April 2012
Boomkin Rebuild

My boomkin needed to be replaced. I first noticed the problem in the Bahamas. I heard some squeaking sounds coming from the bolts holding the starboard boomkin timber to the deck. I tightened it down and saw that the bolts were being pulled down into the wood.

I added some big washers and that seemed to solve the problem.

Then in the Marquesas I saw that the spacer block between the boomkin and the deck was rotting. My good friend Jeff advised me to significantly overboard the bolt holes and fill with thickened epoxy. We did that and all was good.

But I saw more rot in the boomkin timber itself (only the starboard side). I was not able to find anyone to build me a stainless steel boomkin so I was looking for some good hardwood to just replace what I had.

One of the ex-pats in American Samoa, Jay, did woodworking. He said he had some local hardwood that might work. He came out to the boat and took some measurements. These timbers are about 4.5 inches by 2.75 inches by 6 feet. a couple days later he had machined the timbers and provided them to me. He'd only take $20 for both the wood and the work.

This wood (and I don't know what it's called) is so heavy it just barely floats! And it's beautiful.

I spent the next week or so pulling off all the boat-bits I have hanging on the back of Galena. This included the solar panels, the wind generator and radar, the stern pulpit, the main sheet blocks, and all of the associated wiring. But the hardest part was to lift off the Aries wind vane. Again, my good friend Rob of Changing Spots was there to help.

As I tried to pull off the old boomkin I found that with just a screwdriver I could pick away most of the starboard boomkin timber. Here's a picture of it. I've laid the almost intact port boomkin board with spacer on top of the starboard boomkin board for comparison.

I applied several coats of epoxy to the timbers to help protect them from the water. Of course didn't do it right. The epoxy blushed terribly. A couple coats of varnish to protect the epoxy and I called it done.

Then I spent several days reattaching all the hardware and equipment.

While the Aries was on deck I decided to do a rebuild. It was all jammed up again (last rebuilt was three years ago). I had to pull it apart and relieve the tightness of the main bearings on the main shaft. I think it worked out ok.