Replacing the Taffrail on a newer A30

When I removed the remains of the old taffrail, I found that there was a little delamination in the hull-deck joint. This is probably a relic of an old collision or docking accident.

The delamination did not go all the way through, so I just spread the crack with a screwdriver and squirted in some 3M 5200 caulk.

While I had the taffrail removed, I through-bolted the hull deck joint. I also sealed the outside of the joint with a liberal application of 5200.

The new taffrail was made by Cy Fishburn by laminating strips of teak. I drilled and countersunk for screws, and trimmed it to size.

The edges didn't quite match the rails, so I filed the rails down to meet.

Once it fit to my satisfaction, I screwed the new taffrail to the deck, bedded in 3M 5200 caulk. It might be prudent to use 4200, but I don't anticipate removing the taffrail and the 5200 was at hand.

I then dipped some teak plugs in resorcinal glue and lightly tapped them into place in the screwholes.

The plugs stood proud of the taffrail. I chiseled off the bulk of the protuding plugs...

...and then carefully trimmed closer, paying attention to which way the grain tilted. Finally I sanded the plugs smooth.

Voila! A new taffrail!

Offshore Sailing book cover Offshore Sailing by Bill Seifert with Daniel Spurr

We went to a Windjammers lecture to hear Bill Seifert and I was impressed enough to buy the book on the spot. I've heard a lot of people talk about ways to improve a boat, but I've never heard one person suggest so many good ideas that I hadn't considered. Part of the charm is the specificity of the suggestions. Everyone says you should secure your floorboards, hatchboards and batteries. Bill shows good suggestions on how to do so.

The suggestions are very practical for the do-it-yourselfer, too. Many show how to make or adapt inexpensive solutions. Tip #12 on closing the deck blower vents is one that will pay off for me without ever going offshore. I'll implement that one to stop the wintertime storms from finding their way belowdecks.

Besides modifications, the book also includes advice for operating offshore, cooking, boat selection, dealing with bureaucracy, and more.

Bill Seifert has worked at Tartan, TPI, and Alden Yachts. He's a veteran of many Marion-Bermuda races and now runs his own yacht management company. His tips are born of experience--not of book-learning--and it shows. He obviously knows his stuff.

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