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Sails, Battens, and Stainless Screws  Bottom

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  • This is gonna sound weird. Unfortunately it's true. And I could use some input.

    My wife and I took our Pacific Catamaran out on the water for the first time on Saturday. We're both rusty, but we had a good time. But there was some major funkiness with the mainsail. It had an insanely deep pocket, and getting the sail to slot into the mast was downright difficult.

    I figured out why when I looked at the leech and saw that the battens had been bolted into their pockets. I wish I was kidding. (I REALLY wish I'd noticed this before going out on the water!)

    When I got home I took a look at the bolts. Someone at some point in this boat's past had rammed the battens as far into the pockets as they could, then used the grommets in the sail as a drill guide to drill a hole in each batten. A stainless flathead screw was then passed through the grommets and the hole in the batten, and a stainless nut was cinched down on the far side. The battens were then cut short so only about half an inch protrudes from each pocket.

    Here's where it gets worse: From the looks of it they then cut the screw short and peened the end so the nut wouldn't come off. That nut is not coming off.

    Leaving aside the cumulative damage this has probably made to my sail, I don't want to take it out on the water again like this. I need to get these bolts out and see if there's enough batten left to make the sail work using a normal batten cap and tension line. I'd drill the screws out, but stainless heats up like nuts. The last thing I want to do is melt the sail cloth around the grommets! There's not much room to fit a saw, either. My wife is a jeweler, so we're looking at her jeweler's saw blades to see if there's one thin enough to fit in there anywhere. I'm not holding my breath.

    Has anyone ever run into something like this? I have to admit I feel like a dork for not noticing this. The boat came with two mains, and I spent most of my time looking at the other main, which turned out not to be usable for other reasons. I didn't look at this one much before taking it out on the water.

    Thanks,

    Tom

    P.S. If I can get these bolts out, my plan is to see if the battens will work as-is, with the addition of caps and tensioning lines. If the battens have been cut too short, I'm planning to remove the topmost batten and "advance" each batten one pocket, then buy one new batten for the bottom pocket. These are all solid fiberglass battens, and don't appear to have been sanded or tapered in any way.

    --
    Tom Benedict
    Island of Hawaii
    P-Cat 18 / Sail# 361 / HA 7633 H / "Smilodon"
    --
  • if you can get a saw blade you should be set, if you have patience to do it slowly

    if no saw blade will fit, it will take even longer using some new drills to get the stainless bolt head off

    - lock some vice-grips on the peened over nut

    flip over sail, place a pre-drilled stainless sheet over the screw/bolt head to protect the sail

    center-punch the first head

    drill a small 1mm hole down the head a few mm

    move to the next head and repeat

    when all done and 1st hole is fully cool enlarge the hole with a 2mm drill

    repeat

    3mm, 4mm, 5mm etc until you can snap the heads off with a punch or they spins off with the drill



    Edited by erice on Jun 12, 2012 - 04:12 AM.
  • A pair of vise grips should snap them easily. SS bolts are pretty weak and shouldn't be hard to twist off.

    --
    Greenville SC

    Offering sails and other go fast parts for A-class catamarans
    --
  • ... and after all that easy stuff, some TenTec luff caps epoxied on the inner end and quick release leach caps, I like the Hobie ones much better than the TenTec ones, should give you enough added length so you can reuse your battens.
  • I'm a toolmaker by trade, and removing stuck or broken-off fasteners is a skill I've worked on all my life. Is this a great site or what? Anyways, I like erice's idea about stepping up in drill size while letting them all cool, but you would want to figure some way to hold the vice-grips (or whatever you use to hold the nut with) so you don't tip your setup over and drill a hole in your sail or hand. I've had good luck using a tiny cut-off saw (looks like fiberglass weave) or a 1/4 to 3/16 ball stone in a dremel tool. just grind down till the bolt end is well below the nut face and you'll have removed all the bad thread and peening. You will still have the corrosion factor to deal with. Good luck

    Send me a ticket to come visit you and I'll be happy to do the work myself! ;)

    --
    Repairable P18
    --
  • I'm with erice, but less patient.
    Clamp the nut in a vice. Drill the top as he suggests, cooling the bolt with cold water as it gets hot and in between sizes.

    The sail won't care about the water, the cooling will protect the sail and the hot/cold may make the nut more brittle, helping break it.

    --
    Sheet In!
    Bob
    ___/)________/)_______/)__/)____/)_____/)/)__________/)__
    Prindle 18-2 #244 "Wakizashi"
    Prindle 16 #3690 "Pegasus" Sold (sigh)
    AZ Multihull Fleet 42 member
    (Way) Past Commodore of Prindle Fleet 14
    Arizona, USA
    --
  • I totally love our drill with such occasions:

    http://www.el-bee.com/images/KolomboorCH-10.gif

    --
    Stefan, Denmark.
    H14,H16,P16,P18,SC17,N5.8
    Team StaySail
    http://www.staysail.eu
    --
  • Tons of good ideas! Yep, I love this site. You guys rock!

    I'm going to touch base with my wife at lunch today to see what she's found in her drawer of tricks, too. Right now I'm thinking of trying the cutoff tool on the peened end, just enough to remove the upset threads. If that works I'll go through the others. If not, I'll pull out the drill press and drill bits.

    erice, I like the idea of the heat shield. I've got some stainless sheet lying around I can pop a hole in pretty easily. And my spray bottle for wet sanding should make a good coolant setup.

    BigWhoop, I think your tip on the luff caps answers the other worry I had. I really don't want to replace these battens if I can avoid it. (Shipping on an 11' batten? Err...) Hey, I ran across one other set of batten caps I'm curious about. Murray's sells the RBS batten tensioner:

    http://www.murrays.com/archive/38-39.pdf

    It looks like it needs shorter battens by definition. They're installed, tied into place, and then tension is set by adjusting a set-screw at the outboard end of the cap. They're gawdawful expensive, though, costing almost as much for single cap as an entire set of "normal" caps would cost. I've got ten battens in my main, which would mean about a hundred bucks in RBS tensioners as opposed to about $20 for Tren-Tec or $32 for Hobie. Anyway, just curious if anyone has used them.

    Thanks again for all the help, guys! Tonight I free my sail from tyrany!

    Tom

    --
    Tom Benedict
    Island of Hawaii
    P-Cat 18 / Sail# 361 / HA 7633 H / "Smilodon"
    --
  • i like your idea of moving all the battens up to get more length

    you could even buy a short batten, cut it up and lengthen the ends of the few that are still short by glassing them on to the ends , then drilling new adjuster end holes

    the thin, solid glass, luff ends of my 30yo nacra tapered foam battens were all busted

    but was able to repair them over the off-season by

    - roughing up the glass for about 8" along the broken ends

    - laying them flat on plastic wrap on the garage floor

    - putting down a layer of biaxial cut glass 2" onto the busted end of the batten

    - putting down another layer of glass on top of that that over-lapped another 2' onto the batten

    - putting down a 3rd layer that overlapped 6"

    - putting down a 4th layer that overlapped 8"

    - let it all set overnight

    - flip all the battens over, peel off the plastic wrap, rough up the other side and repeat

    - when both sides set, grinding/sanding all ends back into smooth regular shape

    the end result is a bit stiffer than original, so perhaps the 4th layer on each side wasn't needed?

    but once in the sail pocket and bending with the wind they seem as good as new
  • Another way to drill the SS is use a high quality cobalt bit and cutting oil, and drill at low rpm's. I will not get hot at all.

    Agreed, a lot of good ideas.

    --
    Philip
    --
  • Philip is right on with the cobalt bit. If you use the cheapo bits, you will only frustrate yourself. I bought a 1/4" cobalt bit, & have drilled a dozen holes through 1/4" SS plate.
    You can use almost anything as cutting oil, auto trans fluid works well, just figure out a way to keep it from getting on the sail.
    If you center punch the nut end, you will only have to drill a few millimeters, the nut will then twist off easily. If you elect to drill the head,(without a photo to see what you're dealing with, the head might be easier) remember you do not need to drill a hole as big as the shaft diameter. One size less is fine, & you won't need to drill the entire depth of the head. Again the head will break off.
    This is actually a fairly easy fix, the biggest challenge, if you don't have access to a cheap drill press is to get thebolts held solidly so things don't wander as you start drilling.
    If you don't have variable speed drills, don't worry, let it go full blast, but only for a short while. Break each hole up into 3-4 short sessions with a cooling interval. Cooling can be greatly hastened by dipping the bit in a container of oil every few seconds of drilling.

    --
    Hobie 18 Magnum
    Dart 15
    Mystere 6.0XL Sold Was a handful solo
    Nacra 5.7
    Nacra 5.0
    Bombardier Invitation (Now officially DEAD)
    Various other Dock cluttering WaterCrap
    --
  • benedictMy wife and I took our Pacific Catamaran out on the water for the first time on Saturday.


    Tom, Just wanted to thank you for uploading all the detailed photos of your P-Cat restoration. I just noticed how many nice pics you had done and more importantly the detailed descriptions. These are going to be a great help the next time someone comes here asking about the Pacific Cat they just bought.

    I'm constantly begging members to build albums like this and many promise and have good intentions, but the execution takes time and understandably gets set aside for other things.

    Everyone please take a look at what Tom did in documenting his rebuild.

    http://www.thebeachcats.c…ictures/?g2_itemId=83700

    Now that everyone is carrying camera phones that take good pictures it's easier than ever to get this done. If any of you have your own project pictures but just haven't gotten around to uploading them please please do it.

    Thanks again Tom,

    --
    Damon Linkous
    1992 Hobie 18
    Memphis, TN

    How To Create Your Signature

    How To Create Your Own Cool Avatar

    How To Display Pictures I…he Forums in the forums.
    --
  • Hey, you bet!

    I haven't added many pictures recently, but the work goes on. Good news is at this point everything's an improvement, not a necessity. So we can SAIL while we do the rest of the work the boat needs.

    We took a camera with us the first time we took it out on the water, but we never even pulled it out of its case. GAAAH! I was so wanting to add some on-the-water ID shots to the album. Ah well. The plan is to sail tomorrow if the weather holds, so maybe some new pics by the end of the weekend.

    In particular I want to photograph all the running rigging on the boat. The P-Cat has some of the weirdest jib sheets of any boat I've seen. I'm curious to see how it compares to the jib sheets of the mystery banana boat that's been in the forums recently. Similar hull configuration, but with a trampoline instead of a hard deck. Or to see how it compares to the Catfish, another hard deck beach cat.

    Glad you like the photos. More to come!

    Tom

    --
    Tom Benedict
    Island of Hawaii
    P-Cat 18 / Sail# 361 / HA 7633 H / "Smilodon"
    --
  • Tom,
    I think I owned a set of RBS tensioners once long, long ago. Maybe not. My memory ... Two downsides from my point of view: you have to shorten the battens a lot (this may be a plus for you but I hate to cut off a set of battens, and then change my mind), the other downside is that I release batten tension when I'm done sailing and then retension before I I start again. I could get carpal tunnel releasing or tensioning ten battens. The Hobie items just need a quick tug and you're ready. I tie a figure eight knot in the tension line at the lightest tension you'll ever want. Then even if the line pops out (which really means I forgot to tension that one) you can't lose the batten.

    Has the tyrant been overthrown?

    Charles
  • I wound up picking up a set of Hobie tensioners. I won't have them by this weekend (cripes, it IS this weekend and I'm still at work!) but they should be in by Monday.

    Thanks for the info on the RBS tensioners. I hadn't even thought of the second down-side. I think with the Hobie tips and the leech tips, I should have enough length on my battens to work.

    I still haven't had a chance to get the bolts out. But given all the advice here, I've got a bunch of ways to go about it. Just need the time.

    Tom

    --
    Tom Benedict
    Island of Hawaii
    P-Cat 18 / Sail# 361 / HA 7633 H / "Smilodon"
    --
  • The batten caps came in over the weekend! Last night I sat out back with a Dremel and my water spray bottle I use for wet sanding. Grinding off the exposed threads worked on all but one of the bolts. I had to cut the nut off of that one before it let go. No burn holes in the sail, and all the battens came out just fine.

    All but the top two look like standard old-school Hobie batten stock, so the caps fit perfectly. I modified the top two battens (which were thinner but wider) to fit the Hobie caps as well. The instructions with the Tren-Tec leech caps said to glue them onto the ends of the battens. Since the failure mode of a slipped cap is to have a cap lodged deep inside a batten pocket, I'm going to do this. Hopefully at lunch today, if everything works out.

    Once that's done, the last trick is to take it sailing and see what happens! I'm about to take off on a trip, so this coming weekend is my last chance to sail for about a month. Gotta git 'r done!

    Thanks again for all the ideas, guys. This is an awesome forum.

    Tom

    --
    Tom Benedict
    Island of Hawaii
    P-Cat 18 / Sail# 361 / HA 7633 H / "Smilodon"
    --
  • good to hear it all worked out. I almost hate to post this, now that you've done the work... My buddy & I were changing out a bolt last year, & the nut stripped, essentially we had the same problem you did, though only one, not ten.
    We didn't even discuss how to cure it, just went & got the 2' bolt cutters. Open wide, place jaws over nut,(perpendicular to nut, parallel to bolt, & squeeze.
    SNAP, nut falls in two pieces, pull bolt out with fingers.
    Once you are over 50 you start to suffer from CRS, can't remember sh@#
    Sorry I didn't post that option 2 weeks ago.



    Edited by Edchris177 on Jun 19, 2012 - 07:40 PM.

    --
    Hobie 18 Magnum
    Dart 15
    Mystere 6.0XL Sold Was a handful solo
    Nacra 5.7
    Nacra 5.0
    Bombardier Invitation (Now officially DEAD)
    Various other Dock cluttering WaterCrap
    --
  • Chris flys for his life.. Hope he remembers the landing patterns for Can. and the rest of the world!! Over 50.. Why is he still sailing.. Loose the 5.7 .. the 5.0 makes the wife more confident that she will see him again. She will forgive ya for sneeking it home.. !! H

    --
    Hal Liske
    Livermore CA
    H 16 (6+ 1.. Friends) H 3.2 N 5.2 (2) H 17 (2) H-18
    Nacra 5.8 (son's) H 20 (Friends)
    It's a Sickness

    I Need a A Cat Please
    --
  • I'll never sell the 5.7 until I quit Cats, or it explodes. It is a handful solo in over 20 kts, BUT, with crew it just rocks. Huge open tramp, room for 4 adults. I've run it in 30 mph with 2 on the wire, & my self braced against the traveler casting. On the GPS I can easily get 17 mph solo, I'm hoping to make 20 solo, but generally I have to travel way out and/or point if I'm solo & wind of 20.
    I went out solo yesterday after a storm passed,(blew the 5.7 lift over, scratched the gelcoat against the dock) then got caught in the outflow from another CB. The lake was solid whitecaps, spray blowing off the waves, had to be 30+ & my mainsail popped out of the fork near the mast head. I partially furled the jib, hove to, & by standing on the hiking stik, managed to keep the shoulder into the wind & get the main fully raised & hooked. I kept it upright through that & so thought what the hell, Karma is with me today, I'm gonna keep going.
    I had to travel out nearly to the beam to stay upright, & in the constant gusts nearly ate it a few times, but what a ride. Really should have had the 5.0, but that is what makes the 5.7 so much fun. You can solo it in 30 mph,(lots of survival mode, wouldn't want to do it all day) or carry 4 people & still fly a hull.
    Here is the new addition, (5.0) it makes the dock look more balanced, no?
    My wifes sister dropped in last week, she thought the blow boats made the whole scene beautiful, how can my good wife argue with her older sister? If I had the room you do I'd probably have a Cat for each day of the week.
    This was after the sail, when everything had calmed down again.
    http://www.thebeachcats.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=87703&g2_serialNumber=4

    --
    Hobie 18 Magnum
    Dart 15
    Mystere 6.0XL Sold Was a handful solo
    Nacra 5.7
    Nacra 5.0
    Bombardier Invitation (Now officially DEAD)
    Various other Dock cluttering WaterCrap
    --
  • very nice view

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