Above - our shiny new track!
Its been a while so here is an update on the jobs we've been working on recently.
Our major success has been in replacing the genoa tracks. Our old tracks were so worn and bent that it was impossible to get the cars to move without the use of a large hammer - not so great to do on a rolling boat at sea. Plus, most of the fixing bolts were leaking and the water was beginning to damage our interior woodwork.
Pic: Some of the old bolts showing signs of rust damage
The old track had imperial 4" (102mm) spacings for the bolts but we were unable to get replacements in the UK for a reasonable price. We could have shipped from the US but the costs were astronomical. However, an offer came up from a fellow boater with some second hand tracks in pretty good condition that were thought to have the 4" spacing. Perhaps we should have triple checked the spacings but more on this later..... These tracks were 2 foot shorter than the old tracks but not really a problem if we lost the length off the front.
We then had to find M8 200mm A4 stainless steel bolts - not so easy! We could have had them custom made but this would have also another costly exercise. Instead we got the longest we could in A4 stainless and some threaded A4 bar. The bar was cut into lengths to make up the short fall in bolt length and welded onto the bolts. Colin has now added welding to his list of proficient skills!
The old tracks were removed, toe rail teak sanded and Coelan'ed. The existing bolt holes were redrilled to 8mm as we had increased the size of the bolts from M6 to M8. Then we put the new track on and started to drop the bolts in.... only to discover that our new tracks were in fact metric with 100mm spacing. So off with the track and we had to fill the old bolt holes with epoxy, sand down, re-Coelan and drill new holes.
All this was going on whilst the delightful British summer was throwing its worst at us.
With new bolt holes drilled we were ready again to put the new tracks in place. All the bolts slotted easily into place, the track bent to the curve of the hull without much effort and we were ready to add the nuts and washers on the end of the bolts and tighten it all down.
Colin contorted himself into various lockers and finally after a lot of work and time we finally had our two new tracks and can adjust the genoa sails to our delight!
Pic: Colin working on hammering down the new track