Archives of Members Responding to Members


Subject Headings: Boat Handling, Repair, Equipment, Rigging, Launching, Trailer



- Boat Handling -


Steps to maximize boat speed

If you were to have a fast, dry, old deck boat (#600+), that is raced in a competitive fleet, what would you do to make it better on a budget (aside from getting a new deck). All running rigging is replaced on a regular basis, lifelines removed, Mast is in good shape (sheevs etc all work well), have aft lowers, new sails regularly, main track moved forward, jib tracks set up in right place, backstay is set up optimally, pole on boom, twings in correct place, no extra weight below, basically have all the go fast goodies set up (aside from external purchase on jip halyard, fraculator line and stuff is not set up to trim from rail).



A few things that you might already have.  
#1 - clean bottom
#2 - get that jib halyard fine tune installed for proper head sail shape.
Other minor things:
Nylon ramps under check stay tracks to give maximum forward lean mast when flying spinnaker?
Rough tune and fine tune for back-stay?
Windward sheeting traveler (not cheap unless you can pick up a used one.)
Minimum running rig line sizes - no more than 1/4" except for main sheet?
Cover stripped on halyards except where handled and cleated?
If you sail in much light air:
1. Cover stripped from outboard end of spin sheets for less weight dragging on the clew.
2. Same for outboard end of tweakers; use small rings or similar in lieu of blocks for reduced weight on spin-sheet  
3. Back-stay flicker batten at top of mast with composite back-stay (1/8" Amsteel Blue works well) to clear main on tacks.



Dip Spinnaker Pole or End Over End

Kind of curious as to what most do when jibing the spinnaker. End over end seems to work, and it looks like with at least my spinnaker pole that dipping also works. Anyway I'm curious what most do.

Reply 1:

By "Dip", do you mean: drop the old guy out of the outer end, swing the pole thru the foretriangle without removing it from the mast ring, and then somehow getting the new guy into the outer end ? If so, I've never seen it done on a Santana 20. 

The two methods that I've seen are end-for-end and the trolley/launcher, with many more end-for-end boats around.

We use end-for-end and do it from the companionway so that no-one goes onto the foredeck. It allows us to jibe the pole before jibing the main.

With the trolley/launcher method, there's a piece of shock cord that goes from the end of the boom around the mast and back to the end of the boom on the other side. A block rides on this shock cord and is attached to one end of the pole. Jibing is accomplished by detaching the pole from the old guy and stowing it on the boom, jibing the boom and then attaching the new guy on the other side.

The pole is there to provide stability by keeping a second corner of the chute under control. I'd rather let it loose while we're going straight than when we're jibing the main upwind of it.



Backwinding Main

When I sheet in the Genny to the trim guide specification (1-3 inches from the shouds, 2-3 inches from the spreader), I seem to be getting a lot of backwind on the mainsail. No matter how much I sheet it in (the mainsail), it still backwinds on the first 1/5th of the sail at a minimum. It almost seems like the genny is causing the main to backwind. This obviously slows me down going upwind.


Reply 1:

It sounds to me that jib lead is to far forward with to much headstay sag. Start with that.


Reply 2:

Remember, front of the jib, the back of the main. these are the areas which HAVE to "see" the wind. My Husband is our trimmer. He likes a main that is a bit back winded in the front. As long as the tell tales are flying and the back of the main is "seeing" the wind, we are fast.
you may be ok.


Reply 3:

Too much forestay sag and the lead too far forward could well be the problem - the mainsail could also be too full - try more outhaul and Backstay (if overpowered) to flatten the sail. Be sure not too overtrim the genoa , which is easily done and can cause the boat to go slow and low.



- Repair -


What should I look for as potential problems with an older boat?

I have an opportunity to purchase hull #432. From the pix (I have not inspected in person), it appears to be in rough shape. Owner sez it's not been hauled or sailed in +3yrs. Without a haulout, what should I look for as potential problem areas? All the standing and running riggings appears intact, although I assume much of that will have to be replaced due to exposure.



Delamination of the deck, separation of the hull deck joint, Mast compression at the step down below near the keel are all common problems but very fixable. Broken hatches seem to be the most common. Tiller goose necks seize up too. I have made my own parts, but possible Schock can still get you what you might need.



Forward Hatch Latch

The forward hatch latches on hull #79 are a troublesome. Looking for what you've tried that has worked and what has failed.


Most of the boats that are raced take the hardware off the hatch and replace it with a soft attached bungie connected to both hatches. This reduces the number of things to snag the spinnaker on and makes it easy for the foredeck to pull the hatch open. Make sure the bungie is stiff enough to hold the hatch down in a blow.



Gap Between Keel & Hull

While inspecting my purchase the other day I discovered that the top of the keel is pulled away slightly from the hull. It is just the at the leading edge, the gap begins right at the front at about 3/16" and then reduces to nothing over about 6". Is this the start of some failure that I need to be getting taken care of.



Most likely the stringers in the boat are soft, but alot of the boats around here have a slight gap at the front of the keel. Alot of people just seal it up with your choice of product and go on. My hull is starting to do it but I plan to pull the keel this coming winter and put in new stringers that the keel bolts run through and I think that should solve most of the problem.


Reply 2:

I plan on a nice line of 5200 filled in and smoothed over.


Reply 3:

I replaced my stringers and mast base with structural fiberglass sheet stock from McMaster Carr. great stuff, easy to work with, rot proof, and once I retightened the bolts, any crack was null.



Mast Post Compression:

would like to address the mast compression issue I have which is not horrible as of yet. Do I remove the fiberglass casing and replace the stringer underneath? Since that is what gets soft and sinks, I thought that might make sense to do before I add a plate on top.

If I find the forward stringer under the mast is soft, then should I also check. And replace the boards under the pan that sits above the keel and the keel bolts through? 



Ok, so it took one day to cut out the old bulkheads and floor stringer under the mast post and remove the other two keel bolts and the boards beneath them. All were soaking wet. I know its a boat, but to enclose wood in fiberglass that will inevitably get waterlogged seems like wasted effort.

The bulkheds I replaced with the same 1/2 inch marine plywood.But. To improve on the materials used under the mastpost and the blocks for the keel bolts was my goal. I decided on G10 material from McMaster Carr. The G10 is available in sizes that match the thicknesses I needed and, although $50 more expensive than wood, was relativley easy to work with, came very quickly in the mail, and has near zero compression, and near zero moisture retention.

FRP material from the same company does not come in the thicknesses I needed, but it is cheaper.
It took another day to cut the board and glass them in. Really, this is a one-day job if you have all the material on site, but it takes a day to get all the dust out of your respirator and clean the boat.
I took pics of the process and will happily send to anyone who needs them.
FYI, when I put the mast up last week, I had to re-tune the rig to compensate for the 1/2 rise in the mast.



Mastbutt Mushrooming

The base of my mast is showing a slight bit of mushrooming. I see that it is suggested that a piece of wood is placed inside the mast. How does this work exactly?


Reply 1:

I did this repair by shaping a 1 inch thick piece of teak into the shape of the mast extrusion. Inserted it with a small amount of wood showing past the aluminum. Drilled and threaded 4 short stainless wood screws. Re-shaped the mushroomed aluminum to make it flush with the wood. Finally, sanded the excess wood flush with the base of the mast. Looks and functions great as it spreads the load evenly.


Reply 2:

Once you have some mushrooming, it's hard to get a well fitting plug into the end of the mast. When I built the new mast, I cast a 2-1/2 - 3 inch thick plug out of West and high density filler in a waxed piece of broken mast of the same section. I drilled a 1/2 inch hole down the center for a drain and line-drilled 4 hefty SS flat-head screws around the plug assembled flush in the end of the mast. The foot of the mast needs to be square laterally (so that both sides of the butt share the load equally when the mast is laterally straight) and rounded somewhat longitudinally (so that it's not standing on a corner when you rake it back or fraculate it forward). I also found that the mast butt bottomed on the bend radii in the bottom of my partner fitting without sitting down flush. I flattened parts of those radii with angle grinder & sanding block.


Reply 3:

I took my new extrusion – after I had rounded the forward and aft edges of the butt – to a macine shop. I had them weld in a 2-3 inch high (don’t remember now) contoured inner aluminum sleeve. $50 -$100, but I never have to think about it again.



Fiberglass Irritation

I have had a sensation in my elbow after resting it on the deck that reminds me of the "prickly" effect I'd get as a young man when I helped friends/family install fiberglass installation in their homes. I is also not just me. My crew also gets this on her knees when rigging the jib, or when leaning out while working the tiller.

So, has anybody else experienced something like this, and if so what did you do? Is deterioration of the fiberglass in the hull something that I should be concerned about now and moving forward. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.


Reply 1:

The prickly feeling is very normal. It is fiberglass shards. Considering how old your boat is this is normal. Scrub the deck really good with a stiff brush, but try to buff out the smooth areas with a good fiberglass polish to try and seal in the gelcoat. I use Flitz metal polish. It really works good on fiberglass and aluminum.


Reply 2:

The likeliest source of glass fibers is any of the three hatch covers. They were built without gelcoat in order to remain translucent. If there are spots on your deck where the gelcoat has worn thru, they could also produce fibers. Gelcoat is the colored surface of the layup and contains no fibers. I have never heard of fibers migrating thru intact gelcoat from the layers below.

I coated my hatch covers with catalyzed polyester resin and was not very satisfied with the life of the coating. My next attempt will probably be some sort of two-part urethane coating concocted for full sun. With non-skid grit in the case of the forward hatches...


Reply 3:

Mix up a new batch of fiberglass resin and brush or roll it on. It will last a few years and need another coat. Also with the loose fibers it gives it a non-slip surface.



Rubber Insert on Rub Rail

I have no gunwale guard trim insert on my boat. I've contacted WD Schock and apparently the supplier they were using is no longer around. Anyone have any insight on what I need to buy and where to get it? 


Reply 1:

Are you talking about the rubber bit that slides into the metal bit?

If so go to your local powerboat supply shop. Probably one that supplies older bass boats if possible. I know the my rub rail is identical to the ones on an old ranger bass boat my dad has. Surely someone still makes some that will fit.




Boat Painting

If you wanted to paint your hull and you had access to appropriate facilities and a skilled operator, would it be better to spray or roll the paint?


Reply 1:




Water Around Keel Bolts

Just back of the mast post, there is a cavity that has 2 keel bolts. it then leaks out through a .5 inch crack in the low area between the other keel bolts. The water level in the 2 bolt area gradually goes down as it leaks out of the crack.

Is this a serious problem that needs to be looked at?

The issue is should water be getting into that area below the fiberglass ( or whatever the base is made of) between the other keel bolts.


Reply 1:

Check the tanks. H20 could be going there and if that is the case alittle epoxy or glass could do the trick. If they are dry, then, well....... Check the keel hull joint etc....


Repy 2:

Is the boat left in the water or is it trailered? Is the water getting in before or after a sail? I wouldn't worry to much if the water goes back and forth between the keel bolts, but it does sound like you might have a mast compression issue that is cracking the fiberglass on top of the forward keel bolts. There are several fixes listed on this website. Water can get in even between the deck and hull and of course work its way down to those keel bolts as they are the lowest section of the boat. If you look carefully that fiberglass piece is an inner liner that gives the the boat stiffness. It is not meant to be water tight.



Rudder Bearing Replacement

I didn't know what to call it, but I am assuming all of you know what I am talking about. It is the 1/4 - 1/2 in spacer made of darelon, or something like that, between the rudder head and the deck. It is an old deck boat. The one in there is original, slippery, very fragile (crumbles like glass when scraped), worn down and cracking in 3 places. I figure I can just replace it with PVC or something similar and Mclube the crud out of it before every race, but I wanted to know if anyone had any other solutions.


Reply 1:

I made mine out of high-density polyethlene. It is readily available, cheap, and easy to cut. You can make several for minimal cost. Since it bears on the plastic nut at the top of the rudder post at deck level and the head of the tiller sits on that, it doesn't require anything fancy. Using a large washer or stainess steel disk between the tiller head and the plastic bearing disk would help spread the load more evenly and reduce wear as well as keep the sunlight off. I would not grease it otherwise grit will accumulate and increase wear.

Of course if you can find a sheet of teflon that would be great. You can also use torlon - the stuff used in ball bearing cars - it is much harder but also harder to shape and more $.

Reply 2:
I'm not sure why you couldn't make it out of UMHW. (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) I use all the time. It's very easy to work with. Drills easy, needs to be cut with a table or chop saw. You can use a tap on it also. It's used in manufacturing and is almost indestructible with metal. I buy remnants of it by the pound. Cheap!



Cockpit Floor Support Repair

The fiberglass covering to the floor support on my older boat split allowing water to get to the wood. The support piece (2x8) is quite waterlogged, so I am tempted to replace it. Has anyone worked on this portion of the boat?

Should I replace the piece with fresh wood? or will plastic composite be "OK" with class rules? I do not think I will be able to allow it to get completely dry before I make the repair. My guess is that if I cover the wood when it is damp it will just split again when the warm weather comes.



We had a similar problem a couple of years ago. We replaced the wood with a new piece and glassed over it. Pretty easy actually except for the confines of the space. Personally, putting anything besides wood in there is not really worth the weight savings.


Rudder Repair – Depression

I noticed a slight depression in my rudder, about 4" in diameter, about a year ago and thought it just wasn't faired that well. The depression has been getting worse. It was recommended I drill a hole and fill the depression with epoxy to stabilize it. I drilled a 7/32" hole to find out what the core material is and it is a foam core. Does anyone know the cause of this? The foam appears to be dry, so I don't think its moisture related.

I'm not quite sure I follow the concept of what he is recommending, since there is no gap between the fiberglass shell and the foam core. I 'm not sure where the epoxy is going to go and how this will force the shell back into shape. I don't want to fill the whole rudder with epoxy!

If anyone out there can explain the concept and the procedure (what size hole, how much epoxy, additive needed?) of the repair, it would be greatly appreciated. I've worked with epoxy, and have done fiberglass repair in the past, but nothing like this.

Reply 1:

If the outside layer of the rudder is against the core then I can't see why it would continue to depress. Maybe there was space but now that it is down to the core it will stop sinking in?

If I was shown a depression like that in a rudder I would first do what you did and check to see what was underneath, if I found what you found I think I would sand around the depression a few inchs in every direction and the depression. Then lay up a few layers of glass at a time, the first one would cover the whole area I had sanded and be pressed down into the depression, then I would slowly build up layers, maybe 3 at a time letting them cure and sanding between each batch of 3. Once I had it built up over the original height of the surface I would then fair it back down by sanding with 80 grit, then work on it with 240, 400 wet, then 800 wet, then 1000 wet. Then repaint it or re gel coat what ever you prefer.

That would be a pretty serious repair but I don't think it would ever move or have any problems.

Thanks for the info-
Thankfully, the depression is not layers of fiberglass deep, just layers of paint deep. The concern is if this is an on-going issue and how "pumping" epoxy into the foam core would stabilize it. Just wondering if anyone out there has delt with this before.
Don't know if it's just an illusion, but it's been about week since I drilled the hole, and it seems the depression is not quite as deep.

Reply 2:

We had some places on the rudder where we did have separation of the fiberglass shell and foam core - they were high spots, not depressions. You could press on the fiberglass with your hand and it would give. (same way deck delamination feels) The cure was to drill holes and inject epoxy, then clamp or apply weights to hold everything together while the epoxy cured. I made the mistake once of using a heat lamp to acclerate the curing and succeeded in making it worse as the heat caused more delamination. (Also a reason some people cover their rudders to keep the sun off when out of the water.) Another interesting manufacturing "feature" - one side of the rudder was reasonably fair. the other side had hollows and bumps - you could see where the rudder stock ran down the length of the rudder - there were hollows in front and behind the stock. I made templates from the "good" side and used them to fair the lumpy side to match. Lots of work but good end result.

Reply 3:

We had the exact same problem. We filled it in with epoxy and it has been fine ever since. That was in 1985. We could never figure out what caused it. Never happened again.



Cockpit Drain Hose

I just joined the class in January and I love the boat. My immediate problem is replacing the cockpit drain hoses. Does anyone know of a source? I searched the topic list but couldn't find anything - apologies if I missed something.

Reply 1:

You could just get some radiator hose from auto parts store... Cheap and easy.....


Thanks for the replies. I had contacted Schock a while back but they responded that no one there could remember where they got them. I also tried radiator hose from an auto supply store but it was too stiff to make the bends and it leaked. I also tried an appliance parts store but they couldn't find a match. I've got the old hose (complete with holes) so I have the diameter I need.

Reply 2:

Go to either West Marine for a wire wound bilge pump suction hose or a pool supply store for some pool vacuum cleaner hose. If you get the vinyl it should last the life of the boat. The plastic ones Schock used lost their plasticizer and cracked with temperature changes.



Keel Fairing

I have obtained a computer temlate for the S20 and am planning on fairing the keel to the template. I also plan on using west system epoxy to act as the filler. I have not done much fiberglass work and my limited expierience was more functional than fast. Anyone have any tips based on past expierience of how I should proceed? Any tools that I can get to make the job easier welcomed.


Repl 1:

Sanding epoxy is much easier if you can let it thoroughly cure. Even though it's cured in a day or two, it continues to get harder for weeks. When its cured enough that sanding makes dust rather than just clogging the paper the sanding goes easier. I find 2 weeks makes it much much easier to sand. Mix it with microballoons to make a thick paste, this fills faster and is much easier to sand. When done, use one more coat of resin to seal the surface (then sand it smooth) before painting.

For fairing, use a longboard. I find a piece of 1/4 to 3/8" ply (flexes nice) with a handle on each end with sandpaper attached to it works great. Try about 3" x 18". There is no substitute for hand sanding - machines might be fast but you can't control them well enough and they make lotsa airborne dust. Hand sanding with a longboard goes surprisingly fast.


Reply 2:

We worked all winter doing my keel with computer templates. We only used the top and bottom templates. Then we used a straight edge to get the shape. Also we used a profile gauge to keep the same shape on both sides. We also removed the keel.

I wanted to get it as thin as possiable, but after getting into the lead we decided it was thin enough. We used west system with micro blooms, let it kick over night and sanded with power tools until the final finish coat of expoxy. Then we used a long sanding board to fair it. We used preformance expoxy to finish, you only have a small window of time to sand because this stuff gets harder than a rock.

I recomend you start now, it takes along time.



 - Equipment -


Spinnaker Pole Dimensions

I have an old spinnaker pole that is very large in diameter. I think around 2 inches,perhaps 2.5". What is the best size to use and does anyone have a source for getting these at reasonable prices?



We went to a 1 or 1.5" pole (you can just get your thumb and for-finger around it) a bunch of years ago - works great. If you find an aluminum supply outlet in your area, you will be able to do it all for under $150 or so (but don't quote me as it has been a few yrs and alu prices have gone up a bunch). RWO pole ends from APS work great though and we race at a pretty high level.



Twing Location

Where and how are folks anchoring and rigging their twing lines.



I put mine just aft of the forward stanchion base. My stanchion's are removed and it was just easy to put the eye there. I have seen em even further aft and further forward, but that spot works for us. Twings are 1/8" spectra with a smallish RWO Carbine Hook tied to the end and lead through a RWO bullseye R2932 to to a micro clam cleat C209 to the the flatish spot behind the stays on the edge of the cockpit. Never needed more than that, clean easy and light. If you are gung ho I have seen other more elaborate setups with 1/4" tapered line led to snatch blocks etc etc etc, but we have never needed more.



New Deck Motor Mount

what kind of motor mount do the new deck boats have?


Reply 1:

It's a flat plate, bolted to the cockpit sole, with some aluminum stock extending aft beyond the transom with a motor mount at the end. I've actually only used it once, but it did work fine.

Reply 2:

I thinka Melges 24 mount might work.



Sail Number protocol?

My boat has its original sails. The S20 logo and sail numbers are nicely sewn on to them. As I look to purchase new sails or at least sails that were new this century, I am curious about the sail number I should put on them. Is there a protocol that I should follow with our 20?

Reply 1

Most of us just use our hull numbers as the sail number.



Barney Post Equivalent

Does anyone have the dimensions of the aluminum plate for the lower attachment of the main sheet on the traveler bar? (as pictured under Tech Tips, Rigging Photos on the class web site) I have a friend who is a machinist and he could easily make such a thing for me.


Reply 1:

Bought mine a long time ago from layline I think. They might carry them so you may be able to get the dimensions there. Otherwise, I know it takes up the middle 3 holes of the trav and goes back far enough to accommodate the swivel bracket for a cam cleat(the bracket does not go 360 degrees btw. It is stopped by the trav).


Reply 2:

I have also been thinking about doing this but at times I think that I like the mainsheet being on the traveler car. Haven't decided for sure. 

Anyone who has made the conversion want to provide some input?


Reply 3:

I added a traveler hung plate for the mainsheet on a swivel a couple of years ago. If you have a windward sheeting traveler, then the benefit is that you do not change the sheeting angle as you pull in the main. I have the plate mounted on the forward side of the traveler, so it forces me to sit more forward. I don't have the dimensions on hand, but it only needs to accommodate enough space for the swivel mount. The swivel is the most expensive part of the conversion. My plate is G10 material (courtesy of seaBear). Relatively easy to cut with a chop saw or circular saw, sand and drill. 


Reply 4:

I have a sailed both with and without the barney post and like the barney post plate version better. It is easier to grab your main sheet with it always in the same spot. The technical drawback to the barney post is that it has the tendency to tighten the leech of the sail when easing the traveler in breeze. Not what you want. So I compensate for this by playing the main sheet more and using the traveler to center the boom. Of course, you need a ton of backstay or you will just flog the main to death. Ideally you could curve the traveler to mechanically compensate for the leech tightening that would be really trick. I think Sally Barkow's Olympic campaign boat Elliot 570 had that. Her traveler looked bowed by 2". High in the ends low in the middle.


Reply 5:

I had mine forward for the same reason as above(forced me forward), but moved it back when we went trav forward onto the seats. Now the crew have more room as well. Love it, it was actually one of the first things I did when I got the boat.


Reply 6:

I am still split on the whole traveler forward thing. I have a new style deck, so mine is obviously forward too, but the tension on the boom seems different. I discussed this with Chris Winnard a long time ago and he agreed. At the Klamath Falls Nationals a few years back, Chris wanted too know how I was able to out point most everyone. That regatta was one of those start and tack once deals. The wind never changed. I told him that I would pull the main on as hard as two crew could pull to tighten the leech. I actually almost broke the boom in that race. Chris commented that the new location of the main sheet was not conducive to good leech tension and it made duplication quite difficult. He was thinking of moving his back to the old location on Disaster Area as an experiment. Remember that this is a flat water venue no twist in the main. Ever since I wonder if it is worth drilling holes in my deck.


Reply 7:

Moving the mainsheet attachment point forward on the boom increases the leverage that the leech can apply to the sheet. Did you increase your purchase when you moved it ? It also increases bending loads on the boom and downward thrust on the gooseneck...


Reply 8:

I don't know if moving the main sheet attachment forward increases tension on the leech. My feeling and Winnard's opinion was that it decreased the tension on the aft end of the boom that pulls the leech in a more linear line making it harder to get a lot of tension without increasing the purchase. I used a three to one for years on the old style deck and for a while on the new deck. Now use a four to one. With the correct equipment now days you can increase or decrease purchase almost the easy of pulling a quick pin. It really comes down to what your comfortable with. If your middle is really big in may not be worth moving the traveler forward on an old deck. If you and crew are light it might be worth it. Of course, getting motored by someone with a different set up then yours will always make you wonder whether you have the right set up or not.




Has anyone used a Boomkicker.


Reply 1:

A Boomkicker is legal, but why do you need one? They are good for boats with big mains that need to reef. The S-20 main is so small that leech tension benefits of a kicker would be nill even if you didn't need it to reef.


Reply 2:

I seems to me that the weight of the boom with stowed spinnaker pole gives me less twist than appropriate in really light air.


Reply 3:

How heavy is your pole? I know it can blow on Lake Dillon, but perhaps you should make a light air pole. Or you could just clip the pole to the chain plate and lay it on the deck in light air or even stuff it vertically in the companionway which believe it or not does not interfere with tacking. Make sure your main sheet is a reasonable diameter 3/8 or less that could lighten the boom. I use an end for end 1.5" pole with composite ends and never had a problem. Check inside the boom to make sure the outhaul purchase is as light as possible too. Put the boom on a diet. Also, how old is your main? Old draft aft mains are really slow. Don't be afraid to use some backstay to adjust the top of the main even in light air. Heavy air and light air settings look almost the same. Draft forward genoa, twist in the main. Shape for flow.



Spinnaker Sheet or Sheets

My question is weather people like one continues spinnaker sheet or two? Part two of the question is what length and diameter do you like?

Reply 1:

As a long time driver and middle, I like tapered continuous sheets wrapped with Trophy Braid . With new trimmers I would prefer two sheets. We've been laying on our sides with the continuous sheet all the way out on both sides and no more to let out. With two sheets, at least you can let one go completely.



- Rigging -


Reefing Line

Who is rigging for reefing lines on the S20? Previous owner may not have needed in NY but we need to reef in Texas. Sail shop has recommended the Harkin #300 system but $$$. Any advice would be helpful.



There has never been an occasion where we have needed to reef, and frankly in the 20+ years I have been racing these things I have never seen a tuna reefed, nor have I seen a modern main sail with reef points. Just dump the trav or main sheet, if you are over powered, or switch to a jib. We have raced all over the country and in 20+ regularly. If you absolutely had to, a bullet block on the base of the mast should suffice. No need to get the $$$$$ system as any reef you put in will make the loads extremly small.



Standing Rigging:

What is the diameter of the cables in S20 standing rigging. Need to know this to determine Loos Tension Gauge model



1/8" 1x19 by Schock's spec. Use a PT-1Loos Gauge.



Back Stay Rigging

Does anyone know the length of their backstay and what kind of adjuster you have? I'm thinking about building the 6 to 1 adjuster that the boat came with. I noticed the 24 to 1 set up in the rigging section of the site. I don't really understand it. What do you guys think. How should I set up the backstay adjuster since I'm building it?


Reply 1:

6:1 will not be enough in the heavier breeze. Most boats play the backstay quite a bite, so the 24:1 is a much more appropriate power. I have an old style deck and have a gross and fine tune. The gross is 12:1 and the fine tune is 24:1. The gross is a cleat on a triple at the connection point of the backstay and the boat. The fine tune is lead forward of the traveler. I am not sure of the stock backstay length, but you can always lengthen the backstay with the your adjustment system.

You will want to make sure it runs smooth, so use a small diameter high strength line.


Reply 2:

I'm fixing up a Santana 20 and also need to replace the backstay. Mine is 24' 11"


Aft Lowers’ Tension
What should the aft lower tension be on a boat that has no adjustable tracks? I am realizing just how important those adjustments are, but until we can add them to the boat, we'll have to make do.



In light air and down wind there should be basically NO tension on the aft lowers.

I've never used a loos gauge on the aft lowers when using them in heavier air but they should be used in concert with the backstay in heavier wind. I've been warned to be careful about the aft lowers when using them with the backstay. You need to keep the back stay on when using the aft lowers otherwise you are pulling the middle of the mast back and the top of the mast forward.

My gut says no more then 5 to 8 maybe even as low as 3 on a PT-1 loos gauge for fixed aft lowers and then never let the back stay completely off. Unless you live in an area of really highwind. Too much on the aft lowers and you will have a really weird mast shape.

It's not cheep but moving to adjustable aft lowers is a great idea. - p12 - p12 - p12

Backstay length? Building the adjuster
Rigging question. Does anyone know the length of their backstay and what kind of adjuster you have?

I have the length of the backstay with no adjuster. I'm thinking about building the 6 to 1 adjuster that the boat came with. I noticed the 24 to 1 set up in the rigging section of the site. I don't really understand it. What do you guys think. How should I set up the backstay adjuster since I'm building it?

Reply 1
6:1 will not be enough in the heavier breeze. Most boats play the backstay quite a bite, so the 24:1 is a much more appropriate power. I have an old style deck and have a gross and fine tune. The gross is 12:1 and the fine tune is 24:1. The gross is a cleat on a triple at the connection point of the backstay and the boat. The fine tune is lead forward of the traveler. I am not sure of the stock backstay length, but you can always lengthen the backstay with the your adjustment system. I

You will want to make sure it runs smooth, so use a small diameter high strength line.

Reply 2
Ok, say I'm getting a handle on this cascading 24 to 1 backstay idea. It looks like everyone splits it and then leads the control line forward to end about at the traveler. Is it a big deal to reach back to the transom and have one control line at the back of the boat? Does anyone have a diagram of there set up?

Reply 3

Old post but I'm curious what length you came up with. I'm fixing up a Santana 20 and also need to replace the backstay. Mine is 24' 11"


Reply 4

I ended up using the original backstay on the boat. I don't have a length for you but I can tell what I went with. We will see if this helps. With the mast up I can walk to the back of the boat and the backstay end is just below eye level. I'm about 6 feet tall.  

This works out great. When I launch the boat I hop up and detach the backstay with a quick pin. All of the blocks and line lay on the back of the boat and then I walk the loose cable forward. 



Shroud Tension on Aft Lowers
When running a bit short on time before racing and leaving the dock with a "close is good enough" comment on the shroud tension, we discovered just how sensitive and important the tension is to good pointing in various wind conditions. We definitely had one tack more favorable than the other going up wind. So lesson learned.

My question is what should the aft lower tension be on a boat that has no adjustable tracks? I am realizing just how important those adjustments are, but until we can add them to the boat, we'll have to make do.


Reply 1

On all 5 boats I have sailed on in light air and down wind there should be basically NO tension on the aft lowers (including my own).

I've never used a loos gauge on the aft lowers when using them in heavier air but they should be used in concert with the backstay in heavier wind. I've been warned to be careful about the aft lowers when using them with the backstay. You need to keep the back stay on when using the aft lowers otherwise you are pulling the middle of the mast back and the top of the mast forward.

My gut says no more then 5 to 8 maybe even as low as 3 on a PT-1 loos gauge for fixed aft lowers and then never let the back stay completely off. Unless you live in an area of really highwind. Too much on the aft lowers and you will have a really weird mast shape.

It's not cheep, but moving to adjustable aft lowers is a great idea.


Reply 2

if you do go to the adjustable lowers don't crank on them when the backstay is cranked. (Don't ask how i know this) ease it a bit before honking on them. 250 lb crew was instructed to never touch them again after that.



Main Halyard – Hook or Cleat

I am experiencing some issues with the way the main halyard is terminated when the main is raised. I have a small stainless steel hook that a loop on the main halyard attaches to. This hook is all that holds the main up while sailing. The problem is that this hook has straightened a few times while sailing allowing the loop on the halyard to release from the hook thus the main sail and boom to fall to the deck.  

I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem and if so what remedies have been implemented. I have thought about adding another eye strap and bullet block on the deck near the base of the mast and running my halyard through this to a cam cleat mounted next to the my down-haul cleat. Another thought was to mount a Harken #140 Big Bullet Block with Cam Cleat near the halyard exit hole in the mast (similar to the jib halyard).

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Reply 1

I don't see why it would be a problem to just add a harken bullet block at the back of the mast and run back to the companionway cleats. No reason that shouldn't work. 

Granted I would like to have a system similar to what you have so it is easy to replicate halyard settings, might try adding a stronger hook?


Reply 2

You can't rebend the stainless hook. If it opened up then it needs to be replaced as it is weakened with every bend. I'd first try to replace it with a stronger hook and then if that doesn't work change to a block and cleat system like many of the older boats use.


Reply 3

I agree - replace the hook ASAP. Bent stainless is just waiting to be broken stainless!

Personally, I would recommend keeping the hook system. I've thought about retrofitting my older model boat with the hook system as it makes it really simple to get the main exactly where it is supposed to be. Given how important it is to have repeatable setup on a race boat I really liked sailing on a boat with the hook system.



Inside Jib Track & Car:

Santana doesn't have the inside jib tracks and cars. There seems to be a number of options out there. Anyone got a favorite and a suggestion on where to acquire some that won't break the bank?


Reply 1:

For the track you can simply cut about 2 foot off the aft end of the genoa tracks. There is a straight section of track right at the back. You should never have your genoa car back that far so think of it as saving weight. Plus it saves some money on new track.

From your favorite sailing supply dealer look up "t track jib cars," measure the track if needed, but it should be the 1 inch track. Then put what ever your preferred block is on them. I like the Harken air blocks but just about anything will work.


Reply 2:

The older boats came with genoa track that is ~15/16 inch wide, the "ears" are ~3/16 inch thick, have rounded corners and there is a groove down the middle of the top in which the screw heads lie. I have never seen a new car that fits this track. The old cars that I have that fit this stuff have non-ratchet blocks permanently attached.

The newer track measures 1" x 1/8", has square corners, and a flat top with countersinks for the fasteners. Most, if not all, of the cars currently available fit this track. You may be able to retask your spinnaker block slides to work as jib leads.




Steping Mast

How do you step/un-step your mast? The previous owner appeared to just disconnect the backstay and tilt the mast forward without loosening or disconnecting the shrouds or the forestay. Chubaso has no forward lifelines or bow pulpit and the tiny bow is a quite terrifying place to be up on the trailer.


Reply 1:

I take mine down forward also, but I have a pulpit. Most of the folks I know take them down aft. Whichever direction you go, there needs to be some sort of support to hold the mast roughly level. I use a wooden block across the top of the pulpit and a 2x4 across the pushpits in the stern for trailering and mast stepping. 

If the mast is allowed to droop below level when taken down aft, all kinds of interference issues arise between things attached to the center of the console, like cleats, and things attached to the back side of the mast, like electronics or expensive brackets. 

I prefer forward because: when the mast is down it extends over the top of my tow vehicle, not the aisle of the rigging lot; it requires much less fancy footwork when walking the mast up; I can step the mast myself by walking it up and applying the aft lowers to hold it while I connect the backstay.


Reply 2:

Yes, Tim (previous owner of Chewbasco) articulated it forward when he took it down. He had a metal pole with a roller that fit in the bow pulpit fitting that was about 5' long, maybe less. The higher you make the pole the easier it is to put up but you run into movement and strength issues as you go higher. Just put fitting in bracket, undo backstay and put lowers forward. Walk mast down forward. Once mast in crutch just pull pin and slide back. Easy peasy. 1 person can do this in about 5 mins. Up is the same. Only problem you may have, (which is why I drop mine backwards) is that the foot of your mast must have a cutout in the front to allow the mast to rock forward without putting additional tension on the rigging.(Chewy has this, it also allows you to fraculate easier) The last time I replaced my mast I never cut it out so backward it is.



Backstay Flicker Batten

I see where a flicker batten for the back stay is class legal for the S20 (Ruling 32) , but judging from the photos logs, it is not common. For the purpose of preventing the main from hanging on the back stay, it seems that adding the batten would be easier and probably more effective than lowering the back stay's connection point on the transom. Is there a disadavantage in having a tensioning batten on the back stay?

I put one on my old boat. It was great especially in light air the main never got hung up.
I bought a batten for an Melges 24, cut some of it off and attached it. I didn't notice any adverse effects from it. If anything I'd say it helped me make sure the backstay was off going downwind.





Crane Launch Hardware

I understand there is an eyebolt that attaches to one of the keel bolts but beyond that I'm not sure how else this is supposed to work.

            I was told I'd need this eyebolt, and a extended nut that I thread onto the bolt. But I wondered if I could buy an eye nut of the proper dimension and achieve the same thing?

            There has also been talk of straps, but again I'm uncertain as to where these are going to attach. I understand they are used for balancing the boat out as it is lifted from the single point.
            Lastly, the bolts on this boat are a bit rusty. Anyone want to take a look at them and see if you think I should even chance it?




Some boats apparently came with the lifting tab (that bent piece of metal with the hole in it) and some didn't. It's kinda hard to see how thick yours is from the picture. If it's thicker than say 3/16", you're good to go. The eye bolt and extension nut are used if you don't have one.

Most harnesses that I've seen consist of a 4'-5' chain or strap good for >3000 lbs shackled to the keel bolt eye and having a sufficient eye on top to accommodate the crane hook.

This is stabilized with longitudinal lines that attach to the mast base and somewhere at the back of the boat and lateral lines that attach to the main winches.


All of these are adjusted so that the place that they all come together is laterally centered and longitudinally approximately in the plane of the "vertical" hatch boards. This location is aft of the bolt you are lifting and is intended to lift the boat bow-down so that the mast does not hit the crane (much).

Concerning the rusty bolts, I have no experience with this. From an engineering standpoint, a single, new 3/4 inch thread has a ultimate tensile strength in excess of 18,000 lb. That's a 12X factor of safety when lifting this boat with one bolt. That could make up for quite a bit of rust. In the end, it will be your comfort zone that rules.


Repy 2:

I actually currently use a chain with a pear-shaped ring on the top to fit the crane hook. I have 5 lengths of retired ~1/4 dia line tied onto the chain at the height of the top hatch slide. One goes forward to a spring shackle connected to the mast butt plate, two aft to sprin shackles on the pushpit bases, and two to loops over each main winch. These five are all adjusted with trucker's hitches and are left permanently adjusted. I leave this whole mess under the floor board when not being used unless I extra-paranoid about weight...


Reply 3:

I have a big piece of Dyneema with an eyesplice in each end, one of which has a thimble in it. The thimble end has a big Wichard shackle rated about 10x the weight of the boat, so I know I'm safe there. The upper eye extends just above the top of the companionway.

From there, I have a 4 pieces of 6mm line attached to the line at the upper eye. Two go around the aft cabintop winches and are cleated off, one goes to the mast base and another goes to the rudder post. The one going to the rudder post is adjusted with a trucker's hitch, as it needs to be tightened just a bit before hoisting so that the main lifting line is leaning slightly aft. This makes sure that the boat goes into the air slightly bow-down to avoid the mast striking the boom of the crane. I'm still playing around with how much is right. Then, I just have my bow/stern lines (which are 19' long each) tied together so that I can singlehandedly hoist/launch the boat. By having the continuous line from bow to stern, I can control the "spin" of the boat with one hand like you would a kiteboarding kite while I operate the crane with the other.



Trailer Launch:

Could someone kindly give advice on trailer launch.


Reply 1:

Here is a simple step by step.
- back up to ramp, leaving the wheels about 4 feet from the water.
- Chock tires and unhook from the truck
- At this point I suggest having a special wheel of some kinda mount on the trailer. We use a little 10 dollar wheel on an A frame from a local hardware store. The wheel is about 8 inches and is permantently mounted under the tongue of my trailer
-attach a 20 foot tow strap to the truck hitch (use more if you need, we use 2 twenty foot straps)
- Pull truck forward to tighten the straps and unchock the trailer.
-Let boat roll back in a controlled manner and either ride it out or if you have a dock close by walk out on it using a bow and stern line to control the boat.
-Pull the trailer out, rechock and just reverse the process

To load the boat up you just reverse the entire process and I like to ride the trailer out so I can winch the boat on.


Reply 2:

The ramp that I launch on does not have a nice flat service, it is made of pieces of granite. This means that if I tried to lower the trailer using a cable or something similar it would stop on the first bump. My trailer has two 10 foot tongue extenders that allow me to "push" the boat down the ramp. The arrangement is pretty simple and makes launching easy.



Single Handed Trailer Launch:

Does anyone have a good system for single handed launches from the trailer?



After backing the boat most of the way into the water, tie off the dock lines with enough slack to allow the boat to float off when backing the rest of the way in (you'll have to get the boat properly tied off before pulling the trailer out of the water).

The other way is to use an extra long bowline. After stretching out the tow strap (but before backing into the water), take the bow line all the way to the tow vehicle (tie it off on the hitch with just a little slack). This will keep the boat on the trailer after it's floating. After the boat is floating, untie the line from the vehicle and walk it back to the boat and use both a bow & stern line to pull it off the trailer.

The first method worked fine when there was no other traffic around, and the 2nd works better when the ramp is busy.


Launching With Hoist

Yesterday afternoon I yanked the boat out, using a crane that was attached to an eye bolt on the top of the keel. While this went without incident, one thing bothered me a bit. The boat while being hoisted was leaning substantially to port. She was balanced fore and aft nicely. Is that just weight distribution? I can't think of anything that was stored on the port side that would add significantly to weight and the boat seems to sit flat on her lines when in the water. Any ideas?


Reply 1:

It could have been weight distribution but my guess would be is that you werent using a bridle of any kind.

You should have a strap that attaches to the eye bolt and the end with the loop just above the companion way. From the loop I have a line running back and a line running forward. Using those I tie them so that the strap is positioned just in front of the winches when pulled tight. You still want the strap holding the tension but the forward and aft lines are guide lines. Then two more pieces of line are tied to the loop and those go to the winches on either side. Same thing where you don't want them to hold the tension just hold the strap in place. 

The lines prevent the boat from being able to lean any direction. I tie mine so that the boat is slightly bow down when picked up because I have to rotate my boat sometimes into the prevailing winds and if the bow is hanging lower it is easy.

Also make sure you have a nice long bow line and stern line to control the boat with.






Trailer – Hull Supports

I have recently acquired an S20 trailer that, instead of the four separate "pads" that contact the hull, it has a pair of parallel "rails" made of what appears to have once been steam-bent 2x6. The wood was completely dry-rotted and falling off the frame, so I can't really get an accurate measure of the curvature, nor do I really have a way to steam-bend the wood were I to have such measurements.


Reply 1:

If you want to go the pad route, I used these which are holding up well.

If you want to replace the bunks..
1. Buy new boards longer than the originals
2. Cover the boards
3. Pre-soak the boards (helps them bend)
4. Bolt down to the front post leaving the rear loose
5. Lower the boat slowly onto the bunks shaping them to the hull
6. When in position, mark the bolt holes and clamp the boards in place
7. Lift the boat
8. Bolt the rear post and trim the boards to length


Reply 2:

I have done this numerous times over the last 15 or so yrs. Just get a normal untreated 2x12 or 2x6 (depends on what you have on there now) and bolt it down. No steaming/bending etc nec. The boat will form to the gap. Cover with astroturf, easy peasy don't over-think it like I did the first time. Frankly, I would go the pad route which I will do next time. Less of a pain to clean under, but other than that 6 of 1 1/2 dozen of the other mine tend to last about 4-5 yrs.


Reply 3:

Went the pad route. Doubled-up 3/4 treated plywood, covered with in/outdoor carpeting. Bolted right up to the pad supports, and the boat dropped right on them perfectly with no issues.