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Pete McCrary

Core Sound 20 Mk 3 -- #4 "Chessie" . .

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Pete, Nice job on all your boat alterations! I'm particularly interested in your OBM and motor well/mount. I've read and studied your pictures and plan to build something similar.  I haven't purchased an outboard for my CS  20 MK3 yet, I was hoping to get by with an electric trolling motor since I'm not fond of the noise and mess of gas. But I am coming to the realization that if I'm going to venture into near coastal waters and safely navigate high currents and shipping traffic I will need to be able to maneuver when the winds die. 


I am at the stage in my build just prior to installing the hatches and stringer material for the cockpit seating and I wanted to get my motor well mounted, my telescoping Garlick ladder mounted and backing supports for my eventual windvane. 


Therefore I will need to purchase an adequate outboard.  I was wondering if your OB was a Suzuki 4 or 5 hp ? I think they are basically the same overall dimensions? And if so does it fit and store inside your cockpit locker? I think I remember you saying it was a short shaft 15"? Is the wash plate below your transom? What are the dimensions of your well and height of OB mount above transom? 


Thanks, Mark 

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Chessie's Reboarding Ladder is finished, installed, and in-the-shop tested.  Here's what it looks like.






Deployed.  Notice that I followed Paul's advice and applied "no-skid" to both steps.



Left foot on bottom step -- torso mostly under water.  Ready to raise up.



Raising torso out of the water.  When in-the-water I might have to use both feet on the bottom step.



Left leg fully extended and torso completely out of the water.



Left foot just off the bottom step ready to raise it all the way up and over the transom.



Almost there.



Approximate force diagram for just one side of the ladder.  I consider 116 lbs sheer stress on the hinge is modest and will not be a problem for the strap hinge (well bedded) with #12 X 1" SS FHWS.  For the dry-fit I used 3/16" line.  It felt inadequate for the full 200 lb weight.  I went with 1/4" -- and it feels much more stable with less stretch.


Complete on-the-water testing at the end of the month.



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I'm all in on that free body diagram and your slide rule!  I was in about the last class in high school to use slide rules before scientific calculators became reasonable.  Yours is much nicer than my student rule.  

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Last weekend Chessie (with Catnip in-tow) attended the 78th Annual Regatta hosted by the Corsica River Yacht Club.  All are invited from all over the country and the races are organized by class.  Lots of Pinquins, Comets, Lazers, and several classes of Catamarans.  Also Catboats -- which is the class Chessie sails with.  They let me in because her front half looks like a "catboat,". But they don't know how to assign a "handicap" number.  So, I was hoping simply to come in FIRST by getting there first.


But it was not to be.  It was too hot and humid (~ 94, feel like 100 degrees).  Although I was drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol , by race time I was beginning to feel weak and light-headed.  So Chessie and I didn't start any races.  I decided to head for the ramp (and then home) after an on-the-water trial on the reboarding ladder.  I anchored in midriff-deep water and waded ashore -- looking to recruit someone to take a video of me using the ladder.  I did -- but it turned out poorly.  So, I'm limited to simply describing the experience.


Keeping my feet off the bottom, I easily managed to release the ladder from the transom.  The lower tread "floated" (might add weights).  However, by holding onto the transom with my right hand, I could lower the tread enough to place my left foot [on it] while keeping my right foot off-of-the-bottom.  Then, with both hands on the transom and left foot on the lower tread -- I could pull with my arms and push up with my left leg -- to a standing position [on the lower tread].  Then I could steady myself by holding onto the tiller (right hand) and the coaming (left hand).  Next, raise right leg up and place foot on the top tread.  The next step was quite difficult (for this 86 yr solo sailor): extend right leg while raising left leg up-and-over the transom -- keeping hold of the tiller (and the coaming after left leg on aft deck).  From there (keeping body CG low), the other leg brought over the transom and onto the aft cockpit seat or sole (can't remember which -- probably the sole to keep weight low).  A younger person would have a much easier time of it.


My opinion is that the ladder is much more effective than many SS folding ladders.  Mainly because the SS ladders have treads much narrower and right above each other.  The lower tread [on Chessie's ladder] is ~ 4" X 10" wide and extends aft of the upper tread, which has a width of about 6" X 8".  And Chessie's ladder has a low profile and is easily deployed from the water.


One of these days I'll have a competent partner who can document the boarding procedure in a video well-edited.  Patience.


CAUTIOUS NOTE:. The cruise ended (very poorly) after only one overnight (planned 2 0r 3).  I returned to the ramp by about 3pm (a 10 nm trip, 2.4 hrs by OBM).  Clear sky, little wind, lots of hot sun.  I was very tired -- near exhaustion.  The dock master allowed me to tie Chessie to an out-of-the-way slip while I resisted in the shade and tried to increase my intake of water.  After about a 40 minute rest, I started the recovery process.  It went well until cranking her onto the greased trough.  It was a hard crank [for me] and when finally on the trailer -- I was exhausted and light-headed.  I had to rest on the edge of the ramp for a good 5 minutes before moving the tow-rig up the ramp and under some shade.  Then the routine process of making the rig road-ready had to be interrupted with frequent rests (in the air conditioned pickup).  I dreaded the task of recovering Catnip and loading her halfs into Chessie's cockpit.  I was spared that ordeal by a Good Samaritan father and his two teenage sons.  Finally, all was road-ready -- but almost 8 pm!


I got underway, but within 15 miles (110 mile trip) I was having leg and hand cramps.  Stopped and retreated into a 7/11 air conditioned store and bought some cool water.  Walked around a bit and noticed that I had failed to stow two throw cushions (which were on top of the sliding hatch!).  A wounder they hadn't blowed off.  Stopped 20 minutes later for dinner -- felt much better 40 minutes later.  Didn't get home until 11:30 -- traffic was not congested, but very fast.  We thanked God for safe arrival.  Had leg cramps that night (up and stretching at least 5 times).  Next day very weak and wobbly.  Didn't feel right until Monday.


I keep telling myself: Don't sail on the Chesapeake in hot weather!  Just stay at home if the forecast is above 90 degrees.  If I don't follow my own rule -- one day I could just keel over on the Tarmac or forget something much more important than two throw cushions.

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FOLLOWING UP on my posting on Monday, July 29.


After trailering Chessie home Saturday night, I continued [my] physical recovery from near exhaustion thru Tuesday -- and on Wednesday I backed Chessie into her space in our garage.  In the process I noticed that the mizzen mast was not secured in her forward crutch -- and neither was either mast secured in the aft crutch (the one stepped in replacement of the mizzen mast).  The only thing holding the mainmast in place was its hinge and a line from the rudder cover up to the mast.  If the pickup and trailer had hit a big bump (e.g., uneven bridge surface, RR crossing, etc) -- it could have bounced the mizzen mast entirely off its transport crutches and onto the highway.  With likely disastereous consecqunces!


LESSON TO REMEMBER: Dehydration and exhaustion also affect brain function!  And although you may realize you're in a diminished mental state, it's too late -- awareness and extra concentration won't bring your brain up to standard.  The only real answer is to AVOID getting into that state OR avoid entirely working with potentially dangerous systems until fully recovered.  So, considering my age [86] and the demands of solo sailing and transporting a 20' sailboat --- Annie and I have decided


that my years of solo sailoring are near an end.  We plan a downsizing by selling Tattoo, Catnip, and the Tacoma tow vehicle (separately or all together) with a target date anytime from summer of '20 to the B & B Messabout in October 2020.  In the meantime, I'll still be sailing in cool weather, occasionally demonstrating Chessie for interested buyers, and building the 10' Spindrift.  Her tentative name: "Betsy Ross."


In order to promote her sale, I'm presently in the process of drafting a "Chessie" Owner's Manual.  Here is a tentative

Table of Contents:



Electrical Systems

Outboard Motor

Dodger Deployment

Safety Systems

Dinghy and its Transport

Trailer and Transport Gear


It will include procedures, specifications, and photographs -- and be made available to all in ".pdf" format -- along with links to Chessie's Build on this forum and to B & B's web page.  Here are just a few of the photos that could be included:



Family outing, Mattawoman Creek across the Potomac from Leesylvania State Park.



Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.  Chessie's slip at Higgins Marina, Saint Michaels, Maryland.



Catnip, nested and ready for stowage.  Perhaps in a large closet.



Catnip and owner/builder just before her maiden voyage, 7/27/2019.



Owner/builder Pete McCrary with wife, Anna, and Chessie a month or so after her completion in 2017.



Chessie & trailer with her tow vehicle.  With her anchor & roller removed and the tongue folded back -- Chessie can be entirely inside the 22' garage with its door closed.  It's a tight fit, but there's still enough room to move all around her.  Masts need not be removed.  However, in the off season the masts are usually removed and stowed in the garage attic.


I do not have a good photo of Chessie under sail.  If anyone who attended a recent Messabout has such a photo -- I'd appreciate receiving a copy.  I have an [under sail] photo, but it shows Chessie back-lighted by the sun and is out of focus.  Looking for a photo taken with the sun behind the photographer.



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First of all I want to say that must be a tough decision. I bought my Sea Pearl from a youngster of 84 who had tears rolling down his face as I towed his baby away in 2007. I commend you on the decision because as prepared as you are I know you wouldn't take this lightly. I'm glad you are waiting until 2020 as I hope Chessie and Skeena get a chance to sail together.


You've been a great help to me and an inspiration.


Thank You,


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Thanks Steve, for the kind words.


You're right -- not an easy decision.  But for some time I've been concerned about some near misses that should've been avoided.  Better to cool it now than risk an accident and injury or worse.  My extended family is "more than happy" with the downsizing plan.  I'll still be doing some solo sailing -- but in cool weather and not-so-distant venues.  I'm still planning to sail alongside Skeena at the MASCF in October and maybe at the Messabout.


I'll probably get a lot more sailing with the 10' Spindrift that I'll build this off season.  Let your friends know that a fully equipped very good sailboat is available.  A good offer from a quality buyer would be accepted even ahead of schedule.

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Pete, I've really enjoyed building along with you. I cried a bit when I sold Summer Breeze, too. In my case it was more because of not enjoying cruising  a sailboat here in the mountains. I do have a good time on my cruises in the Old Codger. I can't help but wonder how many more years I have ahead. You're an inspiration that we can continue to enjoy our boating into older age.

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A 100 lb Spindrift 10 and a pair of oars has got to be a lot less hassle [for old guy] than a cruising twenty foot sailboat and trailer with combined weight exceeding 2,200 lbs.  I'm looking forward to it -- remembering the easy fun I had sailing "Outcast," the 11' 1" sailing dinghy that I made (from plans found in Popular Boating) in 1963.  I had the sail made by Ted Hood.  Had to sell her twice because of work transfers.  Twice, because when we moved back to Massachusetts I found a sailing dinghy in the Classifieds -- and it was my Outcast!  The second sale was when we moved to Virginia in 1977 to start my law practice.  I like to think that 42 years later -- she's still sailing on Quanapowit Lake, Wakefield, Massachusetts.


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Progress report re Roller Trough for CS20.3 trailer.


Pressure treated 5/4th x 6 dried, trimmed, and dry-fitted.


Bottom trimmed to 1" x 5.25" x 12' and sides to 15/16" x 5.5".  Fasteners are 1/4" x 2" hot dipped lag bolts on 8" centers.



There will be 13 rollers on 11.75" centers.  The roller, bolt, locking nut, and 1/16" washers weigh the very close to 2 lbs each.  Total all-up weight: ~ 70 lbs



The hardware is 5/8" x 8" SS machine bolts.  The rollers are Smith 5" heavy duty rubber with 5/8" plastic sleeve bearings.



This is the 1 x 6 board cut to the design profile of the keel.  Next I'll lift Chessie off her trailer, clamp this template to the keel batten, and then scribe the "as-built" keel profile onto the template.  That will then be the pattern for locating the 13 5/8" holes for the roller shafts.  I'll disassemble the trough and clamp both sides together [ so their hole locations will be identical] -- and setup my drill press.


Still need to decide if epoxy or epoxy w/FG should be applied -- and on what surfaces?  Suggestions?


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Great stuff, Pete. I am in the process of refurbishing a trailer for my CS20 Mk1 and your design ideas and photos are very timely. I was thinking about some kind of keel "trough" and yours looks like I could make it work well on my trailer. I also have the advantage (?) of being in build mode at the stage of glassing the hull and installing the keel, so I think I will build my trough while the boat is upside down and I can adjust the roller positions and test the fit pretty easily.


What will be at the entry of the trough? A 5" roller at the end or will you have a wider or different type of roller?


About FG and epoxy, my thinking is 5/4 PT pine screwed and glued together will be fine as is. But I will be very interested in other suggestions posted.


Thanks for posting, and for the photos.


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Nick, the end roller will be a 5" one like the others.  There will be guide-ons on each side reaching out to the bunks.  It will look something like this:


The roller trough will end about 6" aft of the trailer's aft crossbeam.  It hasn't been a problem lining up the boat's stem with the trough centerline.  BTW, I've found the wooden trough gets torn up by the ss oh wood screws that attach the 3/4" half oval to the keel batten.


Here's the link to the wooden trough build.


The concept worked just fine until after a few launches and recoveries.  That's why I'm building the roller trough.

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On July 5, 2019 at 8:35 PM, Mark Baumgaertner said:

I was wondering if your OB was a Suzuki 4 or 5 hp ? I think they are basically the same overall dimensions? And if so does it fit and store inside your cockpit locker? I think I remember you saying it was a short shaft 15"? Is the wash plate below your transom? What are the dimensions of your well and height of OB mount above transom? 


Mark, I just remembered that I hadn't answered your questions.  So,... The Suzuki was a 2.5 regular length (15") shaft and it fit nicely into the cockpit locker -- but not an easy task for an 85 yr old.  I made a "cradle" for it in order to keep its tiller-down as recommend by Suzuki.  Otherwise you'll get oil into the cylinder chamber.  The 2.5 hp is enough to push the CS20.3 to 5 knots.  The wash plate just cleared the bottom of the transom which allowed 360 degree rotation (for reverse).  However, in chop or big wake, there was often cavitation.  I now have a 4 hp Honda (long shaft) with a reverse gear and 9 amp alternator to keep the battery fully charged -- because as a solo sailor I often use a tiller-pilot which draws fairly heavily on the battery.  I still have the Suzuki as a standby.  The well is 9" fore & aft x 10".  Its depth is 5" at the transom sloping up to about 1" at the forward edge.  The transom cutout is about 1" deep and the top-aft edge of the engine mounting block (~ 1.5" thick) is 5" from the transom.  It needed to be that far out because the transom has a forward tilt and the Suzuki's shaft is already set at ~ 5 degrees out from a vertical transom (I think Suzuki assumes that most transom have a slight aft tilt).  So, in order to keep the OBM shaft vertical, the mounting block is set at about 10 degrees with respect to the transom.

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Tomorrow (8/27/2019) Chessie goes to the boat yard and will be lifted off her trailer to have her "as-built" keel profile transferred to a pattern board.  I plan to leave Chessie at the yard and bring the trailer back to the shop for transferring the keel pattern to the trough sides.  Each pair of  holes (5/8" for the roller shafts) will be drilled simultaneously thru the trough sides.  The shop is ready for the job.


Rough 12' pattern board with ends supported.  The trough sides will be clamped together assuring identical spacing [of the hole pairs].



Weight of all the hardware is 29 lbs.  The wood pieces 46 lbs.. Total 75 lbs.


I'll try to get some good photos of the profile tracing process and assembly procedure.  Might have a "proof of concept" launch by week's end.

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Remember that the bottom tread on the reboarding ladder would float, requiring the reboarder to hold it under water while placing his foot on it.  Well, I took care of that with a lead weight cast in a cornbread cast iron backing skillet.  Hope my volume and density calculations work out OK.



This morning we lifted Chessie and pulled the trailer out of the way and scribed her keel as-built profile onto the pattern board.  The keel batten wasn't prominent enough to clamp the board to it -- so two helpers held it against the keel batten while I scribed the profile.  Here's the result.  Note how close the as-built line follows the design [edge of the board].



On the line scribed on the pattern board 5/64" holes were drilled on 11 3/4" centers.  Then, with the pattern board laid on one of the trough's sides -- an awl was used to transfer the profile directly to the side board.  Then the top of the board was trimmed so that the boat's bottom would clear the edge for the lowers rollers.  After rounding over edges, both side boards were clamped together in preparation for drilling the 5/8" shaft holes.



Here you can see the bolt's hex-heads in a fair line along the pair of boards.



All fabrication is finished.  Tomorrow assembly and fitting the Roller Trough to the trailer -- and maybe proof-of-concept launch.  But that will probably be on Thursday.  Report and video promised.



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Assembly and mounting the Roller Trough on the trailer took all day and a half.



Sides carriage-bolted on and hardware ready.



Assembly complete.  The sides pinched inward slightly in a couple of places.  Spacers took care of that.  They all roll nice and easy.



Dry fitted to the trailer.  I tried to match the height to doplicate the previous setup so that the bunks won't need much, if any, adjustments.



Notice that there's no support at the mid-cross bar.  There's about a half-inch space -- which reduced about half when I put my 190 lb self on it.  With the keel being ridged and the load spread over 13 rollers I'm hoping that I can leave it "free floating" at the mid-bar -- which may actually cushion the ride slightly.


Tomorrow we'll see if Chessie will properly fit the Roller Trough.  Stay tuned.

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