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C/O Tom and Kaye Assenmacher
Box 32, Kinsale, VA 22488
EMAIL: a37ioa@sylvaninfo.net

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Spring 1992

Thanks to Sail Magazine and Cruising World, Boat U.S., Gam, etc.,our ranks have grown quite a bit since the last edition. We now have 35 members from 14 states/provinces.

I finally had SHEARWATER hauled over in Solomons, Md. Un-stepped the mast too. She looks pretty good, no blistering (yet). and all the underwater hardware looks OK. We do have considerable gelcoat crazing at and below the waterline. I have replaced the last 2 remaining gate valves (cockpit/scupper drains) with Marelon thru hulls and ballvalves, and replaced all the scupper and cockpit drain hoses. Other maintenance items include: Reinforcing the foredeck beneath the bow chock casting, and removal and rebedding of the chock casting and stem; replacing the rivets (approx. 1/2 were steel) which attach the spreader tang to the mast with s/s machine screws; installation of a grounding plate; replacing all bearings in the roller furler (HYDE); installation of zincs to the rudder gudgeons and shoe; and rewiring of the spreader lights and steaming light. Should be back in the water in mid April.

Our thanks to fellow A37 owner John Oliver who contributed the following account:


The need for a new engine was not readily apparent as my originally installed VOLVO MD11C clanked to a grinding halt between Oswego, Ny. and Kingston, Ontario one hazy windless morning last August. After all, in spite of rough noises over the two seasons that I had owned La Jolla, the Volvo agent in Toronto had passed its inspection, and it had started reliably and given us steady, if not exactly snappy performance.

What did become apparent, as soon as we had lifted it out on the Oak Harbor Marina dock,, after a brisk night sail to Toronto, and the mechanics had stripped it down, laying bare all the worn parts, gouged bearings, and cracked head, was the size of the repair estimate. Around six thousand dollars in Canadian funds. As I was going to be in a hurry to leave the lake on my projected trip southward as soon as my business was finished, I knew I would need reliable power for the Lake Erie canals, and for those parts of the ICW I could not sail.

I was already aware that several owners had installed new engines and indeed the Volvo people were proudly displaying the virtues of their 2003 turbo model. There were, apparently, known weaknesses in the installation mainly because of the extreme angle at which it is set, dictated I suppose by its width. So I looked for alternatives, considering WESTERBEKE 4 cyl.(too tight a fit), VOLVO (a lot of work to re-build the engine beds), YANMAR (not as inexpensive as I had been lead to believe), before placing an order for a PERKINS M30 PERAMA. The PERKINS PERAMA is a truly international engine with its main components coming from Japan, a British name, sold in North America by Detroit Allison Diesel, and owned by the Canadian Massey Ferguson tractor concern. This engine, while at 29 BHP is near the low end of the power range recommended, was small enough to fit into the existing space, provided reasonable access to the major maintenance points, had a fresh water heat exchanger, and could be installed without modification to the fiberglass engine mountings.

As I am no great mechanic, I enlisted the help of one, Robert Wainright, newly returned from the Caribbean, who quickly measured and fabricated new mounting brackets which would support the engine at the correct angle on the original blocks. He also fabricated new control line brackets to accept the gear, throttle, and stop controls, and a new exhaust elbow to join the original muffler. The engine was complete, with alternator, electrical harness, and instrument panel, so that part only involved re-cutting the opening in the bridge deck to make it fit.

The new engine, some 200 lbs. lighter than the old one was easy to lower into place and connect. There were numerous small changes in the fuel system to make and this was all quickly accomplished.

One decision I made at the time, in the interest of saving money (new shaft, propeller and cost of a haul out) was perhaps short sighted. I opted to retain the original shaft, stuffing box, and propeller and make up the difference in shaft length with a fabricated extension piece. One extra I did add was a pipe from the lowest point in the oil pan to a small handpump, which has made the previously difficult job of changing the oil relatively straight forward and clean.

By now I was in a hurry to leave the lake as the nights, and indeed many of the days were growing cold, so testing and break-in were hastily completed before the long endurance trip through the locks and canals of upstate New York. The last night before I left, the weld at the joint between the exhaust flange and the elbow failed and I had to remove it and take to be re-welded and strengthened before departing from Toronto one misty morning in late October.

There have been problems, not with the engine itself, which, apart from oil changes (now easy), and tightening of the belts, has done its job without complaint, but mostly as a result of that short sighted decision (use of old prop and shaft), the engine will not run up to its most efficient speed. The prop will have to be reduced in pitch to enable the engine to rev more freely. Although giving adequate speed in smooth water, the new engine appears to have little reserve to cope with choppy conditions in restricted waters ( its like a car trying to run up hill in too high of a gear). The gearbox failed late one afternoon on the ICW about 50 miles south of Norfolk, Va. After many phone calls, and strong back up from Neil Grossen at Harbor Detroit Diesel of Toronto, the Norfolk Engineering Shipyard took time off from fixing an Ocean Liner (the Rotterdam) to authorize a replacement under warranty which I was able to install myself without too much trouble except for the fact you have to be a very nimble, long armed chimpanzee to reach all the parts in the aft section of that cramped engine space. The weld on the exhaust flange failed again, and I have had it redone but still have nagging doubts about its ability to resist the continuous vibration.

The extension to the prop shaft failed at one weld and has bee replaced by the proper flanges, correctly keyed and bolted to a splined shaft.

I have at long last been able to identify the automotive equivalents of the expensive Perkins filters, belts, and other necessary maintenance items.

I believe that I have now reached a satisfactory conclusion. I now have quiet, economical and reliable power, sufficient for most of my needs. The cost was less than rebuilding the old engine and as a bonus, LA JOLLA sits higher on her marks, at least until I add an extra 200 lbs. of (liquid?) payload.

(Received the following amendment from John on 3-16-92): 'Once again the transmission failed, this time in Little Caesar Creek at the south end of Biscayne Bay. Fortunately I was able to sail through light winds to Marathon, having been finally towed into the harbor. After much telephoning, I arranged to have the gearbox replaced again. This time we determined (the instruction book does not cover this, nor did the dealer in Toronto discover) that I had been running the whole system in REVERSE. No wonder it failed!!! Had to also replace the prop with a 13"x12" right hand prop. The end result being that I can now run at 5.5 KTS @ 2200 RPM, and now have reserve power to run against chop or headwind.'

Well, I guess the best of luck to John Oliver. Keep us posted on your experiences with the new engine.

John's account brought to mind that shortly after we bought SHEARWATER (HULLNO 153), I was alarmed at the high cost of the VOLVO filters etc. The following are cross ref'd numbers for some items for the MD2B engine:

Engine oil filter FRAM PH-16

Alternator belt DAYCO 15340

CAV fuel filter HASTINGS 963

Also, I replaced the old 35 amp MARCHAL alternator with a 65 amp DELCO which bolts right on the engine with no modifications required.

This alternator is readily available at any autoparts store, and is quite inexpensive, gives good service and is easily adapted to a manual alt. control.

It's also easy to repair (diodes, volt. regulator, etc.). Highly recommended are the 12 Volt Doctor's Handbook, and the Alternator Handbook, both available from Spa Creek, and through Boat U.S. or any good nautical bookstore.

We also have on SHEARWATER a HYDE STREAMSTAY I roller furling system. The system is as old as the boat (1975), however it still gives good service. Rebuilding it with parts purchased from HYDE is expensive, however, I was able to obtain all the thrust bearings, seals etc. from a local NAPA distributer at about half the HYDE cost. Most everything in the way of bearings, seals, etc. can be cross referenced if one is willing to spend a little time (together with a cooperative autoparts dealer) and effort. If anyone needs part #'s or other info on the HYDE system, give me a call.

John Hughes, (SARAH, 1970 SLOOP, HULL NO. 60) has submitted the following maintenance report:

'Last year's big task was replacing the rear oil seal on the Westerbeke 4-107. Remarkably enough, removing the engine was a fairly easy 2 person job. We put two 4x4 logs across the companionway hatch opening, both well aft, resting on some pieces of scrap terrycloth towel, to avoid any concentrations of load (probably not necessary). We hung a come-along from each of these, disconnected all the wiring and plumbing (about 4 person/hours of work, including putting masking tape notes on each saying where it connected), removed the nuts holding the engine in place, and hoisted. We rigged a sling between the two hoisting points, and the forward come-along hooked into a loop in the sling about 1/3 of the way aft. the rear come-along hooked to the rear hoisting point (and had to bend a little to get back that far-- where it passed under the forwardmost point of the cockpit, we put in some more terrycloth to act as an abrasion pad)/ Basically, except for having to lift the forward end pretty high to get the exhaust pipe clear, the job was pretty simple. The load on the companionway hatch was not significant, we hard no groaning, even when, with the engine suspended from it, two people leaned on the companionway as well.

While the engine was out,I painted the engine compartment; the white paint now reflects any light I send in, and messing with the engine this past summer was a far less dark and dreary task. (Ed. note: I have installed a 12 v. light in the engine compartment which helps greatly also).

One worthy note to those with Westerbeke 4-107 engines,there are a bunch of bolts that hold the coupler panel between the engine and transmission: some are long, some short, some medium. One of the short ones which goes in a hole near the top, is about 1 thread shorter than the others. If you get this wrong, you'll never get the alignment (the dial guage tolerances on that plate) right, because putting in the one with the longer threads will cause the plate to warp. It took me two whole days to discover that...

The next-largest job was installing a Lewmar hatch in the coachroof. The post-71 models already have a hatch there, but the 70 and earlier ones have a sort of dark saloon, and can really use the ventilation and light. Cutting a 22" x 22" hole in your boat is tough, but the rest of the job was fairly easy. I made a teak trim ring to match the flat bottom of the hatch to the curbed surface of the deck, and bedded it with 3M 101, which remains somewhat un-set forever ( in contrast to 5200;, if I'd used that, I'd never be able to remove anything for repair). I have not yet finished making the corresponding trim for the interior, so the coachroof looked a little rough last summer, but I'm working on it.

The third largest job last year was messing about inside the mast. I replaced the old wire on a drum main halyard with Newport Ropes Gripflex (1/2 " as I recall) and a Barient #18 winch that I bought , used for $60. It's been wonderful, especially for those times when we wanted to use a bosn's chair; easing away on a rope halyard is a lot safer than trying to un-crank on a loaded winch handle. At the same time, I replaced the three loose electric wires in the mast (spreader light, anchor light, steaming light) and the VHF antenna wire (RG58) with a single 5 strand cable (Ancor Marine), and a new VHF antenna wire (RG8U), which suffers less loss).

I broke open the 5 strand cable at the spreader point and extracted two wires. for the spreader and steaming lights;, the remaining three went to the masthead for a new Aqua Signal tricolor/anchor/strobe unit (the mast itself carries the ground connection). (Ed. Note: some sources consider this practice a no-no). My main reason for doing all this was almost silly: in very quiet harbors in Maine, the summer before, we had constantly been annoyed by something slatting against the mast; we snugged of all the rigging, lashed the running rigging out to the shrouds, etc., but still the slatting continued. It was all of those wires inside the mast roaming around.

Here was my solution: the entire bundle of wires is encased in a tube made from hot water pipe insulation. It comes in 3 or 4 foot lengths, and we just ran the wires inside a long snake of these tubes. We taped together adjacent segments of tube with duct tape, so that there would be no sharp edges to catch on anything as we snaked it in, and then put wire ties around it very tightly every 6 feet or so, to put the load of the cables rather than a huge compression load on the bottom-most bit of insulator tube. I also bought a stainless Kellums clamp at a local electrical supply house, and used this to carry the load of the wires at the masthead. This clamp basically lets you make the cover of the cable carry the weight of it, instead of having the conductors do so. The results are good, the mast is now silent. Doing the rethreading of everything was no picnic. Here's a big hint: when you need to send messenger lines down your mast, get good quality dacron braided line, preferably with a very hard finish. If you use laid line especially cotton, you are begging for snags and tangles between adjacent messengers. Take it from someone who spent a very cold afternoon screwing around with this before coming to his senses.

This winter's first big project is brightwork, especially in the cockpit. I figured that doing the work at home would be easier than doing it at the boat, so I set about removing all the brightwork from the cockpit. This will also let me clean up all those little varnish spills that accumulated over the years of the previous owner's maintenance.

Here is the low down on how all that stuff is held in place. First, to get at anything else, you have to remove the rail that runs along the aft end of the cockpit. It's held in by 5 bolts that go through to the lazarette. The middle one of these unfortunately (on my boat at least) goes through into a place where the Lazarette has a diagonal stiffener between the aft end of the cockpit and the deck above, so the nut was inaccessible. I drilled out an access hole, and will have to re-do a little fiberglass work to patch this up. Next, the coamings come out. They are held in place by a bunch of 1/4x20 machine screws, miraculously, all of the nuts for these screws were actually fairly accessible. There is an exception, though, where the coamings come in to meet the deckhouse; they are fastened in place by some 1/4x20 screws that terminate in acorn nuts inside the hull. The screws are round head screws, and when you try to turn the acorn nuts to remove them, the screws just spin. The of the screws are buried, and to get to them you must remove the bungs. The bungs you want to remove are the two large ones; the smaller ones cover some 1/4" Robertson drive screws that hold the coamings to the connector pieces. In my boat these screws were made of something that seems to be soft steel, and have basically rusted to the point there the square head screwdriver no longer fits in the hole in the screwhead. I have had to drill them out to disassemble the coaming from the connectors ( I am doing a full strip-down and re-varnish on all this stuff, and having the pieces separate makes the sanding step a lot easier). (Ed. Note.. Seems that Curt Hansen liked to use sheet metal screws in some of his exterior and some interior woodwork. I've found this problem with both my A-37 and also on a previously owned A-30).

Even after all screws are out, removing the coamings is not easy. Mine are bedded in place with something that looks like a rubbery tape, about 2-3" wide and 1/16" thick, with a nylon mesh core. The rubbery stuff is almost gooey, and it sticks to the glass and teak with real tenacity. I therefore eased the coamings out by using finely tapered wedges, and a lot of patience. Frankly, it seems to have done a very good job for 20 years, and I'll bet it would do fine for another 20, so I'd like to reuse it.

This year's second project might be refrigeration, it will certainly entail re-insulation of the icebox I have a question, does anyone know how to remove the countertop from above the icebox? Mine is a two hole box on the stbd side, with a formica top, and there are no detectable screws holding it in place.'

John also extends an invitation to those cruising the New England coast, to contact him and visit Hadley Harbor, on Naushon Island where he keeps SARAH. I've cruised there several years ago with friends, and 'That's what it's all about'. Thanks, John for an interesting contribution.

John Long, (SOLESKIN II) desires to know if anyone is experiencing peeling of the nonskid from the main deck (molded in nonskid), and if so, what is the cure? Also, does anyone have any experience/recommendations regarding renewing/reinsulating the ice box? John also states that he and Becky 2 years ago, chartered MARYNYA (HULL NO. 123, Mike Hughes current owner) through Boat U.S. Small world I guess.

Ken Wood & Murielle Reusseau (SLOW LANE, HULL NO. 232) report from Costa Rica that they are on a cruise of indeterminate distance and duration, soon to head off to the Galapagos Islands, South Pacific, and New Zealand. They have met 7 or 8 other A37's thus far in their cruise.

Eugene Farrell, of La Jolla, Ca. (SALLY ANN HULL NO. 183) has sailed Sally Ann from Annapolis, Md. to San Diego, and is comtemplating a voyage to Hawaii and back next year.

John Yankovich of Windsor, Ont. writes that he is the owner of COYOTE ANGEL, HULL NO. 1. John has agreed to provide us with some original A-37 data etc. Looking forward to hearing from you, John!

Neil Baylie (RAPCU HULL #125, 1974) states that his boat is for sale, if anyone has leads on a buyer, please contact Neil.

Jim Anderson wishes to know if anyone has converted their A-37 to a cutter rig. I know of some that have been converted. Anyone having any info to pass on please contact Jim. He also states that replacing a Paragon reduction gear with a Velvet Drive on the Westerbeke 4-107 won't work!

Now that we appear to be a growing organization, I am asking for a contribution of $10.00 per year per member to help defray the cost of postage, paper and xeroxing. I hope to be able to continue putting together a quarterly newsletter (spring, summer, fall, winter) with some sort of regularity.

For any new members, you should be aware that the A37 Owners Group has an accord with Boat U.S., whereby you only pay 1/2 the membership fee. Just mention that you are a member of the A37 Owners Group when you renew your membership.

Here's wishing everyone a great spring sailing season. Till next time in the summer edition, don't just sit there, TRIM!!!!!

Tom Assenmacher