(3 replies, posted in For Sale)

Lucy Ann has been sold to an ex-Contessa owner.  She just departed by truck to a shop where she will be fully restored.


(3 replies, posted in For Sale)


(3 replies, posted in For Sale)

1975 Contessa 26 (J. J. Taylor) 2GM13 Yanmar diesel.  $15,000 USD Firm.  Send email for full listing, photos, etc.  Currently freezing its stern off in Yarmouth, Maine USA.   
mhall at hathawaysurveyors.com.

I've used Norseman or Swagelok fittings on every boat that I have had since 1972.   With the exception of rod rigging, you can't get any better.  I've seen a lot of bad swaging on both production and custom rigs.  It's a no-brainer (in my very humble opinion)

You may be seeing a crack in the interior liner.  Although the liner itself provides little, if any, structural strength, I would be concerned with what caused the crack in the first place.  Not a good sign if you're planning a major cruise.  Finding the cause could require major surgery.  Regardless of the cause,  repairs could be done that would equal or exceed the strength of the original.  Keep hunting unless you can buy the boat at the right price.

Not sarcasm at all...it's still a great photo.  It appears to be "crazing" (not a crack) that is probably in the gelcoat only.  The cross beam is a rugged GRP structure that flexes a bit.  Since the gelcoat is somewhat brittle, crazing here is really not a structural issue.  Look at it with the mast stepped and unstepped and see if there is any difference.

Great photo.  I haven't the foggiest what it is showing.

Outboard of the shrouds only. 

Good luck.


(8 replies, posted in Sails & Rigging)


(3 replies, posted in For Sale)



(4 replies, posted in Wanted)

What grade of stainless steel can you have?


(3 replies, posted in For Sale)



(3 replies, posted in For Sale)


The photo of the chainplate mounting wizzie (buttress?) hints that the core became water saturated and then expanded and contracted in the old freeze/thaw cycle.  Not unusual at all.  The core (assumed to be plywood) is probably somewhat mushy and can't provide the compression strength to rigidly hold the chain plate in place.  I'm also assuming that the cross bolts are rusted due to their being in a wet environment with depleted dissolved oxygen.   A reasonable fix would be to saw or grind off the inside sloped edge of the buttress, dig out all of the deteriorated core, fill the void with a high compression epoxy filler, re-drill the bolt holes, replace the three bolts, and cosmetically restore the buttress edge.  Really not much of a job.  Probably will require a six-pack or two.


(3 replies, posted in Technical)

It is the "design" displacement, as the hull sits on its design water line, with no stores, no water, no fuel, no booze.

Hi Brian,

Your system is in full compliance with 72 COLREGS 23(c) and 25.  The only place where you could be in trouble is along the remote northern areas of the Maine coast where the tri-color has been proven to be a moose attractant.  Good luck.


We got some semantics here that need clarification.  First, the tri-color light is mounted at the mast "top".  The common steaming light is also called the "masthead light".  It is mounted on the head of the mast which is the forward surface of the mast.  The term "head", referring to the crappier, comes from the old days when the facilities were in the bow (head) section where the bow wave would keep everything clean except in the case where plum duff was served. "Steaming" (power vessel underway) is not an anachronism since most of the world's vessels are powered by steam.  Another term is cutlass bearing vs. cutless bearing – I assume that this will be covered later.


Just for clarification...when you're using your anchor light as a steaming light, I'm assuming that your tri-color light is switched off and you're using your deck-level port and starboard nav lights.  Is this correct?



You're right on using 12ga.  I got my sizes  mixed up.  I actually used 12ga on all lighting aboard and still have around 100' left.  With LED bulbs for the anchor & masthead lights, 14 would have made it.  Yesterday was filled with senior moments.

Using the mast as a connector was done on a few US boats back in the 1960s and proven to be unacceptable as John states.   Wire size (AWG) is a major issue that depends on the amperage carried, the acceptable voltage drop, and the "round-trip" length of the wire.  Acceptable voltage drop for lighting is around 10%.  In rewiring my anchor light & steaming (masthead) light, I used 14ga tinned marine-grade wire for a round-trip of 60ft (anchor light).  I could have used 12ga but had a reel of 14 hanging around.


(8 replies, posted in Technical)

Both cast iron & lead are cast in one piece and lowered into the FRP keel casting and then sealed with FRP over the top and aft vertical wall.  I don't know what the FRP thickness of the forward edge of the keel is but the lower sides, where I drilled the holes, was around 1/2" thick.

Yes, iron will rust but, in an enclosed space, rusting will be minimal even with trapped water contacting the iron.  Oxidation (rusting) needs oxygen and after a while, the trapped water/moisture loses all its oxygen molecules and active rusting stops.  That's why the water coming out of my keel was just "slightly" rusty.  In short, whether your ballast is iron or lead is unimportant.  In either case, trapped water can cause FRP damage due to cyclic freezing and thawing.

Keep mind also that external cast iron has been used for well over 100 years on many boats where the iron has been in direct contact with salt water and it stands up very well – examples are the Tanzer 22 and the Pearson 26. 

In my opinion, a stainless steel strap has little worth.  A three ton boat hitting a ledge at 5-6 kts will most probably have serious FRP damage whether it has a "strap" or not.  I've done maybe 50 damage surveys (boats with encapsulated ballast) resulting from ledge-hopping and only a few required any major repairs.  Attaching the strap is another problem area.  Threaded fasteners in FRP seldom hold well.  If you drill the pilot hole too deep, you break through the keel casting causing possible leaks. If you have to use short screws (less than 4X the diameter) the threads can easily be stripped out with even a low speed bump.  Just from a sailing perspective, the Contessa is known for its easily driven hull that partially results from its fine entry.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Deck/hull parting – I saw a JJT 26 (1975) that was dockside and had been "T-boned" by a soused idiot driving a Bayliner 30.  The damage was substantial to both hull and deck just about amidships.  However, there were no indications of any built-in weakness of the hull-to-deck joint.

I agree with bertinol, relax and sail the boat.


(8 replies, posted in Technical)

Encapsulated keels can be removed using explosives but I don't generally recommend it.  Water in the keel casting can enter from the outside, through unrepaired or badly repaired keel damage, or from the inside (rarely) through barrier tabbing forward of the bilge void.  It's unimportant as to whether the keel ballast is cast lead or iron.  If there is water present, it could cause FRP damage (non-lamination) when the water repeatedly freezes and thaws. This can sometimes be seen as deep crazing at the lower 1-2" of the keel casting but it's pretty hard to tell unless you've seen a few of these. 

The best course (if you're really concerned and haven't much else to do) is to drill a few 1/2" holes about 1.5 to 2" above the bottom of the keel.  If water comes out, you've got a problem.  On the bright side, you'll find out what your ballast is made of (lead or iron).  This may not be of any real value except for use as a conversation stopper.  When someone is boring you to tears, you break in with, "My ballast is cast iron!"  That will generally suffice to change the topic.  At best, the dull hammerhead will conclude that you are a lunatic and find someone else to bore.
So you've got water.  Panique not!  Let the water drip out.  Catch it in something.  Once it stops dripping, pour a lot of water into the aft bilge void.  If more water starts coming out the holes, you really have a problem but this is very, very rare.  I've only seen two in the last 40 years and they were both on boats that were of very marginal quality. 

Let's assume that no water came out via the bilge.  Look around for damage.  Sand off all the bottom paint and look closely.  On Lucy Ann (JJT 26) the bad repair was as clear as the stern of a goat but there were two other areas that were suspect.  I drilled three 1/2" holes on each side of the keel casting and out came about a pint of slightly rusty water (cast iron ballast).  I then opened up the 1/2" holes to 1" diameter and hooked up a vacuum cleaner (shop type) with the nozzle duct-taped to one of the holes and let it suck away.  I moved the vacuum nozzle from hole to hole for some fairly scientific reasons that included the phase of the moon.  I probably got another 1/2 cup of water out but let it suck for several hours just to get air running through. 

The bad repairs were dug out and they and the holes were ground/tapered and filled/finished with epoxy and stitchmat.


(12 replies, posted in For Sale)


(11 replies, posted in Site Support/Comments)


(2 replies, posted in Wanted)