Refurbished Outboard Bracket

After two months I got the outboard bracket back from the Stainless guys. The initial design of the bracket had two mayor flaws: the first was the thickness of the bolts used to attach the bracket to the transom and the second the ability (or lack there of) to keep the outboard set at different heights. The outboard is mounted on a sliding mechanism which was held up by a line fixed to the stern rail. Not only was this highly inefficient and difficult to work with, it was also dangerous.

I therefore had the old bolts replaced with 12mm stainless bolts and had holes laser-cut so that I can adjust the height of the outboard by inserting a “key” in the new holes. I have had some time to experiment with this and it seems to work much better than before.

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New Stern Rail Design

I have decided to have a new stern rail build since the old one looks a bit rough around the edges (pun intended). I really like the current design where there is a seat incorporated for one to sit on when operating the outboard motor. From this seat I can easily adjust speed or kill the motor while steering the tiller with my feet. The only down side, however, is the poor level of workmanship that went into the construction.

Below is a photograph (taken during the initial survey in April) of the current stern rail.

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Using Google SketchUp and some measurements I took this morning in 35knots of wind I came up with this design.

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This is only my first draft and all measurements are still to be finalised. Hopefully I will have quotes for the new stern rail by the end of this week. I am also busy with a refit of the outboard bracket which I want to get installed as soon as possible so that I can go sailing again. I will definitely write a post on that as well in the near future.

Finishing the Companionway and Washboards.

I have been planning on varnishing the companionway and washboards for weeks. However it seems that I won’t get a decent enough weather window since cold fronts keep rolling in and the temperature stays in the 12 – 16 degrees Celsius range.

The varnish I bought needs at least 25 degrees Celsius and at least four coats applied over two or three days.

I therefore decided to apply raw lin seed oil instead and I must say I am very pleased. 

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Apologies for the bad light, the sun was setting just as I was taking the picture.

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The Beginning…

I thought it might be a good idea to post some photos of what my Contessa 26 looked when I found her in Saldanha in April 2015.

Since I have decided to change her name I have removed her name from the photos, any name suggestions will be highly appreciated… Originally she was named Gilgarran, launched in 1967 in Lymington, England as hull number 16. The only information I could find on her is that she was first owned by Mr and Mrs Edward Marris. If anyone has any information on this yacht and particularly on how she got to South Africa you can contact me on the “Contact Us” page.


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The outside of the hull and deck is in excellent condition, no osmosis or blisters of any kind. She does have a copper-epoxy type anti-foul which I quite like.

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With no in-board motor installed she came with a 9.9hp Mariner outboard which proved to be excellent during our trip from Saldanha to Gordon’s Bay.

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The deck is painted bright yellow which is very valuable when the search and rescue team is looking for you half way across the Atlantic, but unfortunately it is not very nice to look at.

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So far she has proven to have excellent sea keeping abilities, my only complaint is the lack of self draining cockpits and the very low companionway.

Of course with any 48 year old boat she needs a lot of work, but in general I am very pleased with her.

G.