Westsail 32 Bowsprit Installation – Part 2

So, it seems like everything I do on a boat takes 3 times longer than the work I’ve done anywhere else on anything else. Am I the only one with this experience?

The morning after my posting of Part 1, I got up and starting working my butt away at the issues that need addressing before the bowsprit goes on SV Rad Mode. The next steps in this process and the ones that will be covered in Part 2 here are…

  1. Fitting the V-berth bulkhead and drilling out both it and the sampson posts it will be bolted to.
  2. Sanding and then sealing all drilled holes and other appropriate surfaces with wood penetrating epoxy.
  3. Prepping the stainless bowsprit itself for installation.
  4. You being forced to deal with whatever other topics I decide to blab about in this post.

First things first, do we have all of the hardware we need once the holes are drilled? Also, checking hardware is going to help keep us from making mistakes when it comes to drilling holes. I mean hell, epoxy isn’t cheap and I’d rather drill a hole right the first time if I can help it.

We busted out a box of brass hardware that came with SV Rad Mode and after looking through the plans on westsailparts.com, we found what we were looking for. Both the bolts for the bulkhead to sampson post connection, the bolts for the bowsprit to deck connection, plus the bowsprit to sampson post connection. That was a mouthful.

Big, beautiful bronze bolts! BRAND NEW!
Never hurts to have access to the plans…
Eh, carbide bit will work for the sampson posts and bulkhead.

Since we found the hardware we were looking for, I just had to go stick the bolt in the hole.


Any good man would have to do that so that’s exactly what I did. I skipped over to the bowsprit, brand new 40 year-old, 1/2″-13 by 10″ LONG bronze bolt shining in my hand, ready to stick this big ‘ol thing in a little hole. I exhaled slowly as I stuck it in and…wait…something wasn’t right…the hole was really sloppy. MY BOLT WAS TOO SMALL! This had never happened before. Suddenly, I felt terribly inadequate and immediately began contemplating self-destructive thoughts when I realized it was just a bolt. OK, I can handle that.


I couldn’t get it all in.

Westsail plans be damned, our aftermarket bowsprit was not only made to take 5/8″ bolts (a plus in the long run) but also wasn’t ready to take a carriage bolt. There was no way to recess it in the stainless tube since the square bit under the head wouldn’t fit in the hole. That’s OK. We’d just have to get some bigger bolts. And that’s what we did. I already had concerns about metal compatibility between bronze and stainless but the bad fit sealed that deal. We ordered four 5/8″ stainless bolts along with the other hardware from a dock supply company. They were less than $8 a piece. DEAL. The only down side was that it was going to take a week for them to get here. Sorry, folks. We just don’t have the budget for over-nighting parts.

Anyways, it was time to keep this project rolling and now that we’d solved our hardware issues, I busted out the drill and drilled out the bulkhead and hit it with the sander pretty good. After that, I sanded down the deck where the sampson posts go through it, sanded the spot in the bow beneath them, the part that had was just exposed marine ply, and then cleaned everything with denatured alcohol. Next, I took the sampson posts down to the shop here at the marina and, using their drill press, drilled out the sampson post holes. It was all looking good! We were ready for epoxy.


Kristina was all over that epoxy action. If there is anything I have learned about epoxy and fiberglassing, it’s that my wife can do it twice as fast and even then, twice as good as me. I’m better than her at other things though. You know, like internet surfing knife forums, picking out good beers, and waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Hey, we all have our strong points.

The only epoxy that got spilled was spilled by me. On our cushion. And I wasn’t even epoxying….
Tearin’ it up!
Yup. That’s the unfinished V-berth we’ve been sleeping in. Glorious if you ask me. Kind of like sleeping in a man-made cave.

So she tore it up on epoxy hard and fast, just the way I like it, and didn’t skip a beat. It was all looking good and was time to finish cleaning up the bowsprit. We carried it out to the park and put it up on sawhorses so it would be easier to work with.

Before getting to work on the bowsprit.

I’d acquired or purchased numerous different options that I thought would help shine this bad boy up and bring it back to what I initially assumed would have been it’s former stainless bowsprit glory days. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that it had never really been shined up all of the way. The texture was more like unfinished stainless than something that had been buffed up. Look, I want to bring his damn boat into a dock and have people shielding their eyes like the sun itself is sailing in. Yeah, I’ll be wearing some serious sunglasses but whatever. It will be a cool moment. So I went through a lot of different approaches to see what had best effect.


It turns out that the grinder with a “fine” finishing pad for metal (middle left pic) was probably the most effective without removing much material. Following that up with an old school metal polish with a rag after that and it looked pretty good. I did a test spot where the bowsprit would be against the deck and, satisfied with my test, I moved on to hit the whole with with the grinder and that grinding pad. First, I had to take the rest of the hardware off of it…

GOPR8576.JPGIt was fairly easy to get everything else off of the bowsprit and the condition of things was mostly good. There were a handful of spots on the bowsprit itself that had some pitting. It’s not really bad but has potential. Being new to dealing with stainless pitting on something as integral a part as this to a boat, anyone that has any advice, please comment. I’ll be spending part of tomorrow trying to decide what to do from here.

Pitting is to the right of the tube. There were a couple of spots worse that this one but the pics didn’t come out.

While I worked on getting the bowsprit ready for the next decade on SV Rad Mode, Kristina worked away at removing any trace amounts of rust or varnish that was on the other hardware. With no stress fractures and no pitting, a decent amount of the hardware on the bowsprit appeared to be serviceable and we would use it again on Rad Mode.

A couple of hours later, after removing everything on the bowsprit and hitting the whole thing with the “fine” pad on the grinder. I was ready to call it for the evening and go have myself a cheap glass of red wine. Work had been done and there was plenty more on the morrow. There would be no good sense in building a boat in one day.

I hope you all enjoyed Part 2! Part 3 is probably about a week out since I am waiting for parts. In the meantime, please check out our Youtube channel and consider supporting us on Patreon. Subscribe, share, and like if you see anything you enjoyed. Thanks for reading and goodnight for now!






2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jay Bietz says:

    You are making great progress… I should be able to drop by your boat Sunday afternoon — say after 1:00 PM. Will you be in the area?


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