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Where to start?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:31 pm
by andycayman
Hello everyone, I just picked up a 1978 Day Sailer II. She seems to be in reasonable shape but a bit tatty. The chap I purchased the boat from was selling it for someone else, so he could not tell me anything about the boats history apart from the fact that the boat has not been sailed for a few years, and although recently kept indoors it has had an extended period of time sitting outside.

I am brand new to this sailing lark and I have no idea where to start with getting the boat ready for the water. To me she looks tatty but solid, the sails seem old but still fairly crisp, the ropes seem a little crusty so I expect they will need to be replaced.

Things I have noticed so far.
After trailering home we noticed some water draining out of the bung-hole at the bottom of the transom, obviously some residual from the bilge.
The cable that comes out of the front of the housing that holds the swinging keel is totally shot and needs to be replaced, any guidance there?
The round inspection panels appear to be seized closed, any tips on getting them open?
Numerous little dings and gouges in the gelcoat, but I am confident I can fix those.
Some of the gelcoat is a little chalky, again I am confident I can buff it back to a reasonable state.
Some hints of rust around most metal fittings but it seems to be just surface stuff.

Apart from the above, I really have no idea what I should be looking for or what to inspect so that I can put a plan together to make the boat safe for our lessons! I got the boat for a fair price I think, so I am ready to spend some cash to get her in good shape.

Sorry if this is a little vague, but I really do not know where to start,so any advice would be welcomed, but a priority list of things to check and what to look for would be awesomely welcomed :)

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:10 pm
Where to start indeed! I would start by perusing the DS2 section of this forum, as well as the more general categories. Use the instructions here if you want to search for specific keywords:


My DS2 was a '79, so most likely very similar to yours. I have lots of pics in my gallery of various fixes/improvements I made.

The next thing you will want to do if you are going to convert to the religion of DSism is learn how to pray to Saint Rudy of Assonet. Well, OK, not actually pray, just call him! Or if in the area stop by. Rudy used to work for O'Day and knows these boats inside and out. He now owns D&R Marine in Assonet MA, and stocks and sells boat stuff, especially O'Day-specific boat stuff. Go here:

As to your specific bullet points:

You can easily get replacement inspection ports from D&R or many other suppliers.
Once you get them open or replaced, you can plug the drains, then run some water into the bilge. If you see any leaking out, you'll know how it's getting in. If you don't, it's coming from another source (rainwater?).
The cable that is shot is the centerboard uphaul, and can easily be replaced. D&R has ready made up replacements, or you could make up your own. I believe at least one forum member made one up out of Amsteel or the like.
Most of the SS hardware on the boat is "generic" and can be replaced/upgraded from numerous suppliers, but some is DS-specific and can be had from D&R (are you starting to see a trend here?).

Lastly, do yourself a favor and get some new sails for her, especially if you are just learning. Trying to learn with old blown out sails will be frustrating at the least, and you'll want new ones eventually, so why not just make the investment up front?

Welcome, and good luck! I could go on and on, but I'm sure others will chime in with additional advice as well.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:28 am
by GreenLake
What Tim said. Definitely read as many of the old posts...

And welcome to the forum.

PS: check the How To section for suggestions on better searching

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:18 am
by andycayman
Thank you for the reply Tim, I will be properly looking at the boat over the weekend, and will no doubt be back with some questions, although your tips for searching have been very helpful so far. Thank you.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:15 pm
No prob!

One trend you will notice, that is DS2 specific, is the problematic centerboard (CB) raising/lowering system. This consists of an uphaul (UH, the cable you mentioned), and a downhaul (DH), a line that comes straight up out of the CB trunk to tackle mounted to the cuddy roof. Problem one is that the cable can jam, and problem two is that, on some boats, water can get into the bilge via the UH opening, when sailing fast with the CB down. Both of these issues are fairly easy to fix, and are discussed at length in the posts.

(The DS1's have a CB lever, and don't have these problems, but that system does have some issues of its own.)

Happy reading!

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:16 pm
by badnews
If there's a motor mount or any other thing that goes through the transom, it's probably a good idea to check for water intrusion back there. Even the rudder grudgeons. 40 years is a long time and water doesn't really get back out if it gets in.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:36 am
by andycayman
All good points thank you everyone. I have started my inspection of the boat with the help of Roger Conrads book, and as I build a parts list to send off to D&R it is my hope I can ask in this forum thread for assistance with making some of those decisions.

I am a little worried about how easy the C/B cable replacement will go, I am planning to dry launch the boat onto some old tyres in my back yard with a view to careening her so that I can get access to the center-board over a weekend, I plan to replace the uphaul cable, and will probably replace the downhaul as well, and potentially effect repairs to the C/B if needed. I see this as a must-do sort of priority thing.

I also have a question about the stem head fitting (sorry for any terminology mistakes I am learning as I go here).

The plate on the the front of the boat that is used to attach the forestay, see my picture. It looks like the previous owner has fitted an incorrect part rather than the plate being bent from undue stress on the forestay, but if the previous plate sheared or it is bent due to some heavy stress, could it have caused some hidden damage to the mast or mast foot? what else should I be looking for?

I think this is the part I need to replace it with, or should I order something more heavyweight?

Headstay Stemhead

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:19 pm
by GreenLake
You could always sight along your mast to see whether there is a slight bend in it anywhere. A bend near where the forestay is attached to the mast could be indicative of the top of the mast having hit something, which would have resulted in some stress to the stem head fitting.

However, it may simply have been the rig tension.

The part you cite should be the right one. If in doubt, check with Rudy on the hole pattern.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:41 pm
by andycayman
After submitting my previous post I removed the head fitting and it is obviously damaged and bent. This got me worried so I pulled the mast out from under the trailer to have a closer look at it. The foot is twisted, and looking along the length of the mast I can see that it is bent. I cant believe I did not notice it when we were looking at the boat! I guess these would be obvious things to people that have been around boats.

I think the mast foot should be an easy replacement, but not sure how bent a mast can be and still be functional. The mast foot (terminology?) on the boat seems to be OK, no signs of damage, although its a little loose in that it rattles around a bit when I give it a shake. There is some crazing around the mast hole in the cubby, but nothing drastic.

Looking for some comfort here that the thing is not a write-off. Pictures below, and warm fuzzy advice most welcomed.

The bent and twisted foot!

The photo is a bit dark, but you can see about two thirds of the way up the mast you can see it bends to the left a few degrees.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:24 pm
Yup, it sure looks like the mast hit something while raised, or possibly there was a shroud failure at some point. The stemhead is an easy replacement. The bolts go into tapped holes in an L-bar that is glassed in under the foredeck - pics in my gallery. You might be able to hammer the hinge back into shape, or simply replace it. It looks like the hinge casting is riveted rather than screwed on - hard to tell - but it would need to be removed to get at the nuts on the other side of the hinge bolts. If riveted, you can drill out the rivets and replace them. If they are stainless, start with a new drill bit and a lot of patience! ;-P

As to the bent mast, it appears yours has a gentle bend, with no kinks. Lots of folks have coaxed slightly bent masts back to true using some form of "firm but gentle persuation". It *is* doable!

I had neglected to mention Roger's book earlier, and it is indeed a great resource.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:33 pm
As to the CB UH/DH replacement, it *can* be done without CB removal, at least I was able to on my boat. With the boat careened and the CB fully down, fully against the front of the trunk, you can *just* get at the screws that hold the UH tang to the CB. With the CB all the way up, it's easy to access the DH "knot hole". Just remember to run messenger lines when you pull out the old UH/DH.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:51 pm
by andycayman
Thanks Tim, I think I am getting over my initial shock at the bent mast, after some googling I think I can probably persuade it to be a little more true, and I have added the tabernacle to my growing parts list. I guess my DS journey is beginning :)

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:23 pm
by GreenLake
First, in the photo, the bend doesn't look dramatic. Probably because the bend is near the hounds, and therefore not close to the camera. It looks like if you continued a straight line from the bottom, the top might be anywhere between 2" and 4" off. Goal would be to get that down to about 1".

You need a really soft spot around which to bend the mast. Old tires work for that, but you may need to fill them a bit, otherwise they crush. I think I used a bag of bark inside the tire. Adds support, but also has a bit of give.

Firmly anchor the long end of the mast. Can use bags of sand, compost, mulch or anything heavy and soft for that.

Then gently step on the short end of the mast and -slowly- walk back until the combination of your weight and the lever arm is just enough to make a small correction.

Repeat the process.

The problem is that the mast will bend elastically by much more than you want to bend it back; so you need to load it close to the elastic limit, then go over it just a bit, each time, then let it relax and see whether there's been a change.

After a while you'll even get a feel for when the mast supporting your weight is just at that limit.

In my case, the bend was so close to one end, that I ran out of lever arm. I found that picking up an extra 80lbs added just enough to my weight to push things over the limit. (Picture me balancing on the end, slowly lifting a 40lbs bag of cat litter in each hand. Could definitely feel the mast giving just a bit as it took the combined weight).

I also found that I needed to reposition the mast a number of times, because the original bend was more shallow than the corrective bend. That's another reason to really limit how much of a correction you go for in each iteration. By moving the mast, I was spreading them out across the length of the original bend, therefore taking out each part of the bend in succession.

The mast is not totally straight but in my case, with the bend below the spreaders, the shrouds will force the lateral position of the hounds to a fixed position anyway; having less bend in the mast, just makes that easier. In your case, if the bend is far above the spreaders, you don't have that effect, but the tip of the mast will deflect anyway while sailing. You'll just have one tack feel a bit different form the other that way and no boat is symmetric to begin with.

You just want to reduce the asymmetry a bit - without risking a broken mast (!) or risking a work-hardening of the mast. That's why it's absolutely essential to go slow and not go far beyond the elastic limit, but rather take many small steps.

With setup and figuring it all out, this process took a whole day (or long afternoon).

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:19 am
GL is not kidding: this is what it takes to get a mast true again, or at least close to it. In my case, I had a shroud failure in fairly light conditions, and the bend was very close to where the mast goes down through the cuddy roof (up until then it was a one-piece mast). That's the partners, not to be confused with the hounds, which is where the shrouds/forestay attach to the mast. Yes, more pesky terminology, but you're doing great so far! Anyhoo, in my attempt to straighten the mast, it broke. Yup, snapped clean in two. The bend was too close to the bottom for "gentle persuasion" to work, but hey, at least it had the common decency to break right where a hinge would go, so I put one there. Had been wanting to anyways, so there ya go.

So far, nothing on your list of issues is a deal breaker, and you should have little problem getting your DS seaworthy. Yes, your journey is just beginning, but the journey is half the fun, especially once you are sailing her and most of the stuff you want to improve is stuff you'd like to do, not stuff you have to do. And the great thing about a forum like this one is that you get to share your journey with others, who can learn from you and then share their own. Win-win! ;-P

Oh, BTW, not sure exactly what kind of impact your mast had with whatever, but there is a guy who used to frequent this forum who knocked his boat clean off the trailer when his mast hit (hard to see) wires while backing down a ramp. Tie down straps had already been removed, but that probably saved his boat from the damage you have. Boat survived mostly unscathed, with the exception of a damaged hull/transom joint, but that is another story for another day. The point is that these boats were built like tanks, and can endure some pretty heavy abuse. If they weren't, they wouldn't have lasted 40-50 years. I suspect that whatever your mast hit, it happened with the boat secured to the trailer.

Re: Where to start?

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:41 pm
by andycayman
Thank you for the very detailed description of straightening the mast GL, I am keen to get this done and almost yanked it into my backyard to start hauling on it yesterday, glad I did not now, after reading your post!

It is my hope that I can remove and straighten the mast tabernacle bracket from the mast proper and then re-attach it. The mast support post and associated foot looks to be OK with no signs of stress where the mast support goes into the foredeck (thats the floor of the cuddy right?). So I am hopeful that I will not need to replace anything there, although I will be pulling out the mast support post anyway to fit a rubber sleeve to try and water-proof the mast partner in the cuddy roof.

A couple of questions:
Where the mast is bent there are two spreader bars securely mounted to the mast (IE not the ones that are hinged), these spreaders have nylon cord through them and a pair of turnbuckles, which have obviously been adjusted in the past to try and straighten the mast as they are not at all symmetrically set. The nylon cord is secured near the top and the bottom of the mast on both sides, and are obviously designed to be tension'd to give the mast some rigidity. I have no idea what these spreaders are called, but I think I need to remove them so that I can bend the mast straight. There are also two spreaders that are hinged and I think these are the ones for the side stays, but not completely certain. Google or Rogers book has not helped here as it seems the standard equipment is just for the hinged spreaders. Any guidance here would be appreciated.

The masthead sheaves are all corroded and seized up, so I am going to be replacing the mast head. Does this provide an opportunity to install some flotation device such as pool noodles or similar? I ask because I know that at some point I will need to learn to capsize and right the boat, and I have read that without some sort of mast flotation the Daysailer likes to turtle pretty fast. I am well into my 50's and could do with making a capsize as easy to recover from as possible, particularly as I know once me and my boy get on the water we will be sailing her pretty fast, so capsizes are going to be inevitable and probably frequent!

Again, thanks so much for the advice and support, without this forum I am fairly certain this journey would be much more stressful!!

EDIT: Update from this afternoons progress.

I managed to remove the tabernacle plate and casting from the foot of the mast, its so badly deformed I am not going to try and straighten it, so I will be replacing the casting and the plate. The rivets I had to drill out were aluminium, cant imagine that is the correct material to use, so I am wondering if I should be putting blind stainless rivets back in? If so is there a particular type I should be looking for?

I have also removed all the spreaders and other hardware from the mast where I could. The fixed spreaders just popped out from the rubber blocks but they are threaded so I am wondering if this is some mod made by the PO. The ends of the cords that are secured to the top of the mast are in riveted stays, so it looks like the only way to replace them is to remove those rivets. I am trying to figure out if this is all normal or just a bodge job. Having never seen a stock Daysailer mast its very hard to know what things should be like.