Cockpit Surgery (with photos)
Over the last few weeks I have taken the opportunity to start a project I have been wanting to do for quite a long time which is to modify Sylph’s cockpit to reduce its volume and to lighten Sylph’s stern. Since removing a lot of stuff (sails, lines, life raft and other miscellany) from Sylph’s aft end, Sylph has sailed a lot better as indicated by our improved race results, though a clean bottom does not hurt. Hans, a boat neighbour in the Wollongong Boat Harbour, is a retired marine engineer and welder and is helping me with the modifications. Basically, I have cut out the back third of Sylph’s cockpit and replaced it with an aluminium section manufactured by Hans which includes a hatch that will give me much easier access to the steering gear and the hull beneath the cockpit floor. The new section is now mostly fitted. The next job is to replace the wheel steering with a tiller. This will simplify the steering system and reduce Sylph’s weight quite a bit more (her stern is now about three to four inches higher out of the water). Once all the modifications are complete than I will reload much of the equipment I have taken out and hopefully she will end up sitting closer to her designed waterline.
All is well.
A big hole in the back of Sylph’s cockpit exposing the rudder head.
The aluminium section in place:
With cockpit seats in place (but not finished yet):
Oli, Kate’s cat, visiting: