1. Stiff Steering: It is prevalent
in at least ninety-seven per cent of all the boats that I have
ever in-spected, or tried, or visited. A really free steering
system makes any boat easier to sail properly; and hence, faster;
as well as much more pleasant to operate.
2. Poor Bilge Drainage and Poor Limbers:
I have always felt that a tea cup full of water, put in right
at the fore-peak, and one just inside the transom should find
its way immediately to the lowest part of the bilge, where the
pump intakes are located; and the capacity of the limbers must
be such that they can get water to the pump intakes just a little
more rapidly than the properly operating bilge pumps can take
3. Flotation Reference Marks: To permit
intelligent study of trim for optimum performance and Rating,
it is desirable to have reference marks on forward and after
centerlines, generally one each end on the datum water-line,
and a second one twelve inches above same, so that by measuring
from the surface of the water to these reference marks, it is
possible to ascertain, with considerable accuracy, just where
the boat is actually float-ing. In a glass boat, these points
must be marked in the hull mould; and in one-off boats they
must be picked up from the mould loft floor; and marked on the
backbone when the boat is first set up; and the marks retained
throughout the construction.
4. Unguarded Sheaves in a Cable Steering
Gear: The sheaves may have a deep score, so that if the
cable is properly adjusted it will have little chance of jumping.
Unfortunately, the cable is not always properly adjusted; and
under great stress, considerable slack can occur; and without
effec-tive guards, there is a possibility of the cable jumping,
which will immediately render such a steer-ing system inoperative.
5. Poor Access to all parts of Steering
Gear: For adjustment, lubrication, and important cable re-placement.
With a chain and cable steering gear, it is a good idea to remove
and replace chain and cable when there is ample time to provide
the access, which all too often has not been provided originally;
so that when the situation is difficult, and quick replacement
mandatory, it will be an op-eration that has been properly rehearsed,
and is, in fact, feasible.
6. Steering Quadrant and Stops: Again,
with cable steering gear, too many quadrants have shal-low grooves,
and sharp corners where the cables come around the ends; and,
most important, inade-quate stops, improperly cushioned.
7. Lightning Grounding: Omission of
complete lightning grounding. High capacity copper leads (No.
8 A.W.G. -5lbs per looft) should be provided from headstay,
from top shrouds, from the metal masts, and from backstay if
it is not provided with insulators, all to a ballast keel bolt,
pre-suming outside ballast, or an adequate ground plate, if
there is internal ballast in a glass boat.
8. Propeller Shaft Marking: Omission
of clear marks on the propeller shaft, when the propeller is
in the optimum position for minimum resistance.
9. Propeller Shaft Lock: Omission of
a simple and effective and safe shaft lock, necessitated when
the motor may be required for generating purposes. A relatively
lightweight brass pin that can be sheared in emergency, provides
the possibility of using the engine without damaging anything,
or creating heat which results fromdriving through a brake that
had not been fully released.
10. No Sharp Corners or Edges: A detail
that pretty well reflects the experience of a builder is the
presence or absence of sharp corners, both of wood and metal
throughout the boat. Anything sharp is not only potentially
dangerous, particularly if it is metal, but it is also hard
to maintain, particularly if it is wood.
11. Dirty Bilges: It is most important
to avoid a rough finish, which may make it virtually impossi-ble
to properly clean the bilges.
12. Impenetrable Interior Liners: Between
the production glass boats (.here are too many that have complex
cabin liners, which prevent access to fastening of the deck
fittings, and inadequate in-spection of the interior of the
13. Inadequate Exhaust System: The
key points are: A. Resistance to flooding - without the need
for resorting to valves that can be forgotten, cither to close,
or more serious, to open. B. Unnecessary heat in the cabin.
C. Noise suppression, both on, and off, the boat. D. Ease of
repair and replacement. E. Outlet above the water at full speed.
14. Vulnerable Electric Switches: With
relation to exposure to salt water, and salt spray. It is much
better to have to reach a little further and to have the switches
work. The right switch, clev-erly located, can go on ad infinitum
without any attention.
15. Magnetic Items Near The Compass:
There is a great myth in the boating industry that the compass
adjuster is omnipotent; but there is absolutely no question
that the best results are obtained when a compass as installed
is not subject to any items creating deviation; and, hence,
is correct without magnets. This goes a long way to reduce the
possibility of any heeling error and is a great blessing to
16. Strong Non-Magnetic Emergency Tillers:
With convenient stowage including necessary tools for installation
; and, here again, it is good to have rehearsals from time to
time, in which case the emergency tiller may never be required.
With the boat peacefully at anchor, the emergency tiller should
be installed; and a reasonably strong person should treat it
very roughly indeed; and if there is any tendency to show distortion,
it should be adequately reinforced or replaced with an emer-gency
tiller that is adequate.
17. Chainplate Alignment: for shrouds,
stem fitting, and permanent backstay fittings, should all line
up precisely with the rigging, which is attached to them.
18. Wheel Rim Covering: The currently
popular destroyer type of steering wheel is pretty useless in
cold or wet weather, except where the rim has been covered tightly
with Elk Hide rough side out. This is the only product that
doesn't seem to change whether it is wet or dry or hot or cold,
and it provides just the right grip, without it being hard on
the hands of the helmsman.
19. King Spoke Alignment: Steering
chains and cables should be so adjusted, that with the rudder
straight, a spoke is on the center; and this spoke should be
marked first on the rim with something that can be felt easily
at night; and secondly, on the spoke with something that shows
up well in the daytime, all the way along the spoke, so that
from any place on deck it is possible to observe posi-tion of
the wheel, and hence know the position of the rudder. This immediately
helps make the obvious adjustments in sail trim to provide the
best possible balance. To permit checking the adjust-ment of
the king spoke, there should be a very precise centerline reference
mark on the rim of the quadrant, visible from where the cables
are adjusted, so the wheel can be locked or secured with the
king spoke on center; and then the cables adjusted, so the quadrant
is also registering on its appro-priate centerline marking,
indicating that the rudder is exactly straight.
20. Oversize Cabin Windows: This is
fundamentally a matter of design, though an area where some
builder will take liberty, in an effort to acceed to opinions
expressed frequently by people ob-serving a boat in the security
of the main hall of the Boat Show, as opposed to a situation
where the boat is fighting for survival; and where the cabin
house may be subject to a terrific battering - ad-mittedly a
long shot, but one of extreme importance.
Problem Areas, in: Yachting World Annual, 1973,
pagg. 43 e segg.