Converting to Lines Led Aft: Part 6, The Holes

Having all of your running rigging led back to the cockpit might sound like a dream come true. Imagine sailing along and the wind pipes up a bit. You reach over and lower the main halyard, crank in on the tack and clew lines and re-tighten the main halyard. All the while, you are standing right next to the helm. That's right, you are able to sheet, reef, raise and lower sail, and steer, all while standing by the helm!

As we learned from fairy tales about genies, all dreams come at a price. In the case of this dream, the price is a slew of holes drilled through your deck! 


The clutches require two holes each and the winch requires another five holes! For a setup like this, we are forced to drill fifteen holes!


Each hole perforated the outer fiberglass skin, core, and inner fiberglass skin. Each hole is also a source of potential leaks that can lead to a rotten core and a soft spot in the deck. For this reason, way too much bedding compound should be used when bedding the bolts and their parts to the deck. Having bedding compound bled out the sides of the clutches and winch base might not look the cleanest, but it does guarantee you that there are no voids under the component. Voids will allow the passage of water and will hold moisture. With time, these voids will be the death of your deck and lead to costly repairs in the future.

Each one of these holes has the potential to cause serious havoc on your yachts structural integrity. The choice to have holes drilled in your deck should be made knowing the potential consequences of the convenience. The counter argument of "Do a good job and make sure that nothing bad will happen" is what we all think while planning and working. The sad thing is, if an invisible flaw occurred, its existence will go unnoticed until catastrophe occurs and rot has set in. Worse than voids while bedding hardware is time. 

Voids lead to obvious problems, time can cause new ones. A perfectly bedded item today may not be so perfect in the future. With time, the bedding compound can loose its elasticity and become brittle. When the component is exposed to a shock load, the bedding compound may snap instead of stretch. This invisible break in the seal will allow the ingress of water and all the failures associated with an improperly bedded item. This is why all hardware is removed and re-bedded during a refit, to address these issues instead of ignoring them. 

All in all, the holes are the shortest part of the job, and also the most stressful part. Each hole will perforate the deck and needs to be sealed up perfectly as if nothing ever happened. Each hole also needs to be lined up with the other holes, allowing the component to be mounted and fastened properly. If any hole is offset, the component will not fit and that hole would have been drilled in vain!