Category Archives: Wood

New windlass

Our windlass, a Simpson-Lawrence SL-519, has been running fine. While a creature comfort, any electric windlass has some disadvantages;

  • Requires engine to run to operate
  • Manual back-up is painfully slow
  • No feel for how hard the anything is stuck
  • If anything gets stuck and fuse is triggered, it requires  a trip below to reset the fuse
  • Adds to general complication of boat

This got us thinking about a manual double-action, two-geared Simpson-Lawrence SL-555 Sea Tiger. When we happened to stumble on one, brand new (!), from Trafalgar Yacht Services (, the project somehow started realizing itself. Especially when we saw from the original drawings of the HR41, that Olle Enderlein had intended the windlass to be located aft of the bow locker; just were we felt it would be better situated (mainly for getting weight aft and a better drop for the chain into the chain locker.


Olle Enderlein, who designed the HR41 in 1975 and more than 120 other boats between 1946 and 1987, intended the windlass to be located just aft of the chain locker


Base for windlass on bowsprit


Epoxying new oversized holes


Fiberglassing new hawse pipe running thru forecabin. The two forward bolts are centered in the bulkhead between the forecabin and bow locker


40mm oak beam glassed in, taking the two aft bolts


Mahogany covering of oak beam and hawse pipe


Removing old base and preparing for new teak planking


Bulkhead thickness increased from ca 15 to 45 mm in order to accommodate washer diameter of forward bolts of windlass. The added plywood, epoxied over with fiber glass, is also glassed to the underside of the deck.


Job finished.


… and then we had to sew a cover.


Bow thruster control panel

The ‘old’ control panel of our Vetus bow thruster short circuited because of water entering the circuit board. Not good; the thruster started running suddenly and had to be switched off by means of the main circuit breaker. Thankfully, Vetus replaced it under warranty.

At the same time, we took the opportunity to go for the new a slimmer panel. The old, square and somewhat big panel had been mounted where fingers easily caught between it and the steering wheel. Also, the sheets sometimes got caught on it. So, we built a better housing for the new panel.


Old, huge-ish panel


Building housing for new panel

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Tailor-made dinghy

When we bought Anna, she had a nice little hard dinghy in davits. However, Anna’s 41 ft on deck, increased to about 50 ft when taking both the bowsprit and dinghy in davits into consideration. For us, that was a bit too much to handle, especially in crowded Danish ports. The davits also made it difficult to bear off at the stern. Also, when moored alongside and reversing on a spring, the dinghy often hit the dock. Another contributing factor was that when crossing open water of several days, we prefer not to keep the dinghy in the davits, but instead keep it before the mast, which makes the foredeck a bit crowded and creates some windage.
So we decided to get rid of the davits, but instead of the obvious route of solving the dinghy problem with an inflatable, we put together a dinghy with a detachable transom that fits snugly around the superstructure before the mast. Cost of material roughly USD 700 (mainly West epoxy and 7mm plywood) and about 100-150 man-hours building time.


A snug fit over the superstructure; minimal added windage.


The fit around the superstructure also means that a minimum of the foredeck is used.


Using the gennaker halyard, the dinghy is turned over to allow fitting of transom.


A simple foam gasket and ten M8 bolts make the transom watertight and quick to fit.


Transom has a cut-out for kedging out an anchor. Double oarlock positions to allow proper rowing position depending on number of person onboard.


The shape is perhaps a bit unusual, but with a flat bottom with a moderate rocker, she is very stable while at the same time being easy to turn.

Teak grating for forward head

Both aft and forward heads have cabin soles with welded plastic mat and a drain to the bilge. Good for getting any water out; the aft head has a shower head, which we use sitting down. In the forward head, there’s no shower, but the floor still gets wet from time to time. A few years back we put together a teak grating for the aft head and now the time has come for the forward head.


Compass bubble

On Anna, we have a pedestal compass, marked “Henry Browne & Sons, Barking & London, Sestrel, 17854IV”. Late 2014, a bubble, about 40mm in diameter, suddenly appeared in the compass. A small bubble is not a big deal, but this was sufficiently large to make me worry about possible condensation in the air space. Also, filling a compass is done in a matter of minutes, right?

After researching what to fill the compass with I tried to find Isopar (M or L); no luck. So I settled for petroleum paraffin (C10C13), which is sold as lamp oil. The often recommended baby oil is not suitable (and in any case more expensive) as it starts to go opaque below approc -15 degrees C; it’s not often that it gets that cold in southern Sweden, but it happens.

Looking back, this is how the work went:

  1. Remove bow thruster control panel (to get to the screws holding the ‘steel cage’).
  2. Remove steel cage surrounding compass (to get the compass out of the pedestal).
  3. Remove compass.
  4. Clean and epoxy holes in pedestal for steel cage (had started to work loose).
  5. Drill new holes in epoxy, once hardened.
  6. Sand and varnish teak trim surrounding compass.
  7. Remove old varnish on steel cage and polish.
  8. Scrape, sand, prime and paint compass cover.
  9. Polish out scratches from compass dome.
  10. Make gaskets to fit between steel cage and pedestal. Hopefully prevents it from working loose in the future.
  11. Solder new red diode onto compass night light cable.
  12. Fill compass.
  13. Refit compass, steel cage and bow thruster control panel.

Again, never think about how much work it will take to fix something on the boat. Just do it!

No, baby oil is not a good idea, at least not in Scandinavia. After half an hour in the freezer, it went from clear to slush.

No, baby oil is not a good idea, at least not in Scandinavia.


The oil was simply poured into the hole.


Might as well touch up the varnish on the teak trim. Steel cage can be seen bottom left.


And better scrape off that loose paint on the cover.


And those holes are starting to get bigger, making the steel cage a bit loose. Better expoxy them. And those non-matching screws have to be fixed.


And the new epoxy-PU paint on the dome cover doesn’t want to harden, so it goes in the oven.


This stuff, Xerapol plastic polish, bought from, works great to polish out minor scratches


And a new diode, instead of the old and burnt-out bulb, gets soldered onto the night light cable (the cable should be twisted to prevent interference with the compass). Almost done now…

Recaulking deck

The teak deck is now 36 years old. It has lost about 2mm of its original thickness, but no wooden plugs (bungs) have come out. When the boat was in heated indoor storage (14 degrees C) last winter, the wood dried/contracted so much that the caulking came undone. So, I decided to recaulk the deck. It took 80-100 hours (including removing and rebedding genoa sheet tracks etc). I did it as follows;

1. Remove old caulking with Fein MultiMaster. I hope I will never have to do this job without this tool – it really works great.
2. Clean out remaining caulking using wood chisels.
3. Deepen the groove where the caulking goes by about 2mm using a Record plane (bought from and a Bahco wood chisel.
4. Sand groove. 80 grit paper, by hand.
5. Vacuum clean.
6. Mask.
7. Prime with Sika Primer 290DC. I used almost two bottles, each 250ml.
8. Caulk with Sikaflex 290iDC, using a good hand gun ( I used 16 tubes, each 300ml.
9. Flatten caulk bead with plastic strips. This leaves only a very thin caulk layer on the edge of the masking tape,
10. Remove masking tape following day.

If one could use a small circular saw to clean out the groove and correct the depth in a single cut, I estimate it would save about 50% of the labour.
Using large cartridges, 600ml instead of 300ml, would save 10-20% on cost of caulk.

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Fitting chafing strips

The HR41 does not come with chafing strips at the cleats. Strips prevent damage to the teak toe rail, not only at the the mid cleats (which are positioned on deck and not on the rail as are the cleats at bow and stern). If using an anchor bridle, additional strips at the bow cleats need to be positioned to work with lines running almost vertically from the cleats (see picture below).


Inverter, floorboard and binnacle

When sitting at the nav table, one has the right foot on the floor board and the left on the inside of the hull, which really is not very comfortable. So, we made up an additional minute floor board for the left foot. This had to be mounted slightly higher due to the curvature of the hull, but it is far more comfortable this way. Beside the newly fitted inverter we also made a small binnacle.


The smallest floorboard in history?

Inverter and binnacle for charging devices.

Inverter and binnacle for charging devices.