November 2017


In the first week of November, it was birthday time for one of us. Blowing the candle and making a wish had to happen inside “Samourai”, since the wish was relevant with the whole project !

The bilges had to be painted. We applied a coat of Gelshield Plus to protect all the epoxy repairs that were done previously. Normally this paint is for anti-osmosis treatment but we had a bit left over.

Then we applied one coat of ‘Danboline’ bilge paint for total protection. This paint has the advantage of covering very well any surface.

Same rule in all the bilges…and the lazaret where we had previously reinforced the chainplate foot with some fiberglass cloths and resin…

…it was great to see the areas finally clean and painted.

The cockpit locker before…ready for painting…

…and here is the result.

As always with painting, the longest part of the job is preparation: sanding, cleaning etc…And the best moment comes once the first coat is applied.

At the foredeck, where the steamhead had to be installed, we levelled the area with Watertite filler from International. This material is easy to work with and cures quickly.

The new steamhead was finally installed with marine sealant. This time we didn’t use Sikaflex but a product from 3M, called 5200 FC which prooved to be an excellent material and extremely strong compared with Sikaflex.

The starboard forward cleat was installed with the same marine sealant and 8 mm machine screws with Nylocs nuts and large washers. We didn’t fit here any backing plate because the foredeck of the Contessa 32 is already very thick and strong.

One of the characteristics on a Contessa is that the mast is not deck stepped like on most modern sailboats. Actually, the mast is going through deck and then stepped on the keel itself. On deck we still had to install a new deck ring provided by Sparcraft. This piece of gear is made out of heavy duty cast aluminium.

We used again this marvellous 3M 5200 FC marine sealant and 8mm machine screws to fit the deck ring.

In the lazaret we screwed on the new chainplates for the backstay.  Those are a bit longer than the original and have a couple of extra hex bolts.

On the stern deck, there is only an inch of those chainplates coming out. Here on, we will attach the new backstay adjuster.


These strange holes are nothing but the toilet inlet and outlet for the seacocks.  The four beveled holes are were the countersunk stainless machine screws will be sunk in to the hull.

Two Blake seacocks will be installed with re-inforced plywood pieces. These two round plates will be treated with several coats of epoxy resin to make them waterproof.


Our first idea was to use bronze screws to avoid any electrolysis in between the different metals. But after reading a bit on the subject, we found out that all the Contessas and Sadler boats had those seacocks fitted with stainless steel machine screws. Our previous Blakes seacocks were also installed that way and we didn’t find any corrosion on the screws. But to make sure there will be no water ingress in between the screws and the seacock, it is necessary to cover the head screws with epoxy filler.

Before fitting the seacocks permanently we did several tests to make sure the valves were in a good position.


After trying the seacocks and measuring the length, it was necessary to cut off the extra spigot to suit the ouside of the hull.


The seacocks were then fitted with the 3M marine sealant. Later on we will cover the screws heads with some epoxy filler.

From the inside, the two cockpit drains with the hoses connected with stainless steel jubilee clips.

In the heads area, the two wooden plates were bonded to the hull with a fillet of epoxy resin.

And then the seacocks were fitted with the same marine sealant. All the machine screws, bolts and washers we used were A4 stainless steel type. It was not easy to find them, but for this “under the waterline” job it was worth the effort.

The galley seacock from outside…

…and from inside….

…and the engine seacock, on the outside…

…and inside….

We also installed  a couple of other through hulls. One for the log transducer

and one for the outlet for the manual bilge pump.

The day before the riggers arrived we had to fix the pulpit and make some small Tig welding on the stainless tubes.

A three leg pulpit…

The next day, the new mast arrived with the riggers from Meltemi Yachting… the excitement was rising so did the stress level !

The dawn on the big day was amazing and the conditions were ideal. Just perfect, no wind, no rain and a clear blue sky.

Our new mast was reminding us of some kind of exotic animal…could be giraffe…

Preparing the mast for the lift…

The crane finally arrived and the rush began.

There was a bit of a discussion on where to make the knot in order to balance the mast, but the riggers from Meltemi Yachting were well experienced and did all that very professionally.

Slowly but steadily, the crane lifted the mast up in the air….

And this is when we started to get really nervous….


…very nervous….!


At last Samourai was again looking like a proper sailboat !

Then started the installation of the standing rigging. Wires were measured and pressed on deck !

First the top shourds were connected and then somebody had to climb up the mast to disconnect the hook.


And undo the ropes which were used to lift the mast.

The installation of the forestay….7mm thick…

Then the guys fitted the furling roller for the genoa.

This is Meltemi team at work…efficient and fast  !


By the end of the day, we had to manufacture a few wedges for the mast. Fortunatelly, George the boat carpenter was in the yard that day and was kind enough to give us a hand. We though it was great to have a bit of tradition for the mast stepping and did the wedges with greek cypress wood which had an incredible smell !


Samourai with the new mast and rigging. What a change !

The mast at the deck ring with cypress wedges sank into silicone.

The deck collar supplied by Sparcraft was fitted with tie straps to avoid any water ingress along the mast.

A few words concerning the mast. When we bought “Samourai”, she was fitted with a much taller rig than what Contessas 32 usually carry. Actually, her mast was 2 meters longer than the original design. That meant 20 % more ! Also, the old Kemp mast had some serious corrosion at the mast bottom and we had to find a solution. The standing rigging had to be changed anyway and the old mast was not looking good at all. After asking for different offers, we finally decided that we wanted a mast in one piece and not riveted like some companies were proposing us. We were lucky enough to get in contact with Meltemi Yachting which found us the exact profile we were looking for and in one length. The manager of the company came all the way from Athens to take measurements and took the time to listen to all our technical observations. It was a great help for us and we are really pleased with the outcome.


A major issue on a Contessa 32 is how to replace the genoa winches. When reading through the CO32 forum we found out that many owners tried to remove the old winches by cutting a round hole from the inside combing.  In our case, this quite awkward procedure was totally avoided. And in fact changing the winches was not so difficult compared to other jobs on the boat. The most complicated part (which has to do with luck and dexterity) is to unscrew the original machine screws without twisting the bolts which are glassed under deck. We did manage last winter, after 4 hours of  hard and painfull work to undo 9 out of 10 screws without twisting the bolts. One screw did twist and had to be cut off. The next step was to clean very well each hole and fill it with epoxy resin. Now it was time to finally fit the new Lewmar ST40 winches. The good news was that these winches could be fitted with 6mm machined screws. We positioned the winches on the same circle but drilled 6 mm holes at different spots in order to avoid the old glassed nuts. Everything went very well and we even discovered that the area has been sandwiched with plywood.

Here are the 6mm holes from underneath. In fact you can only see three of the drilled holes. The other two holes could only be reached with some difficult contortions.

After some  awkward body postures and a bit of swearing, we did install the new winches with success…

…including large washers and A4 stainless machine screws.


A happy new winch ready to grind some genoa sheet….
















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