In this second post about modifications and upgrades I’m going to go over the changes that were made to make the boat stronger and safer.
All Lines Running Aft
Using a few blocks, a deck organizer, and pair of rope clutches, the main halyard, topping lift, and the reef lines were run back to the helm. Additionally one of the small winches was removed from the mast and relocated to the helm.
This allows raising and lowering of the mainsail, as well as reefing without leaving the comfort and safety of the cockpit.
The buoyancy chambers, which on many Geminis have a tendency to collect water, were filled with USCG approved closed cell foam. This serves 2 purposes. First there’s no chance they’ll ever fill with water. Secondly they now also serve as crash chambers.
If were cruising offshore and hit something, such as those partially submerged containers you always hear about, even if it took a giant chunk out of the boat, the foam would help absorb some of the shock, and likely keep the water out, and save us from sinking. I even poured some foam into the bottom of the rudder compartments. This doesn’t add to the safety of the boat, but since this area is exposed to the water, it allows less water to collect there, which reduces growth in that area.
More Foam…And Headliner
The false wall in the closet in the master cabin was permanently sealed with fiberglass tape, and that area was filled with foam as well, as you can see in these photos. Although it wasn’t for safety purposes, I should probably mention one of other modifications we made, since you can see it in these photos.
All of the headliner was removed throughout the entire boat, and the walls were then painted. The paint is easier to clean, doesn’t collect moisture or mildew, and doesn’t get sticky like that nasty vinyl that Geminis come with.
Before the 105MC Geminis didn’t come with bilge pumps, so as recommended by most pros, I installed 2 small Rule 500 automatic pumps at the lowest point in the bilge. Then higher up, underneath both aft bunks, I installed much larger Rule 3700 automatic pumps, in case of a real emergency.
The hoses are routed through the same location as the steering cables, through the aft lockers, and then into the open rudder compartments, so there was no need to drill and install additional thru hulls. Fortunately, our bilge is usually pretty dry, so I rarely even need to run the pumps.
2 tubes forming an X were welded across the davits, and 2 additional lines with blocks were added, converting them to a 4 point lift system, as opposed to the 2 point lift you see on most boats. This adds much more stability, and the dinghy barely even moves, which allows us to cruise further and in rougher conditions without needing to pull the dinghy on deck.
When the time came to replace the lifelines, I removed them all and instead had rails welded across the tops of the stanchions. Powerboats all have rails, so I never understood why sailboats just use cable. A rail gives you something much more solid to hold onto while moving up and down the deck.
That’s it for the safety improvements, with the exception of maybe my emergency reverse lock. But if you really want to be bored with reverse lock problems and solutions, there are thousands of posts on the Gemini Yahoo group about that. In the final post, I’ll talk about the convenience and comfort modifications.