Re Metau
People of the Sea
Pearls of
Boat Projects
Paint, Varnish & Canvas
Captain Don
~ Captain Don ~
The Helm Seat
…And a Star to Steer Her By
We were anxious to go sailing, but our helm seat was in a shambles. There was some serious concern that the helmsman would fall into the lazzaret at a crucial moment. Hans Christian's seem to have one consistent flaw – the use of cheap plywood on the backside of the helm seat. Exposed to the elements 24-7, the seat base under the teak had warped, delaminated, and crumbled and there was serious concern that it wouldn't hold much weight. Don took on the job of the rebuild right away.
Don Working on the Helm Seat
~ Don Working on the Helm Seat ~

We were fortunate to be located close to a teak supplier, and our first thought was to get some good marine-grade plywood, coat it well with epoxy, and reassemble the seat. A book I had read on simple boat projects came to mind, and I suggested using polyethylene in place of the plywood. It would never rot, was easy to work with and scraps available at the marine surplus store were fairly cheap. The hardest part was cutting out the pattern with a jig saw, but this side was never going to be seen so it didn't have to be perfect.

Don did an excellent job with the rebuild, got some practice in caulking, and turned the end product over to me for the final finish. Three coats of oil, 12 coats of varnish, and lots of screws to re-attach the seat to the boat. We were finally ready to sail while safely seated at the helm!

Stripped Down Helm Seat
~ Stripped Down Helm Seat ~
Refinished Helm Seat
~ Refinished Helm Seat ~
The Throne
~ The Throne ~
Refit: 06 Aug 2007
The cockpit had dark brown canvas covered cushions that literally burned our butts after they sat in the Florida sun. And they were like sponges in the rain! It soon became painfully obvious we needed a much lighter color, and would therefor have to invest in new cushions. So we arrived at the annual St. Pete Sail-Only boat show with cash in hand, prepared to purchase custom cushions from a company that received very good ratings. They already had the pattern for our odd-shaped cockpit, so it was just a matter of placing the order. With the life raft located just forward of the cockpit dodger, I had a difficult time seeing while seated and was excited to see a raised saddle seat among the vendor's wares.

When we told the sales rep what we wanted, he hesitated over his notepad.

"Is your boat named Laughing Dolphins?" he inquired.

"No, Re Metau" we responded, a bit confused.

"I just finished taking an order for a HC33T! It's that couple right over there!"

Needless to say, after we completed our business, we immediately went over to introduce ourselves to the new owners of another Hans Christian 33T – small world!

The set of custom-fitted, vinyl dipped foam soon arrived, and what a beautiful improvement it was to the cockpit, as well as to our enjoyment while out on the water. We were finally able to be in the cockpit with cool, dry butts!

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