Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "Cockpit Comings"
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Post: "Cockpit Comings"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012


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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Chip Wheeler (Guest)

I finished installing cockpit coamings for our cruise to Molokai this summer. There already were two five-inch lengths of 1/2 inch stainless all-thread poking up through each quarter deck, both sides of the cockpit footwell. These had been used to mount the flimsy, hollow excuses for coamings that came with the boat when I bought it, when we nearly lost winches and coamings over the side at sea trial.

I went out and bought a chunk of teak seven feet long, ten inches wide and two inches thick for $210. (This is Hawaii, where everything but good sailing weather is expensive.)

I cut the lumber in half for two 3 1/2 foot lengths. Teak lumber comes rough, so sanding was done by belt sander, then a random orbital sander. Before sanding, I had to approximate the curvature of the after wall of the coachroof as it slopes down to the quarter deck. Also, a quarter circle on the tops of the after ends to match the slope of the bulwarks toward the stern seemed appropriate. after bullnosing and sanding, I sealed each board with two coats of straight epoxy resin.

Next, I drilled two half-inch holes on the bottom of each for the all-thread to enter the boards from the deck. I drilled one-inch holes from the top to drop in flat washers, lock washers and hex nuts, and to fit a socket. On final fitting, hardwood dowel (Hemlock was readily available.), one-inch in diameter, dropped nicely into each hole, was marked and cut. I cemented these plugs in with epoxy putty and sanded them flush.

Next, I marked the outline of the butt end approach of each coaming to the after end of the cabin top. I drilled four 3/8 inch holes each in the cabin outside in. From the top of the coamings these came at the 1", 3", 5" and 7" marks. I lined the coamings up to the outline and drilled slightly smaller holes in the forward ends of the coamings through the holes from inside the cabin. These accepted the six-inch stainless steel lag screws, four on each side, with fender washers, the heads and washers sealed in 3M 5200 for good measure.

On final approach, I sealed the coamings to the deck with 5200, cleaning up with mineral spirits. I have two coats of straight epoxy and one coat of Cetol Marine for the time being. Before our rainy season hits in November, I intend to add one more coat of Cetol, then follow with four coats of Cetol Marine Gloss, to complete my standard 2-2-4 procedure for teak that is exposed to our tropical sun. The 5200 and the Cetol have also served to mask and seal the imperfections in the intersection of coamings to cabin top.

The coamings are practically bullet proof. They are great for the helmsman to rest his back against while steering, and for the mate to rest his feet on while snoozing on the bridgedeck. When we buried the rail to weather on our cruise, water rushed past them, so buttresses will have to be added to dam up the water. I have also had to add limber holes to drain rain water from the bridge deck while the boat is at rest. The coamings have doubled nicely as mounts for my new Bimini top and for winch handle pockets. They are strong enough to mount winches, as well, but I already have those on the bulwarks.

Chip Wheeler
Westsail 32, Hull No. 32

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