Page 1 of 1

Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Fri Nov 11, 2022 9:17 am
by mmeredith
I'm working with accomplished sailor and boat-builder, James Baldwin, on refitting and modifying a 1980 Cape Dory 36 for offshore voyaging. Simplicity and seaworthiness is the overriding theme, and we've made good progress in the one-year project.

So far, we've removed the diesel engine and fuel tank; built a new outboard engine well in the transom that can accommodate either an electric or gas outboard; converted the wheel steering to tiller steering; built a watertight compartment for the rudder shaft with easy access hatches for inspection or repairs; plugged ten unnecessary through-hulls and removed the seacocks; sealed an additional seven unneeded holes above the water line; removed the propeller and sealed the aperture between hull and rudder; rebuilt the port and starboard cockpit lockers to make them watertight; replaced the cockpit sole and reversed the angle of slope so that drainage is to the aft rather than forward; removed the standard marine head, electric macerator, waste tank and associated y-valve and hoses; removed electric water pumps for the galley sink and head sink; removed the water heater installed between the diesel engine and rudder shaft; redesigned and rebuilt the chain locker; replaced the original small anchor with a 45 lb. Rocna and the rope rode with 150 feet of 3/8" chain plus 100 feet of new rope; added a secondary anchor and third anchor; added a manual windless; removed unnecessary fittings on the foredeck and transom and repositioned the bow cleats; built watertight lockers in the v-berth; cut multiple new hatches in the cabin and v-berth sole to provide easy access from bow to aft; replaced the sole in the v-berth; removed most of the electrical wiring; installed a dodger; and begun replacing the running rigging.

Work still remaining includes replacement of the standing rigging; replacement of the sails; design and construction of a new battery compartment to accommodate the house battery and two 48v lithium ion batteries for the electric outboard; redo of all the electrical wiring; installation of a Monitor wind vane and a Raymarine autopilot; installation of solar panels and supporting arch over the cockpit; installation of a marine compost head; and installation of manual pumps for galley and head sinks.

This is the first boat I've owned, and I was not particularly handy before starting this project. So, it's been a steep learning curve, to put it mildly. However, with James' guidance, it's been a great experience, and I can't wait to have the boat back in the water and under sail. Below are a few shots of our progress so far.
CD36 Pretty Pic (1).jpeg
CD36 Diesel Removal (1).jpeg
CD36 Diesel Compartment (1).jpeg
CD36 Cockpit Sole & Engine Well (3).jpeg
CD36 Prop Aperture (3).jpeg
CD36 Thru-hulls (2).jpeg
CD36 V-berth Sole (3).jpeg
CD36 Chain Locker (2).jpeg
CD36 V-berth Lockers & Chain Locker (1).jpeg
CD36 Windlass & Foredeck (1).jpeg

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Sat Nov 12, 2022 7:27 pm
by pmnfernando
she is a beauty!!
nice work

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Mon Nov 14, 2022 9:16 pm
by lsheaf
Looking good!
How big is the electric motor you’re installing?
I’m sure a boat that size requires some serious thrust to get her going.


Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Wed Nov 23, 2022 10:02 am
by svbreeze
Nice modifications. Can you post some more pics of the wheel to tiller conversion. How does the tiller tie into the rudder post? Very interested in following along as you continue the mods.


Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 9:47 pm
by mmeredith
Thanks for the comments!

The tiller connects directly to the rudder post with a bronze tiller head fitting. We ordered the fitting from Edson Marine. Also, we had a steel key made for the key way by a local machining shop. Getting the final fit right for the key was one of the trickiest parts of the installation, but it's worked out nicely. We created an initial tiller from laminated plywood for test purposes, and I'll keep it onboard as a spare. We've tested the tiller already, and it works like a charm. To me, it provides a more direct and intuitive feel for the rudder and steering action than the wheel that was installed before. Our last step is to craft the final tiller, likely from mahogany. I've included a few photos below.
Tiller Photo (1).jpeg
Tiller Photo (2).jpeg
Tiller Photo (3).jpeg
Tiller Photo (4).jpeg
Tiller Photo (5).jpeg
For the motor, I have a 6kW ePropulsion Navy 6.0 electric outboard, which is 9.9 HP equivalent. The battery will be the ePropulsion E175 lithium iron phosphate battery (8960 Wh ⁄ 48 V). I will do initial trials with a single battery but may add another to increase the range. In addition, I have a Tohatsu 9.8HP gas outboard with extra long shaft (25"), which fits in the engine well, and I will have the option to keep it onboard as a backup motor. We've not done sea trials with the electric motor yet, but we did extensive trials with the gas-powered Tohatsu, and it worked well. We covered a 17-mile stretch in relatively flat water and averaged 5-plus knots. For my purposes, this speed will be sufficient. An added benefit of the outboard is that we can generate side thrust by turning the engine in the well, and this allows for easier maneuvering in tight quarters.

I hope this is helpful!!

Cheers -

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Mon Nov 28, 2022 11:04 pm
by svbreeze
Thanks for the update and details. The conversion looks great. I wasn't sure if the tiller steering tied into the existing steering quadrant somehow. Glad to know it bolts directly to the rudder post.

Keep posting your project, it's great to see the upgrades you're making.

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2022 12:10 pm
by Vince124
Wow, nice progress! Good choice converting to tiller. I did the same with a pedestal that a previous owner installed and just in time too. I found a hidden crack under the quadrant that almost certainly would have come apart at the worst possible time.

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Thu Dec 08, 2022 9:05 am
by mmeredith
Thanks again for the comments and feedback.

You make an interesting point about possible use of the original quadrant for tiller steering. As it turns out, we are using the quadrant, but not for the steering action, which is direct from tiller to rudder shaft. Instead we're using the quadrant as part of our mechanism to set the outer range of motion for tiller movement. If the tiller is pushed hard either to port or starboard, it will turn freely until it comes to a hard stop just before it hits the cockpit bench. We used the quadrant as part of our solution to build in this hard stop.

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2023 2:47 pm
by mmeredith
Since my last update, James and I have completed the refit, aside from a few small projects I will wrap up shortly. The overall effort took about fourteen months, including eight months on the hard at a nearby boatyard and the remainder at dock.

Since my last posting, we have installed a Monitor windvane self-steering system; installed a Pelagic autopilot; installed a Tower-in-a-Box solar arch over the stern; installed two 200-watt solar panels on the solar arch; replaced both electric panels and all AC and DC wiring throughout the boat; installed two new depth sounders; installed new cockpit instruments, including a new compass and the displays for the ePropulsion Navy 6.0 electric motor, the Raymarine depth sounder, and the Pelagic autopilot; replaced the tricolor and anchor light; replaced all plumbing, including installation of manual pumps for head and galley sinks and internal drainage hoses and valves for the chain locker, watertight cockpit lockers, and watertight compartment surrounding the rudder shaft; installed above-water through-hulls for manual and electric bilge drainage; installed two new seacocks, one for galley sink drainage and one for galley sink raw water intake; installed a new lightning ground plate on the hull and ground cables connected to mast and shrouds; added two hundred pounds of additional ballast in the bilge, consisting of 125 pounds of lead bars and 75 pounds of lead pellets, and sealed the ballast in polyester resin; rebuilt the head, including installation of a dry compost head, reconstruction and repainting of cabinets and stowage areas, painting of grey non-skid on the sole, and installation of a ventilation fan.

If that wasn’t enough, we also repositioned and re-bedded all deck fittings, including blocks for mainsail and staysail; replaced and re-bedded port and starboard handrails on the coach roof and re-bedded ceiling handrails in the main cabin; finished the rebuild of the cockpit area and engine well with fiberglass, fairing compound and epoxy paint; installed new flooring in the v-berth and galley to match the teak and holly pattern in the main cabin; replaced the bobstay; replaced the forestay and the jib furler with a Harken Mark IV unit 1; sanded the bottom and painted it with two coats of hard coat anti-fouling paint followed by three coats of ablative paint; plugged and painted multiple unneeded holes in the transom and stern area; finished the transom with new coats of primer and marine paint; installed new Formica on the galley counters; reconstructed the watertight seals in the port and starboard locker covers using thickened epoxy and rubber gasket; primed and painted the entire cockpit and stern area with two-part epoxy paint; painted with 2000E epoxy primer all interior and exterior lockers, including a new locker under the port berth where the waste tank had been located, a new locker where the diesel engine had been located, and the port and starboard cockpit lockers; rebuilt the linen closet and painted the interior with 2000E epoxy primer; installed starboard and port chainplates on the stern hull exterior to attach a drogue; installed watertight Beckson plates in the starboard and port cockpits to allow access to the battery compartment and other watertight cockpit compartments; installed knock-down proof latches in all seven floorboards below deck and barrel bolts on other doors and panels for same purpose; built and installed a new mahogany tiller; removed, refinished, and re-bedded all teak on and around the sea hood; repainted the sea hood; revarnished the teak around the companionway; installed a new winch for the staysail sheets; and raised the gooseneck four inches to provide more head clearance in the cockpit for the boom.

Given all the work outlined above, the refit itself has been quite a journey. Recently, the focus has shifted back to sailing, and the boat has been performing wonderfully. Not surprisingly, we’ve had a few small kinks to work out, but overall, the outcome has exceeded my expectations. In the days ahead, I’m looking forward to enjoying more time on the water with the new SV Swan.

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2023 3:31 pm
by mmeredith
Here are some photos showing the refit project and results:

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Wed Oct 11, 2023 3:34 pm
by mmeredith
Here are a few more:

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Thu Oct 26, 2023 1:19 am
by pmnfernando
looking very good!!

the only thing i really cant get onboard with is the arch. it ruins the boat lines imo.

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Sat Oct 28, 2023 8:51 am
by atomvoyager
That may be so but what is the alternative on this boat when you require a large solar array due to electric propulsion and house load needs? The arch also turned out to be a good hand hold at sea, sun awning attachment point, and for hoisting motors in and out. To me in this case, form must follow function.

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2023 12:31 am
by pmnfernando
i reckon you can get a 200 watt semi flexible solar panel on top of the coach roof.
if you bring the arch height down to in between the boom and the existing dodger you get yourself at a height for a solid bimini whose width may indeed follow the sheerline countour (top view) of the hull for the lenght you deem necesseary to accomodate for more panels.

photonic universe sells semi flexible panels, their biggest model sits at 330 watts and their foot print is 1917 x 1020mm.
it may be possible to fit 2. which would bring your total wattage to 860 watts. i couldnt understand where the mainsheet is placed because that is a potential deal breaker on my idea as it would have to in front of the dodger for the thing to work

i have no idea about the requeriments for this boat, maybe this wouldnt be enough,
im curious about how much power you need to run it.

you could also go for a couple, smaller, "wing" panels placed at the very aft of the boat on the guardrail.

its not that im a form over function guy, but there are specific things where aesthetics really messes with me!

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2023 8:59 am
by atomvoyager
Thanks for the ideas. I also would prefer a solar solution with cleaner lines, but as mentioned, we needed the hoisting point for the motors and the handhold in rough seas is a bonus. Also, this is the best location, high and aft, to minimize shading and not obstruct the cockpit at all. We considered something similar to your expanded dodger/bimini mount but the owner is tall and didn't want head level obstructions in the cockpit. We decided against rail mounted panels to avoid reducing visibility looking out the hatch on watch and being too low to survive breaking seas that may come aboard. But I can see how someone with different priorities could prefer the hard dodger/bimini and it would be interesting to come up with a design compromise to make that work. The coach roof has surprisingly little unobstructed space for a solar panel other than 50 watts on the seahood, and while every little bit helps, shading is an issue. I've tried placing flexible panels on a canvas dodger, but in practice, most semi-flexible panels are too fragile and don't last a year there. Truly flexible CIGS panels could be another solution in some locations, if they made one short enough to fit the space available.

As for power needed, there is no amount of solar that would fit this boat to allow it to motor at even half throttle of 3KW under solar only with a depleted battery or allow rapid recharge so we just put as large an array as seems practical.

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Sun Oct 29, 2023 9:03 pm
by pmnfernando
i understand the difficulties with the owner being tall, and the need for higher hoisting points, those really impose on the final solution.

on my boat im going to use the cabin top as a anchoring site for the panel. shading will be an issue as it always is at this location. since im running the lines back aft it is true i wont have unbstructuted area to place the panel, so the solution is to raise it, allowing lines underneath and also some cooling, this way you can play with the majority of the area, protect the lines being led aft and also get a shielding effect from the sun on the interior because a raised panel creates a gap and takes the brunt of the sun. it is also good for their efficiency as they will be cooling much better.

i guess we will have to wait a few more years for batttery technology, solar harnessing and regen to enable a much self suficient vessel,

Re: Refit and Modifications to a Cape Dory 36

Posted: Sat Nov 25, 2023 3:34 pm
by Redwood1957
You picked the right man for this job.
Looks great.
I only wish I was 12 and lived next door to him.