January 2019


New Year was accompanied by very bad weather and heavy snowfalls !

“Samourai” was covered under 15 cm of snow.

Clearing the deck was necessary to avoid the creation of heavy ice during the night.

Unfortunately, we were not able to work for most of the month because of those adverse conditions. At last, with a few days of fair weather, it became possible to fix the new taffrail.

A simple template was created in order to bend the 3 Iroko planks.  We had previously asked a friend carpenter to pre-cut those three pieces with a band saw. A maximum thickness of 7mm for each plank was needed to get a final piece of 21 mm.

The template consisted of a thick piece of agglomerated wood with a few pine blocks re-creating the stern radius.

At home, in warm room temperature, we glued those planks using epoxy resin added with microfibres.

Few adjustments were made before the final installation.

The position of the new fairleads was lightly drawn on the wood.

By the end of the month another tight weather window gave us at last the opportunity to install this piece.

The newly made taffrail was fixed with 5 X 50 mm screws, but the two fairleads were attached with 6 x 60mm. Needless to say, we used proper stainless steel countersunk wood screws and not chipboard ones ! We could have used marine bronze instead of stainless steel, but we found this material too soft and difficult to work with.

The final touch: 12 wood plugs were glued to hide the screws heads.

To bond the taffrail to the GRP we used 3M marine adhesive.

We were searching a long time to solve the sink problem and finally came up with a suitable solution. On many older boats sinks are below waterline, meaning that water can not be drained out properly. To bypass this issue, Contessa’s were originally fitted with a Whale hand pump. Unfortunately, this model is now obsolete. To replace this item, we found a heavy duty brass pump provided by an italian manufacturer named “Guidi”. It is sold as an oil drain pump but can be used for bilges or sumps. The only disadvantage are the hose attachments which are 13mm instead of 3/4″ (the diameter of the Blake Seacock). This little difference will be corrected by some plumber ingenuity and a non-return valve installed before the seacock.

The new brass pump was through bolted next to the sink and under the counter top, allowing the handle to move freely up and down.



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