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By Perry Burton - Holyrood, Newfoundland - Canada

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"Back to Normal"

“All that remains” is a nice little phrase to make it seem like there’s little left to do, but in fact this part seems to take me more actual time than the other parts combined. The little details like waiting for coated parts to dry, or cure etc, especially when hampered by low temperatures.

Filleting and fairing is one of those tasks that seem never to end for me and I always have to stop myself and just say “enough” it’s not getting any better.

Two weeks of evenings when weather permitted, I had the fillets and fairing done. It looked good enough and felt fairly smooth. The cleat locations, fairleads and halyard blocks were determined and laid out then the holes were drilled in order to locate the backing blocks.

Reinforcing was done at all the points where a fitting went onto the roof or deck. One last thing before I get to fairing was the removing and plugging of the floor drains, and the drain into the cockpit.

I gave the modified areas one last clear coat of epoxy and I was ready for the last parts to be glued on then painted. The prime coat was thick as it rolled on but covered my faults well.

The 3 coats of paint that followed went much easier and the one dollar 4” foam rollers are one of my favourite painting tools now.

Generous donations of firewood from my neighbours deck modifications and blow downs on his property has helped keep my little tarp workshop warm and has become a meeting area to talk shop. Woodstoves, you gotta love em.

Though this has been all about building the cabin addition to the Pathfinder, I have also been making other changes as well; one of them has been the construction of a new boom.

My original boom was large and serious overkill in strength for my little boat. I also seen a great article on reefing that convinced me to change my whole reefing system that will work better, be safer and great excuse to make a better boom. It was built with the bird’s mouth method and is a relatively simple job now that I’ve done it before.

Sanding and varnishing all my bright work took about 2 weeks of evenings to get 4 coats on and I had to keep away as each coat dried slowly (or not at all!) due to low night time temperatures... looking at watch... Time is wasting... summers near.

While waiting for the varnish to dry, I checked my fittings stock, picked up some new rope, picked up some screws, bolts and a nifty solar powered vent to be installed on the deck. I got good information from another Pathfinder owner about venting and made sure that part was covered, thanks Peter.

Finally, assembly time had arrived and I spent a Saturday with my wife as a third hand putting all the parts back onto the boat.

The Vent was installed and I put a bead of sealant under it to keep the water out. The windows were screwed in place and waterproofed with a bead of sealant on the sill.

I applied a deck paint so to speak called “KiwiGrip”. It’s made in New Zealand and kind of fitting that its on a Kiwi design. It goes on thick and is rolled with a special loose knit sponge roller. It can be applied to any surface as long as its sanded, good stuff. The rest was just putting things back to the way they were before the tear out. I’ll be making other little modifications as the season progresses but this is enough to get me back on the water. It’s still only +6C here in May and June so I’m in no rush to get wet just yet. So much time has been spent in this phase just waiting for things to dry, in a proper workshop or a warmer southern climate this would not be an issue and the project would be complete that much sooner. But at least now I can say that it is done.

I have shown some closer pictures of the finished hatch to show how it looks and works. Its fine to have a drawing but it’s much better to look at the real thing.

One small yet important detail I have not mentioned, the Centerboard haul-up. I have everything set up as originally designed, but now I have a small plastic fairlead bulkhead fitting that my rope passes through back to my cleat. I got this from “Duckworks” and it does its job well.

Well the time has finally, finally come to disassemble the shed and find out if my mast was cut to the right length among other things.

Apparently it was cut to the right length and my shrouds still fit thank goodness.

The space inside is what I expected and my wife don’t find it claustrophobic though she hate’s small confined spaces. I have no problems sitting up to change cloths, cook or do other tasks. The hatch keeps water out which is the main thing and it slides nicely.

Final Thoughts

I can say that building the cabin was not difficult, not to blow my own horn but just as a heads up to anyone wanting to add the cabin to their own Pathfinder. There’s lots of room to customize and a better cabin design might be just a build away. The door is a large one piece unit and can get in the way once put inside the cabin; it’s likely I’ll cut it into 2 or more pieces later. The roof is strong enough to stand on not a worry, but I doubt I’d need too. The hatch slides far enough forward that I can access the mast and rigging from the safety of the cabin without any concern about going overboard. The height of the cabin does cause obstruction looking directly forward if you’re of shorter stature, but the curvature of the roof lets me be able to see my bowsprit and beyond from a normal seated position while under sail. Also, the aft wall will become choice spot to sit when the cold winds and rain are driving down upon you, it blocks the winds nicely.

So that’s it, my little modification that took several years to finally decide to actually do, but I’m so glad I did. If you sail in a northern climate, get caught out in the rain a fair bit, or like me and can only sail on weekends when the gods see fit to send bad weather, and don’t have the luxury of sailing only when it’s sunny, this modification is something to consider. I have attached a couple of drawings as a guide to get this cabin built on an existing Pathfinder, and the parts for the roof and sides are oversize and are to be trimmed. The aft bulkhead is drawn to a final shape and ready to trim for the battens on your boat.

Download the Drawings: Sheet One (582kb) and Sheet Two (457kb)

Many happy sailings,

Perry Burton

Pathfinder “PIKAKE”

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