Part 1

Triton #503 Salty Refit Projects, outboard well, chain plates, deck core repair

Pictured below are some of the modifications and upgrades we completed on a friend's 28' Pearson Triton kept here in Brunswick, GA since 2009. Most of the work we completed while the boat was in our backyard. To save on expenses and gain experience for completing some of the jobs himself the owner assisted with some of the work as his schedule and skills allowed.

Salty's partial refit so far involved installing new stainless rigging, turnbuckles and chain plates and mast step reinforcement, recoring parts of the deck with core-cell, Norvane windvane self-steering gear, lifeline stanchions, Sta-set running rigging, Lofrans manual anchor windlass, anchor roller, deck chain pipe, 33lb delta anchor with 150' chain plus 50' nylon rode, LED tricolor/anchor light, 50-watt SolarTracker solar panel, Ocean 60 series forward hatch, flexible water tank under the V-berth, adding an Atom kerosene stove, a Lavac toilet, replacing seacocks and main electric switch panels.

A major modification was the removal of the Atomic Four gas inboard engine, filling in the prop aperture and fitting a new tilt-up version of an outboard well. Until recently, with her broken down Atomic Four just taking up space, Salty was powered by a 6HP outboard motor on an adjustable transom bracket. The idea here is to make the outboard more functional by moving it to the centerline in the lazarette and allowing it to be tilted up into a transom aperture for drag-free sailing. The Triton's small lazarette is a tight fit for an outboard motor and required some serious head-scratching and countless measurements before I began the project.

During her first test sail the 6 HP 4-stroke 20" shaft motor functioned as expected, pushing the Triton at 5.5 knots in calm waters and up to 5 knots bucking a slight chop in 15 knot headwinds in the sound close to the ocean inlet. The high-thrust prop and extended 25" shaft of the Tohatsu 6 HP SailPro model would bring even better performance. Later when we added the high-thrust prop to this motor the boat speed increased to 5.8 knots in calm conditions. The vibration and noise from the motor is more noticeable than when the motor is hung farther aft off the transom, but this is outweighed by the benefits of having the motor on the centerline where it is unaffected by rolling, with prop lower and further forward to reduce pitching effects and all-round better performance, protection and aesthetics.

To go from motoring to sailing requires only tilting the motor to bring the prop shaft clear of the water. To reduce hull drag and wave entry, the prop cut-out slot in the hull has sliding cover boards that can be sild into place as needed. We found we could put the motor access hatch down and cover board in place to deaden the noise and there was still adequate ventilation for the engine so it was not a big issue. This modification should prove a good compromise for auxiliary power on similar sized voyaging boats whose owners don't want a heavy, space-wasting inboard engine or an awkward transom mounted outboard motor.

Video of Triton #503 testing the tilt-up motor well

With his newly acquired boat repair skills, Salty's owner began modifying and fitting out new interior cabinetry. Though much has been completed, there are still several items on the owner's job list he plans to finish himself.


The Triton Salty has her lazarette cut open and a slot cut up her transom for the motor to tilt up when at anchor or sailing.


Framing wood is glassed in to add strength and define the shape of the well. Gas can storage is on the shelves either side of center.


Looking down at the outboard motor in its tilted up position with hull cover plates in place.


The outboard motor in its well. Yes, it pivots for side thrust if needed when wind or current have her pinned against a dock.


Lazarrette hatch down and cover board in place.


Testing the new outboard motor well design.


Going from motor down to motor up and secured is much easier than wrestling the motor out of its well during storage or on passage. Note clearance allowed for windvane self-steering gear.


Launching Salty with engine ready to operate. The previous inboard motor's prop shaft aperture has been filled to reduce drag and enhance the rudder's effectiveness.


Forward lower shrouds were added to new chain plate knees made of laminated plywood glassed between hull, bookshelf and deck.


The new chain plates are 1/4" x 1.5" 316 grade stainless plate as compared to the original bronze chain plates above. I fabricated the v-shaped external backstay chain plate to sit atop the main windvane mounting tube. In hindsight, this was overly complicated and I could have offset the chain plate or the windvane for clearance.


Parts of the deck and coach roof held rotted balsa core. We began by cutting the top layer of fiberglass off the affected areas with a metal cutting disc on a 4.5" angle grinder and chopping out the rotted core with chisels.


We set 3/8" core-cell deck core into thickened epoxy.


Next the original deck skin was set down on more thickened epoxy and temporarily screwed together. Once hardened, the screws were removed and the seams beveled and filled with fiberglass tape and epoxy resin then filled and faired and painted.


Continue to Part 2