From Tiller to Wheel

Thomas Lipscomb from Detroit converted his tiller. He used the Edson wheel and worm gear and universal joint and built the housing himself. The only modification of the boat was to screw the housing to the sole of the cockpit. The tiller head was replaced with the parts furnished by Edson and required no machining except a little emery paper on the top of the rudder post to smooth it down.

We had a reply from Dave Wallace who raised the original inquiry. He went to Detroit to see the conversion and took photographs. The worm gear is stock Edson BOOR6 and universal joint and attached directly to the rudder post. The unit and steering wheel are supported by a home made plywood box. This box can double as a seat or you can steer side saddle. He points out that the advantage of this system is that it can be removed and the tiller replaced in a matter of minutes. (See Plate 13).


David Kent of NETA rigged an Edson wheel using "Pull-Pull" cables running from the base of the wheel out to the starboard side, curving over the top of his gas tank and aft to the quadrant. He put the quadrant on top of the rudder post, covering it with a cockpit-width teak box which is both attractive and useful for improving the view at times.

Flag Halyard

Affix a strong cheekblock to the side of the mast top, and use the flag halyard. Then,if you lose your main halyard, you can lead another line through your new flag halyard block, hitch it to a bosun's chair and get up there to fix it. If you carry a 1O0-ft. quarter-inch nylon anchor line for the lunch hook, it will serve just right for this purpose, too, as well as making a good spring line. it for lead

Suggestion: If your main halyard gets lost to the top, tie a can opener or similar hook-shaped object to the flag halyard and snake it down with that. It usually takes ten to twenty tries to catch it, but it can be done if you are careful and patient.



Make the outhaul easy, by installing a pair of tiny "awning pulley" double becket blocks. Run clevis pins through the eye of the sail and of the boom eye direct, using washers, saving the distance of the two shackles that would otherwise be necessary.


Mast Walking

Amaze your friends by "mast walking." On a day with a steady l0-knot breeze, when you're on a close reach, have a good helmsmari put the boat on a hard angle of heel, 20-25 degrees. Walk forward, stand on the lifeline, beside the shrouds, put your good non-skid bare feet against the mast and walk up part way, pulling on your shrouds. It has to be seen to be believed. We saw it in a book by Errol Bruce. If your wife is growing nonchalant, try this trick. It will either kill you or cure the problem.


Hoisting Dinghy Aboard

I have a 7' - 9" low-sheer Dyer Dhow with a 14' painter spliced to the bow ring. To make a bridle, I tie the painter to the ringbolt high on the inside of the transom. I then secure the main halyard of my Triton to a loop spliced in the middle of the painter. I then hoist away using the main halyard winch until the dink clears the life line. (In a gale, an extra line is needed to control the dink, but generally there is no problem.) Then, I secure the halyard and go aft into the cockpit. There, I flip the dink over and, using a short piece of line (held in my teeth all this while) I tie the handhole of the skeg to the painter. This operation is very important. The center of gravity of the dink is below the ringbolt, so the dink will promptly turn rightside-up unless tied. After the painter is tied firmly to the skeg, the dink will stay upside down by itself.

If your dink does not have a handhole in the skeg, you will need to make one, or drill a hole, or attach a fitting, so you can fasten the painter to the skeg.

With the dink tied upside down, I then return to the mast and lower the dink onto its chocks.

To launch the dinghy, I merely go through the same steps in reverse. This procedure is sufficiently easy and quick that I use it in preference to manual hoisting and launching, even if there is a guest on board with adequate strength to help me do it by hand.

More on Hoisting Dinghy. First, equip your dinghy with a permanent bridle. After locating the dinghy's center of gravity, I drilled two 1/2" holes in the dinghy's starboard rail, one 21" forward of C.G. and the other 21" aft of C.G. The bridle consists of a 5' length of 1/2" nylon, knotted through the two holes in the starboard rail. To the center of the bridle, I spliced a 71 length of 1/2" nylon, with an eye splice in the free end.

To prepare for hoisting, bring dinghy alongside Triton's starboard beam. Attach main halyard to eye splice in bridle line. Secure stern of dinghy to Triton's starboard stern cleat (any spare line about 10' long will do) so that dinghy bow stands just aft of aft starboard shroud. Remove oars, oar locks, and all movable gear from dinghy. Finally tie boom out of the way, to port shroud.

Now, hoist dinghy, using main halyard on halyard winch. As dinghy rises, it will tip halfway over since you are lifting it entirely by its star- board rail. As soon as dinghy clears life line, it will swing meekly into position, just aft of the mast, with the stern line keeping it from banging the mast. NOW, lower dinghy gently, still in half-turned-over position, until its port rail just touches cabin top. At this point, it requires only a gentle nudge to tip the dinghy past the half-way point, so that you then lower it upside-down onto the cabin top.

Launching the dinghy is a simple matter of reversing the above procedure. With a little practice, using this procedure, you can hoist and launch an 80-lb. dinghy single-handed, without damaging either dinghy or Triton, and without exhausting yourself.


Flag Etiquette

The "owner aboard," "owner absent," the private signal and other flags used on larger yachts are not likely to be of great interest to the average Triton Sailor. However, a few words may be in order regarding flags commonly used during our cruising and racing.

One has a choice of flying the U.S. Ensign, The U.S. Yacht Ensign or the U.S. Power Squadron Ensign. While at anchor or under power, one of these is flown at the stern staff. When sailing, however, there are alternatives. Purists may still want to fly their Ensign on the leech of the mainsail, approximately two-thirds of the way above the clew. Until very recently, this bit of protocol separated the initiated sailor from the newcomer who generally sailed with his Ensign at the stern staff, whether at anchor, under power or under sail.

However, custom now approves the flying of the Ensign from the stern staff at all times, and several respected sources have sanctioned the change. Years ago there was a practical reason for the older usage. Booms extended well beyond the transom, and a stern staff would have been an impediment to the free swinging of the boom. With shorter booms and permanent backstays now the fashion, this problem no longer exists.

The Ensign is raised at 8:00 A.M. and lowered at sundown. When yachts are rafted or anchored in a group, the commodore or other senior officer raises or lowers his Ensign, and the others follow suit. Should a U.S.P.S. member fly either National Ensign or the Yacht Ensign at the stern staff and still wish to display his Power Squadron Ensign, he may do so at the starboard spreader. The starboard spreader is also frequently used to display the National Triton Association flag, or while racing, the International Code Flag "N." Display of Code Flag "N" is a practice that many believe should be honored by all racing yachts.

The following should all properly be flown from the masthead: Yacht Club Burgee, National Triton Association Flag or Flag Officers Signal. A choice must be made, since the masthead will accommodate only one flag at a time. The source of this information was largely Chapman's Piloting, Seamanship and Small Boat Handling. 

Throttle Guardbracket

I don't know how many Tritons have the throttle lever exposed on the side of the cockpit, but our Triton number 663 has, and I wish I had a dollar for every time someone nudged us into either full speed ahead, or dead in the water with an innocent twitch of the leg. This inspired my simple throttle guard bracket. East to make out of strap aluminum, it allows fingertip control from the top, while fending off all body motion.

Stains: Bill McKinley of NETA reports excellent results with "Y-1O" to re- move stains on the topsides. A non-abrasive, paste cleaner, it is applied with a sponge. Rinse off in 15-20 minutes and your finish will be like new. About $4, Bill says: "It really works."

Spare Tiller

Reports of failure due to delamination are real. An emergency tiller tan be made easily and it can be stowed under the bunks, fore or aft. One owner made his from a cut-down oak axe handle. And watch the casting that secures the tiller to the rudderpost, many have failed.

Chrome-plating. Your old chrome can be re-plated. Keep it nice with auto wax.

Ladder. Fred Klarman from Northport, N. Y., rigged a fine ladder on his "Blue Aura." "For general swimming purposes with children, I use a "Mayfair" ladder. It is removable; we usually put it next to the shrouds. For recovering a man overboard, I designed a 2-part, 5-step stainless ladder which folds up against the stern rail. The ladder has two folding standoffs which bear against the transom when in use. The stainless steel 1" tubing is not comfortable to step on: I faced the treads with 1" x 2" teak. The stainless steel work was done by Briggs Marine in Bellmore LI, N. Y." (Plate 14)


Depth Sounder Ambiguity. On a 0-60 foot mechanical rotator type sounder, you may be reading 10 feet - or 70 feet. Solve the mystery by putting a SPST push-to-open switch in series with the motor of the sounder with a 50 ohm, 2 watt resistor across the switch terminals. Pushing the switch will cause the motor to drop to about half speed and the "70 foot" reading will drop to about 35 feet if it really was 70 feet. If the real depth was 10 feet, your sounder will now show 5 feet.

Crazed portlights. Old lights craze. Replace them with "Lexan" or tempered glass. The retaining screws will have to be replaced with new ones cut to size. One owner advises that you replace each retaining screw in the exact previous location; "We learned about this the hard way."

Shower. A pressurized shower rigged with a hand-held shower head on a hose long enough to reach the cockpit is great for rinsing off salt from a day on the beach and is also useful in the galley for dish- washing. Keeps sand out of the boat and is guaranteed to do a job on your water supply if not carefully monitored!

Gas Tanks. How is your tank? Two NETA boats were engineless early last sumner due to tank failures. The tank comes out through a hatch aft of the galley on many boats. Is your tank in good condition, is it securely mounted? Is the fill pipe thoroughly grounded to the engine? There are three critical connections, fill, vent and fuel out. These deserve a lot of careful attention. The fact that it has been OK for many years is all the more reason to suspect it this season.

Cockpit Bilge Pump. A high-volume bilge pump, operable from the cockpit is a safety plus for your boat. One NETA member installed a "Gusher 400" in the shallow starboard cockpit locker. He ran clear vinyl hose from under the engine to the pump. The eight foot output end simply hung over the side when pumping. This hose curls up in the cockpit locker when not in use. The owner reports occasional collapsing of the hose due to the great suction of the "Gusher" and suggests using coil wire reinforced suction line. The "Gusher 400" is rated at about 12 gallons per minute.

Fred Klarman put a "#10 Whale," rated for 18 gallons per minute at the old blower location. He had moved the fan forward - keeping it in the same general area. The pump has a removable handle which fits through an opening in the cockpit sidewall, covered by a piece of inner tube, slitted for the pump handle. The motion is fore and aft on a horizontal plane.

Stern Pulpit. A stern pulpit ("pushpit") is a strong safety feature for your Triton. It offers protection against being swept out of the cockpit if lifelines are terminated aft - instead of on deck at the end of the cabin. It is a good spot on which to hang "Man-Overboard" gear and it offers a sturdy handhold for a person on the afterdeck. Several good ladders have been designed which hang from the rail. Marine Fashions, Colton Road, East Lyme, CT 06333 offers a well built model. They can build a stern running light into the rail which will offer better visibility than the usual light located on deck.

Shut-Off Valve at The Gas Tank. Reid Dunn installed a gas shutoff valve at the top of his tank, under the starboard cockpit seat. It is "Standard Operating Procedure" to shut off this valve on his boat when the engine is shut down. The original valve, next to the battery box is no longer used.

Starboard Cockpit Seat Tray : When Reid Dunn installed his valve, he had to pull out the onginal tray. With slight alterations, the tray was made removable. It is now supported by two stainless steel straps. The tray does not touch the gas tank. Partitioned off, the tray holds a spare fire extinguisher, ice tongs, lead line, heaving line, extra engine oil and various lubricants. There are also compartments for the reverse gear lever, deck plate key and gas tank fill cap key. A loop of shock cord is attached to the underside of the seat and is long enough to hook over a cleat in order to keep the lid from falling on your head when you are poking around the tank. Reid reports this removable tray as having been a lifesaver when a strong smell of gas filled the boat just after filling. Removing the tray, he found gas running down the fill hose and into the bilge. The old hose had developed a leak after ten years. (Editor's Note: once again, check your tank, check your hoses. In a Navy Firefighting school, I was told that gas fumes are most explosive at a concentration just below the concentration at which you can smell the vapors!)

Recessed Control Panel. This is the neatest control setup that the IB Editor has yet seen. Again, from Reid Dunn, Richmond, VA, and his "Ca Ira." "In planning to install a temperature gauge, several other problems with the original controls were recalled. A broken choke handle, frequent fouling of sheets on the throttle and choke and barked shins. We installed the instruments on a piece of 1/8" hard fiberboard. The top, bottom and sides of the recess are teak. The plexiglass front, together with the trim on the left side, slide to the left, far enough to give access to the choke and throttle. Re- moving the five screws shown plus two more behind the trim permits the whole panel to come forward into the cockpit for access. We added night lighting to all gauges, wired through the fuse and toggle switch. (Plate 15)


Closed Cell Foam Cockpit Cushion (Reid A. Dunn) "After a couple of years experience with the open-cell urethane cushions, we found they acted like sponges, taking weeks to dry out. The zippers rust and replacement is soon necessary.

It was difficult to find a distributor of closed-cell foam. I measured carefully so the lockers could be opened easily. A local upholstering firm covered the cushions with "Naugahyde," white on one side, dark on the other. These can be used for auxiliary PFDs; the foam is the same type used in life vests.

Compass Reid Dunn has made a number of serious ocean trips and can be regarded as a serious compass student. He uses a Kevin White 5" externally compensated, noting that Rod Stephens writes that this is preferable to modern internal compensation as the internally compensated compass is inaccurate when the boat is heeled!

Forward Running Lights (Dunn) Since the running lights were obscured by the genoa when under sail at night, Reid put his lights on the pulpit. A local welding shop put brackets on the bow pulpit and Reid mounted a "Perko" fixture. He emphasizes that you must use a fixture with internal electrical connections. This type of fixture is hard to find - but It will be worth it. Carry the wiring down through the tubing and into the hull. PLATE 16