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CS-20 MK 1 Number 36

Andy B

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Today my new-to me CS-20 arrived in my driveway.  Here's a bit I wrote before the boat arrived regarding the boat and my purchase.


Well, I’ve finally taken the Core Sound plunge and purchased a new boat.  It’s a CS-20 MK1.

The boat is number 36 and was built 2002- 2003 by Terry Dunn, who occasionally posted here.  He first built a Spindrift 10 as practice.  The CS-20 has completed four Texas 200 races.  It was last sailed five years ago.  Terry lives in Colorado, so it was some time before I was able to get the boat to me in Michigan.

Here’s a bit of why I purchased this boat.  The Core Sound is interesting to me because I currently own a cat-ketch without standing rigging, a Sea Pearl 21.  I love the simplicity of the Sea Pearl.  However, in the three years of my ownership two of the boat’s drawbacks are beginning to grow on me.  The first is the tippy-ness.  You just can’t escape that in a narrow double ender.  It’s particularly bothersome when I have a number of my large family in the boat.  The wider CS with a regular transom will be, I hope, a lot more comfortable for us.  The second is the lack of recoverability of the Sea Pearl.  It’s a concern for me sailing in colder waters with my kids.  I had a bad experience with a Sea Pearl capsize and it’s always in the back of my mind when I sail it.  I know that no boat is perfect and I am not saying I can sail a CS-20 like a Sunfish, but the recoverability and the designer’s focus on safety is reassuring.  I do want to get a mast float.

So, why the open 20 version of the CS?  It took some time waiting for one.  I honestly don’t care for the looks of the MK3 (sorry owners!), and most of my time is day sailing, so the open boat is the best choice.  The 20 over the 17 or 15 is due to my larger family.  Yes 4-5 can fit on a 17, but not much room to move around (that’s my thought, anyway).

This particular CS-20 MK1 popped up on Craigslist Denver, priced for a song.  He has described his boat as “a little rough around the edges”, building was “a satisfying adventure”, and “I am not a craftsman at all but my boats do float”.  I was a little leery on reading this, but the boat has done some significant sailing, specifically four Texas 200 events.  I contacted the owner and learned a few facts and sent the purchase price, sight unseen.  Here is what I know about it so far:

Most of the boat is ¼” Okuome plywood.  The bottom panels are 3/8” marine Douglas Fir.  I spoke with Alan about the lower panels.  He said the use of thicker panels on the bottom is just fine, and the Doug fir is good because it is fiberglassed.

The trailer is not really made for this boat.  It is a 1987 trailer with 14” regular car tires.  It’s heavy.  However, it has been from Denver to TX four times, once to Lake Superior, and once to WA.  That’s a lot of miles!  I really like my light Continental Trailer for my Sea Pearl, and a trailer upgrade is likely someday.

It has two sets of sails.  Both, I think, are multi-colored—blue and white stripes.  I’m not a fan, but my wife and kids like the pictures.  My wife doesn’t like “boring”!  The boat itself is bright-finished.  I’d much prefer painted, but that means me doing manual labor, so we’ll see about that!

An interesting element is that it has two sail plans.  Terry made lug sails for this boat.  I am not really interested in that, but I may try them out.  If I don’t try them or don’t like them I’ll see if I can sell or donate them.

I believe the original (standard) rig has masts that are a bit taller than specified—22 feet instead of 21’7”?  That concerns me some—the idea of a cat-ketch is to lower the load, so having the sails hoisted higher in the air defeats that.  But maybe five inches doesn’t matter.  Again something I’ll have to experiment with.

Overall, at this price the boat was too good to pass on.  If it is a fit for me I will keep it and decide what to do with the Sea Pearl. If it isn’t a fit for me I think I can sell it for what I’ve put into it.marine

What’s in a name?  The boat does not have a name.  Terry, hopefully self-deprecatingly, said he should have named it “Oops” because that was the most common word out of his mouth in the building process.  If I decide to keep it long term I’ll be looking for a new name.

By the way, transport was great.  I used U-ship to get a big from Denver to northern Indiana for $1,200.  I started communicating with the driver and his next shipment was, believe it or not, in northern Michigan, so for a few extra he brought it to my driveway!

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Here is the arrival inspection report. 


It is indeed rough around the edges, literally and figuratively.  The varnish is rough in many spots.  And there are exposed screw holes that were never filled with epoxy.  However, this boat is pretty well spec'd out with equipment. 


Wow, this model seems much bigger than my Sea Pearl and has so much storage!

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Now the bad news.  The rear seat hatch and both side hatches had water in them.  The rear was nearly completely full, and the sides a few inches. 


The rear hatch was full of miscellaneous supplies, including a GPS and radios which I assume are now ruined.  I didn't even know those were coming, so I'm not mad, but it was disappointing.  The side hatches had the sails in them so I am glad we got them out and they are drying in my yard as we speak. 


I am assuming the hatches took in water while the cover was off during transport.  The driver said he went through a big storm, two hours of wiper blades on full.  There was a LOT of water in the rear hatch, it's hard for me to imagine that much water coming in during one storm.  On the other hand, the water was rather fresh, not like it had been in an enclosed (but not watertight) hatch for days or weeks. 


Right now the hatches have been drained (buckets and sponge) and everything is drying out in my yard.


This is all a bit discouraging, but I knew for the price I was paying there would be some issues.


EDIT: see pictures in post below.


Edited by Andy B
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I’m happy to hear that it is in your driveway.  Wow!  That’s a lot of water in the lazarette.  (That’s what I call it, anyway.). The good news is that all that varnish can be scuffed up and painted.  It’ll be a lot lower maintenance.  Keep an eye on the interior side of that fir plywood.  I built a boat a long time ago using fir.  It is slowly returning to nature— death by checking!  IMG_2363.thumb.jpeg.bf8435e4aa94c611dfd15d652e90cb0b.jpeg

If this process begins, you need to sand it down and glass the interior.  Note that on this boat I glassed the bottom, and it is just fine.


I have a GPS exactly like that one.  Garmin says they are waterproof, and float.  You just gave yours the acid test!


Knowing the size of your Sea Pearl and this boat, I knew you’d be awed by all the room.  I’m happy to see that it has a boarding ladder.  That’ll be great for swimming and reboarding after capsize.


Welcome to the family!

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Congrats Andy. The CS20 is a big boat. For some reason I can't see your pictures which is a bummer. 


The first time I saw a CS20 was on the Chesapeake bay and the owner Brett was throwing crab traps while sailing comfortably while I was tucked in WidCat's little aft cockpit in amazement. I haven't sailed in one though. My CS20.3 is a descendant of that design and has water ballast. Even without it it's very stable, so I think you'll enjoy. I do miss the light air ability of Wildcat and the quick rigging, but I don't miss the tenderness.


If you buy a new trailer, look at my thread and get the Continental I bought for Skeena. It's perfect. I had mine shipped from Florida using U-Ship and it was really easy to get it adjusted for the boat.  

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  • Andy B changed the title to CS-20 MK 1 Number 36

Thanks to Don's tip I found what I believed to be the hatch manufacture by browsing hatches.  I then measured my hatches and looked up the patent numbers to confirm that they are made by Tempress, which is still in business and answered my email.


I am ordering a replacement latch and also gaskets for each hatch (3).  I am guessing the reason they took in water is old/dry gaskets, and it's the easiest fix to start with.

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This past weekend Don Silsbe was kind enough to drop by.  He was in Michigan camping with family and made a trip to my place to help me sort out what I have and don't have.  Don is really knowledgeable and I appreciate his help!  I wish I had snapped a picture.


Most importantly I realized I don't have the rigging for the sails.  The prior owner, it seems, had switched exclusively to his lug sail set up.  Roughly, I need to order from B&B sheets for both sails, snotter rigging, and rigging for the mizzen sail.  I think everything else is there, or can be cobbled together from the existing hardware.  Frustratingly I have a very large pile of hardware from the prior owner but very little that is usable for what I need (with the caveat that perhaps someone else could figure out how to jury-rig it together but that's not me).


Sunday I spent time getting rid of the lug sail set up.  It seemed a shame to take apart all that work, but I don't have the storage space, it is in the way in the boat, and I need to simplify.  I thought about trying to sell it as a system, but the time involved and shipping, etc, is too much.  I recycled the aluminum, saved the hardware, and I will exchange the sails at a neat store that makes bags and other novelties out of used sails.  www.seabags.com


Now I need to study the rigging page in the plans and call B&B to see what I need.


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Well, mixed progress today. I went through the boat with the rigging diagram Alan provided to me. I feel like I’ve got a better handle on what I have and what I need. I will place an order with Alan tomorrow. 

I tested the hatches, the bedding compound does not let water in. We replaced a latch, but in doing so needed to test the original latch and ended up breaking that!  At least we will know how to replace the second one I just ordered!


I’m glad to have helpers with me!



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  • 3 weeks later...

This weekend I did my first real project on this boat.  The prior owner had switched to using his home-made lug rig almost exclusively, and he pirated most of the hardware for that, I think.  I needed to put on the hardware for the normal rig.  I had purchased from Alan (1) main and mizzen sheets, (2) mizzen sheet hardware, (3) and snotter hardware for both main and mizzen.


I had suspected that the main sheet hardware was there, or at least I could use what was installed for now.  My project this weekend was the mizzen sheet hardware.  I installed two blocks on the top of the transom, two fairleads along side the edges, and then a cleat for the sheet.  That’s sixteen holes for someone who has never purposely put a hole in his boat, ever!  It was a good learning project. 


Note the main sail set up is usable, that saved me a lot of money.  You can see all the extra hardware there for the lug sail.  I’ll leave it for now, I am not taking anything off the boat until I’ve had a chance to use it and make sure I don’t need or want it.



Random thoughts:

It’s great to be able to order hardware through B&B.  I’ll do it in the future, as it is easy and also is (I hope) a financial help to B&B since I didn't purchase the original plans or kit and yet they've offered plenty of help.

The sheets have a great hand feel, very nice.  I wish I had separate colors for the main and mizzen.  As it is, it looks like a giant nest of blue rope.  It would also be nice when sailing with novices to be able to tell them which color to grab.

Butyl tape, which I used for all the fittings, is nice to use, even fun.  I still don’t have the hang of not using too much!

The stern ladder is great!  I know it’s a safety feature, but it’s also very useful just getting in and out of the boat on the trailer.

B&B’s plans are awesome, so detailed, thanks Alan!

It’s neat to work on your own boat, even though it’s nerve wracking.  I’ll never be a master craftsman, so don’t look close, but it’s mine!

On the other hand, this took me a few hours, including purchasing screws and butyl tape.  I can’t imagine the dedication and time to build your own boat!





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