Author Topic: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe  (Read 4553 times)

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Offline Shipscarver

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Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« on: March 06, 2010, 09:20:00 PM »
Open call for ideas and most particularly for pictures on how to make my coastal cruiser Cape Dory 27 a secure single handed blue water cruiser.  Currently she has no post factory modifications and is not set up for single handed sailing.
"The great secret that all old people share
is that you really haven't changed . . .
Your body changes, but you don't change at all.
And that, of course, causes great confusion." . . . Doris Lessing

 Shipscarver - Cape Dory 27

Offline AdriftAtSea

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 10:41:36 PM »
re-doing the standing rigging, upsizing one size on the wire might be a good idea. 

Increasing the size of the cockpit drains and reducing the size of the cockpit foot well, to reduce the amount of water the cockpit holds and the time it takes to drain in the case of being pooped.

Replacing the chain plates.  Given the age of the boat, it might be wise. 

Making the forward v-berth section of the boat water-tight from the rest of the boat

Adding jacklines to each side of the boat for you to tether your harness to. 

Adding padeyes in the cockpit, foredeck and at the mast to clip your harness tether to.

Adding some sort of self-steering equipment to the boat?this can range from sheet-to-tiller setups, all the way up to a windvane or autopilot.

Adding secure latches to the floorboards or other hatches and drawers in the boat
s/v Pretty Gee
Telstar 28 Trimaran
Yet we get to know her, love her and be loved by her.... get to know about My Life With Gee at
http://blog.dankim.com/life-with-gee
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Online CharlieJ

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 06:50:40 AM »
Couple of points here.

First- I strongly advise AGAINST just arbitrary upsizing the wire one size. I hear this a lot - BUT-

the rig on a sailboat is a system, from chain plates to mast head tangs including turnbuckles and clevis pins. Often an increase in wire size means the ends are larger(stalocs, swaged eyes, whatever) requiring larger clevises. So you bore out the hole in the tang or chain plate to fit? And maybe cut the strength of the fitting to LESS than where you started.

So before you just jump a wire size, consider the whole system, and be sure it's really needed. Modern 1x19 304 or 316 stainless is extremely tough stuff. Do the math first.

Secondly, I'm not really up on the CD 27, but right across our home slip from us sat Ed Campbell's CD 25. Ed is the author of Cruising Texas, which used to be the only cruising guide for the Texas coast. Ed has sailed that boat, in total stock form all over the Gulf of Mexico, including several crossings straight across the gulf. With no difficulties at all with the rig.

So, as I said- do some research before you go changing things.

After that, I agree with Adrift on the other stuff he mentioned. But again-do some serious thinking about how you'll REALLY sail the boat. Are you REALLY gonna cross oceans? Or are you really just gonna do coastal sailing? Personally, I'd get the boat ready and sail her a few hundred miles before I did any "improving"

of course, if you already know you are a second James with Atom, then pull the stops and go for it ;)
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline AdriftAtSea

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2010, 07:58:20 AM »
The only reason I mention possibly upgrading the rigging a size is that some boats, and I'm not familiar enough with the CD27 to say whether it is one of them, come with marginal rigging for offshore conditions.  It would make sense to replace the chainplates if you're planning on upsizing the rigging, so that the whole system is properly matched.

I agree with charlie about sailing the boat essentially as is for awhile...since that will often let you figure out what changes are really necessary.  If you're singlehanding, I would recommend adding jacklines ASAP... Staying on the boat is really the best thing for singlehanders, as few will have Robert Gainer's luck and be able to get back aboard without assistance.
s/v Pretty Gee
Telstar 28 Trimaran
Yet we get to know her, love her and be loved by her.... get to know about My Life With Gee at
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Offline CapnK

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2010, 10:11:02 AM »
Ditto on leaving the rig as-is, WRT the specs on the wire and fittings. The Swede knew his stuff, and you can bet that a CD27 with a well-maintained rig is capable of bluewater passages. :) "Well maintained" is key, however. If the wire is older than 5-10 years, it needs a good going over. Pay particular attention to swedges and to the wire where it exits them; these are common failure points due to work-hardening and crevice corrosion. Where the shrouds meet the spreader tips is another place to check for evidence of work hardening. Inspect the chainplates (and the thru-bolts for them!), tangs, masthead, shackles, turnbuckles, and the spreader bases. On my boat, the bases are made of cast aluminum - 40 years of age and corrosion made them brittle and crystalized to the point that one of them literally shattered when stressed.

I also agree with what CJ says about sailing & living on the boat awhile before making modifications to the interior. It can take a while to find what works best for you (trust me on this! lol). After you've gotten to know the boat from use, you'll have a much better idea of what to do.

And speaking of James and Atom, well, there's a *great* resource for a lot of ideas WRT making a small boat passage-worthy, and they are from someone who has "been there, done that", AND gotten the t-shirt... :)
http://sailfar.net
Onboard "Katie Marie", Pearson Ariel #422

Offline j d

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2010, 04:40:09 PM »
Hi Shipscarver, As you know we have the same boat. I certainly love it. Mine came to me much as yours, the way she left cape dory almost 30 years ago. The only thing that had been changed was furling on the head sail. A must in my book for single handed sailing on this boat, but admittedly not bullet proof.
Before I depart across an ocean, I would, 1) as suggested, inspect the chain plates. As CDers know that means the crappy back-up plates they used on them. 2) The cockpit is large, not sure yet what to do about that as I really like the cockpit. 3)The drains are not adequate I would add two more toward the aft end of the cockpit that would drain through the transom area.4) The cockpit hatches will drink copious quantities of water if you don't seal them. A must do thing. I would seal the lazaratte hatch also, but it is much better and higher then the others are. 5) Due to the height of the combings water could be higher then your bridge deck so you need a way to secure your companion way drop boards to keep water out of the cabin. 6) The pad eyes and jacklines  that Adrift recommended. 7) Hand grabs are seriously lacking in the cabin. 8) restraints to keep you in the bunks in the main cabin. 9) Find a way to seal the dorade vent and rode deck pipe during weather. There are other things but this is where I would start.
s/v Meander
Cape Dory 27
Presently berthed in Antioch, CA
exploring the Delta and bay

Offline Christopher

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2010, 08:21:43 PM »
Not that I can say much on the subject of blue water cruising, but I looked at a lot of CDs and a lot of other boats in the same class.  The shrouds were always much thinner on the CDs than on the Ariels, Commanders, Bristols that I looked at.  The CD 25 I went out on had such thin wire that I could make the spreaders move dramatically just by grabbing hold of the upper shroud.  Might have been the tuning of that particular rig, but the wire really seemed light.

Agree also that the wire can't just be arbitrarily replaced.  I've become very well aware as of late that the standing rigging is not just shrouds, mast, tangs and chainplates.  If you increase the amount of stress that the wires can take, you need to increase the amount of stress that the knees/bulkheads where the chainplates are attached can take, the spreader sockets, masthead, and on and on.  It's driving me nuts as there seems to be no end to strengthening the rig.  Who knows what I'll find when I actually get the mast down and see what else needs fixing...
1970 Bristol 29

Offline Shipscarver

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2010, 11:47:53 PM »
Thanks guys. I didn't mention it because I wanted to benefit from brainstorming, but I have been living aboard and sailing the Gulf for a year and a half, and sailing, with large gaps of times, since 1949.
I have already added 4 handholds (nice looking teak at that) to the head and cabin and installed a solar cockpit light next to the outside of the companionway, and 4 folding padeyes with backing plates (still have my doubts about how strong folding padeyes are). I have a windvane,and have completed drawing my plans to raise the tiller, reduce the cockpit by about 40% while adding a vented propane locker, additional battery space, and sealing the lockers. I plan to add another cockpit drain during the build out and I have a self priming pump to install for an emergency bilge pump. I am waiting for the PT on my right arm to advance far enough for me to lay in a fiberglass strip sealing the hull-deck from inside, all the way around, and replace all the portlight gaskets. When I have the rigging replaced (and the lights replaced with LED's) and install the winch on the cabin top aside of the companionway, I will have the mast pulled and a steel compression post put in, like Fred did on Fenix. Fiberglassing the deck/hull joint was something else I liked when I was on Fenix, but unlike Fred I am leaving the Head in at this point and installing a maserator, unless the post makes it too much of a pain, if so, it's bucket time, and storage area for a bike. I am also adding Fred's idea of the 2" wood rail fastened to the stanchion's an inch above the deck, all around.  
I hadn't thought about the derado, nice catch!  Appreciate any and all suggestions!!!  ;D ;D
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 11:54:05 PM by Shipscarver »
"The great secret that all old people share
is that you really haven't changed . . .
Your body changes, but you don't change at all.
And that, of course, causes great confusion." . . . Doris Lessing

 Shipscarver - Cape Dory 27

Offline Godot

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2010, 03:31:10 PM »
Shipscarver, it sounds like you've already figured out how to reduce your cockpit volume; but for the benefit of j d, my idea:

j d, since you DON'T want to give up the cockpit; but you are interested in reducing its' size, have you considered building a removable box that you can install and remove according to your mission at hand (in on crossings, out for daysailing)?  Make it watertight, find a way to lock it in place, and set it at the same height as the seats and you end up with what I was once planning on doing to Godot.  It adds some storage, too.

An alternative way to reduce volume might be to raise the floor (using plywood covered foam?), or narrow the foot well (we tend to always think in terms of reducing its' length; but there are other dimensions that are available to us).  I'm not sure what either idea would do for comfort.
Adam
Bayfield 29 "Seeker"
Middle River, Chesapeake Bay

Offline AdriftAtSea

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2010, 03:55:45 PM »
Reducing the width of the foot well can be very useful to those of us with short legs... :D
s/v Pretty Gee
Telstar 28 Trimaran
Yet we get to know her, love her and be loved by her.... get to know about My Life With Gee at
http://blog.dankim.com/life-with-gee
The Scoot—click to find out more

Offline Bubba the Pirate

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2010, 05:03:20 PM »
I have a CD28, there is a treasure trove of good info on the Cape Dory Board at the CDSOA site.  When you get there search for Chain Plate replacement.  A guy with a 28 has a great post with pictures.  CDs had good std rigging, but I may go up a size anyway.  Take a look the "Cape Dory 28 Chain Plate Replacement" thread.  There is great info there that will pass between models I'm sure. 

CD used mild steel for their chainplates.  It is stronger and less brittle under work fatigue than stainless, but if any water gets in . . . . . problem.   Mine look great; his look bad. 

Any other questions you have, of course I will try and help, but go to the CDSOA board and search your little fingers off!   It is a great resource. 

Todd
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Todd R. Townsend
s/v Bella
Albin Vega 27
Lake Michigan (for now)
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Online CharlieJ

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2010, 05:13:36 PM »
Also visit James Baldwin's Atom site. He had an excellent idea for reducing cockpit size, and giving him a stowage place for water. In fact his site is a treasure trove
of ideas.
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Offline j d

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Re: Making a Cape Dory 27 bluewater safe
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2010, 10:41:53 PM »
Hey Godot, Thanks for your thoughts about reducing the size of my cockpit. Elevating the floor is a great thought. My wife is quite short and  has trouble getting in and out of the cockpit. That would be a blessing for her, and  I had not thought of a removable storage area to reduce the size. Great ideas. Thanks
s/v Meander
Cape Dory 27
Presently berthed in Antioch, CA
exploring the Delta and bay