014 continue reading)
The following photo shows the result.
Passport 40’s were available with two interior options. A forward berth or a forward head with a pullman berth. Grendel’s interior is the latter, forward head with a pullman berth, which we preferred. The logic behind the forward head is that with a time and motion study of the use of the interior of the boat, it has been shown that one spends the least amount of their time in the head. Therefore the thinking is, the head should be in the most undesirable area of the boat, which would be the forepeak. It makes sense to me. What I like is that the shower is a wrap around curtain and after showering one can open the overhead hatch and totally air out the head. Also this arrangement allows convenient access to the chain locker. Aft of the master head is the master berth, of reasonable size, on the port side of the hull. On the starboard side are two large hanging lockers. Aft of the separating bulkhead is the dinette with a berth on the starboard side and a L shaped dinette on the port side. Aft of this is the galley to starboard and to port an aft quarter stateroom consisting of a large quarter berth plus a second head and sink.
The two photos show the master head and the two large hanging lockers in the master state-room. The lower photo shows the new Raritan “Elegance” head. The old head was the original one electrified which was giving me fits, so out it went. The new electric head is a great improvement. In the process I rebuilt the mounting surface for the head out of Starboard and fiberglass.
The lower two photos show the starboard side berth or settee with a 19 inch HD TV, plus cabinets. The other photo shows the L shaped dinette with an LED Tiffany light. For years we had a brass light but maintaining it was impossible. I like the Tiffany since I feel it compliments the interior and it looks good at night. Also I replaced all of the original dome lights with new West Marine dome lights, some white and some red/white. They are really great; bright, attractive, and low power. No more intermittant contacts!
The last picture shows the engine under the dinette table. There is great accessibility with all three sides, top and frame all removable. Basically when everything is removed the engine it totally exposed making it easy to service. The engine that came with the boat was a Pathfinder 50 HP which the marinized Volkswagen Rabbit engine. When in 2002 I decided to repower I chose the Pathfinder 65 HP which also is a marinized Volkswagen engine. I did this because I got good service from the original engine and the support I had gotten from the manufacturer was truly exceptionable. The engine drives a three-bladed feathering prop, a Max Prop(which has just been totally rebuilt).
The lower left photo shows the dinette settee on the port side and the next photo shows the compartment behind the settee’s backrest containing an AC driven 20 GPH watermaker made by Aqua Technologies now Severn Trent Services.
The lower photo is an overview of the dinette area and the next is a view of the galley area. Shown in this photo is the twin deep sinks, four burner stove/oven/broiler, Microwave and refrigerator/freezer. The refrigerator /freezer consists of two DC driven Cold Machines.
The lower photo is of the aft state-room, note the sink I added in the vanity. The photo to the right shows the large hanging locker and the lower surface is the cover for the head. The lower left photo shows the head cover I made which folds and hinges up to get it conveniently out of the way.
A change I made which I found very useful is the expansion of the master berth. Originally it was not an issue but as we got older(and wider), I thought it might be a bit more comfortable.
The first photo shows the result. The bed extends into the passageway a maximum of eight inches at the head, approaching zero inches at the foot. The loss of passageway is minimal relative to the advantage of the increased mattress area. It is now the size of a queen sized mattress. The second photo is with the mattress raised to see the extension.
The lower picture shows the modification to the sliders above the stove to accommodate the Microwave. All of the formica countertops were upgraded.
The photo below is of the two Cold Machine compressors. The reason I show this is to point out one thing I found useful. A study was done a while back by Practical Sailor, it demonstrated that if one keeps the temperature around the compressor less than 130 degrees F, water cooling is not required. To accomplish this I have two computer muffin fans mounted in back of the compartment discharging under the microwave. I demonstrated to myself that with water or air cooling it makes no difference. It really is not fun to constantly be concerned if the water intake is plugged by barnicals or jelly fish. This is especially true in the tropics. I really have had no refrigeration issues. Recently I had to replace one of the compressors(I only got 28 years out of it) and its evaporator. While I was at it I installed a aluminum plate with an embedded AC heating element between the two evaporators to provide for a manual defrost when needed. Note the air filter built into the louvered door.
The greatest, most annoying problem of the boat is getting access into the @#%$* bilge when you inevitably drop a tool(particularly a non ferris tool)! I made the modification shown in the lower photo to help provide some access. The screws allow the lower support of the draw to be removed so you can get your head in there. It was the best I could think of.
Another addition which has been useful was the addition of two sets of switchable fuel filters mounted around the other side of the above photo in the compartments facing the passageway. This is particularly handy in the tropics.
Having sailed in Maine and in the tropics I have installed both a diesel fired hot air furnace and air conditioning in Grendel. The diesel fired furnace is an Espar Furnace, the type that was used on the old air-cooled Volkswagen diesels. It is mounted on a bulkhead under the cockpit. The air conditioner is a 17,000 BTU and it is mounted in the bottom of the aft locker in the master stateroom. Both systems share the same ducting that runs through the boat. To add to the comfort factor all of the portholes and hatches have screens. The low photo shows the type of screen I made for all of the overhead hatches.
While cruising I made more and more space available for storage. Some of these ideas may be useful. First photo below is over the hanging locker in the master stateroom. Next, over the aft stateroom hanging locker. Second level left under the navigation desk. Next textolene fastened along the bottom with twist studs on top to contain things on the open shelves. Lowest level left access panels made in the athwart ship seat back of the dinette. There is quite a bit of handy space there. Next in the back of the compartment over the refrigerator. This space is not easy to get to but it is large and handy for things you don’t need frequently. We use to keep our Christmas tree and its’ trimmings in there plus other similar things.
The navigation station of Grendel is on the starboard side using the starboard settee as the seat facing aft, as seen in the lower photo. The photo to the right gives a better idea of the instrumentation. There is a Kenwood TS-850 Ham(plus SSB) transceiver, A Pactor Modem, VHF radio, Raymarine radar, control panel for the hydraulic ram driven W-H Autopilot, control panel for the Data Marine cockpit mounted boat speed, depth, and wind speed/direction instruments. Also there is a AM/FM/XM receiver, iPod and DVD player. On the side of the breaker panel cabinet are the controls and display for the Magnum 2800 W Inverter/Charger plus a Xentrex battery monitor. The battery bank is six 6V Trojan Batteries(600+AH) plus two large emergency starting batteries. Out in the cockpit is a navigation video display, radar, Interphase Sonar, VHF, the previous mentioned sailing instruments and Boss speakers. The navigation video display connects to a computer mounted in the aft cabin, second level left photo, using an RF mouse for input from the cockpit. I use Coastal Explorer software by Rose Point Navigation. The photo on the lowest right shows the navigation computer in its normal down position. To its left is the control box for the Four Winds Wind Generator, the Next Generation generator controls and the Espar Furnace controls. The little blue box at the bottom in this photo is a control box for an onboard intrusion alarm system.
The are a number of design issues that I had to correct, some serious some just annoying. One the more serious problems was the gussets that support the upper stays. I think what did the most damage was a free fall off a 15 ft crest on the way to Bermuda. Maybe before then and certainly after that I heard a loud creaking sounds inside the boat, particularly when I was hard on the wind. I also was experiencing bowing of the deck in the vicinity of the upper stays. At that time I was planning a trip to the Bahamas so I figured I better find out what was going on. What I found was, on both the port and starboard sides, the gusset that supports the uppers, which is fiberglassed to the hull and to the underside of the deck, had ripped itself right off the hull. The mast was being held up by the gussets bearing on the underside of the deck. This was not good. The problem was that the gussets were improperly designed. To repair this I had the gussets extended by 18-24 inches and I had the gussets widened to meet the main bulkhead. They then laid up with plenty of fiberglass matting and then bolt through the gusset, stays and bulkhead. They will never move again. This was a big job given the cabinetry all around.
The lower photo shows the port side extended gusset enclosed in new cabinetry. The second photo shows the small triangular piece of cabinetry which covers the heads of the bolts that pass through the bulkhead.
The next issue dealt with the mast step. Grendel’s mast is stepped on deck, which I prefer. It eliminates the inevitable water leaks around and in the mast and also assures the integrity of the cabin in a demasting. Initially, hard on the wind, I was convinced the pole supporting the mast in the boat was flexing. I called Bob Perry, he doubted that since he thought Passport used a heavy gauge stainless steel pipe. He said if I was still concerned I could tie the pole to the main bulkhead. This is what I did. No more flexing, however there was more. In Trinidad in 1997 I decided to remove the mast and have it painted, plus replace all of the standing rigging. Also by that time, I noticed bowing of some of the teak staving in the vicinity of the mast step. In addition, there was a thick block of teak between the top of the mast support pole and the underside of the deck, this teak block was cracked. Since the mast was off I decided to see what was going on in between the top of the support pole, the teak block and the underside of the deck. What I found was that space between the top of the teak block and the bottom of the deck, some “wingnut” in the construction yard when the boat was being built just stuffed some fiberglass scraps into the space. Naturally it was uneven and compressed under load, cracking the teak block and loading up the bulkhead causing the flexing(Perry was right) and the buckling of the staving. I removed it all and replaced it with a large , thick stainless steel plate, to distribute the load, and filled the space between the plate and the underside of the deck with an epoxy laminate of sized teak blocks. This solved the problem.
The following photo shows the end result.
The next issue involved the teak sole. In the vicinity of the navigation desk I noticed that the sole had raised about 1/4 inch relative to the floor boards. It was sort of bowed. This was really interesting. The weight in the passport keel is iron. When they loaded the iron into the keel, if the weight didn’t meet specifications they made up the difference by putting a slurry of iron stampings and resin on both sides, low in the hull. This was then covered with fiberglass. Well over the years water intrudes and rust occurs causing a swelling of the top-level of the slurry, hence the distortion of the sole. I removed a section of the sole and removed the rusted iron stampings(which really wasn’t many). At the same time I repaired a leak around the water fill fitting on the deck which caused the problem.
The following photo shows the repair.
The next problem was annoying, it involved the holding tank. Passport had a good idea of locating the holding tank up high into which you pump the waste. Then it is easy to switch a valve to empty the tank using the force of gravity. This is a good idea except what was done was to pump the waste into the top of the tank and drain the waste out of the bottom of the tank. The problem is the drain would always plug when it had nothing but the force of gravity to push it out. I solved the problem by plugging the top input port and plumbed the tank such that waste was pumped into the port on the bottom of the tank and also drained by gravity from the same port. Doing this, if a plug occurs one switches the valve and frees it with the head pump. It works very well.
Another problem it just annoying. Under the cockpit around the rudder post is a strange angle iron structure whose function is unclear to me. There are many explanations of what it does but none of them make sense. The only thing I am sure it does, is rust. Why they would ever use angle iron is one of those mysteries of life. My solution is to stay ahead of it with paint, I figured it must do something, but damned if I know.
As time rolls on I decided Grendel’s deck now needs attention. After many years of replacing bongs and repairing seams I decided I must bite the bullet and face the inevitable. Had the decks been glued down rather than screwed down I am sure I could get another 5 years plus out of them. But what was happening, after screws were counter sunk deeper in order to provide more surface area to adhere the new bong, there was less and less wood under the head of the screw to hold the teak board down. Also the channel containing the rubber caulking was getting very shallow making it difficult for new seaming material to adhere. It would have been possible to make the channels somewhat deeper but given the bong problem I thought it to be a fool’s errand.
The problem was what to do. I loved the teak decks and really wanted to replace them however after studying it thoroughly I decided that I really could not afford the cost even if I did most of the work myself. I looked into vinyl look alike teak, glued on rubber pads with a nonskid pattern, etc. to be applied after the teak was removed, but I felt they would all diminish the character of the boat. Next I considered painting the exposed gel coat, after sealing all the screw holes and resurfacing, with a nonskid formulated paint. But I didn’t like that since the resulting surface would not match the pyramid pattern of the nonskid on the cabin top. Of course I could sanded down the cabin top and paint that the same nonskid paint as the deck. I didn’t like that either because, again I thought it violated the character of the boat. What I did like was the way my teak pad replacement on either side of the gunnel of the cockpit turned out. There I used a Gibco Flex Mould to make a gel coat pattern on a thin sheet of fiberglass and cut it to size and, using resin, adhered it to the built up cavity from which I had removed the teak. The Gibco Flex Mould was the exact pyramid pattern as the cabin top. The technique I used was cumbersome so I could not see how I could ever do the entire deck. That was until I happen to read the “Cruiser’s Forum”, a thread by a shipwright in Seattle, “Minaret” writing about a significant variation to the process I used on my gunnels. The difference was using an inverted method of constructing the gel coat pyramid pattern on the fiberglass sheets and using a vacuum bagging process to get the necessary force using gel coat to adhere the pads onto the deck. These ideas made all the difference. When painted, this allowed the decks and the cabin top to match giving a factory look to the completed product, which was worthy of the character of the boat. Its’ not teak but it is a close second best, plus there are not hundreds of holes in the deck to worry about.
Just to add a few salient points of the process without a complete dissertation. All of the screw holes were drilled with a conical drill bit and filled with penetrating epoxy and then sealed with polyester filler. No soft areas were found on the deck. All of the screw holes that fell in the waterways or edges of the nonskid pads were recessed and covered with multiple layers of fiberglass and fared out to prevent future bleed through. The vacuum bagging technique provided an even distribution of about 1800 pounds per square foot to adhere the pads, with gel coat as the adhesive, to the gel coat of the deck which previously was covered with teak. The nonskid pads are definitely integral to the deck. The following are a few photos to show the result.
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