Rig upgrade of old boats

03/03/2012 11:11:19
What advice does anyone have on the merits of upgrading the rig on an NSM2 (Paranoia) to a carbon mast/boom? Is the cost prohibitive and implemention difficult? Would a hog stepped version be sensible/simpler (I know this would restrict the rake)? Trouble is she's not raced a lot but it might make an interesting project.

03/03/2012 11:54:28
Jon E
When I put carbon sticks on my NSM4 6 years ago, there wasn't a canterbury tales with carbon sticks for less than 4 grand.  My boat was already deck stepped by a professional so all I did was put a new mast, boom and some second hand sails on it, plus some new ropes because all the blocks needed moving.  Cost - 2 grand.  It was  worth it for me, because I got a very competitive boat (against other NSMs and ally rigged tales ).  I guess as you're asking about hog stepped then it isn't deck stepped - therefore, yes, unless you're a boat builder, it's going to be tricky.

The only reason I'm saying this is because I've been watching the second hand list for the last few years with interest and there are Rowsell (i.e. properly built) canterbury tales on the second hand list for 2 grand with carbon sticks. These will be way more competitive than your NSM2 however good a job you make of the conversion.

However, only you know the amount that would make an upgrade prohibitive and if you've the time, skill and dedication to do what Jeremy has done to Panatella, then none of this applies. Put Carbon on it and your boat will go faster, be more fun to sail and above all, look much better :)

03/03/2012 19:19:27
hi dave ,yes it has been done before,jon bingham put one on raspberry ripple (hog stepped),would suggest you contact him,i know he was very loath to sell it afterwards ,but they were very special circumstances,regards d.h.

03/03/2012 23:28:09
Chris M
It's  certainly been done on raspberry ripple, and it was hog stepped. I don't know what went wrong at the open at blithfield but the mast did break. Don't know what was done afterwards and have not seen the boat since.

There are plenty of hog stepped but carboned up narrow boats on the thames i believe.

Fashion is against it, but i cant see how youd be worse off. Given how long you've owned the boat, in your place i'd go for it.

04/03/2012 09:27:03
Ian Mackenzie
I bought NSM2 Galactic Gnu 3346 3 years ago and she had already been deck stepped by Lawrie Smith some years before but had alloy spars. Have been slowly upgrading her ever since and fitted a 2nd hand carbon mast last autumn (£800). Still need to change to carbon boom. Have kept the old spars so that we can always sell her at a lower price and keep carbon for new boat. Would like to think she is now faster and easier to sail. Managing to frighten some Winder Mk 2s at Blithfield when I'm not making too many mistakes. Performance is now almost certainly crew limited not boat limited. Suspect we will never challenge the front of the fleet but see no reason why we should not aspire to top half/third on restricted waters or at Salcombe. I know that a colleague of mine has concluded that deck stepping his NSM4 is probably too expensive and is going back to his NSM2 that has already been deck stepped but has alloy spars. As ever suspect it is down to your personal cost/benefit judgement and is swayed by how attached you are to your boat. Good luck whichever way you go and hope to be closer to you at Salcombe this year.

04/03/2012 10:22:19
Geoff Wright
Have you gone to carbon poles for a start Dave? light airs benefit taking weight off the leech,  Swop to carbon boom also good for similar reasons.  From experience the change to deck stepped is mostly all about the different sailing techniques for raking rigs and the arranging and calibrating of all that extra string-a big job not to be lightly undertaken-probably worth trying out boats with modern rigs to familiarise first before starting any deck stepping exercise-especially if going straight to (any variant of) 'one string'.

Interestingly Tim and B seem to go pretty well at Blithfield a lot of the time in a (very) competitive fleet in an unmodified (hog stepped, metal mast) Summer Wine 3339 'Flame' which you'll know well from Salcombe. Youth, fitness and practice help!

Because deck stepping came before carbon, most upgrading has been done in two steps, so hardly anyone has tried hog stepped carbon. I assume it should offer all the benefits of the lighter weight and better gust response of carbon without the different techniques and complexities of raking systems that are mainly about depowering/ managing the rig in windy weather. Carbon Merlin masts haven't been designed for mast gate area stresses but given the way carbon can be reworked I imagine that lengthening and strenghthening the bottom of a s/h carbon mast shouldn't be out of the question especially if you were to involve Mr Jackson in the exercise?

Surely Paranoia and other good original NSM2s/ Wines are now old enough to be seen as classic boats? Before long people will be starting to reverse modern upgrades to the best boats of this era and restore them to original condition?

Good luck

04/03/2012 19:41:43
Andrew M
I sailed Elusive 3347 for a while, in between Hywel B-Perkins' ownership & Mervyn Allen, who spent quite a bit of money redecking and undoing the deck-stepped rig.  Paranoia is IIRC the 1st boat off Laurie Smart's frames in that batch, which included several well-known and successful boats of the 1980's.  I do not know who had done the deck-step conversion in Elusive, but it was apparent that the boat had not been sufficiently strengthened in the shroud attachment area and I had a lot of trouble with the front end of the side-deck being forced up and the boat twisting.  Some of this may well have been from poor maintenence (I have learnt my lesson, but I don't think Hywel has yet!) but it's also the case that Paranoia will be held together with quite elderly Cascamite or similar.  If you do deck-step her, you will need to ensure that you strengthen and stiffen up the area around the shroud attachments and the join of the side-decks to foredeck as otherwise it will not take the strain imposed by the rig in waves and wind.
Having said that, with a carbon rig, Elusive was very quick upwind and the flexibility of the mast made for a much easier and more comfortable ride with much less pulling in and out on the mainsheet. But I always lost out on the reaches, however hard I tried, whereas if I point her in the right direction and get the rest of it right, Heaven Sent will more or less keep up on the reaches as well. The reason you do better than me at Salcombe is that a lot of the time, I don't!

05/03/2012 09:21:40
If you want to stop an old boat from squeezing shut, check the various photos in this gallery for ideas.

05/03/2012 09:40:53
Measurement Man
One of the early issues using a carbon mast in a hog stepped arrangement is that the mast is taking point loads sideways at the mast gate and is prone to failure at deck level. (If I remember Elusive had that issue before being further tweaked to deck stepped). This can be got around with local reinforcement of the mast with sleeves etc but it is a point to be aware of.

The point has been made before that using carbon poles and boom has alot of benefits in terms of weight saving, sail set in light weather (and reduction of internal to the hull), plus the fact it doens't hurt anything like as much if you don't duck far enough, whether or not the full conversion to carb mast is made.


08/03/2012 21:45:17
Rod & Jo not so Sceptical
We much reduced 1620 closing up by adding 4mm s/s rods connecting a plate running transversely through the hog below the (hog stepped) mast foot to the foredeck very close to the mast on either side. It's dirt cheap, interferes with nothing, and to a first approximation if the deck can't rise w.r.t. hog then the shroud positions can't move inboard too much; it's a rhombus.

We found it helped, but in an old boat one really shouldn't be worrying about a floppy leeward shroud in a breeze; if you don't have that somthing else is about to give! As has been pointed out elsewhere the ticket is tension on the sheet to straighten the forestay, and an open cut leach on the main to allow that.

I can confirm that Al boom really hurts if you don't duck quick enough, but add a new reason for going for carbon spi poles on 2988. Nothing to do with performance, Jo reckoned they were warmer on her hands!


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