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javamutt

Lightning Transom Flaps

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I'm restoring a 1967 Lightning that has a pair of transom flaps installed. They are transparent acrylic hinged on a piece of rubber and held closed via shock-cord. While they are functional, they are a bit hacked together and when I get the hull paint job finished, their "character" is going to make them look like warts. From what I've picked up from other Lightning sailors, the flaps are nice to have, so I probably want to keep them. I have ZERO experience sailing these boats, so at this point I'm going purely on advice.

 

I'd like to replace them with either something commercially available, or something I can DIY and end up with a (reasonably) lasting, functional, nicely finished product. In searching for flaps, I'm finding very little, and a lot of references to securing plastic with tape. I'm sure it works, but I was hoping for not putting tape on my freshly painted / restored hull. Seems like a lot of dinghys use these things, so I'm surprised to find so little.

 

Has anyone found a well made set available from a retailer, or found a write-up on good self-made design I can use?

 

Thanks!

 

 

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search on the int 505 site as 505's use transom flaps.

 

like this:

RectangularTransomFlaps.jpg

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The options are many. You could use lacquered brass hinges and rosewood plates if you wanted. Or lay up a bit of glass sheet and paint to match the boat. Or not and use a different color altogether. Of course will need some sort of gasket in there to seal it, kind of.

 

All that matters is the basic, keeps the water from coming in, lets the water go out. The rest is details. Good luck.

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Google transom flaps and there are several pages of examples...all in the UK though.

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Yeah, I just got tuned into a site in the UK with them... Can't figure out why no one on this side of the pond sells them, but at least there's an option. Thanks!

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I just noticed you're on Lake Ontario. It shouldn't be hard to find a club with Albacores, and they have transom flaps.

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The best transom flaps are made with real Brasilian rosewood skins, framed in pernambucco, with elephant ivory hinge bearings and whalebone gasketing.

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Please, that's so yesterday.

 

I use my kid's cell phones encased in an otterbox, afixed with duct tape.

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The best transom flaps are made with real Brasilian rosewood skins, framed in pernambucco, with elephant ivory hinge bearings and whalebone gasketing.

That sounded like Gouv.

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I know a guy who makes fixed–wing drones and uses peel ply impregnated with epoxy for aileron and elevator hinges, should do a pretty good job for transom flap hinges too.

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Nickels Boat Works can fix you up - you did not mention what size your "cut-outs" are but they can custom cut them and provide all the hinges and hardware

 

www.nickelsboats.com

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I'm a noob to this site but lurked for ages while no one was watching. I am restoring/modifying my Lightning for an upcoming "adventure race" and have found one of the transom flaps have come loose. A close inspection shows the flaps were made of clear acrylic plastic with a hinge that looks like a swath of sailcloth. The "hinge" flap of sailcloth is screwed to the transom is topped with a strip of stainless steel strapping with the flap end of the hinge thru-bolted into the plastic flap. There is a gasket, of sorts, that looks to be 3m 5200 or maybe 3M 4200 - it didn't have a number embedded in it (don't make me try to use one of those emoticon things indicating a joke).

 

In the middle of the flap is a small eye screwed into the flap and this is shock-corded back to the forward end of the rear deck for easy reach - I suppose this is to prevent following seas from entering your boat, but its more likely that you'll ship more water when at the dock in my opinion so it does have its place.

 

BAck when I was considering replacing the flap I found a heavy duty plexiglass filing rack or clipboard that I was considering cutting up but opted to just replace the sailcoth hinges on both ... but it really would look cool to use a colored transparent/translucent piece. I bought the boat used over 15 years ago and only now showing the problem.

 

One more note: make sure there are no exposed edges in the transom from where the transom was cut out - that would be incovenient. Okay, there's another note: I am going to put some backing plates on the inside of the transom where the rudder hardware is bolted since I am seeing evidence where that area had been stressed and loosing you rudder is more than just inconvenient.

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JVG I believe a photo of your first "mate" is required in accordance with membership requirements of this forum

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Something we used to do with 470s. Get a piece of mylar like that used as a presentation cover. Cut it to shape slightly larger than the opening, then attached it to the hull with a duct tape hinge. It actually works quite well.

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torrid, my guess is that mylar trick would work pretty well on most dinghies...plus you probly not need special gasketing, either.

 

thengling, everytime I grab the camera I feel a heavy "thunk" on the head and don't wake up for hours and have to reassemble my camera...so it might be a while!

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…but its more likely that you'll ship more water when at the dock in my opinion so it does have its place.

 

Yes, a releasable shock cord to keep them closed helps with that.

 

…it really would look cool to use a colored transparent/translucent piece.

 

Transparent is good so you can check that the water level at the stern is below the flaps when sailing. Helps with pitch trim in light weather, where most boats like to be sailed with the transom just clear of the water (dunno about Lightnings). By the time UV damage has made them cloudy, you shouldn't need to look. ;)

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RobG, I didn't think of using them to watch for pitch trim. I'm usually relieved when the mast is pointing up and the centerboard is pointing down!

 

My Lightning has two (fairly large) transom flaps and two Andersen cockpit bailers which tends to leak. I gave VERY serious thought to removing them and screwing in two pieces of clear acrylic so I could have that "glass-bottomed" boat thing going on! ... plus maybe to check to see if i'm dragging weeds or running out of water. However, the water here is so murky usually my centerboard doubles as my depth meter. I'm going to get new gaskets for the Andersen bailers (again) and if don't fix the leaks this time (its not the bedding that's leaking, btw) then its going to be the "plexiglass-bottomed-boat" option.

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Thin neoprene makes a good gasket/hinge combination. Smoke acrylic looks a bit nicer than clear, imo. A strip of acrylic as a plate for attaching bolts at top. Drill holes a little oversize, use washers, don't over-tighten, or acrylic will crack. Could also use a SS plate if you wish. Shockcord is a good tensioner, but I like a rope tail leading to a small cleat on floor in an accessable spot with boat capsized, so you can reach in to pop it loose when necessary.

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RKoch,

 

The smoked acrylic sounds better than the clear flaps I now have. I've seen them on other boats but never gave it much thought since mine were fine at the time.

 

Can you recommend an adhesive to stick the neoprene to the acrylic? Any to specifically avoid?

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RKoch,

 

The smoked acrylic sounds better than the clear flaps I now have. I've seen them on other boats but never gave it much thought since mine were fine at the time.

 

Can you recommend an adhesive to stick the neoprene to the acrylic? Any to specifically avoid?

I used contact cement. Seemed to hold up well, not much UV got through the smoked acrylic. Easy and cheap to redo if needed. Just remember that if you use pop rivets or countersunk screws for the eyestraps or attachment, the compression will crack the acrylic. Use RH or Panhead machine screws with washers,, with nylock nuts. Drill holes a little oversize, use silicone to seal, don't over-tighten.

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One more Lightning tip. My boat was an old 13000 series Nichols. Boat used to rack and twist pretty badly in a chop. I replaced the single struct in front of mast with a V-shaped strut. This stiffened the boat considerably.

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RKoch, Yea, thanks. I have a good bit of experience with breaking acrylic so I'm right with you on that. The way I've handled drilling through some

 

I think I may just put some nylon screws, washers, and maybe even a nylon eyestrap for the bungie chord since there isn't much stress in this application. I don't mean to labor over this too much, but what brand of contact cement are you talking about?

 

BTW, I've successfully used a Dremel milling bit to grind holes in acrylic and other fragile plastics rather than drilling them - I have even occassionally used a drill bit run backwards to burn holes. I guess it sorta burnishes the rough edges that leads to stress cracks. The Dremel milling bit doesn't grab and snag the plastic as agressively which, I think, is the cause for the cracking when working with acrylics.

 

The tip for the "V" strut is also a good one, though, I will be putting in solid bulkheads at that location and fashion water resistant compartments there (watertight is too fictional a goal!). Of course, you may already be gusssing that I am modifying the boat to do some adventure racing/weekend cruising and have no delusions of ever racing it. Its a 12000 series Lippincott with built-in (and time-sensitive) flotation tanks under the seats and gunnels.

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Just regular old contact cement, like 3M. Same stuff used to glue formica or upholstery. Small tube will be enough. Lowes or Home Despot. Tape off areas where you don't want glue, put some on both surfaces, and spread evenly with a small throwaway brush, tongue depressor, or your finger. Let it dry a few minutes before sticking together.

 

You're making an EC ride? Good call, the foam-filled tank Lippencotts are no good for class

racing. The earlier non-tank Lippencotts (10000ish) are still good club racers.

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My tanks aren't foam filled and I don't suspect they are air tight, either. I am nearly commited to the 2015 EC in Class 4. Got the appropriate blessings (mostly cuz there are relatives less than 45 minutes away from the start and I erased my search history that showed some of the more problematic conditions of some past events - not horrible, in my mind, since it looked really exciting to me),

 

I am planning on making special purpose inflatable bladders to stuff through the inspection hatches. I hope to experiment with the same constuction method for making some beach rollers to get off the beach. If I'm lucky, these same rollers will double as flotation insurance under the seats and gunnels. Mine is in the 12,000 series.

 

I never did race my Lightning since the fleet disbanded the same summer as I acquired mine, but I really wasn't looking for a racer at the time. I wanted something a little more daysail worthy - though, at first, you couldn't really say that for looking into the cockpit!

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Lightning is a good EC boat. A kickup rudder is a must, and it needs to be bullet-proof strong. Make sure you have a good rowing setup. And practice reefing, make sure your system is easy and solid.

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Yup, gotcha. I studied a few EC videos where a Lightning broke its rudder where it looked solid to begin with. So "bulletproof" is also to be taken almost literally, there. Same with the rowlocks. I got some good advice on placement and construction of those, too.

 

As for reefing, my mainsail is going to be put up for surgery in about a month, or so, but only after I finalize my sailplan, of course. I have roller reefing on a Ranger 23 and it sure comes in handy (but this will be considered carefully, since I learned the hard way that roller reefing is far from being foolproof - especially in a blow when you need it most. I'm heavily leaning towards installing one since I learned some things about avoiding the jams. I also plan on installing lazyjacks and single line reefing for two reef points if it all can fit (I don't know why it wouldn't).

 

My plan is to get all of the big mods in early enough for me to practice with them.

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plexiglass will work, you can pick up from Home Depot for inexpensive. I've also seen a bunch of lightnings just tape over the holes. If you flip, just punch through the tape... not very nice looking though

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Looking nice is definitely one of the design requirements. Any solution involving tape is not going to fly on this project. At this point I'm leaning towards using some tinted lexan scraps I've been hoarding, and doing a nice job shaping the sheet and installing. What I've got now is functional, but it looks really sloppy. Just need to re-do with a little more attention to details. I'm still trying to source hardware for the best solution above though:

 

"real Brasilian rosewood skins, framed in pernambucco, with elephant ivory hinge bearings and whalebone gasketing"

 

I may have to substitute rich Corinthian leather for the whalebone gasketing... We shall see...

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I use carbon sheet material ordered from McMaster Carr on my 5o5 stern bailers. I epoxy a line to the inside to pull them closed (so no holes through), white sticky sail tape for a hinge, and use the self stick gasketing from the local hardware store. Seems to work pretty well and looks cool too!

 

Rob W.

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No kidding. Love to see a picture of them -- and the rest of the boat as well -- it oughta look like a million.

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I never thought of calculating boat stuff by the pound. Where is that sheet of Mylar I bought....All in, Rob W will be well under $50 for a couple attractive, functional transom flaps. Less than a snapshackle. I am a Scotsman from the Jewish side of Holland and don't think this is expensive!

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