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Monty upgrades   Total Page Hits: 1691

Post Type: Destination/Story

State: Texas

Date Modified: 12/07/2020 3:48 PM


I had the boat ready to splash this year but then the covid virus got serious so I have left it on its trailer in my yard, under cover. I was waiting until spring only because I did not think anybody would be interested in buying it now. It is ready to go, obviously. The trailer, all aluminum, was custom made for the boat ($4.5k) and I installed a telescoping trailer hitch on it made of a 2x3 stainless steel boxed section 11' long. It allows me to extend the trailer tongue 9' further than the stock one. The ramps here in Texas are shallow, designed for bass boats, so I wanted to be able to launch anywhere there was good sailing. This tongue has allowed me to keep my van wheels on dry ground and still float the boat off the trailer. I added the "field goal posts" to the trailer so I could see it clearly when approaching to take the boat back out of the water. All electricals are sealed , of course. I have gone over the boat since purchase six years ago from stem to stern. The pictures and descriptions on the MSOG photosite explain what I did. All navigation and cabin lights are diode to save power. I placed high density pads under all deck hardware as I was rebedding all of them to spread loads and increase the amount of space on the cleats to accept larger or more line. Bow eyes added to control chafe. Reinforced bow eye from original so it could be used in anchoring also, if necessary. New, larger Coast Guard approved running lights to make the boat more visible at night. Reversed the forward hatch so that at anchor it would catch prevailing winds and funnel them down into the v-bert. A failsafe lock ensures the hatch will not be sucked open while driving down the road. Inside finished off for comfort and eye appeal. Battery charger included in on board circuitry. Garmin chart plotter added last year. Love that. What a kick to be able to see on the chart plotter where you are and what the water depth is beneath you in real time and then be able to look up and see the buoy right where it should be in relation to where it is shown on the chart plotter right along with the symbol for your boat! I really enjoyed being able to see right where I was. If fog rolls in I can retrace my sailing course via that chart plotter exactly to where I started my day's sail.
Centerboard is cast iron. It was removed, sand blasted, refaired with a grinder to form a good laminar flow through the water, then faired with compound, given two coats of under coater and another coat of bottom paint. Before reinstalling it, I discovered a void in the bore hole for the center board pivot and pressure filled it figuring that that was a way for water to seep into the ballast. Yes, it has steel punching ballast but the boat has shown no instances of swelling. Board raises and lowers freely. Finally after the board was in and hauled up I inserted the stop bolt in the lower aft end of the cb well. Before running the new 3/8 inch bolt home I inserted a piece of rubber reinforced gasoline line in the bore so as to form a bumper for when the cb nub landed on the stop bolt. Wonderful.. No more "Bang", just a mild "thud". I am an efficiency expert having been in construction as a supervisor so I notice everything during operations and seek to streamline everything I can to improve performance, safety and speed. The lifting pennant used on a winch to raise and lower the 170# centerboard was rubbing on the sides of the tiny hole supplied in the cb well in the cabin so I enlarged that hole and glued a 1-1/2 inch piece of pvc onto the hole and placed a cap on that. I then drilled an adequate hole in the cap through which to run the pennant. Gone is the wear on the pennant and no splash into the cabin from the well while sailing. If I want to inspect the knot on the end of the pennant I simply pop the cap on the new centerboard sleeve and the knot is easily visible right there!I have installed a new sink where the old one was. The new one is a stainless steel one used in bars. It is nice and deep and gives space to rinse off a plate. I then installed a hand pump that leads to a 5 gallon collapsible water jug which lives under the sink. It drains overboard through the stock sink drain which is well above the waterline. I also have a screw in drain plug instead of the regular drop in type just in case I am on a starboard tack and the sink drain does submerge. The water that could come in form that would stay in the deep sink but I find (confession here) that I often use the sink for storage for spare line, fittings, gloves, etc. and I don't particularly want them to get soaked.Redid the fiddles in the sink area to better use the available space. Enlarged the entrance to the storage below the sink to better use the space and be able to inspect the hull there. Added bulkhead shelving as well as room for the instrumentation. Always thought a sailboat ought to have a barometer so added a good duality one of those. The read out panel for the Garmin GPS is outside, visible from the cockpit but has access from inside via a panel in this bulkhead over the sink. Both cabin windows with stock aluminum frames were shot so I replaced them with acrylic through bolted such that the hull side is sandwiched between acrylic on the outside and finished 3/4" plywood on the inside. Well bedded with slightly oversized holes for the thru bolts, neither lite has leaked a drop since installation 4 years ago. Replaced one chain plate for a lower stay. A bolt had leaked before I purchased the boat and delaminated the plywood. It was a simple matter with a vibratory saw to remove the damaged area and rebed a new chain plate. Found the turnbuckle ends were jamming as I lowered the mast and one of them was slightly bent to figured out a way to run a bolt through both turnbuckles at the chain plate states so they always aligned properly when raising and lowering the mast. No more bending.
In a further attempt to alleviate the "bleach bottle" look of these boats I paneled some of the areas in which I would live when not sailing. The blue/white color scheme I think adds an airyness to the cabin. The mast partner, which could not be done away with due to sailing loads was encased in wood. That allowed me to run a wire to a reading light on it which has come in quite handy when I am lying in the starboard "pilot's berth" reading. I also have a plywood board which I can prop up on the v-berth to provide a bit of a lounge to the berth while reading. From there I can look out of the main hatch at the sky and surround. A very pleasant view.
Any bolt heads which protruded however slightly into the living area have been covered with felt pads sold for furniture legs to prevent parting my hair while moving around below.
The fuse panel has more than enough positions to individualize my circuits with some extra for spares. When at a dock with power I can plug in the boat to land lines and then have two plugs below with shore power. The built in battery charger also uses shore power to convert to 12v to keep a class 27 deep cell battery up. All is accessible through hatches in the v-berth. I moved the mainsheet to amid ships for ease in setting it up and use while sailing. The location for the runner for that is incorporated in the sill between the cabin and the cockpit so not only does it provide a good place for the mainsheet runner but it also affords a wide step on which to place one's foot before going below. The cockpit drain at the aft end had a plug which can be installed to prevent water coming back aboard if you have more than two and a half people sitting on the seats.That drain stays open otherwise. I also added two 1-1/2 inch cockpit drains to the bulkhead about three inches above the cockpit sole. I have never taken water over the stern but then I have always tried to avoid harsh conditions. I sail to enjoy not see how badly I can scare myself. The outboard ends of the new drains have flapper valves on them. I added a large access panel to this after cockpit wall, visible in some of the photos on the MSOG photosite. This allows me access to all the gudgeon bolts for the rudder, all the hoses connecting the stock cockpit drain to the outside as well as the two new scuppers I added. This access port has added a lot to my peace of mind as now I can inspect a lot more of the hull as well as being able to add or service areas which were previously impossible to access. Towards that end I added two six inch screw hatch covers to the seat backs. Those gave me access to the navigation light on the port quarter and also allowed me to upgrade the mooring cleats on both the starboard and port quarters with mooring cleat pads. Since I usually sit on the port side while steering I placed the handle for the bilge pump to be accessible at that station. It empties directly overboard through the transom, again with one way flapper valve instead of into the cockpit. Since then I added a 4" diameter access port in the larger access panel so I can quickly check the thru hull fitting where the cockpit stock drain flows overboard below the waterline. Future consideration there would be for a gate valve to instantly close off that thru hull fitting.
It is hot here in Texas! All my other boats had biminis so I figured this one should have one too. I bought a stock bimini and then adapted it to fit on the "AS-IS". It permits sailing with quite a bit of headroom and, most importantly, provides shade in the cockpit. I have found that no matter how hot it is I can remain cool under that bimini. Actually it was a "must do" if I was ever to get my wife to accompany me! I must add that the cockpit seats are quite unique for a 17 foot boat. They are quite well designed providing plenty of comfortable back support and the cockpit is deep enough to provide good leg room and the feeling of being safely down in the boat instead of "balancing" on a tipsy tiny bench. Again, my wife remarked immediately that it is a secure feeling being able to look out from a position of safety at the waves rolling by. I have had the craft out in four foot chop and she is a dry boat. I attribute that to the lapstrakes in her hull; they tend to "chop" the waves up as they flow up the sides of the hull. The water that finds its way aboard is negligible. In my first Monty I found that three 3/8" boards just wide enough to bridge the footwell in the cockpit turn the cockpit into a double bed under the stars. This is a fine way to sleep under a beautiful night sky. Said boards fit easily under the forward v-berth cushions when not in use.
I bought a new mainsail for her last year. It is loose footed as those are supposed to provide a better foil shape for a sail. The 135 is several years old but still has good shape as is the working jib. Plans for this year were to put a set of reefing points in the working jib as I had done with my Flicka years ago and to, perhaps, add an "autohelm" to the tiller, again, as I had on the Flicka. If you sail alone something like this is an advantage if you need a rest or actually prepare some HOT food! My first Monty 17 was sailed on Galveston Bay, Galveston, Tx. I found repeatedly that if I balanced the rig and tied the tiller I could get the boat to actually sail towards a targeted buoy out on the ship channel four miles away and to, on more than one occasion, actually have to fall off the wind lest I actually hit said buoy.
Lyle Hess knew how to design a sea keeping hull if any man ever could. Quite often, after tying the tiller I could stand on the cabin top right next to the mast and from there survey the seas around me. Quite a heady experience as you glide over the water on your magic carpet.I did, finally, upgrade the rudder to a kickup one from Rudder craft. It is a thing of beauty. Built SOLIDLY yet not overdone. It works very simply and I have arranged it so that when I kept the boat in the water at Rockport, Tx. none of the rudder or its components remained in the water. In this way I was able to thwart any marine growth from fouling any part of it. So too did I manage to mount the outboard 3.5 horse Tohatsu motor. When it is raised on its spring assisted mount it is totally out of the water also. Again, no marine growth AND do drag when sailing! I recently saw a way to rig a reboarding strap along a gunwale but on my present boat I am relying on a stainless steel telescoping ladder mounted on the port side of the stern. I added blocks to the transom such that when the ladder automatically deploys downward with the release of the velcro strap it is held away from the transom such that the steps are then much easier to access when one is bobbing around in the water. I also shopped for the four rung ladder, none of which hang into the water until deployed so no drag or marine growth, yet provide deep enough rungs for anyone to be able to climb onto that bottom rung! I also positioned it right below the outboard motor cutout to make climbing back aboard easier.I have also fashioned a lifting rig which included a ginpole. The boat trailer winch provides the lifting power for the raising and the easing off to lower the mast. In my younger days I could attach the mast to the tabernacle and shoulder it upright. Now the winch works for that. I found that the winch is also great for closing the trailer tongue extension! Once you have the boat back on the trailer the boat trailer winch can be used to draw the whole reloaded trailer back to the truck. That was a lesson hard learned one day at a launch ramp. There is also a downhaul that can be rigged on the forestay to douse the jib. It leads back to the cockpit and will effectively snuff the jib while sailing or when approaching the ramp or dock.
While tied up at a dock I found the use of a spring line quite handy. Towards that end I fashioned midship cleats on which to tie a spring line. The full length perforated foot rail provides plenty of tie off positions for bumpers with no lines being let across the side decks to trip over when going forward. I have read about CDI furlers and one of those may be of interest. I have managed to work around those with little problem. Unless one has a full time web berth a furler adds much consternation to raising and lowering the mast.During renovations I removed both perforated rails to check the hull/deck joint. It was tight all the way around. I cleaned it, coated it with a good brand of sealer then bedded the rails back using washers to spread the clamping load of each of almost 200 bolts around the hull. All is sound and stronger than stock.
The hull shape wants to move. I have sailed her in airs which literally would not have blown out a match. This sounds like a bunch of bunk but it is so. One day while reaching across a dying wind to the boat ramp I had doused the sails yet the boat kept moving. I figured it was just momentum but the boat just kept on moving well past when she should have stopped. I was going to start the motor but was intrigued with her performance so just stayed at the tiller and watched what happened. She continued to sail. The wind, now almost completely dead, was but a whisper yet her speed remained the same! I finally did have to start the motor because the boat ramp area was busy. But that experience encouraged me to take her out on "calm" days just to see what she could do. If sailing fun is the going and not the arrival, this hull design has lots of pleasant surprises in her.I and about a dozen other small boat sailors had our boats anchored in Mud Lake outside of Houston the day of an airshow at Ellis Field. There was little to no wind but rather than just sit at anchor I decided to try sailing around all the other boats anchored by me. This I did and was able to chat aimably with their crews due to there being no wind to muffle our voices. The Monty is just a "loving" boat which simply likes to sail. On that day, finally, we all heard a dull roar approaching from inland. All conversation ceased as the dull roar grew to a ferocious forceful snarl. Suddenly bursting over our position were four F4 Phantom fighters flying in "V" formation not 50 feet off the deck as they headed towards Ellis airfield five miles away. I still get goose bumps thinking about that day. Having a boat which is easy to set up and easy to sail in a boat that gets used. The experiences like this are waiting out there for everyone. After my first Monty, then a 20'Flicka, then a 28' Cape Dory, then a 36' S2 I am downsizing to a 12' Saturday night Special wood boat which weighs 275 pounds. I can still handle that and still get the thrill of feeling a hull respond to the wind as it inexorably starts to move forward. I must say that as much as I enjoyed every single boat I have owned when the hard (harsh) reality intrudes, as far as "bang for the buck" is concerned, the Montgomery 17 has the other boats in my direct experience beat.
I read a book once called "Wanderer" written by Sterling Hayden. He referred to himself as "sea struck" in its pages in that he was always enamoured by the sea and felt he had had past experiences upon it, memories from a life he was not living at present. I found myself on all the pages of his book. I had the good luck to spend a whole year after college working with an honest to goodness shipwright in Old Saybrook, Conn. He taught me how to take care of my tools, keep them sharpa and introduced me to some of the processes shipwrights used to work on wooden hulls such as spiling a garboard, etc. I picked up skills long forgotten in most of the rest of the world. I enjoy giving new life to old boats as much as I enjoy the feel of a well found ship beneath my feet. I hope I can find someone who will take proper care of AS-IS as she has taken care of me so well the years I have owned her.


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