Part 2

Triton #503, previously known as Salty, has now been finished and reborn as Catalyst, in what I call the Triton Voyager Edition since she is now well outfitted for living aboard and voyaging. When circumstances caused her previous owner to reluctantly sell the boat in 2011, her new owner contacted me to complete an extensive list of new jobs and then deliver the boat by trailer to her new homeport in Dana Point, California.

Videos of Triton Catalyst:

Catalyst road deilvery to California

Exterior projects

Interior Projects


This east coast built Pearson Triton has
a fractional sloop rig to which we added
forward lower shrouds and running backs
to stiffen the rig and add some redundancy.
The running backs normally stay in this
forward position but can be quickly loosened
and moved aft if needed.

Catalyst with her new set of
sails at the beginning of phase
two in the project. Here we are
reefed to check sheeting angles.
The running backs have snap-on
vinyl covers to reduce sail chafe.

We repainted the entire exterior of the boat
with two-part Perfection polyurethane. We
used the roll and tip method where paint is
applied with a foam roller in small sections
followed quickly by a light stroke of a paint
brush to smooth out the bubbles. Although
the weather didn't fully cooperate, the finish
was acceptable.

After painting we applied the new name and
and home port in vinyl decals ordered online.


The original Triton forward hatch is a bit
small, prone to leaks, and awkward to
latch so we replaced it with a Lewmar
Ocean 60. I begin by cutting an enlarged
Next the balsa core was removed near the
cutout and filled with thickened epoxy.

Here new wood framing is epoxied and
screwed to the fiberglass.

 CatalystHatch04kb76The new hatch installed.

The original large cabin windows, or deadlights,
needed replacing. After the bronze frames were
bead blasted to remove the old chrome I drilled
out the mounting holes to thru-bolt the frames to
the coachroof sides. New lexan lenses were cut
to fit and masked along the edges.

First the lenses were affixed to the outside
frame using Dow 795 structural silicone.
After the sealant dried we could then fix them
to the coachroof sides and the inside frames.
We used #10 bronze flathead machine screws
with cap nuts on the inside.
The light-gray tint provides some privacy and
reduced glare from the outside in daylight.

The light-gray tint still provides good visibility.

The six original opening ports were also bead
The original safety glass was reused after
the edges were sanded for better sealant
Lenses were bedded in polysulfide.
New rubber gaskets are bedded in silicone.

Outer trim ring ready to install with white

Portlights from outside.

From the inside.

The original rudderhead and tiller strap fittings
on Tritons are usually worn out and require
replacement. In this case the tiller strap was
in good condition but the rudder shaft cap was
loose and worn out.
The new tiller cap and strap from Spartan
Marine is installed.

Components for the new Lofrans manual
anchor windlass - under-deck plywood
reinforcement, aluminum backing plates
and teak windlass base.

By raising the windlass 2-inches on the teak
base, the deck chain pipe had clearance to


Plywood chainplate knees were fiberglassed
to the hull, deck and bookshelf to support
new forward lower shrouds.
The forward lower shrouds are added to
this fractional rig to provide better support.
The old mahogany cockpit coamings are
used to trace the shape for new ones in
New coamings installed and new winches
added on Cape Dory style bases from
Spartan Marine.


The original mahogany dropboards and
track trim before replacement.


I made stainless steel tracks with
teak trim for the new dropboards.

New three piece plexiglas dropboards.

Cockpit view.
Salon looking forward.
Salon looking aft. By removing the clumsy
companionway ladder and adding a step and
using the countertop as top step, the space
became more usable.
In place of the stock inboard gas engine
we've added increased electric capacity
with four 6v golf cart-type batteries.

Removable panels above the batteries add
more storage.

The new electric switch panels are located
under the companionway and safely away
from spray entering the companionway.

Behind the switch panel are the 12v negative
and positive bus bars and terminal strips.

Rebuilding the old galley.


Features of the new galley include a gimbaled
Atom kerosene stove and 1/4" tinted plexiglas
sliding doors for the dish locker.

To port of the companionway is extended
counter space.
The countertop can be extended for use as
a chart table with storage under. A radio
locker has been added outboard of the
 Catalyst Nav Station 01
A Garmin chartplotter mounted on a swing-
out bracket so it can be used from inside or
from the cockpit.
The chartplotter as seen from the cockpit.


The port salon bunk extends and back
rest drops down to make a double bunk.
Starboard salon bunk with lee cloth.
Removing a previous owner's
modifications to the V-berth.
Here the new v-berth takes shape
with three separate watertight lockers.
Under the v-berth we installed this
flexible watertank. We've added extra
tie-down straps in hopes of preventing
leaks caused by the sometimes violent
motion at sea.
The chain locker is sealed behind a
gasketed door. Drainage is through a
shut-off valve in the bilge.
The center portion of the forward
cabin can be converted to another
storage locker or left open.
Looking aft from the v-berth. Portable
12v/110v freezer lashed in place. All
LED lighting by
Lavac vacuum-type toilet.
Some of the labyrinth of toilet plumbing.
Y-valves allow the flexible holding tank
under the port v-berth locker to be pumped
out at sea, marina pump-out, or selected
for direct discharge.
Catalyst on her delivery to California.
Steve checks out Catalyst's new sails from
Mack Sails.
Whisker pole is stored against the
stanchions. Another option is to stow
it upright against the mast.
On the boom we added jiffy reefing with
three blocks on a track and a Forespar
marelon winch to assist reefing in strong
winds without needing to turn into the wind.
Steve adjusting the new lazy jacks.
Two 50-watt Atom Solar-Trackers
catch the California afternoon sun.

Owner comments - Jan 2013:

After several months of sailing Catalyst in his local waters around Dana Point, CA, Steve shared with me his thoughts on a few of the choices and compromises we made during the refit and what he might do differently.
"In retrospect," Steve says, "while you were here after delivering the boat I wish we would have taken an overnight or two to Catalina or San Diego just to help with my confidence and get a feel for how a true sailor goes about the myriad of small details required during a "voyage," however small. I'm gradually gaining this knowledge on my own, but I think it would have drastically cut the learning curve. Even the short sails we did, despite the lack of wind, were invaluable in getting me started."

Having a portable fridge/freezer is a lifestyle choice that some people would fore-go on a small boat while others consider it a must-have. If he sails south one day he might change his mind but for now Steve says, "I think now I'd put the portable fridge very low on the list. It's heavy, hard to move (for locker access), draws too much power, and for what? The second solar panel, however, was worth it, as even though I rarely run the fridge, I still need two panels in our California winter to keep up with the chart plotter, lights, radio, hand-held vhf charger, cell phone charger, etc. The new solar-tracker design works great.
I agree the windvane self-steering is essential for short-handed sailing. I would also suggest, for the single-hander, to include a tiller-pilot. I didn't think I'd want one but it would be very "handy" to have an extra hand that the tiller pilot could provide as I douse the main, put out fenders and ready dock lines, all while trying to dodge stand-up paddle boarders, kayaks, sailing dinghies, oblivious power boaters and the 60 ft. Maxi with 12 guys on the rail that insists on short tacking up the narrow channel before rounding up and dropping the sail right in front of you!

It would be good to have the wiring installed for optional extras to be easily added such as the tiller-pilot, AIS transponder or other electronics.

Also, I know I was trying to save money, but next time I'd probably go with self-tailing primaries. I go back and forth on this as during a passage there isn't enough tacking to need it. Also, I think if I got a little better at my timing I could have the sail sheeted in before it filled and wouldn't even need the winch. But, when it's crowded and windy I usually wish for better winches.
Two other recommendations: more cleats and mast steps. The single oversize bow cleat is ok and might work fine for anchoring (although the lead bends around the windlass so I imagine the snubber line will chafe some here) but for the marina, two cleats, offset from center to avoid the windlass, would be easier. Also, I would add midships cleats for spring lines as this would make docking much easier and provide a more secure arrangement during surge. For my slip, chocks on the aft quarter (mine lead over the stern which would work fine for anchoring) would also help to avoid damaging the rub rail when leading from the cleats straight over the side.

Having used the Mast Mate (which I found used for $70) I think folding steps are a better way to go. The problem with the Mast Mate is I have to remove all the sail slides and then haul it up with the halyard. Then I put on my climbing harness and hook up the ascender to the topping lift. It works great...but takes 30 minutes to rig and then 30 minutes to put it away and get the main back on. This means that I only go up if I have a serious problem whereas I would go up for easy fixes or just for periodic inspections if it was as easy as putting on the climbing harness and attaching the ascender and then climbing up the steps. Also, there's no way to go up with it unless I can get the main sail down so even going up to the spreaders to have a look around is impossible. Just a personal preference and on the other hand it's nice to have the mast uncluttered with permanent steps.
There's been no problem with sheets tangling the whisker pole mounted on the stanchions and I think I prefer this to storing up the mast (more secure, keeps the weight lower and less clutter).
I do think the lazy jacks were a worthwhile addition. It still takes me around 3 minutes to get the main furled but I can do it under control now and leave it unattended briefly until I can get to it without it falling all over the deck. This is key when the harbor channel is busy.
The roller furler is great. I should have had you add the inner forestay or at least the hardware. I could get a new or used storm jib quite cheap. The Gale Sail is almost $500 and some people that have one aren't that happy with it. Also, around here I often find myself wishing I had a light air sail...I should have let you talk me into a light air furling sail like the Code 0.
I wasn't ready to purchase them at the time, but it would have been better to have you add the dodger and bimini as it will be harder to find someone here I trust to do a good job at a fair price."

The fiberglassed plywood motor support in Cataylst's outboard well developed a small crack that Steve repaired and then reinforced with a stainless steel plate. There may have been a defect in the wood or not enough fiberglass applied over that particular joint so I've added extra reinforcement on similar installations. The motor sat in its well and shook and rattled on the 2,500 mile cross-country road delivery so that may have contributed to the problem.  

Steve had security bars, similar to those on Atom, fabricated out of stainless for under $100 while on a land trip to Ecuador. Quotes in CA were over $1,000. Steve also mentioned that the jib sheets occasionally catch on the lip under the corner of the new Lewmar Ocean 60 forward hatch. We're considering ways to prevent this perhaps by adding rubber stops or toilet seat bumpers in the hatch corners to fill the space so the sheets can't get caught up. If the dinghy is carried on the foredeck over the hatch then that will solve the problem also.
"Other things that come to mind," Steve said, "are to use bronze thru-hulls (not Marelon, as the previous owner had installed), install a second water tank, add a rain catchment system, and a salon table of some sort beyond the short table I have when the nav table counter is extended.I'm also now building a nesting dinghy and will let you know how that works out. Hopefully I will not lose too much visibility when it's stored on deck.
Considering all the work you did and all the things I love about the boat I think we did pretty good on our choices, or rather, series of compromises."