A few restoration and maintenance FAQ's to kick off the new classic Finn Forum

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    Q: Pearson Finn floorboards

    ‪I have just acquired K119. It’s in a bit of a state, but basically all there apart from the mast, and whatever floorboards / duckboards were fitted from the rear of the centerboard case to the transom buoyancy tank. The fiberglass stringers, running across the floor have remnants of hardwood strips to attach the floorboard(s) / duckboards to. If anyone can post a photo of what should be there, I’d be grateful. These floorboards can’t be solid, as per a false floor, as there are 2 small ‘Topper’ size bailers each side of the rear of the c/board case, and, to the rear of the mainsheet jammer on the floor but towards the rear, and offset to port is an Elvstrom mini, so there must be access to be able to operate these.‬

    ‪Can anyone comment if these 3 small bailers are adequate for such a spacious cockpit?‬ Although I want to keep the boat true to its era, the lack of floorboards does suggest fitting a fixed false floor, with wells to collect water for the bailers. Again, any comments please?‬

    A: My Pearson just had a quarter inch thick ply floorboard sat on top of the fore and aft longits with cut outs for toe strap and ratchet fixings. The floor ran from the aft side of centre board case, ending level with the aft deck (had no aft tank in K 307).
    I only have two bailers placed each side of the centre board case.
    They work well but i find i need the big bucket after a bad capsize.
    Double may put the weight up quite a lot as i suspect the Pearson is already on the old weight limit.

    Q: Was your ply floor watertight to the outer hull, so forming a buoyancy compartment? Quite frankly, my boat must be considerably overweight, as it’s been outside for a couple of decades with very poor shelter. It also has mostly Tufnell cam cleats and chrome finished brass tube clam v jammers. I want to keep it as original as possible, but at the end of the day, it’s an old girl and it’s not going to win any major prizes.

    A: No my floor is not watertight at all, the water flows freely under the floor. Although touch wood, I never used to capsize the Pearson often, I used to find that the water ran forward to the bow making it difficult to sail the water out.

    Q: I bought K218 a few months ago. The floor is of 1/2 inch ply kept in place by the buckles of the toe straps near the centre board and the central toe strap fitting fitted to the rear tank. Also as a fail safe the central floor block and jammer would have to be removed to take the floor totally out. The cross stringers are as you say, they have holes in them to let the water go to the back, as the rear tank is not water tight and allows water to run to a rear drain. During the winter I intend to seal this tank and add a drain tube across the tank to the rear to allow water to be dumped after a capsize (not capsized yet, but it will come).

    A: Good to see another Pearson being brought back into the fleet.
    Be careful if you add a drain pipe through the transom, unless you get the height right it may allow water to run back into the boat. I ended up glassing over my drains (2 large holes in transom) as they seeped water on light weather days but i also discovered that post capsize I couldn’t sail fast enough to allow water to flow aft through the drains, the results were that more water came back through the drains than ran out!!.

    Q: Can you describe how tight a fit to the port & st’board buoyancy tanks your rear floor is, please?

    I have no floorboard remaining to use as a pattern. I have made some strengtheners to fit to the ‘stringers’, but the tops of these fair into the edge of the f’glass floor, so I thought of leaving a centimeter or so port and st’board to allow any water to ‘circulate’, rather than a tight fit to the buoyancy tanks with possible moisture being trapped.

    I also am thinking of glassing in the replacement floorpanel to form a watertight compartment, with added inspection hatches to vent and check any ingress. Is 6mm ply sufficient, would you think?

    A: There is a few mm of gap all around the floor, certainly enough to allow water in and out. Similar gap around base of jammer pulley. I would say my floor is about 10mm thick and has been painted with non-slip coating

    Q: The boat currently has two small Holt (Topper size) bailers each side of the c/board case, and one Elvstrom medium aft and to st’board of the mainsheet anchorage. I have some spare ones, so would another Elvstrom be over doing it, do you think?

    A: My boat just has 2, one either side of the centreboard. This is where water builds up when sailing the boat level.

    2) Pearson Rudder /Tiller Fit

    ‪My ‘boat’ has the tiller, which, fits into the chromed brass fitting on the rudder stock. The fitting allows the tiller to sit flat on the head of the rudder stock, so the tiller is parallel to the rear buoyancy deck, but it would also allow the tiller to be raised vertically in the fitting to about 45 degrees off the horizontal for some reason.‬

    ‪I presume there needs to be a chock to keep the tiller in the ‘down’ position, but apart from not having one currently, there is no sign of any attachment of a chock previously.‬

    ‪I can’t understand why the tiller would be fitted in a fitting that allows this up and down positioning? I’m sure the tiller and rudder assembly are correct to the boat. The tiller was bolted into the fitting when I collected the boat, but the bolt allowed the tiller to pivot up and down. ‪Can anyone advise, please?‬

    A: Some like to be able lift the tiller up when going down wind in lots of breeze, so you can get further back in the boat without the tiller hitting your knees – pretty extreme stuff! You will probably find that the set up works fine and the tiller doesn’t lift unless you want it to.
    3) Pearson Mast Step
    I’ve now spent a few hours trying to get the bottle screw adjuster that moves the mast foot fore and aft un-seized.

    I’ve poured kettles of boiling water over the fittings, put a heat gun on it, and only managed to unscrew the end turnbuckle fitting off the screw thread so far. That leaves a flat blade screwdriver slot in the end of the s/s screwthread, but my largest screwdriver, which I tried to attach to a large socket and ratchet, still has no result. I believe that the problem must be in where the s/s screw rotates in the mast foot.

    A: My Pearson mast step has two locknuts on the adjusting screw, one each side of the sliding past of the mast step.
    If these are to tight it will make it very hard to adjust using screw adjuster, the nut inside the mast step is quite difficult to get at but it is possible.

    4 Capsizing advice:
    Yep, I remember my first Finn – a Walker – still going “Larfinn”.
    I had the required 4 units of buoyancy. 2 in the back and 2 opposite the board, nothing in the front. Capsizes were a nightmare boat just about level with the water.
    On one capsize,I managed to get away on a broad reach slowly, until a gust drove the bows down and I ended up with the mast parallel with the water and the boat standing on its nose. After that I put a small bag in front of the mast and the biggest bow bag between the mast and the board. I ended up with 900 lbs of buoyancy! That seamed to sort it – but be warned, all that buoyancy has to be constrained, otherwise you might find the deck coming away. The problem is keeping the bags down to get the boat to float as high as possible. By the way – due to the big bag behind the mast, necessitated routing the controls across the deck as OK’s do – worked well.

    A: Remember that feeling well, 1980 sailing my first Finn, a Pearson K-307 (still have her).
    First race running downwind to Prince Consort in the Solent to gybe wind against tide what could go wrong?
    Capsized but got her upright only to find boat full of water, due to my lack of weight all water flowed forward and turned her into a submarine, ended up having to beach on Cowes Green to use “the big Bucket” to make things worse I decided to try again, and yes same thing happened the second time.
    Scarred for life, I even now have extra bags in the bow of my current Vanguard just in case.
    Still great fun though and a big deterrent to try not to capsize.

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