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Old 27-08-2008, 23:28   #1
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Cockpit Project of an Old Racer

When I purchased this vessel a little over 4 years ago it was a retired racing boat, mostly due to it's lack of maintenance and abuse. At least, when I acquired it, it's motor upper end had been rebuilt and it's main rigging (mast & wire ropes) were fairly new.

It came only with a tiller and a bunch of old sails. The best of the bunch is an under sized hank-on genoa Which I'd like to sell, since I can not use it any more. I've up-graded to a roller furling hydraulic steering and a loose-footed main, so far.

This summer (08) I started adding on to the cockpit for three reasons.
1) When you sit in the cockpit you were sitting on the main deck (race boat set up) which left nothing to lean back against.
2) If I were to take on a wave (healing in rough weather or breaking thru a wave) the water would wash into the cockpit.
3) The Genoa/jib winches were in a position where one would have to bend over to grind the winches, throwing oneself off balance and almost onto the leeward deck. Leaning over a winch while the boat is healed over 25 about puts one on their nose.
In really rough weather I would cross over the sheet to the windward side but that would cause a little fowling of the sheets during a tack.

So, I decided it was time to upgrade the cockpit. Here is a couple pictures of the cockpit when I purchased the vessel. As you can see the winches look bad but only because they were ceramic coated aluminum. They are now rebuilt and recoated with a chrome ceramic. BTW the vessel came with 14 winches and now it's down to 7, the 7th being a starter for the rollerfurling.
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Old 27-08-2008, 23:44   #2
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This is where it is to date except I have some paint on the major areas away from the winch mounts.

also I have purchased some Treadmaster for the deck of the cockpit. At 25 or more the deck was hard to keep ones footing.
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Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend, but the Kisses of the Enemy are Deceitful! ........
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Old 28-08-2008, 21:31   #3
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It's a Choate 40, hand built in Long Beach, CA & you can tell by the ripples in the hull. But it's strong! Their newer ones now come out of a mold. This one doesn't have a gelcoat so I can do pretty much anything to it without messing up the finish.

The deck has a gelcoat but it was a spray on and with sand added while it was wet as a non-skid. That stuff has been a real nightmare to work on.
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Old 28-08-2008, 21:43   #4
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First I striped off the winches and epoxied up the holes. Then started laying up the forms for the structure.

In the mean time when I wasn't able to get to the boat I started the rebuild of the winches. I'll discuss that later.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:35   #5
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On the inside and top I used 3/4" marine ply. On the outside of the form I used 1/4" ply, 3 layers, laminated to the next to create the bend and twist, which isn't possible with 3/4", at least not by myself using hand tools.

Once I had the form shape I wanted on the outside I laid in the form stringers.

In order to get the smooth bend I made cuts in the stringers about 3/4 though perpendicular to the length. Once in place the slits were filled with epoxy filler. The stringers were held in place with epoxy and #10 screws.

(Sorry for the sideways pictures but that's the way the "Attachment Files" is coping them, it doesn't understand my "Rotate" command.)
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:44   #6
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After the sides were done the top went on, also using epoxy with 2" & 2-1/2" long screws.
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Old 06-09-2008, 11:25   #7
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I tried the newly rebuilt winches to see how she looked. At this point I had to calculate the angles they needed to be, for the sheets to furl properly onto the winch. In doing so I discovered that on the stbd side I'd have to off set the fore & aft winches due to the RH wrap of the sheets. The port side was no problem.

So, I made the winch angle blocks and confirmed the positions later. Eventually, I'll have to change the angle of the foot blocks, as well.

The sheet going on to the fwd winch, stb side, was rubbing against the aft winch and touching the edge of the form. SOooo, I had to move the fwd winch to the outboard edge and the aft winch to the inside edge. I'm sure I'll get a lot of comments about that until the'll have to use them. Then it'll be obvious! It's not much. If one were not in the cockpit they probably wouldn't notice.

On the back of the forms I caped off the ends with 1/4" laminates due to its twist. I made it the same angle as the transom to give it a contoured look.

Later I plan to put in removable water boards P/S at the entry of the steering station. I left it open for EZ access, in & out, for handling lines and such (single handling).
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Old 14-09-2008, 17:11   #8
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Now that it's built I needed to remove the tracks and deck hardware to do the finish work. The corners and gaps were filled with mahogany strips and epoxy filler.
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Old 14-09-2008, 17:23   #9
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Then came the glass work.
It was overlaid with two layers of 20 oz. and two layers of 6 oz. with epoxy. The problem I was having was the cures. The nights were just getting over 50 and sometimes it would take two days for the epoxy to cure enough to sand.

After the last layer it was sanded and a couple more coats of epoxy were applied.

I was only able to put in around four hours a day which started in the mid afternoon.
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Old 14-09-2008, 17:29   #10
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Another light sanding and the positioning of the winches.
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Old 14-09-2008, 17:40   #11
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I had to cut access ports in order to get to the base of the winches. So I ordered in some special plates and ports.

As well, later on, a hole was cut for a portal to help vent out the after berth area. The oval hole.
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Old 14-09-2008, 17:48   #12
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Since the winces went in at such an angle (6 & 11 degrees) I made some special washers to go under the backing plates.

Also faired in around the winch blocks and added a little paint to protect the epoxy discoloring from the sun.
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Old 27-09-2008, 23:13   #13
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After fairing in the winch bases they were glassed over sanded and a couple more coats of epoxy.

Then it's time to do a little paint work. Trimmed it with tape and laid in the first coat of paint.

I also had to cut out some ports inside the cabin to access the underside of the winches. The backing plates were 9" square so they wouldn't fit through the round 5-1/2" access hole in the cockpit. Believe me, I tried.

Any way, I can use the new portals for storing long gear like boat poles, deck brush, big wire rope cutters and crimpers, tubes of charts and what ever else I can manage to cram in there.
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Old 27-09-2008, 23:31   #14
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After a couple coats of paint it's starting to look like there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The non-skid paint is going to be another project in the future. In 1979 it must have been popular to add sand to the gelcoat. The stuff is miserable to get up (resurface).

Now with some paint on the works it's time to cut out the portal for a port that I got on e bay last year. These help to vent the aft cabin a lot better. Also it added more light back there, which I hadn't thought of.
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Old 27-09-2008, 23:52   #15
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Now it was time to install the winches. First the lower sections to get the holes drilled and sealed. I seal every hole I put in the deck or hull so if water starts to leak past the fastener it'll leak all the way thru and not into the core or wood. Also one will know when they have a leaking fastener and it can be fixed right away. I've already had to reseal 4 fasteners that were sealed a couple years ago.

Then added the upper section of the winches and some deck gear.
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