Little Spring Tweaks
by Skipper Matt
I have installed a number of little things that improve my Holder 20. I am sure there are many more that I have not thought about and would enjoy hearing about those from other owners.
Mast Step – ’84 or older:
(If your boat is an ‘85 or newer you can skip this and go to the next paragraph.)
’84’s and earlier boats have the aluminum mast secured to the stainless step with a stainless bolt. As aluminum is softer than stainless, over time the bolt hole in the mast can become oval shaped. This allows the mast to develop a slight back and forth twist, which will make the oval larger. There are safety and boat tuning concerns if this happens. It is easily fixed by welding a stainless sleeve inside the mast. Make certain welder gets it square. This issue is common for many boats that hinge their masts in this fashion. Boats that keep their rigging loose are particularly vulnerable to the oval shaping.
Keel Bulb and the Lifting System:
Here is a story I heard and the problem it created. The prototype Holder 20 did not have a bulb on it. After winning a regatta in Colorado, the crew was playing around and tipped the boat. Since it did NOT self right, they lost the right to race PHRF. To make the boat self-righting the bulb was added. (The PHRF number remained the same even though the bulb made the boat slower) Adding the bulb caused the balance point for raising and lowering the keel to change. The front edge of the keel rubs against its trunk, flattening the front edge of the keel through wear. There are a couple of ways to remedy this but this is the simplest. Use a piece of plastic such as the material used in plastic cutting boards. Cut it so it can be installed at the bottom of the trunk where the keel rubs. Countersink a couple of holes and attach using stainless screws. I performed this installation on my 172 boat in ‘86 solving the problem. I installed a different, more complicated keel lifting system in my 222 boat which I will write about later.
Support between chain plate and bulk head:
Stock boats come with a piece of wood mounted between the deck just below the where the side stays attach and the bulkhead. Over time this wooden piece is prone to failure and if it fails the mast will fall. I have seen a couple of ways to fix this problem. Replacement of the wooden section with either stainless or aluminum is the most common solution. Using the wooden piece as a mold it is easy to create a metal match. Often the metal is thinner than the wood which may be an issue with the attachment below the deck. The spacing is wrong and needs to be shimmed. A second solution, I recently attached thin aluminum pieces to the wood for support. Cut into a upside down T shape the aluminum appears to add the needed support and has a clean look as the aluminum is mounted on the bow side of the wood and not visible. I have only used this for one season so will need to watch to see that it adds enough strength.
Fast Pins, Snap Shackles, Snap Hooks, Clevis Pins, Cotter Pins & Sister Clips:
There are places to use these wonderful pins, shackles and clips. Proper use makes setting up and tearing down the boat easier and while making changes while under sail.
At the gooseneck I use a fast pin to secure the sail
Boom Vang- I replaced the stock shackle with a snap shackle that secures the boom vang to the mast.
Main Sheet - A very large snap shackle is great to use to attach the main sheet to the traveler car.
Back Stay has a snap shackle. It is strong and easy to use when setting up or tearing down the rig..
Spinnaker Halyard has a snap shackle and allows for easy hooking and unhooking of the spinnaker, although it can accidentally release, a drawback.
I made no changes to the main halyard but changed the jib halyard over to a snap hook.
On all of the standing rigging I use clevis pins that are secured with a stainless cotter pin and wrapped with rigging tape. It seems that any fastener that goes together easy is more likely to accidently come apart so standing rigging needs regular pins and fasteners.
The regular clevis pin is good for attaching the boom to the mast. Since this pin often becomes bent, I replaced it with a cut stainless bolt that has a hole drilled to accept the split ring. The head on the bolt makes it easier to push and pull it through the connection.
I like sister clips on the spinnaker and spinnaker sheets. They are light and much faster than tying knots, especially with newer crew.
Most Holder 20 skippers I know keep the pole on the boom. Secure a pad eye to each side of the boom on the end toward the mast. Using a piece of clear plastic hose create and rivet a loop at the other end of the boom. Make certain the distance between the loop and the pad eye is a few inches shorter than the length of the spinnaker pole. When storing the pole place one end in the loop sling and snap the other end to one of the pad eyes. There are two pad eyes so the pole may be stored on either side of the boom.
Top of Mast Batten:
If your mainsail has any full length battens then it can hang up on the backstay when tacking. Holder 20s with those sails may attach a batten to the top of the mast that acts like a spring to lift a loosened backstay. This is particularly a problem when sailing in light winds. If you do not have any full length battens, do not add this. Putting in a spring batten adds weight aloft which is never a good idea but it is better than constantly having a main hang-up on tacks. I use a 4ft -3in batten as that length works well. I found securing it to the top of boats ‘84 and older to be straight forward with the use of U bolt fasteners attached to the top of the mast and through the batten. The backstay is attached at the other end of the batten. A small block can be used. Pulling on the back stay bends the batten and the backstay works as though there is no batten there. Easing the backstay allows the batten to lift, resulting in the mainsail passing freely. Attaching the batten to the mast of boats ’85 and newer is slightly more complicated but not problematic.
For owners wanting to tweak their boats a bit more, a later article will address some legal modifications. These include adding a jib douser, eliminating standard boat spinnaker tweakers and the pole downhaul.
As always, I am very interested hearing about and sharing those little tweaks that have made your Holder 20 sailing easier and more fun.