(11 replies, posted in Wanted)


Been reading this tread and didn't see numbers or link posted by you, but that part of the tread was from a few years back.  I'll be replacing the backstay on Virago this winter and was directed to Klacko spars in Oakville as the original rigger for Cinkel spars, and the place most other riggers send their stuff to anyway.  Is that what you found, or did you do your own??  I did call them for a ballpark quote and instructions on how to get it to them, but before I do that I'd like to hear your two cents worth.


If you get Good Old Boat magazine you've probably seen ads for Speedseal impeller cover units.  I installed one this past spring and so it's been in service all this season.  I got one because I take my impeller out every winter and working with tiny fasteners behind the flywheel on the Bukh is more than a little frustrating.  The Speedseal can be taken off without removing all the fasteners, so the most difficult ones to reach can be left in.  Yay!  The idea is to permit expedient changing of an impeller.  It also eliminates the use of a wrench as the supplied fasteners have big knurled heads on them designed for use with fingers - another bonus in behind that big flywheel.  It also does away with the  traditional gasket.  And the latest version, the Lifeseal (the one I got), has brass and nylon bushings in it that will allow for several minutes of dry running before failure.  I'm sure you can look them up on the 'net for a better idea of what it's all about.  My review is that it saves much time and frustration, doesn't leak, doesn't require paper-like gaskets that can tear or slip.  Useful.  They come from England but they work out to less that $200.00 and in my universe that's not a lot of money to save a ton of inconvenience.

Well, better late than never...Miss. Independence Pants has been finished for a while now, I just haven't gotten around to posting the pictures.  Here she be (and me too).  To review, she's an Origami 6 designed by Benjy Benjamin of Wooden Widget designs (www.woodenwidget.com).  I have to say it is a great little boat, though for two people you do need the Origami 8.  It folds up very small and is easy to store on deck as you can see.  The nice thing is, it's a way to carry a dinghy without towing and without taking up a whole lot of deck space.  The Origami does not get in my way at all, and I still have to go to the foredeck to manage my head sails.  The non-plywood parts I made out of locally milled eastern white cedar so it is very light - less than 40 lbs. and easy to carry in one hand like a suitcase.  The instructions are very well written and illustrated and she was easy and fun to build.  Anyone interested can contact me and I'll share any bits of useful information I can.

Ok, never mind.  Photo file too big to upload.  How 'bout this...anyone interested in pictures of an Origami 6 as it can be used with a Contessa 26, shoot me a note and I'll send the pictures along privately.

Later...I know I'd written something about this earlier, somewhere else.  It's in a thread about hard dinghies on deck in the Technical section I think.  The point of this post was to add pics., which I can not do.


(18 replies, posted in Site Support/Comments)

Ok, here it is, 2013, so I'm way, way late adding to this thread....

I know I've uploaded a few photos before but I can't for the life of me remember how I did it.  How do I upload a photo??  It's not apparent to me by looking around the Gallery screens.  Call me a techno-dope and you'd be right.


(19 replies, posted in Technical)

The manual for my Bukh didn't mention antifreeze either (nor did the Volvo), both instructed simply draining the system, but I figure a 3 dollar jug of antifreeze is cheaper than re-plumbing the engine, so I do both.  Do try to find out if there is a drain plug besides draining the impeller case.  When I take the plug out water comes out, and that's after I've drained the impeller housing, so draining the impeller case isn't getting it all.  But our engines are different.  Seems to me my Bukh manual didn't mention the drain plug, it was the Bukh guru at Krinmar in Kingston that told me about it.  You may want to ask a mechanic about that.  Something in my dusky memory tells me Faryman became Bukh, so I'll tell you were it is on my engine and you can see if yours is the same.  Here goes:  Looking down on the engine from above you'll see a shape on the top of the engine that is a triangle with rounded corners.  The apex of the triangle points to the stern of the boat.  Find that shape, then look down the back of the engine below the apex of the triangle.  If our engines are similar, there should be a drain plug about 2/3 the way down.  It has a regular nut-type head on it about 12mm in size (it think).  Back that out and water should follow.  As the manual didn't mention it, it's probably not crucial - maybe the voids it drains aren't full so no threat of cracking etc.  I feel better having it drained though!  On the Volvo the frost plug was a petcock drain fitting in a piece of cooling tubing below the level of the bottom of the engine - one simply opened it and all drained out.

My water tank doesn't have a drain plug either, I just stuck the sucking end of the siphon in via the inspection hatch and let 'er rip.  The drain hole at the bottom of the storage space under the vee berth is just low enough to let the siphon empty the tank.

As for a drain in the keel, I don't know if every model of Contessa has them.  On mine, an '85 JJT, it's on the outside at the bottom of the keel (read ground level), way down low on the port side, aft end.  It's a threaded fitting that you need a big flat screwdriver to remove.  If it's there, take it out and leave it out for the winter to avoid ice build up in the bilge if you have any leaks.

I'm off line once I shut the computer down tonight, so good luck and I hope all is still working in the spring!


(19 replies, posted in Technical)

Maybe ignorance is bliss.  It never occurred to me to do anything specific with the exhaust, I've ignored it completely and never had a problem (that I know of...yet...).  I do, however, run plumbers antifreeze through the engine cooling system via the fresh water intake, then drain the impeller case and remove the impeller, then drain the cooling water cavities in the engine via a drain plug for that purpose (Bukh single cylinder).  My Bukh has a drain plug in it and so did the Volvo I had in a previous boat, so check your maual to see if it mentions anything about a frost plug.  In the end, the cooling water system is left dry for the winter and anywhere that may not have drained completely has antifreeze in it.

As for draining the fresh water tank, does your boat have a drain plug at the bottom of the keel for the deep sump bilge?  Mine does, and for the season or two that I used the fresh water tank, to drain it all I did was siphon the water out of the tank and into a neighbouring storage compartment and let it run through the drain hole in the compartment, down into the bilge and out that drain hole (boat is on the hard, in her cradle of course!).  Gravity did all the work for me.  And if your galley pump is the pull straight up-push straight down cylindrical type, methinks they drain themselves and don't require any attention (make sure the valve on the galley drain through hull fitting is open though).  Or maybe that's just more blind luck on my behalf as I've never done a thing to mine and it keeps cheerfully working away.


(6 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

Hi Jordan and Feng,

Yep, it's me.  I can fully appreciate your Lake Erie experience.  I've been out on it in truely cruddy conditions and it is amazing just how truely cruddy that can be!  Steep, high waves packed close together and the area is a magnet for spectacular thunderstorms.  Too bad about the boat damage though, but at least it's replacable/fixable stuff.  No shame in being towed in by Coasties by the way, think of it more as being one of a select few.  I think you'll find a thread on here somewhere that addresses how to drain and clean a fuel tank - try the search function to find it.  If your boat doesn't have a Racor type filter in the fuel line between the tank and engine, I strongly recommend it, especially as you have gunk problems.   Anyhoo, I'm about to sign off for the winter as the navigation season on the Seaway is coming to a close.  Enjoy happy dreams of sailing and tinkering on winter boat projects.  And Feng gets full credit for fortitude!


(6 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

Hi John,

You brought up another interesting point, and something I learned on the job that day.  The 130 was still hanked on and lashed on the deck, but my thinking at the time was that rehoisting it would overpower the boat and add to the problems (not be able to drive to windward, add too much heel and so more leeway).  What I learned, and am again ever so grateful for, was that the pennant on the bottom of the storm jib is long enough that I could hank it on above the secured 130 on the forestay - I didn't have to unhank the big sail and wrestle with it.  Once I got into the anchorage I also learned that a shot of Drambuie could taste unusually good!

Seeadler, I didn't know you were back in Barrie.  I wonder if our wakes have crossed - my home port is on Georgian Bay.

I'm thinking of mounting some fittings on deck using the little humps that support the exterior grab rails.  Does anybody know if they are solid lumps or hollow?  My boat is a '85 JJT.


(4 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

Recently scored a copy of "Self-Steering Without a Windvane" by Lee Woas.  Excellent practical manual for said topic  - well written with lots of good photos and illustrations - and a lot less technical than Letcher.   Best of all, it draws from many different sources (incl. Letcher, Guzzwell, Roth etc.) and combines the best of the techniques (most effective and least complicated).  Woas has used all the techniques he talks about so can make firsthand comments and observations.  If you want a copy, the bad news is it's been out of print for quite a while and is no longer available new.  The good news is there's a few used copies available on line, but you'll pay for it.   My copy was sold as "excellent condition" (good jacket, no writing or underlining in the text etc.) and it cost me $120.00 US.  Cheaper than a wind vane though!

I want my to boat steer herself but I don't want all the complicated rig of a vane hanging off the transom, nor do I want to take a hole saw to my hull to install one of the newer styles of vanes (I'm sorry but I just can't make myself do that!).


(6 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

Although I have sailed with my storm jib as just another (albeit small) headsail, I bowed down and gave thanks for it earlier this season in the unhappy situation of being caught close to a lee shore in a sudden nasty squall and fighting to save my boat.  Offshore wind had been 15 gusting 20.  Happy broad reach under 130% only (no main) in occasional rain.  Struck sail and started the motor when wind shifted 180 deg. and headed me about 1/4 mile from excellent anchorage, then blammo!  At the exact moment my VHF advised of a squall warning I got hit with a wall of wind 30+ knots and waves building from 2 ft. to steep 6+ unbelievably quickly.  I was close enough to shore to see fine detail, I could see the entrance to the anchorage, but I could not make headway with the little diesel.  I was getting pushed to shore so scrambled to get the storm jib hanked on and hoisted.  Did so just in time and managed to claw off the shore and make enough headway to get a clear line into the narrow entrance to the anchorage.  I'm not telling this tale for the drama of it, I'm telling it because it has made me a firm believer in the value of my storm jib.  It set well enough to draw to windward even in those conditions, and had enough size and shape to push Virago through the waves all by itself.  It saved my ship.  Storm jib: don't leave home without it!

What about using suction?  I use a vaccum oil extractor to change my engine oil - a plastic cannister that in which you create a vaccum and it sucks out the warm engine oil.  I'd certainly use that to suck up sludge  - maybe a repeated cycle of add a bit of fuel, stir, suck.   You could use a shop-vac.  We use a slimy old one at work for sucking up oily bilge water, small diesel spills etc. (diesel  **NOT GAS**).  Removing the tank would be the surest way, but if your boat's like my boat you may not get the tank out through the cockpit hatch - the tank may have been installed before the deck was put on so you may need a plan B.  Suggest putting a fuel shut-off valve on the top of the tank where the fuel line attatches if there isn't one there already (wasn't on mine) as it makes working on the fuel system tidier and the whole system safer.  A petcock can be purchased for about twenty bucks and it's a snap to install.


(3 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)

Hi Paul,

Yesterday I posted an ad for a 100% genoa for sale that certainly has a few years left in it, especially if you intend to use it as a back-up for your furled sail.  I also still have my origial main that was converted to full battened.  I've replace the main already so I'm willing to let the old one go if you want to try it to see if you like a full battened sail.  The only thing missing from the main is the actual battens as I have cut them up to use for other things!  The main is a bit blown but still sets ok, but that's why the previous owners put the full battens in - to re-shape the sail.  My experience with it was that it set well with one reef in it to flatten it out a bit.  It would benefit greatly from a moveable outhaul (which my boat did not originally have), and a cunningham to flatten it at full hoist.  When I got my new main I went back to short battens - one full batten at the top then the rest partials - I didn't like the full battens.  These sails would go pretty cheaply especially as you'd have to ship them out of province.

Hi Christopher,

I had thought of that and it's good to know there might be one out there, but from what I've gathered from postings elsewhere on this site the mast steps may be different and I don't know that changing mast steps would be clever.  Mine straddles a ridge on the deck fitting and the foot of the stepped mast is held in place with a bolt.  Yours sits in a dent in the cabin roof doesn't it?  Also, I want to be able to restore the boat to original should I (gulp) sell it some day.  How are the winches on your mast mounted?  Are they on blocks that allow for the curve of the mast?  Where do the halyards exit the mast?  Are there two winches on the mast or just one?

In Virago (1985) there is shallow space below the cabin floor and the top of the sewage holding tank.  There is an access hatch for the tank directly below one of the floor boards.  I don't use my toilet (see posts elsewhere about that), but I want to keep the plumbing in place to keep the boat legal on the Great Lakes.  This means that I have been leaving unused a large space low in the boat that would make great storage for heavy things.  This year I cleaned out and sterilized the tank via the inspection hatch and am now planning to use it as chain storage or a place to stuff recycling until I get to shore, or a beer cooler/wine cellar.  In fact the floor of the tank is sloped so with each beer removed, the others would just back down to fill it's place - gravity loaded!  I just need to figure out how to keep the load from shifting too much when the supplies get low...

The halyards and toppinglift on my boat (85 JJT) are lead aft to the cockpit.  The reefing lines and boom vang are controlled at the mast.  I find this set-up awkward when managing the main, especially when reefing.  Rather than routing more lines to the the cockpit, I'd like to move the main halyard and topping lift to the mast.  The topping lift is no problem as that's were it was originally - I'll just move it back to its original spot, but what about putting a winch on the mast for the halyard?  There is a pad for a small winch on the aft part of the mast but I'm guessing that's for the reefing lines.

Here are some of my thoughts/questions:

Will adding a winch where there was not one before severely compromise the strength of the mast?  I doubt it as the boats I grew up on had a winch or two on the side of the mast but ya never know...

How would I route the lines?  Leave them to exit the foot of the mast and come up to a winch, or put a hole in the mast above the winch and come down to it?

Has anyone done this already?  Are the older Co. masts set up with the halyards on the mast?  If so, how are they rigged?

Does anyone remember the B.C. comic strip?  I feel like that when I come on this web site with a question - I scratch the question on a stone tablet and let it slip away on the water and then wait for an answer to come back.


(4 replies, posted in Repairs/Modifications/Upgrades)

Hi didi,

In the process of messing around with the interior of my boat I found some useful space I didn't know was there.  My boat is a 1985 JJT model so I don't know if it applies to your boat, but here goes...There is a little shelf that runs along the side of each of my quarter berths.  I ran some trim along the edge of this to make the shelf into a little channel to store small stuff like gloves, nav. instruments etc.  In doing this project I slithered head first to the end of the quarter berth to attach the new trim and found that there is a rather large cavity back there underneath where the winches are mounted.  Cool!  It's a great place to store books - always an awkaward thing.


(0 replies, posted in For Sale)

It's been so long since I've been on here that I had to re-register...

Anyway, I have a hank-on no. 3 genoa (100%) going up for grabs.  It's it's a Raudachal original to the boat in 1985 but still in pretty good shape and sets well. I'm getting a new working jib made -  a different cut altogether.  Will sell for a reasonable offer or trade for something useful.   The sail is in Ontario, Canada.