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Old 14-08-2011, 06:58   #1
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Location: Key West, Fl.
Boat: 1978 Prout Quest 31
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31' Prout Information

Good Morning All,
yesterday I made the leap to a multihull, I bought a 1977 Prout Quest 31. While the boat does need some serious TLC due to having sat at mooring for some time the price was right and the list of extras made it a no brainer for me. 24 mi radar works wind generator , solar panels, new never used auto pilot, new never used 2 burner w/oven propane stove, new head and approved MSD, never used, propane/120v fridge. All sails in excellent condition,all standing and running rigging very good. Yes there will be a lot of work, needs paint and a very good going through the bones are strong and good. The yanmar started on first try and the sonic drive leg work perfect. I be taking it from Miami to it's new home in the Fl. Keys next week to start the process.
Since this is an "older" Prout and the old company out of bussiness there is not a lot of information to be had on OEM specs. I am in search of any and all infomation on models of this age. This vessel has the original tiller steering and while I have no problems with that I will be pulling the rudders to do some repair and replace the rudder post bearings. Since the rudders will be off my thinking is this is the time to retro-fit to wheel steering, so any info on that will be much welcome.
All info, suggestions, hints, advise, anything at all would be very much welcome.
I like the boat and plan to have it for quite awhile, this will be a labor of love no doubt.
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Old 14-08-2011, 07:52   #2
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Re: 31' prout information

Congratulations. What a superb choice.
She'll never be fast but she'll always look after you, even when you do silly things. And the accommodation should be enough should you need to take on another 'she' or two as you go.
Try the 'Prout Owners Association', a web search will get you there.
I had the 33, as a raw beginner, a week in a dinghy, a lot of reading, no other experience, she did her very best for me.
Tips:
1. Check the engine runs at near full power for a half hour without any kicks from the drive leg. There was a problem with mine that meant more than low throttle made the drive uncertain, eventually failing.
2. Replace the rudder bottom bearings (Pintles) with new stainless steel fabrications by a marine fabricator (right materials matter here) and I'd also get the rudders filled with a suitable foam as they tend to leak when older, leading eventually to problems. Mine had no internal steel structure within them, foam filling will make them strong.
3. Put a depth gauge on the end of the nacelle ahead of the drive leg. It can be serviced from a dinghy without lifting, they all seem to be prone to weeding up and failing for the sake of a wipe now and then.
4. If it's an AutoHELM then manufacturers Manuals are still available via the net.
5. If you add a wheel then retain the tiller (suitably stowed but just in case). Insurance will want to know there is one, so should crew!
6. Keep the oven and solar cells. Mine had an electric fridge that worked fine of the six flexi solar panels, icing lightly, keeping sealed milk fresh for a fortnight at least and making weekend trips so easy to cater. You will a wind genny for night running on AutoHelm. There is room in the anchor locker for three gas bottles. Make sure they bolt/strap down and are protected from the anchor.
7. Carry a spare light anchor at the back too, great for quick deployment; kedging off etc.
8. An inflatable dinghy fits nicely on the bow if you tie it down well, even partly inflated.
9. It is not sparkling upwind, 50deg off app't is great in up to f4, above that it's part furled genoa and 70 to app't. I didn't see more than gusts to f8. Downwind, full sails set, we saw surfing to 14 knts - dangerously over sailed but handled well with main and genoa set opposite to the stay sail. Always use the staysail, first up, last down.

Once out of the water do a carefull Osmosis check (hammer taps every two inches everywhere is the old way - a surveyor will scrap off a couple a spots and take a dam reading.) The earlyish Prouts were built conservatively, very strong for cruising.
You'll get used to the rear mast, but note that most of the power seems to come from the genoa, the main is there to balance the boat. The stay sail acts on both sails, a trailing edge flap to the genoa, and a leading edge flap to the main. If there is a little dimple on the back of the main when close hauled the stay is about right. It's self tacking on that curved rail in front of the mast. I put quick release shackles on all three corners of the stay which made it much easier to rig/derig. On a recent post on single handing was a hint to add downward halliards, this makes sense for the stay if you want to single hand. If the AutoHelm works well then motor on before dropping the sails.
Don't add a battened main, it unsettles the balance of the boat badly, overloading the rudders.
There are several styles of rudder connections, some even with a networks of ropes, on these Prouts over the years. If you are doing changes then I'd recommend hydraulic with a tie bar between the rudders which allow you to set the rudders to each other first. The correct toe-in will reduce drag. Run the hydraulics one line to each rudder if you are happy that the tie bar is good. Otherwise run to both rudders. It will handle fairly well on a single rudder. Make sure the emergency tiller will fit either rudder!

Interior:
If all is sound then add loose covers, we used curtain weight material for the seats which made cosy blankets for chilly winter nights.
A cast iron skillet is well worth the money on a gas stove, thise square ones cook a great breakfast for one at a time and do steaks superbly. Add a whistling kettle to save gas.
The original water tanks were in the keels. Adequate but not particular fit for drinking water to today's standards. Add a five litre plastic camping style one for now.
Otherwise, as money allows, replace the lighting with LEDs and so on. Spend money first on the standing rigging, next on sails.

This is a bit long winded since there is no indication of where in the world you are, what the budget is, or how far are you planning to take her. Prouts have been everywhere all ready. Your's is a bit small, the risks do increase a little as size reduces, but it's one of the best for it's size. Great for cruising, great as a live aboard, great to improve steadily, and so lovely to turn off the noise, raise the drive leg and slide across the oceans for free!
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Old 14-08-2011, 07:54   #3
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Re: 31' prout information

Here's a link to the Prout Owners Association... PROUT OWNERS ASSOCIATION You'll find all that you need amongst the membership list.
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Old 04-09-2013, 19:00   #4
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Re: 31' prout information

2. Replace the rudder bottom bearings (Pintles) with new stainless steel fabrications by a marine fabricator (right materials matter here) and I'd also get the rudders filled with a suitable foam as they tend to leak when older, leading eventually to problems. Mine had no internal steel structure within them, foam filling will make them strong.

Hi Eleven-

I have an older Prout Quest that I need to make a new rudder for. I have the port rudder as a template. I am surprised to learn there is no internal steel in yours. I wonder if mine has any. How did you find out there was no steel inside yours? Did you do a major rudder build as I need to? Thanks.
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Old 05-09-2013, 05:58   #5
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Re: 31' Prout Information

Hi Buffalo, if you contact multihullworld.co.uk they may still have the moulds used for my new rudder. They organised a local company (to them) to manufacture new and this did include top to bottom marine grade stainless steel tube and bracketry.
They expressed surprise at no internal metal work. Since mine was thirty years old I can't say it was a build fault. I suspect the real Prout Builders used ample GRP to give a strong rudder.
I lost the rudder when the bottom bracket failed after a freak wave off Emsworth as I sailed there to return it for re-sale.
The bottom bracket seemed to be galvanised mild steel with stainless steel bolts. I don't like the idea of dissimilar materials so get advice on whether the bolts, brackets and internals should be exactly the same material as the bottom brackets (Pintel Brackets if memory serves me for once). And do replace your zincs!! I didn't.
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Old 05-09-2013, 11:52   #6
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Re: 31' Prout Information

Thanks for the speedy reply Eleven.

I lost one after needing a tow. Never let a tow boat tow you above your hull speed I guess. You can imagine my disappointment at the end or the trip to find I was minus one rudder. I don't believe mine has a metal shaft or reinforcement running top to bottom either. I peaked inside the top with a flashlight last night after finding your post. I weighed it last night too- 51.2 lbs. Not much there given the thing is as big as it is.

I will try your source for a mold or new rudder. My guess is that it will be substantially less expensive for me to try and fabricate one myself than have one made and sent from the UK. I wish I knew more about mold making and fiberglass. Looks like another school of hard knocks class for me.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:50   #7
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Re: 31' Prout Information

When I saw mine gone I did consider a Stainless Steel fabrication, probably in 2mm skin (maybe 1.6mm) with spacer tubes between the skins at the max width, then close up the trailing edge with nuts and bolts and a tapered spacer between the back edges.
To get the shape roughly right use poly foam sheets, shape with hacksaw blade fit the existing rudder and then a rough file to get a decent fit. Four or five down the height should be enough for a fab shop.
When you have the male shapes you then make females which will stay in the finished rudder. Foam filling will keep everything in place, just make sure you have vent holes for surplus foam or you'll have a very fat rudder!
GRP could be done in two halves for ease. basically casting a thin skin of GRP on the existing rudder, adding ribs for stiffness and peeling off. Jointing the two halves will need some thought but should be adequate.
Mine did continue to sail on one rudder, making same speed across the wind and waves with 40pc of the genoa out. We eventually beached on a known sandy bit and would have waited the weather out. It dropped from 30knts plus to less than 8 kts a couple of hours later. The Coastguard turned out and towed us off, just, with two big outboards on a rib because the big lifeboat couldn't operate in the shallows we were sailing in.
Tough boats, these Prout's, the weakest component is the crew. IMHO.
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Old 24-10-2013, 19:24   #8
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Re: 31' Prout Information

Thought you might like to see the first mold for the new rudder Eleven.
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