Preventative Maintenance and Performance Modifications Keep K-38 and Her Captain Sailing

As submitted by Howard on November 22, 2000

Well, I'm going through an attack of indecisiveness re whether to refinish the bottom and topsides of Shadowfax, or sell her. I think I'll never be able to let her go. I went down to check her out after she had been hauled out on a marine railway cradle and decided it was time to refinish the white paint in her interior. I had completely redone it the first year after I purchased her while slipped at Emeryville. Then I hauled her out at Errickson's and completely refinished her exterior, bottom, topsides, boot cap, all the bright work was wooded, stained with mahogany red stain, then refinished with six coats of the best varnish, including the mast and boom.

Later that year I hauled her again at South Bay Boat Yard in Oakland, had her tank pulled out, all her main frames sistered with iron wood from Africa, (hasn't leaked since!) the tank steam cleaned, and the engine tuned and reinstalled.

Some years later I traded the old six-volt 20 hp Gray Marine for a brand new one of 25 hp, and rewired the entire boat for a 12 volt system. The natural gas bottle fuel to the galley was already installed, but I had that completely overhauled and "tuned." Recently I had a brand new stove installed.

Then I refinished the entire interior, overhead in white, mahogany house red stained, then varnished-five coats, new curtains on special Marine slides, tailor made and installed, (White with two red horizontal stripes along top and bottom-very attractive). I then threw out the old spring mattresses forward and in the center cabin and had new ones made with a dark red vinyl cover. The old cockpit cushions finally wore out so a year ago I had new one made covered in off-white leather like vinyl with a dark red beading all around the edges. I had five two-foot square cushions made as backrests for the cabin bunks so that you can sit in the cabin and lean back comfortably against the cushions. They are held on frames by hook and loop "Velcro" so are easily taken off and stowed or for use outside.

I refinished the head recently, replacing the internal pump in the head itself, the hoses, the pump-out, etc.

I installed a VHF mast at the mast head and a new VHF radio-telephone several years ago and get excellent range with it. For the trip down to San Diego I had a depth sounder installed. It is working beautifully. I wonder how I ever lived without one?

I can store the anchor on the fore deck flat with stays and tie-downs, or off the forward pulpit ready for use in a minute. I used to carry two anchors, but have only one now, with thirty feet of chain, and two-hundred feet of 5/8ths nylon line.

I told you about the modification I made to the folding dining table. It works like a charm and frees up leg room beneath. I love the way I can take it out of the boat, or stow it forward by releasing just two wing nuts and bolts!

I designed and constructed a removable mahogany bookcase with sliding rosewood doors and a shelf, on the cabin Port side at the head bulkhead. It's great, and can be removed for all-out racing by releasing five screws!

I have an small portable electric heater to warm the boat when we stay aboard in chilly weather. The lighting inside is three-fold: four twelve volt lights, one over the galley, one over the dining table, one in the head, and one on the forward master bunk bulkhead.

I have two twelve volt electric horns, but haven't installed them as I still haven't figured out where or how to do it outside without interfering with sail handling. I have a two-million candle power spotlight for finding unfamiliar harbor entrances, etc, and use the same outlet for a small portable twelve volt vacuum cleaner we carry aboard to please my wife.

I put sliding rosewood doors over the galley sink and over the ice box where we keep our nautical dinner service and rum etc. I always keep a case or two of German St. Pauli Girl beer in the ice box, and rarely use ice. I've redone the icebox with fiberglass so it is strong and sound now.

Four years ago I spent $4,500.00 completely overhauling the engine, coolant system, carburetor, fuel pump and filter, and replaced the stainless steel water manifold with a new one exactly like the original except for use of a length of flexible stainless tubing wrapped with fiberglass cloth at the engine manifold instead of the old Kettenburg "slip joint" to avoid transmitting engine vibration to the manifold. Works beautifully, better than the old slip joint which used to "leak" fumes.

Aft of the cockpit there is a traveller for the boom traveller to run on, adjustable of course. The backstay has a tensioner, which is a great advantage in getting maximum performance out of the boat on and off the wind. I think I already mentioned the boat is equipped with pulpits on the bow and stern, with life lines running fore and aft between.

I have the original mainsail, a North racing mainsail with a zippered foot for light airs or downwind speed, a 130 Ballas "lapper," a 150 Ballas foresail, two spinnakers, and a 55 sq. ft. Cheong Lee storm sail, ( a life saver in stormy seas). Then last year I had two new sails made by North here, a racing mainsail, cut for SF Bay with a zippered foot for light airs, and a 150 Genoa. These two sails have only been on the boat once-when the sailmaker tried them out to ensure they were cut right. They were! Most of my sails reside in my garage storage shelves safe and dry until needed. I keep a mainsail stored on the boom, covered with two covers, and a 130 lapper foresail stowed in a bag below.

Shadowfax looks beautiful when she's freshly painted and varnished...very "Yachty." And there are few sailboats on the Bay which can stay with her in a breeze!

God, I've loved that boat! Still do, I guess.