The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Starting With The Basics On A New-To-Us Cruising Boat

There’s nothing like getting your hands dirty in the innards of a new-to-us boat to tell you what she’s really like, so that’s what Louise and I did a week or so ago down at the boatyard in Burnham.

With a boat of this age (47 years) that has had virtually no use for the last few years, we anticipated lots of failed equipment and a need to service everything, but, so far, only the latter has proved true.

But I know that most breakdowns occur in the first few weeks of boat ownership (new or old), so rigorous preparation is the order of the day—to finish first, you must first finish, as the old saying goes.

So some basic physical toil had to be expected to ensure that we get home to Scotland safely and enjoyably.

Inspection Strategy

I have done these ‘deliveries’ many times and always work through a simple set of tasks beforehand:

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George L

Seems to me you got yourself a very solid boat. All the expensive stuff is there and still good. The Yanmar will last you forever – pump and elbow are minor issues. Compact (dieform) is the way to go; would be hard to justify rod and the savings for conventional 1 x 19 are irrelevant giving the overall cost of restepping the mast. The rest are all wear-and-tear items. Congratulations.

… and Burnham is cool – crewed out of there quite a bit – the Thames estuary is great fun …

Alastair Currie

If you have aluminium framed windows with rubber or elastomer seals, be wary. The rubber, elastomer relies on its tenacity to maintain a seal. This reduces over time as the products age harden. They look okay until stressed then fail.
I ended up taking all my framed windows out and having them rebuilt without seals. Bone dry for 7 years now. I found that the frames had corroded on the inside flange due to water pooling inside the frame. Hull to aluminium I sealed with Scapa 3507 bedding tape, excellent material, very easy to work with.

Eric Klem

For what its worth, a favorite product in the US for bedding most types of things (no diesel fills for example) is Rod Collin’s Bed-It Butyl tape. Unfortunately when he had his stroke, it became unavailable but Hamilton Marine in Maine had it go back in stock earlier this year and I now see that there is a website specifically selling it claiming worldwide shipping. I don’t know who bought it other than that the address is in Washington state and not Maine.

I am certainly happy it is available again. The product is indistinguishable from all the bedding that our boat originally came with and that has been nearly flawless for us even at 38 years old. Rod Collin’s marinehowto website has good instructions on using it.

I haven’t previously heard of the Scapa 3507 so that is good to know about.


Dick Stevenson

Hi Eric and Colin,
I second the use of butyl rubber from RC (not all BR is alike). I have been using it on all deck bedding for almost a decade now (including chainplates) and been very happy.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Kevin Dreese

Wow, BRONZE keel bolts. I wonder if anyone builds with those anymore? Also, so far as I know, even old Swans, Hinckley, Morris and Hallberg Rassy used stainless steel. I wonder why high end builders don’t use bronze?

John Harries

Hi Kevin,

Why more builders don’t use bronze is beyond me, particularly given that the added cost would only be a few hundred dollars. That said the Morris Justine I looked at had bronze bolts.

George L

minimal difference in price, yes and no.

I am old school in this regard and I tend to always upgrade in such a case, because it doesn’t make sense being penny-wise and pound foolish.

Home builders are notorious for cutting out minor expenses, stupidly most of the time. Yacht builders seem to be not nearly as bad. However, all the little upgrades do add up; in our case well beyond 10 % of overall cost. Still the right thing to do, but at some point it starts to hurt, especially on a new build that is quite taxing as is.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”― Benjamin Franklin

Nevertheless, few customers are willing to pay for quality and the practices reflect that fact.

Dick Stevenson

Hi Colin,
Nice report. Always good to be reminded of the basics.
With regard to bungs: it is my observation that bungs connected to the seacock (as I did for years) get dirty with bilge yuck and saturated with condensation/dampness which, to my mind, undermines the idea that you push/pound the bung into the hole and have the “bung” expand into place.
Mind, the above is theoretical as I have not had to do so, nor have I tested it out.
I do know that I have stored my bungs of various sizes at a dry central location for decades now and believe that I could use them just as quickly as trying to untie a bung whose line and knot is many years old and stiff and dirty and with leaking water in my face.
Just a thought: curious what others may think.
Congrats and enjoy getting to know your new “home”.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Dick Stevenson

Hi Colin,
And so glad to see you are using compacted strand wire. Years ago, while in the UK, the ins company insisted I replace my rod rigging and I wanted to go with compacted strand, especially if I could use it with DIY StayLok or the like. I never got a chance to answer that as the rigger and I could not source any compacted strand whose province was assured and who had a track record. Not sure the US would be any better as I have not heard/seen and compacted strand in use here.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy

Stein Varjord

Hi Colin,
Would you be able to find a source (name or something searchable) for that wire? I live in Holland and I’d like to change our standing rigging soon, so it’s interesting to gather material sources.

By the way, and you probably know already, but many think Holland is the name of a country, which it’s not. It’s a province, or actually two, north and south Holland. Combined they are a bit less than a third of the country area. Amsterdam, where I live, is in North Holland. Rotterdam and The Hague are in South Holland. The country name, in English, is: The Netherlands. Holland is just wrong, but the Dutch are also untidy with it, so it’s an understandable mistake, of absolutely zero importance. 😀

Matthieu Chauvel

Hi Stein, thank you for prompting a bit of (very) belated education on my part — I did know the proper country name was ‘The Netherlands’, but I just spent some time anchored inside Vlieland and Terschelling (lovely spot btw) thinking, and answering when asked, that I was in Holland for the first time — embarrassed to realize only now that I have left, that I was in fact in…Friesland! May have used the wrong name once or twice but the natives were too polite to correct me, I’ll have it right next time! 🙂

Dick Stevenson

Hi Colin,
Good information, thanks. And do you know if compacted strand lends itself the the DIY rigging choices? Dick

Dick Stevenson

And is the swaging (machine and/or technique) different if that route is taken? Dick

Dick Stevenson

Hi Charles,
The url you provided, provided the answer: yes CW can be used with DIY fittings and it sounds like their swaging technique includes some extra equipment and attention. The url also provided other useful information.
Thanks, Dick  

Dick Stevenson

Hi all,
My very casual understanding was that Dyform was the name when made in the UK, but that name went with the company’s closure decades ago (except in casual use) while compacted wire became the accepted name (perhaps because of copyright or other legal stuff) as it was descriptively accurate and not connected to a company.
Charles, did your boat come with compacted wire? If so, it is the only manufacturer I know who has done so.
My best, Dick Stevenson

Charles Starke MD

Dear Dick
My Trintella 45 (1985) and Trintella 47 (2002) both came with Dyform rigging.
Best wishes,
Charles L Starke MD
s/v Dawnpiper

Peter Clark

For what it’s worth (I’m a new member!), in the UK a company called Jimmy Green Marine are a source for Compacted Strand Wire. They can supply the materials, or they can make to order.
If I’m permitted to leave a link to their site (I have no commercial interest!), try this URL

Dick Stevenson

Hi Peter,
I believe that Jimmy Green was one of the sources contacted when I re-rigged in the UK. At that time (12+ years ago), none could/would talk to me about province let alone any stats relating to quality.
Back then, what I learned was that Dyform was an UK product and went out of business to Asian manufacturers who called their product compacted strand.
I do not know why one does not see more compacted strand wire on boats (I do not know of any boats), but I would be curious to find out things like swaging differences from conventional wire and other considerations in reliability and longevity. And whether CS wire lends itself to DIY terminals.
Let us know what you find out.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy