Upgrade Your Boat - Part 4 - Steering and the Deck

By Simon Boyde


We've started work at last - and everything has slowed down. We've had to rethink what we're going to do, and when. It's a boat: what do you expect? It's not meant to be easy.

Rudder and Steering

ISAF LogoThe new rudder is in! A bit of a rush on this one because there was a little known change in the ISAF Cat 1 rules which came into play on 1 June 2009. If you change an underwater appendage after this date, it must comply with applicable ISO standards and once installed it must be approved by the original boat designer. As I said in a previous article we heard nothing back from Germá.n Frers so we had to get the rudder in by May 31st.

Original RudderNew Jefa Rudder by Storm Force Maring in Hong KongThe new rudder was built by Jefa to all applicable ISO standards, and has been well installed (and surveyed of course) but not by the original boat designer. The new rudder is slightly smaller, somewhat deeper, and is quite a bit thinner. Driving it is the new direct link steering system (described in Part 3) and high load roller bearings. Previous issues with the steering sticking under heavy load (reaching under kite for example) should now be over, as will the tremendous noise offshore from the creaking old steering system.


The teak deck is off! Estimated weight saving with the removal of the teak deck is some 400kg. My new IRC certificate estimates weight reduction at 700kg from where we started - this resulting from the new rudder and steering system, teak deck removal and the rebuild, starting below.

For the moment, while we think about it, all the old deck equipment is going back on. The only modifications we have made at this stage are:

Changing the old downhaul hardpoint to be a fully chainplated attachment point for a staysail. We decided to do this at this stage just so we can arrange to get the staysail as soon as funds become available
Cleat from Storm Force Marine in Hong KongMoving the pad eyes for the checkstays aft. Not by much, but by just enough so that you don't bash your hand against them while grinding in the mainsheet on the winch.
Replacement of all of the deck cleats and mooring line cleats by DNV approved 19 tonne cleats which are wide enough to take the size of lines needed to tie the boat up for a typhoon. The current cleats were just a little too close to the deck, and the lines have a tendency to slip off if full sized.

Interprotect Paint from Storm Force Marine in Hong KongNow that the teak has gone, the deck has been filled to plug the two thousand-odd holes which were made to hold the old teak deck on. And what a silly time of year to do it. Work on this started in the middle of May, and without having more than 3 consecutive dry days, it has taken several months. Sanding is now is complete, so painting the deck with Interprotect and then standard deck paint is due very soon.

TBS-21 Anti-Skid Deck CoveringOnce we have run through this initial stage of boat works, we will be revisiting the deck, replacing all of the deck equipment and covering the deck with TBS-21, a 2.1mm non skid, slightly rubberised material, which has been used on the big French offshore racing boats for many years. As this needs to be cut round deck equipment and as we are changing the deck equipment later, it does not go on yet of course.

Next article we will get on to the boat's interior.

Simon Boyde is a Director of Storm Force Marine and regularly races Cave Canem