UPDATE - Cockpit repair/replacement - m/s track & traveller?

Mohawk

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Oct 6, 2013
21
Alden Challenger Yawl 38 Falmouth area soon Portsmouth
Well, am back with news of repairs/replacement of virtually the whole of my 1960 Challenger cockpit apart from Port & Stbd coamings and main bridge deck structure - although some dead bits had to be cut out! This has added to initial cost but worth doing all at once I believe. Am not up to the 'Shipwright' work myself so have a great Irish fella, living in Cornwall at Gweek Quay doing all the hard work - he specialises in wooden boats so all good. His workmanship is excellent from what i've seen so far and comes with some good advice. Will try and attach some early pictures of (initially) the part (2/3) replaced sub deck under the sole. Will add other pics later.

In the meantime - a question for Iain/Tom and all you knowledgable chaps out there.......I have a short (aluminium/aluminum?) mainsheet traveller and track with chromed(?) pull-up (pin/hole) 'max travel stops' each end of the track plus the central 'car'. It says 'STERNSIDE' on the for'd side of the track(!) and appears fairly old. Is this the original or possible original mainsheet traveller - it locates onto the top of the aft thwart just for'd of the mizzenmast. It doesn't appear to give much adjustment. What is on your Challengers? What is recommended? I'd rather have a longer track for the m/s traveller if any track at all! I've not sailed her fully yet so have no 'feeling' for amount of adjustment required - but - close hauled or with wind abaft the beam, etc - it would be much more useful.

Sorry - only 1 distant photo - having issues shrinking my image sizes to 256kb or below!

More soon....... :) .....finally got the pic file size small enough! Here it is - traveller/track of mainsheet in close-up. This looks too short - and wrong to me. Can anyone help me find a typical Challenger version - presumably wider track as this not v useful! Suppliers? (US or UK) - preferred metal? Many thanks as this needed soon to complete cockpit work!
 

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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
2,663
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Re: UPDATE - Cockpit repair/replacement - m/s track & travel

What? Calling that a 'traveler', is optimistic. :) I've never seen one that short.

I have a full length simple track across the aft cockpit bench just forward of the mizzen(just visible here). The traveler car looks original(South Coast bronze) so it may be-original. It's a clunky set up that requires setting stops and often muscling the car along the track. But it works well enough and is simple.

As this cockpit(in photo) is on it's last leg, I'm very interested in this project and look forward to more detail as you finish. Thanks for posting it.
 

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CaravelaofExe

Alden Forum Moderator
Jan 24, 2006
221
Alden Caravelle 42 / Northern European waters
Re: UPDATE - Cockpit repair/replacement - m/s track & travel

Apart from agreeing that if you want to have a traveller it might be full width, I don't have much to add from my Caravelle experience, because the extra length means that the traveller on Caravela of Exe sits on top of (and full width of) the thickened aft cockpit coaming, which doubles as the front of "lean to" lockers either side of the mast partners for the mizzen; all a nice flush top. This unit is all at normal coaming height - not like the (I consider ugly, but they are no doubt practical) large boxes there on some Challengers, which I understand include gas bottle stowage.

When I bought Caravela of Exe she had an old fashioned, totally dangerous gas system, with the cockpit locker-stowed bottle draining to the bilge. I replaced this with a self contained Origo spirit hob and oven combo which is wonderfully safe and does away with the problems of the incompatibility of gas bottle systems throughout Europe - one of the things which hasn't been standardised by the EU. This is an important consideration if sailing the Baltic, with so many countries bordering it. Having never used gas in a boat, but heard plenty of horror stories direct from victims, I don't know what I'm missing; maybe my pot of tea takes a minute more to boil, but when you're cruising (or as a good friend of mine from Gloucester, Mass says, "cruising with a Z") - who cares.

Pity about all that cockpit work - it looks so good in your photos - but from many years of reading the posts here, it seems to be par for the course at this stage in a Challenger's life: 50+ years in some cases. Wouldn't be a guy called Matt doing the work would it? If so his partner Kathy is one of the best painters and varnishers I know of... and pass on my best wishes to them.

While here, I think you also contemplated laying a teak veneer deck. Personally I would never do it: expensive... un-authentic... these are American boats; teak decks were not that common there in that era - canvas over pine more common, I think, on the wooden boats of the 50s. Of course there are other, ethical points, but that's a murky business when it comes to classic boats! WHICH THESE ALDENS ARE! The alternative fake teak products look thus.

All power to the work. You have a very fine boat there that will give so much pleasure.
 
Jun 28, 2004
50
Re: UPDATE - Cockpit repair/replacement - m/s track & travel

I put a traveller on Whisper some time ago, which has helped immensely. It's just forward of the mizzen mast step, and inconspicuous. It gives a lot of flexibility in controlling the mainsail shape, especially in light air. It also allows us to dump air out of the mainsail in heavier air. And it is easier to adjust the trim without messing up the sail shape. It's made by Lewmar, and was a racing series as I recall. The track bolts through the crosspiece at the back of the cockpit well, and still allows the lazarettes to open. It's as wide as would fit in the cockpit, and works very well.
Sorry about the propane box Iain - it looks alright to us, but then we are used to it.

Rick
 

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Mohawk

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Oct 6, 2013
21
Alden Challenger Yawl 38 Falmouth area soon Portsmouth
Re: UPDATE - Cockpit repair/replacement - m/s track & travel

Hi Rich

Thanks for the info and photo - most helpful! We are spending quite a bit renewing most of the cockpit of our Challenger so additional cost of modern traveller a bit much but wondering if I did go for Lewmar Racing 4:1 (built-in cleats) could I get away with Type 1 (up to 35') and not the greater cost of Type 2?

Will get photo's sorted for complete 'story' of my cockpit renovation for those about to do same and other interested parties. Watch this space (please)!

Happy sailing... Jon

PS I like the practicality of the deck box - it has an added benefit that it helps to protect the helmsman when running! :) (Sorry Iain!)