Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Beneteau 423 Rig Conversion Update

Over the last couple of weekends we've made good progress on the rig conversion. We finished modifying the boom, added some rope clutches for reefing lines and a second jib halyard, and installed the necessary hardware for the lazy jacks. We also installed a Tides Marine sail track. It was easy to install, fit perfectly and looks great. The new mainsail was also easy to hank on, and slides up and down the track with all the ease I had hoped for.

Notice the artfully shaped reinforcement patches. I'm not sure if they an improvement but they do look sporty.
I installed the track before putting the boom on. To make it easier to install I put a spare sail slide in the track and attached a halyard and downhaul so I could put some tension on the halyard then just guide the track into the mast. When it was all in, the halyard held the track exactly where I wanted it while I installed the retaining screws. Once the track was installed, it was a simple matter install the boom, vang and control lines and, finally, to hank on the sail and secure all. The entire operation took about four hours.

Mainsail installed. Notice the custom Home Depot sail cover!
The stackpack bag won't be ready for another week so the sail is flaked on the boom and covered with a couple of plastic tarps from Home Depot.  We're looking forward to going for a sail over the Labor Day weekend.


  1. OK, you compensated for the external yuppie oriented features of the Beneteau (i.e a boat meant more for weekends with the misses than a true sailor).

    Now, how about the inside?
    Surely Beneteau must of made commensurate concessions to the floating condo crowd.

  2. Yuppie? Weekends with the 'misses'? I don't know what your idea of what a 'true sailor' is, but spending the weekend on the boat with the 'misses' is a pretty good way to spend a weekend. Which is exactly what we did. Saturday we finished tuning the rig and got the boat ready to sail for the first time with the new mast. Yesterday we had a fine sail. It was a beautiful day with about 18 knots of wind. The new main looks good and definitely improved the boat's performance. We couldn't be happier with it.

  3. Most in the mast furling systems can't begin to handle the rigors of extended offshore (granted, a few premium ones can... but those tend to be ... in boom furling). That's why I used the term 'yuppie'. Maximum comfort with far less regard to both performance or sustainability.

    Since YOU replaced the existing in-mast system, the proof of my statement is in YOUR actions.


    My question from the previous post was based on curiosity. Beneteau makes boats geared to a certain clientele. Not saying that's "bad", but please... respect reality.

    You are offshoring an inshore boat.
    I am curious about the interior.

    What modifications might be required?
    You've ALREADY alluded to the in-the-way cockpit table geared to the yuppie onus on socializing in lieu of practicality, how about inside the boat itself.

    Note that I am not disparaging the beneteau. It's (your 43) hull form looks like a more modern cal 40. Not a bad thing at all.

  4. I certainly agree with you with regard to in-mast furling systems. In my opinion they are, for the most part, unsuitable for offshore work. However, as you noted, some premium systems can be safe and reliable. Alas, I was not impressed with the system that came with our boat and it was more out of consideration for the safety of our vessel than performance that we invested in a more seaworthy arrangement. I would have made the change even if it didn't result in much improved performance.

    As for the cockpit table, we love the ability to enjoy meals there. If that's yuppie, call me guilty as charged. With our expansive galley, it's not difficult to serve excellent meals in the cockpit. The problem is that if you actually want to sail the boat, there are better solutions that would enable us to sail efficiently and still enjoy dining in the cockpit. They don't have to be mutually exclusive.

    The accommodations plan works well for what we want to do with the boat. I've sailed many thousands of miles on racers, and eating MRE's for dinner while sitting on the rail, stacking sails on the high side after every tack and hot bunking in a pipe berth no longer work for me, regardless of the size of the pickle dish we're after. The fact is that cruising is about 15% sailing and 85% hanging out in some beautiful, or not-so-beautiful place. On a passage, good sea berths are vital. That means a secure, warm, DRY, and well ventilated place to sleep, read, and recharge, and we'll set up quarterberth for that purpose. Once in port, we want a queen size berth with reading lights, good ventilation, ports or deadlights so I can see outside, and enough space to never feel cramped or claustrophobic.

    Cruising is ever so social. In many ways meeting and socializing with old and new friends is the highlight of any cruise. So we want a nice salon, with plenty of light, air and visibility. We want a friendly, comfortable place to be and to invite our friends to spend time. We also want a galley that works both at sea and in a marina, and we are very pleased with the galley arrangement on our boat. It's secure and well designed for cooking at sea and in port. My only criticism is that on port tack, heeled 25 degrees, we get a little seawater in the sinks if the drain thru-hull isn't closed.

    With all that said, I think the accommodations of the 423 work pretty well under way and in port. Are there better arrangements for offshore passages? Certainly. Are there better accommodations for the 'floating condo' crowd? Absolutely. Is this arrangement a pretty good compromise for living aboard at sea and in a marina? I think so.

    No boat is perfect, and the B423 certainly isn't, but I think it'll work for us. If not, I have a Sawzall and access to plenty of teak and fiberglass.

    The 423 will never go upwind like a racer. It's too full in the bow, has a cast iron keel, and has way too much furniture to be mistaken for anything other than a cruising yacht. On the other hand, if we can log 150 mile days in comfort, with plenty of ice for our drinks and hot showers, that's all we need.

    All of this leads me to wonder what you're sailing and where you're headed.