The Transom

When we first brought Leda home she still had a Sailomat self steering wind vane bolted on to the back of her graceful counter.  I call this a “transom”.  Dooley always referred to it as the “tuck”.   The Sailomat can be seen hanging off the “tuck” in the photo below.  

 It is a marvelous piece of gear, robustly made.  But at some point it had come into contact with something hard enough to crack all the planking in Leda’s transom.  The wind vane itself suffer little, with the exception of some scarring on the bottom of the stainless steel rod and projects from the bottom of the gear box for the attachment of the rudder.  The actual object it impacted was a floating concrete breakwater.  No need to go into that here.

We had taken it off when we stripped the rest of the gear off and I spent some time trying to decide what to do about the cracked planking.  Ultimately it was decided to replace it rather than try to patch it up.  

I’ve not put the Sailomat back on as it isn’t much needed for sailing around Southeast Alaska.  That and it doesn’t really look that good hanging off the graceful counter stern.  I am somewhat vain about my boat’s appearance.  Having it hanging off the back of the boat for show is not my style.  Most people don’t know what it is anyway.  But, I still have it stored away as it would come in right handy on a Trans-Pacific crossing.  So, should I want to bolt it back on, it seemed that a good sturdy transom to mount it on would be of importance.  Patching together the original planking did not fit this criteria.

The damaged transom is removed

In the photo above we can see that there is plenty of timber.  This had been put together with 1/2-inch copper rod.  If my memory is correct the ends that I exposed had been peened into heads and were left standing proud when the inner planking was removed.  I was able to cut or grind the ends off and then run a hole saw down over the bolt to cut a recess.  These were threaded and tightened up with a silicone bronze nut.  

It was decided to use okume 6mm plywood to construct a new transom.  First two sheets were laminated to form the inner skin.

Inner “plank” is fitted.  Outer ready to go in.

Four layers of  ply were laminated for the outer skin.  These would have been laminated in place after being fitted.  I used deck screws for clamping pressure, then took it apart and treated these like two planks when it was assembled.

Leda, ready for haul out in summer of 1995

The transom can be seen in place in the photo above, ready for paint and perhaps a Sailomat wind vane.

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