When we bought our boat, we received a lot of material from the former owner which included a list of all gear and equipment aboard (including make, model, size, serial number, year of installation, etc.) This included the length and size of e0ery piece of rope and wire aboard, etc. My idea is to provide blank forms on which to enter this sort of thing. Many people who are showing up in TALIS are new to a cruising boat and need to be shown how to perform periodic inspection and main- tenance of engine and rig, etc. But even old hands need somewhere to record model and serial numbers so that they can easily order parts in a hurry.

The editor suggests you have a section on annual maintenance. Note the things that need to be done as you find them. Check them off and note the date when you do them. Three years from now, you will know what year you did which job!



A boat owner is a boat keeper - responsible for the condition of the craft for the pleasure and safety of the crew. Whether you do your own work or hire it out, you will benefit by knowing all you can about proper layup procedures. Layup time is a good time to get to know your boat better, insuring that next year's season Mill be even finer than last year's Many layup details are essential to protect your investment and your safety; this section is designed to help you get the job done right.



(a) Close water inlet.

(b) With outlet sea cock open, pump until the head is emptied and you are pumping air.

(c) Close outlet sea cock.

(d) Remove 1/8" pipe plug on forward side of bottom of housing. Have sponge ready to mop up excess water. Pump up and down several times to clear out any water remaining.

(e) Examine hoses, consider replacement.


(a) Disconnect rubber tubing from pipe at base of tank to permit water to drain into bilge.

(b) Clear all water from galley pump.

(c) Examine pump, contemplate maintenance.


(a) Pump dry.

(b) Introduce clean water mixed with detergent at bow and stern.

(c) Pump dry.

(d) Sponge out remaining water and any oil sediment remaining.

(e) Examine your bilge pumps and note maintenance requirements for layup season.

4. EQUIPMENT Mattresses, gear, lines, life jackets, cockpit cushions and charts are best stored in dry quarters ashore.

5. HEATER If electricity is available, a length of heating wire, of the type sold to warm chicken coops, is very effective in controlling humidity. The wire may run from the forward bunks right back to the engine.



Remove and coil for storage inside, spinnaker halyard, spinnaker pole hoist, flag halyard, topping lift, down haul, main sheet. Small size temporary halyards may be run up as winter replacements, and used in the spring to re-reeve the halyards. Main and genoa halyards may be protected as follows: Tie small size temporary line to shackle, haul down full size dacron part, coil up and place in plastic bag for storage.


(a) If local temperature may fall to zero, cockpit and deck drains must be protected.

(b) Insert length of 1/2 diameter plastic hose into port and star- board cockpit drains.

(c) Secure hose by tying to short wood preventer.

(d) Deck drains may be handled the same way or may be corked shut. The soft hose provides space for expansion if ice forms in the pipes.

3. SHIFT LEVER Earlier boats have a loose plate covering aperture for reverse gear lever. Install cover plate and seal with a`coating of waterproof grease.


(a) Boom crutch sized to take winter cover, is preferable to use of topping lift during storage period.

(b) A fitted cover, large enough to protect cockpit coaming, companionway trim and hand rails is recommended, and will pay for itself in refinishing costs in one year.


(a) Ventilation of cabin area is most essential to discourage mildew. Companionway hatch is preferably left open, also all lockers, drawers and icebox.

(b) Ventilation may be improved by a winter style forward hatch made as shown on the accompanying Plates 3a, 3b.


1. Stove pipe or 2 coffee cans taped together. Nail to edge of plywood.

2. 1/2" to 3/4" thick exterior grade fir plywood with 3/4" x 1-1/2" pine edgestrip. Butt, rebate or mitre corners.

3. Large vegetable or paint can trimmed down to 6" deep.

4. Heavy coat hanger wire, bent over, passed through and again bent over on far side. Two required at right angles.

5. Securing line 1/4" nylon or cotton tied down inside hatch.

6. Caulk around can or pipe.

7. Painted dull black, it will stay warm in the sun and induce circulation through cabin.



The power plant in your Triton consists of four systems:

1) Combustion: pistons, rings, crankshaft, valves; parts that produce combustion which becomes power.

2) Cooling: water pump, piping and passages through block, manifold and exhaust jacket.

3) Fuel: tank, piping valve(s), filter(s), pump and carburetor.

4) Electrical: battery, starter, generator (alternator), coil, distributor, voltage regulator and plugs. Anything wired to the engine.

You need not be an experienced mechanic to start developing an understanding of these systems in your own boat. You own a simple engine, (free from the complicated anti-pollution devices on present auto engines). As a non-technical owner, I have learned that the Atomic Four wants to run! I have spent a lifetime with inscrutable lawn mowers, balky outboards and infernal automobile engines. Yet I've never had a problem I couldn't solve with the Triton engine. In writing this, I'm assuming that you have basic familiarity with the Owner's Manual and that you have basic understanding of internal combustion and that you own the basic tools. A bibliography of useful books is appended to this article.

The minimal layup as performed by many yards consists of nothing more than protecting the yard against claims of negligence. They will see that no fuel is obviously leaking and that the block is protected against freezing and subsequent cracking. On the other hand, a proper layup will, in the course of checking out the individual systems, yield a wealth of useful knowledge about the engine which will enable you to extend engine life, reduce operating costs and minimize failures at sea. A good layup procedure entails steps that give you a perfect chance to assess the condition of critical elements in each of the systems. Please read the entire procedure as there are cases where alternative methods are described. Your selection of steps may vary from my sequence of writing.



The object is to protect combustion elements against rust and corrosion.

Run the engine until hot and change the oil.

Check the compression. Do not ignore it because the engine has apparently been running OK. I learned the hard way; my engine quit under load only one week after a passage through treacherous Woods Hole! On checking compression, I found readings from 115 to as low as 30 pounds! The engine started easily, ran smoothly; there was no hint of difficulty other than the power loss. I learned that 12 years ago and won't forget! The compression is considered OK if all four cylinders read 90 PSI or better and are within 10 pounds of each other. Do your check with all plugs out, open throttle, choke pushed in and with a healthy battery. If your readings are OK, proceed with layup. If not, put a couple of tablespoons of oil into the questionable cylinder and take another reading. Be sure to have the compression gauge well seated in the spark plug hole before turning the engine over. If you don't have a tight seal, the cylinder's full compression will be behind the blast of air that shoots the oil all over you and the boat. If the reading has improved, you may have a ring problem. If not, check the cylinder head gaskets and look into valves. In talking with many owners, I've run into very few who ever had ring problems. My problem was valves - which you can cure yourself! Write down the compression readings in your maintenance log and check them again next year at layup time.

For protection of internal engine parts, there are two theories. The first is called "fogging." You simply fire up the engine and pour a protective agent such as "Marine Care" into the carburetor. This takes care; keep the engine running briskly and don't dump in too much of the liquid too fast or you'll kill the engine. The liquid is supposed to coat all the cylinder walls and drip into the rings and valves to protect these parts against rust and corrosion.  

The other method follows the compression check. While the plugs are out of the engine, take your engine hand crank, Part Number 260752, and turn the engine over until #1 piston is at the top of its compression stroke. Then pour engine oil in through the spark plug hole to fill the space. Turn over again to coat the inside parts, oil will run down the valve stems, into the rings and so on. Then do the other three cylinders. Replace the plugs, hand tighten.

Any exposed metal surfaces should be cleaned off with a wire brush and painted. Many of us use spray cans of Rustoleum's "Damp Proof Red Primer. Keep the can aboard for in-season touchups.



The object is to protect the cooling passages against corrosion during inactive months. Salt eats away at the metal, dampness accelerates the process. Scale forms and loose pieces block passageways, causing engine failure at awkward times.

The water pump is the force behind the cooling system. Layup time is a good time to pull your pump and check it. Past IMPROYEMENT BULLETINS suggested protecting water pump parts from anti-freeze. I have checked this with a number of other boat owners and three professional mechanics; all assure me that modern anti-freeze does not damage any parts found in modern water pumps.

The first method of cooling system layup involves opening all the drains in the water pump, block, manifold and exhaust pipe water jacket. One owner likes to run a wire up through the small copper pipe that connects the water pump outlet on the side of the block to clear out any accumulated crud. He also pulls the pipe connecting the manifold to the exhaust pipe water jacket. This is a prime spot for loose scale to collect. The crossover pipe connecting the block to the manifold can also be cleaned out. Check the gaskets, replace as required. Drain all water, close up and fill with anti-freeze through the ports in the head and manifold normally connected by the crossover pipe.

The second method involves a bit more work - the first time you do it. If you adopt this system, you'll do the cooling system layup before you do the compression system job.

The first step is to install a petcock in the crossover pipe. A petcock is a small type of valve used for draining off small amounts of vapor+fluid. They are commonly found on old hot water radiators; you open the petcock to vent off any trapped air in the radiator. Remove the crossover pipe and either take it to any plumber to have the job done or go to a plumbing shop and ask the man for a brass petcock to fit the pipe. Then take the pipe and petcock to a hard- ware store where you buy a tap for making threads in the pipe and a drill to make the right size hole for the tap. Drill a hole in the top center of the crossover pipe, tap the threads and screw in your petcock. You now have a fine device for venting off whatever is at the highest point in your cooling system. You can vent steam in case of overheating, you can check circulation, and, at layup time, you can positively vent all the air from the system! This idea came from Mr. Ray Kershaw, an MIT graduate, a veteran marine surveyor. He recommends this "fix" to all Atomic Four owners.

The next step in the second method of cooling system layup calls for a good internal rinsing out of the engine. Get rid of as much salt as you can. Put a bucketfull of fresh water in the galley and run a length of clear vinyl tubing - about four feet long - from the bucket to the inlet fitting on your water pump.

While you are there, I suggest you see just how hard you have to pull to get the other end of the regular inlet water hose free from its thru-hull fitting. If it slips off easily, consider yourself very, very lucky that it didn't slip off during the season, flooding and sinking your boat. Rough up the thru-hull fitting with sandpaper so that the hose can have something to "bite" on and be sure to use TWO hose clamps on it next year. Take the old hose and squeeze it flat with pliers, about two inches from the end. Look up inside. If the hose cracks, replace it. If it doesn't, check the other end. If the hose is bad, cut it in half so you can't possibly be tempted to be lazy or cheap and then take the pieces to an auto parts place for a new, one-piece replacement. Remember, there is no seacock on some Triton cooling water inlets. A failure of hose or connection will sink your boat.

Run the engine, adding clean, fresh water to the bucket. I let a fresh water hose run into the bucket, any overflow going into the sink and out. Let the engine get good and hot, then shut it off while salts are hopefully dissolving. Then run it again to flush them out. I doubt that you can overdo the flushing bit.

To drain as much water as possible from the system, take the hose out of the bucket and lay it in the bilge. It will siphon water out of the cooling system slowly, the water is being pulled backwards through the water pump. Most impellers do not make a tight enough seal to prohibit the siphoning that we need here. If your pump is 1004: tight, you'll have to open it until the water is out.

The one other nasty thing I'm going to ask you to do - after having installed the petcock in the crossover pipe - is to stick your head and a hacksaw into the lazarette and cut about 4 inches out of the loop of copper pipe that connects the end of the exhaust pipe water jacket to the tailpipe. Next season, you'll slip a 6" length of radiator hose in place of the cut section, clamping it in place. File the ends of the pipe ends smooth and connect an 8 or 10 foot length of 5/8" ID vinyl hose to the water jacket's exhaust pipe and run it under the cockpit sole to the galley. Blowing into it will accelerate draining.

Throw out any fresh water left in the bucket, put two quarts of straight permanent anti-freeze into the bucket. If the water pump is open, close it now. Put the exhaust water hose into the bucket. It might be a good idea to tie it to the bucket's bail; you don't want it flopping out of the bucket when it pours out the coolant later on. Put a funnel in the end of the inlet hose, holding it up over the bucket to catch drips and fill with anti-freeze. Start the engine and keep pouring as required to keep the inlet hose full. Watch the exhaust hose. When coolant starts coming out the exhaust hose, put the inlet end into the bucket and let the engine circulate left-over fresh water plus new anti- freeze long enough to guarantee complete mixing. Rut it until it gets hot. Test the freezing point of the anti-freeze solution and add anti- freeze as required. If you have had a thorough drain of water, you won't need to make the mixture any stronger; you'll find you are all set for Nome, Murmansk, etc. Shut the engine off, let things settle awhile and then open the petcock in the crossover pipe. Be sure the anti-freeze in both hoses is higher than the engine's top. You will get air at first - then a cheery stream of anti-freeze. Close the petcock quickly. Try venting air a week later - and you'll get more air. You can keep venting air for several weeks if you have occasion to get at the boat.

This second method of cooling system layup avoids having to open corroded or frozen drain fittings. That job entails drilling, tapping while standing on your head. This method insures a complete, testable mixing of anti-freeze. A glance at the two vinyl tubes to verify that they are full of anti-freeze and a check of the petcock air vent assures an air-free "fill" of the cooling passages.

The petcock is useful whether the boat is in commission or laid up. The writer's boat is 20 years old and averages over 110 hours a year on the engine. I have examined the block, head and manifold; all passages are clear and scale is minimal. I have not had a cooling problem due to scale for years, the last cooling failure being due to my forgetting to turn down the water pump's grease cup!




Be sure the anti-freeze You will get air at Close the petcock quickly. The object is to safely secure the fuel system during the layup period. You want to minimize chances of fire or explosion during layup and you want to increase reasons for reliable operation the following year.

In the last IMPROVEMENT BULLETIN, methods of "wet" and "dry" gas storage were presented. The "dry" thought was that sludge or gum accumulated in the tank during storage. It now seems that sludge and gum are two different things, each requiring its own cure. Sludge consists of solids, water and anything else that accumulates in the bottom of the tank. Gum is a residue remaining after gas evaporates. Once sludge has dried out, it is hard to remove. Once the tank has dried out, gum will almost surely be a by product. Recalling our initial concern with safety, I'd as soon try to sleep with a bomb under the bed as to sleep with a potentially explosive "empty" tank in my boat. A full tank is safer than an "empty" one - always.

At layup time, I suggest you pull the fill and vent hoses to check their condition. Squeeze them as I suggested you check your water inlet hose. Note the date of replacements in your maintenance log. Pull out the gas line fitting and introduce a 1/4" vinyl tube into the tank. I put a piece of coat-hanger wire inside the last 18" of the tube to keep it straight. I have to put a curve in it to get it into the tank - but I straighten it out as it goes into the tank.  

That way I can push it down into the lowest corner of the tank and siphon off any accumulated sludge and water. I usually get about 2 ounces every fall. Then top off the tank. I like to add a pint of "Marvel Mystery Oil" which is good for valves and the required amount of "PM" Fuel Conditioner, "Stabil" or equivalent. The latter prohibits gum formation in laid-up gas devices in snow-blowers, lawn mowers - and Universal Atomic Fours! I disconnect the gas line after the gas valve is shut "OFF" and remove the fuel filter, fuel pump and carburetor. Get them all out into good light and look them over. Replace the filter cartridge, look over the fuel pump. If it has gone five years, I'd rebuild it. A spare fuel pump is good to have aboard, you can replace the whole pump faster than you can rebuild the old one at sea. The Universal Atomic Four fuel pump is their Part No. 261104. The repair kit is 276694. Diaphragms usually go first, for a fuel pump in a pinch, an "AC" 4059 at the auto parts house will do fine. The pumps are all pot metal; no fine marine bronze here! Look over the carburetor and think about it. Has the engine idled smoothly, does it come up to full power easily? Can you shut it down to a slow idle without missing or balking? It might be time for a cleaning out, even a rebuilding. You'll need both the "Carburetor Repair Kit" and the "Carburetor Gasket Set" for your carburetor. Universal used a Zenith carburetor before 1969, a Bendix after. Here are the Part Nos:

Zenith Repair Kit 290241

Zenith Gasket Kit 287293

Bendix Repair Kit 290629

Bendix Gasket Kit 294379

The enclosed instructions are detailed and excellent. Follow them and you will have no problems.

If your boat will not pass Coast Guard Courtesy Exams because you do not have a "downdraft" carb, fear not. Old boats have an updraft type air intake horn which can leak excess gas. It can be replaced with Part No. 263914, a new section of air passage to go between the carburetor body and the flame arrestor. The new, approved, type has a 90 degree bend in it so that any leaking gas will tend to get sucked back into the carburetor instead of running into the bilge.

I store the gas free carburetor indoors after it has been cleaned; there are parts that can corrode. Same for the fuel pump, drain it and store it. I keep them in large coffee cans with snap-on plastic lids, after painting the steel parts with "Rustoleum.

Check to be sure that your gas tank is electrically connected - "grounded" to the engine. It was originally connected via the copper gas line. Parts of the original line may have been replaced with auto-type hose which may not be conductive. Ungrounded tanks can cause sparks when taking on gasoline.  


Gas vent - On certain later model Triton (like #682, a 1967), the gas tank vent was moved from center-line on the transom to the starboard quarter. This was a bad arrangement, as it kept getting sea water in the gas tank if I started the engine in rough waters while sailing on a port tack. I moved the vent back into the high center-line position and never had a problem again.

Note: Remember to put the bronze back-flash screen in the vent when reinstalling.



The object is to protect electrical parts from dampness and corrosion. A by-product of a good layup will be a complete checkup of all electrical parts and the interconnecting wiring.

The more complete your job, the better chance you will have of finding horrors; frayed wires, bad connectors, cracked insulation. I like to remove every electrical item from the engine as well as every inter- connecting wire. This guarantees inspection of every connection. Clean corrosion off the terminals. It is easier to clean 25 or 30 terminals at one time than to locate two intermittent connections in the course of the sailing season!

Put the coil, distributor, voltage regulator (if separate from the alternator in your boat) and the belt that drives the generator or alternator in one box. Remove the starter and the generator or alter- nator, the battery and its cables. Take off all wires, throw them in the box with the small parts. Take them to your working space and, under a good light, start out by cleaning everything. The coil needs its terminals cleaned and the oily film cleaned off the insulator top. Is the coil's high tension wire really good looking? If it is cracked or "tired" looking, throw it out. I take the distributor totally apart, checking each and every part. Do the bearings look good? Are the springs OK? The failure of any one of the four springs can shut you down! Now will be the easiest time you'll ever have to replace points. The regulator will probably need terminal cleaning and maybe a pro- tective coat of paint. The starter deserves care; if it doesn't go, you won't either! The early starters (up through 1962) were 6-vott Auto-Lite units with an external dropping coil. That coil is exposed, out in the open. It better be in good shape. Is the Bendix drive assembly OK? - the pinion gear takes a beating. You can order a rebuild kit NOW and have it installed in pleiity of time to get set for next season. Pull off the cover band. Is the metal good and springy? If it is rusted out, there goes your spark-proofing. Sparks in the potentially gassy bilge are not good, a replacement band is cheap. Look at the brushes, the commutator ring. Fitted surfaces cause arcing which translates to poor power development when you need it to start the engine. A drop of oil on the Bendix assembly, a cleanup of termin- als and maybe a bit of paint touch up and that's it! The generator usually has an oil fitting at the end toward the engine flywheel. The other end is ball bearing. Check the cover band, the commutator and brushes, clean up the connections and that's it! On alternators, you don't even get to do the oiling; they have ball bearings at both ends. The battery cables deserve close attention. Are they really good? Are the strands unbroken and free of corrosion?  

The connectors at both ends should be shiny bright and daubed with grease when you reassemble things at a fitting out time. The battery should be cleaned off carefully. Remember that it is full of acid. The exterior of the case should be washed off carefully and the top cleaned to remove grease which could support combustion in a case of overheating. The terminals should be shiny and the battery should be kept in a cool, dry spot. Stored fully charged, it will not freeze. Do not leave a "trickle charger" on it for days at a time, you will corrode the positive plate grids and increase their resistance.


Battery Systems


We are becoming increasingly dependent on reliable electrical power. To the usual load of starting and running the engine, we add more lights, radios, navigation instruments and certain EPA mandated heads. Dual-battery systems make sense by increasing safety and seaworthiness, Two Group 22F batteries, 9" x 7" x 8 3/8" will fit under the lowest stair. You will have to do minor carpentry alterations. One NETA member has 2-12 1/2" x 7" x 8 3/8" installed.

A battery selector switch can be used to select which battery is in use. You can switch both batteries "ON" should they be required to start the engine. You normally use "1" of "2". NEVER switch to "OFF" when the engine is running, this can destroy charging equipment.

A device called an "Isolator" can be wired to automatically charge whichever battery needs charging. Without it, the state of the higher charged battery will determine the charge rate. When the better battery is fully charged, all charging will cease. The charging line to 12 must be fused to protect the generator/alternator in event of circuit problems such as a short circuit.

If your charging is controlled through a battery selector switch, you could run one battery flat, switch to the second battery and run on it all day - forgetting to switch back to charge the flat battery. If the second battery went, you'd be out of luck. The "isolator" will see that each battery is getting whatever charge it needs and you use the battery selector switch to pick the battery whose output you want.

I have cruised hard for 14 years on a single battery rig, read, played and drunk a lot at night without a battery problem. On the other hand, I have had batteries just plain die on two occasions. It was a real pain both times; I have bought my X2 and am installing the required wiring for it now!

Standard Part Numbers for Ignition Parts

While we encourage purchase of parts from your local "Universal" dealer, cruisers may need parts when no dealer is available. Use of these "Standard Ignition Part Numbers will enable any auto parts dealer to cross-reference to his particular brand of parts. Interchangeable parts are supplied by Prestolite. Auto-Lite, Blue Streak, Delco and others. All parts are for 12-volt systems.  

Coil VC - 15X

Condenser AL - 63

Dist. Cap AL - 25

Points AL - 5661X

Rotor AL 102

Spark plug J - 8

Universal Motors "ON BOARD SPARES KIT," priced at $60.60 in Jan. '80. Add $1.40 for postage. Universal says that this kit will take care of 90X of all emergency engine needs. These are the parts most likely to require replacement through normal engine operation. SPECIFY ENGINE MODEL AND SERIAL NUMBER WHEN ORDERING.


1 point set

1 condenser

1 rotor

1 water pump seal

1 impeller with pin kit

1 distributor cap

1 generator (or alternator) belt

1 coil (12 volt)

4 spark plugs

1 thermostat gasket

1 water pump gasket


Engine Hour Meters


If you don't have one, consider installing an engine hour meter. It can be located in the engine compartment or in the cockpit with other instruments. It runs when the ignition is on; it is really a 12 volt DC clock! Here is what it can tell you:

·Your gas consumption - a guide to engine condition.

·Your hours of engine use since the last oil change. If you find you usually use a quart every 60 hours and find that oil is suddenly needed after four hours, you know something very specific.

·Your amount of gas on board. My boat has used .58 gallons per hour as a season average for years. I note engine hours in the 1·og when we fill. If we come aboard and notice that we've run the engine 20 hours, that translates to (roughly) 12 gallons. We hold 21 (your capacity may be different - run it dry sometimes and find out and record your actual capacity) - so we know we have 9 gallons left or some 15 hours maximum engine running time.

Miscellaneous Engine Thoughts:


The bulk of engine problems that occur after the boat is in commission are electrical. It is possible to have a defective "new" part. Consider keeping several spares of the distributor parts in a plastic refrigerator container fitted with a tight lid. Any spares you don't use this year can be used next year. During the time you may not have needed them, they represented peace of mind.

Backfiring. I once spent a frustrating three hours chasing down a problem which had been caused by a defective new part. The engine had quit, probably due to a cracked distributor cap. When I changed the cap, I had also changed the rotor as it looked dirty. The engine did not run reliably; it would backfire and quit. Backfiring has always been a sign of timing problems to me. Yet we knew we'd done nothing to alter timing. We found that the rotor was defective, that it would wobble on the distributor shaft, occasionally running properly, occasionally running cockeyed - out of time and causing the backfiring and quitting.  

If the moving points are held in your distributor by a bolt with a large, square head, be sure the side of the head closest to the metal plate below isn't touching. I traced down a tough intermittent ground due to that condition. The grounding was not visible nor measurable with a Volt-Ohm-Meter until after the distributor cap was snapped on. Under stress of the cap hold-down springs, the distributor body distorted enough to cause the grounding!

You should have a tool to fit every accessible fitting on the engine. Socket wrenches, open end wrenches, 90 degree screwdrivers, etc. A "Crows-foot" adapter for your socket set helps remove the starter. No tool ever was wasted. Buy good ones, keep them in shape and ON IHE BOAT ONLY. They will disappear if they get loose around the house. Ignition tools, a simple volt-ohm-meter, etc., pay great dividends. Back when I was learning, I found I stood a chance of luring an expert aboard to help as long as I could promise good tools and lots of spare parts.

It is usually possible to remove the galley and the ice box. It will appear difficult - but it can be done. The backrests must come out as well as the trim boards retaining the mattresses. Then start looking for screws. Getting this stuff out makes life much easier in engine work.

If you must pull the manifold without ice box removal, removing the studs can be a challenge. ~ Instead of attempting to pull the manifold off the studs, pull the studs by jamming a second nut down on top of the first one. Put a wrench on the rear nut and unscrew the stud from the block. Then the manifold will come off, carrying the studs with it.

Do not be overly concerned about wall thickness in aged manifolds. One 18 year old manifold was cut up and measured. The minimum wall was 1/4"; the manifold would have run another 18 years easily!

WIRING: NETA member Dave Sykes contributed the wiring diagram on the next page. It is a "developed" wiring diagram; it covers everything in the original wiring plus the wiring required for items Dave has added over the years. It will give a guide to your basic wiringl it will give ideas as to possible improvements. Get to know your wires; where they go and their condition. (Plate 4)

Wiring Diagram




Buffing, cleaning and lacquering spars is a quick job on a couple of saw-horses in the yard on a nice day. To rub off the grime and the surface roughness, MMM extra-fine wet-type sandpaper is quick and efficient, especially if strong detergent has been swabbed on first to clear the grime, then watered off and left to dry. The wet sandpaper is so effective that power tools are more trouble than they are worth for our slim round spars. A trick from an old bulletin, for cleaning out the boom's foot groove, however, is to attach some stainless steelwool to a power drill stem, or similar device, and let the stuff whirl around inside there as you walk it along the groove. (It will let mainsail foot slide better.)  

Lacquering the spars is but a few minutes' work with a clear, very quick drying coating such as BFC "Liquid Envelope" clear U44-3178 (acrylic blend) available from Better Finishes & Coatings Div. of Essex Chemical Corp., 268 Doremus Avenue, Newark 5, N.J. A quart is good for many years' Spring applications to Triton spars--a tiny bit spreads a very long way and dries almost instantly. It leaves the mast slick and lustrous for at least one season and more. Boom can be done in spring or any time later. Applying it takes but a few minutes, just brush it along, and go back quickly for the drips as you go along. It's so thin that a careful job is not at all needed.


Mast Support Gene Zaustlinsky (TALIS)

The deck-stepped Triton mast is supported by a beam which is bolted to the main bulkhead. It is only marginally adequate, we know of several broken beams. Check also that the deck has not been crushed under the mast step. The deck should be solid glass under the mast. This is not the case with older boats where this section is cored with plywood or balsa. A crushed section must be opened from beneath and filled with glass.

The original beam has a breaking strength of less than 1 ton; it is supported by a bulkhead good for more than 15 tons! Gus Moldestad, TALLYHO, U221, made up a new beam consisting of a sandwich of 1/4" stainless steel, an oak beam and a thin teak cosmetic facing. It equalled the thickness of the original. In my STARDUST, X39, my new beam is a sandwich of two 1/4" stainless plates flanking two 1" thick laminated ash beams. I also replaced the original four vertical bulkhead stiffeners with eight to center the beam under the mast step. The beam will be stronger if the ends are securely attached. I recommend bolting and epoxy glueing all component parts into a single, rigid structure.

It is essential to keep water out of the beam. If you have any holes in your beam, ream them out, fill with epoxy and redrill.

Several owners report good results with temporary "lally column" posts set up in place under the mast during races.


Spongy Deck Repair - Ted Kirchner (NETA)

Water leakage into the balsa core of the Triton deck results in the core becoming spongy and hence that portion of the deck will deflect under foot. There is a remedy that seems to work. First, stop the leak, it's probably a poorly seated fitting so it may be a good idea to rebed all the fittings in the area. If you use a polysulfide or silicon rubber bedding compound be sure to clean the contacting surfaces thoroughly and use an appropriate primer for the bedding material you select, this will assure the adhesion essential to a water tight seal.

Next, determine the limits of the spongy area and mark this with 1 to 2 inches excess on the underside of the deck. From underneath, drill 1/4" diameter holes into this area spaced about 4 inches apart. Make sure you drill into the water soaked core, but not through the deck. Allow perforated area to dry out, preferably to stand open through the lay-up season. The drying can be accelerated with a hair dryer. When the drying is accomplished you can proceed with patching.

You will need about a pint of standard epoxy per square foot of spongy deck and a pressurized caulking gun, preferably pneumatic. This is messy so cover the bunk, etc., below the patch with newspapers. Cut a sufficient number of 2 inch square masking tape patches to cover the holes and keep them handy. Select a central hole under the patch and pump the epoxy in, use a pressure consistent with a slow flow you can keep up with. As the epoxy creeps through the core it will start coming out the other drilled holes. When this happens slap a tape patch over the hole. Proceed until all holes have a temporary patch and let cure overnight. When set, remove tape patches, fill the voids with auto body filler and sand the entire area and repaint. One caution, keep the pumping pressure as low as you can and have someone observe on deck as you are pumping. If the deck begins to inflate or raise above its normal contour back off on the-pressure or momentarily stop pumping until the deck resettles. Resettling can be hastened by standing on the bulge but be gentle or you'll blow all the tape patches.


Mast Step Frank Alla (NETA)

Disassemble the mast heel from the mast and inspect for corrosion. You will need heat and drilling. If the bottom of the spar is suspect, you can probably trim off enough to get down to goad metal and still be able to take up the rigging with your turnbuckles. Drill a 1/8" dia. hole above the heel to let water out.

Spreader Sockets: Watch for cracks in spreaders and tangs. Consider fitting a neoprene gasket between the sockets and the mast. This will relieve stress on the casting and reduce corrosion.  

A more than adequate replacement can be made from thinwall stainless steel tubing with the inside diameter sized to fit the spreader diameter. Have this piece of tubing welded to a 3/16 thick stainless steel plate cut to the size of the base casting and bent slightly to approximate the curvature of the mast.


Mast Base Casting Replacement - Ted Kirchner (NETA)

Even though your mast may be anodized and hence well protected from corrosion, your mast base casting is probably not and may be showing the results of fifteen years of exposure to salt atmosphere.

Replacement castings may be available but if you have access to a metal cutting band saw you might consider building a mast base from aluminum plate; making a new template from your own mast would assure the best fit.

A one inch tube provides an ample passage for mast wiring and keeps water from within the mast from leaking into the cabin below. The cut plates should be assembled and inserted into the mast to mark the holes for the four retaining screws. These holes are then drilled into the 5/8" plate using appropriate tap drills for a 10-32 helicoil insert. The mast base is then disassembled and all the pieces are anodized.

After anodizing, clean all the tapped holes by rerunning the tap through them. The mast base is then reassembled using stainless steel screws and four stainless steel helicoils are inserted in the mounting holes.

A 1/16" rubber gasket is cemented to the bottom surface of the mounting base to seal out external water from leaking into the cabin via the electrical conduit.

Jumper Struts


Strengthening Jumper Struts: Jumper struts often get bent as a result of imperfect spinnaker handling in fresh breezes. An easy solution is to replace the standard aluminum tubes with stainless steel tubes of the same diameters (5/8" O.D.) and length (21"). Alternatively, you may accomplish the needed stiffening by inserting in the old tubes solid rods of stainless steel, aluminun, or even hard-wood dowels in the first four inches from the mastroot fitting, where the bending stress is greatest. The stainless tube stock must be flattened in a 50-ton arbor press - not in a vice or with a hammer.  

Standing Rigging Inspection


Several standing rigging failures occurred on San Francisco Bay Tritons in 1970. Because some of these appear to be fatigue type failures it was felt that further investigation was warranted. Here are some of the things we have dug up.

Non-flexible 1 x 19 stainless steel cable is used for stays and shrouds. Tritons seem to have a mixture of 5/32", 3/16", d~ 7/32" diameter cable. The minimun breaking strength of these are 3,300, 4,700, and 6,300 pounds respectively. This is really pretty strong stuff when it is considered that two 3/16" cables would lift a Triton out of the water. However, there are things that will weaken cables and reduce their load carrying capacity considerably.

Some Tritons have larger diameter lower shrouds than uppers and sane have the same size top and bottom. Actually, one 5/32" upper and two 3/16" lowers are adequate, but for standardization, 3/16" is often used throughout. Then too, the heavier cable stretches less.

Swaged terminals are used because they develop the full strength of the cable. Assemblies fabricated with swaged terminals are light weight, efficient, and not as bulky as other attachments. They are attached to the cable by squeezing the metal tube in a cold working process which causes the metal to flow into the valleys of the cable forming a bond stronger than the cable itself. This is all, no doubt, true when the cable assemblies are new, but the swaged fittings seem to be the first place to look for signs of potential disaster.

The principle causes of standing rigging failures are fatigue of the cable and failure of the swaged fittings. Failure of a swaged fitting can dismast a boat.  

Since there is little or no bending involved, simple loading and unloading of the cable in tension is responsible for the fatigue failures. The most likely places to look for failures of this type are at the points of stress concentration such as the point where the cables meet the swaged terminals. Fatigue will cause the metal to get brittle. Disconnecting the shrouds at the turnbuckle and bending the cable right at the fitting may cause some of the wires to break. Obviously, if this happens, it is time to change your standing rigging; or, at least, that piece you just broke.

This procedure could bring on premature failure; but chances are good that the wire will break in a year or so anyway.

Failure of the swaged fittings seems to be more frequent at the lower end of the cable. Water seeps into the first 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the ferrule or tube part of the fitting. Eventually the stainless steel wires will rust, and the building up of a rust deposit causes the tube to expand and finally to split. The rusting wires decrease in diameter and will, of course, get weaker and finally fail when sufficient load is applied. Cables having identical ends can be reversed to even out wear.

Anytime excessive rust is found on the ferrule of a swaged fitting, it is time to lock for a split one. Experience has shown that it may be necessary to clean off the rust deposit with car polish before spotting the crack. A split ferrule is a definite sign that the fitting is weaker than it was originally, and that failure can be expected some time in the not too distant future.

Spraying all of your boat's lower fittings now and then with WD-40 could do a lot toward lengthening the standing rigging life.

When to change your rigging is a matter of debate. The cable manufacturers contacted had no definite recommendations. It is a matter of service. A boat that is sailed hard, as many San Francisco Tritons are, will probably have a shorter service life than those boats sailed in calmer waters. Don't forget that the rigging gets worked even when the boat is at its mooring. The action of the waves and the wind are constantly working the rigging.

Because of the failures we know of in Tritons that are 7 or more years old, it would seem wise to warn Triton owners to be wary. We would recommend that each stay and shroud be inspected twice a year starting now. If any strands are found broken, it is probably a sign that fatigue is setting in and the time has arrived to change the standing rigging.  

Forward Lowers: The chainplates for forward lowers should be terminated to proper knees installed like the one you can see by looking in the locker over the head. Made of oak, about 2 1/2 feet long and well glassed in place, it will take the strains involved.

Chainplates: How is the wear on your plates? Many owners find it easy to simply replace the old plates with heavier, new stainless steel bar stock. Particularly important if you have drilled out the holes in order to handle larger clevis pins.

When ordering new rigging, it is a good idea to insert a "rigging toggle" between the chainplate and the turnbuckle. The toggle con- verts the linkage to a universal joint and eliminates the twist in the system. Experts are universal in endorsing use of toggles.

Soon after replacing a cable it will be necessary to tighten the turn- buckle to remove the initial stretch in the cable. It may be necessary to do this more than once before the proper tension is obtained.

If you haven't replaced your halyards and main sheets, consider that, too. Dacron has a peculiar way of suddenly coming apart.

Gooseneck slides are another thing to check. We know of one that broke in the National Regatta elimination series. Inspection of the other four boats revealed that two more of the boats used in that series had cracked ears on the slide. Parts are available from Zephyr Products, Wareham, MA 02571 Att: Mr. Dick Seaman.


Original Triton Rigging Schedule (from a 1967 Owner'; Manual)

Standard Standing Rigging

1 Jib Stay 3/16" x 1 x 19 stainless steel wire 38' 3/4"

1 Back Stay 3/16" x 1 x 19 stainless steel wire 40' 11"

2 Upper Stays 30' 0"

2 Lower Stays 28' 1/4"

2 Jumper Stays 1/8 x 1 x 19 16' 4"

3 Unit Jumper frame with adjustable ends

6 Turnbuckles 3/8"

1 Toggle 3/8" for jib stay turnbuckle

2 Spreaders

Standard Running Rigging "

1 Main halyard consisting of 35' of 1/8"x7x19 stainless steel wire and 40' of 3/8" dacron rope

1 Jib halyard consisting of 29' of 1/8"x7x19 stainless steel and 36' of 3/8" dacron rope

1 Rostand #711-1 block with shackle

1 Main sheet consisting of 55' of 3/8" dacron rope and 1 double sheave block

1 Main boom downhaul consisting of 101 of 1/4" dacron rope, 1 standard block and 1 standard block w/Becket  

1 Main boom outhaul consisting of 5' of 1/4" dacron rope

1 Main boom topping lift consisting of 74' of 1/4" dacron rope,

1 SO-i Tuph block and 2 shackles

2 Jib sheets consisting of 36' of 3/5" dacron rope each, 2 S9-1 Tuph blocks and #O fasteye shackle

1 1/4" screw pin jib tack shackle

1 Flag halyard consisting of 80' of 1/8" dacron rope

2 Docking lines consisting of 25' of 3/8" dacron rope each


Turnbuckle Inspection


The threads of bronze turnbuckles can lose their strength due to readjusting after corrosion sets in. At first you Mill find corroded turnbuckles very difficult to turn, then, very easy. Close inspection will show that much of the thread has disappeared. Their ability to hold has been reduced considerably after this happens. Best to replace, or you may lose a mast.


Mooring Chocks


The strong winds which appear at certain times of the year bring to mind the need to check your moorings very carefully. Some Tritons have a potential problem associated with their bow chocks. This problem relates to a sharp edge which can chafe through the mooring line in a few hours under the right conditions. The writer knows of two Tritons that have broken loose in moderate to strong winds because of this problem. The best way to avoid the problem is to check all the edges of the bow chocks on your boat. To do this press your finger against the edge firmly; if it feels sharp or leaves a crease in your finger, take a fine rat tail file and round out the sharp edges. This will remove a part of the chrome, but it may save your boat.


Deck Leaks


Deck leaks around stanchions, chainplates and other fittings are easily solved nowadays by Marine Sealant (silicone) by GE or DOW. Miraculous stuff sold in tubes at all stores. If surfaces are clean, it bonds to metal, fiberglass or anything, and will work with the ship. Thus, for a quick job, you need not even unbolt fitting and re-bed. For a permanent job good for many seasons, a proper rebedding should be done. Our usual sloppy gunking around the sides without lifting fitting is good for a season or two, or can be added to in a minute if it turns out to leave a crevice. Every boat should carry a tube of this at all times. Proper bedding calls for Neoprene gaskets under every fitting.  



In Ed Zaustinsky's superb article "The Care and Repair of Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic" which appeared in the "Trrumpet," Ed pointed out that the Triton deck is made up, from the outside in, of a layer of gelcoat, 1 oz. mat, 25 oz. roving, 1 oz. mat and 6 oz. cloth. It is essential to keep water out of the core and away from all bulkheads. Leaks and rot will surely follow. To quote from his article:

We will now consider the proper way to make a hole in the core deck First, a hole for a bolt. The Following figures show two satisfactory ways.


In the left-hand figure, a somewhat oversize hole was drilled and the balsa core material dug out well beyond the hole, then the cavity produced was filled up with solid resin/filler mixture. Finally the small hole was drilled.

In the right-hand figure, construction was done in essentially the same way. The hole was finished by cementing a piece of brass tube into it.

Both of these methods of making a hole through a core deck protect the core from water. They also protect the deck from being crushed when the fastener is tightened.

To cast the resin plug, you need only drill your hole, dig out the balsa, cover up the hole on the inside with masking tape and pour resin into the hole from the outside. Since the resin casting will be subjected to compression, it must be reinforced with a suitable filler. Glass strands of long asbestos fibers are suitable fillers. Polyester resin can be used for the left-hand figure; epoxy resin is better for the right-hand figure since only epoxy will bond a brass tube in place.

All fittings should be backed up inside with wood or metal.


The prop shaft bearing is a "Cutless" bearing cut in half. If you bore out the bearing support, you can install a full-length bearing for better wear. If you pound too hard on a prop-puller, you may damage the engine or the ceramic element in the stuffing box. Better to cut the shaft off aft of the coupler and take out two pieces. Sealol in Providence has replacements for the old "Sealol" stuffing box. Others recommend going to the old style double nut arrangement with flax packing. In any event, be sure that your nuts can be turned. You can break the hose that connects the stuffing box to the thru-hull fitting for the shaft. Get two wrenches that will fit those nuts right; one to hold the aft nut while you turn the forward nut with wrench rf2. An old-fashioned "monkey wrench" is useful.


Triton Prop Combinations Frank Alla (NETA)

My 1967 Triton came with a two blade prop, 13 inch diameter, 8 inch Pitch (early Tritons are 12 x 8). I checked into three bladed props(sail boat types) and got the following information from the prop manufacturers :

Michigan: 11 x 6 Type "M-P"

Columbian: 12 x 6 Hydrosonic Style I or Style E. (Style I is 58 square inch developed area. Style E is narrower blades with 36 square inch area.)

Federal: 11 x 6 Style

"Tru-Pitch" Host of the recommendations seem to be around 6 inches of pitch with prop blade areas of just under 60 square inches. Columbian seems to offer more choice as it has two types of prop for this application. Michigan and Federal are the same company under two different trade names. When mounting the prop, use some teflon plumber's tape on the prop shaft to facilitate future removal. While causing more drag, a 3-bladed prop will give much improved control in backing down.

Rudder Tillerhead


Many owners have had cracked tillerhead fittings. Watch for cracks and have a jury-riggable spare on board. The upper bearing can be replaced to take up slop and eliminate leaks. The gudgeons can be drilled out, the entire rudder can be removed if required. "Uscolite" upper bearing available from Pearson.


Primary Winch Replacement - Ted Kirchner (NETA)

The primary winches (usually the only winches) on Tritons are adequate for most situations, indeed all situations if you are mindful about always having the appropriate jib up for prevailing wind conditions. However, if you are usually trying to get maximum speed from your Triton you also probably find yourself not having the appropriate jib up and the need for more power at the winch.  

There are a number of very adequate replacements for the primary winch. It should be a two speed winch, providing the standard speed and power we are used to plus a second gear that will give you at least a factor of two torque gain.

You can choose between chromed or plain bronze, stainless steel and anodized aluminum. The anodized aluminum is rapidly becoming the most popular and for good reason, it's lighter, has the hardest wearing surface and usually costs the least. The only time you should not consider aluminum is with wire sheets or halyards, then stainless steel is your best choice.

The following table lists a number of the more popular winches suitable for the Triton with their associated technical specifications and price as of Fall 1979. You usually can expect to get about 25% off at most marine discount houses. All the winches are the smallest two speed winch sold by each manufacturer. They are all about the same size, 3 inch drum diameter, 4.5 inch base diameter and 4 inches high.

Brand Model
































The writer chose the Barbarossa winch because it did have sane interesting technical features while still being one of the lowest cost winches available. It has a double row of needle bearings that cover almost the entire height of the winch, instead of simply top and bottom bearings. It has six ratchet pawls for smooth reliable operation, this is double the number of the other winches. It has a drop forged drum for greater strength and more than double the thickness of anodizing for greater durability. The Barbarossa winch is avail- able (at 25% off) from:

Marine Exchange Corp.

128 Newbury Street Peabody,

MA 01960

The list of winches includes one of the new self tailing winches, the Barient 19ST. The writer does not have any experience with them but has talked to people who have. The concensus is they are great, especially for single handing, even at almost twice the cost.