A Compleat Cruiser
by Henry Rodriguez
Illustration by Marya Butler email@example.com
Small Boat Journal, May 1987, Number 54
My wife and I have owned Chiquita, a 1974 Venture cutter, for over 10 years. During that time, we've made quite a few modifications to improve her performance, comfort, safety, convenience, and appearance. Each year we seem to come up with still more improvements. Except for the sails, we did all fabric, wood, glass, and rigging work ourselves.
We added a great deal of brightwork to the fiberglass hull to enhance her traditional appearance. The original narrow bowsprit was replaced with a wide carved plank that is comfortable to walk on, and with its pulpit, becomes an extension of the deck. Mahogany toerails 2½ inches high were fastened on top of the fiberglass molding at the deck edge. Both the fiberglass foredeck hatchcover and the sliding companionway hatchcover were "planked" with thin (3/16") strips of mahogany bedded in epoxy. The main hatch was finished by adding a front, sides, and back of ¾-inch stock. Driprails accentuate the lines of the cabin and keep water runoff away from the ports. Teak grabrails, two on each side, complete the woodwork on deck. All wood is finished bright with Deks Olje.
We also used wood extensively in the cockpit area. On the after cabin face, wood bezels trim the compass, knotmeter, and depth sounder. Cleat boards on both sides of the companionway provide belaying points for the halyards. I angled the edges of the original wood cockpit rails to provide more comfortable back support. A teak and plastic tile grate provides sure footing on the cockpit sole. I made a mahogany Iazarette locker aft to accommodate the 6-gallon plastic fuel tank. Take-apart hinges allow the tank to be removed.
A 9-pound Danforth anchor hangs from a bracket on the bow pulpit, and its rode is fed through a homemade deck pipe to a rope locker in the forepeak. When not in use, the rode is fastened to an eyebolt on the underside of a wood lid, which is kept in place over the deck pipe by the weight of the chain.