Subject: a mini-forum on toe straps (aka hiking straps)
----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Walden (W1395)
To: dick-harrington@uswayfarer.org ; Morris Metcalf ; Morris MetcalfW10295 ; Al Schonborn ; Bill Waller
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 7:13 PM
Subject: Wayfarer toe strap connections

Good evening, folks!  Thanks for all of your advice so far; every little tip has helped me put together the "big picture" of what my Wayfarer is supposed to look like, and how much work I need (or don't need..even better) to do on it.
Now, I've looked through various pictures and checked WIT (please forgive me, Al, if I've overlooked the tab-link) for info on where or how to attach toe straps to the Mk1 GRP.  Can't find any clues.  It looks like the newer ones have special eye connections bolted or screwed in place.  Checking over my boat, I don't find any obvious connection points.  Can I just attach them to the wooden "block" (it's just forward of the stern locker, jutting up from behind the centerboard trunk, a few centimeters above the floorboards)?  This "block" has about 3 or 4 holes (running side-to-side) in it that look like they'd be handy attachment points, but I don't know if it is really strong enough to handle the stress loads.  I figured I could attach one end of a continuous-loop web strap to this wooden block, run it forward and around the mast step and back to this wooden block.  Any thoughts/advice?  (Should it be attached/bolted somewhere forward of the mast?)
If you have a handy photo or sketch, feel free to send it my way.  If I end up trying my idea, I'll let you know if I pull anything out of the boat when I fall out.
Chris Walden

----- Original Message -----
To: Chris Walden ; dick-harrington@uswayfarer.org ; Morris Metcalf ; Morris MetcalfW10295 ; Bill Waller
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 1:05 AM

Hi, Chris:
Just rummaged through some of my archives for pics that will give you some ideas. In point form, I'd start with the following:
  • make sure the straps are bolted into position where they pass under the thwart - else, when your crew gets tired and stops hiking while you don't, you end out flopping further out than you may want to be (at my age, anyway!), and vice versa. It's nice to be independent of your crew/helm when hiking - I have one long hiking strap that runs from the side of the mast step on the port side > under the thwart on the port side where I have folded it into a Z-shape and bolted it through the thwart > through a solid stainless steel ring near the aft tank (more of this later) > back forward to a "Z" under the thwart (starboard side) > mast step, starboard side
  • especially if you ever sail barefoot (like I always do) line each segment of strap with tubular pipe insulating foam (hardware store item, conveniently slit lengthwise, just waiting for duct tape once popped around the hiking strap - also available as Laser gear but at marine hardware inflated prices)
  • the aft end of my straps (see photos below) goes through the biggest stainless steel ring I could easily find (perhaps 1.5" diameter with the metal itself about 1/4" in diameter) - like you, I am leery of the strength of that piece of wood aft of the CB box, so I attached a heavy-duty, very well rounded eye strap through the aft bulkhead and into a 1/2" plywood backing plate with 1/4" SS bolts, lock washers and nuts, as close as I could get to floorboards level with my limited tools and even more limited talents. You can safely make the hiking straps stop a foot before the aft tank, and then link the ring to the eye strap with 4-mil pre-stretch dacron. Mine has lasted 10+ years thus far. Make sure your knots are good!!!!!
  • there may be more but not for me at this hour of the night - pics of various set-ups to follow below - some with captions:
Best regards,
Uncle Al (W3854)
My then crew, Frank Goulay, and his then wife, Lucy, at the 2002 Rally on Lake Champlain. Note how they have cleverly stayed out of the way and are not obstructing view of aft hiking straps segments - the padding was expensive Laser-type stuff - I now use cheaper, smaller diameter stuff
Dick's Blue Mist with a nice, neat forward attachment of the straps.
Ours are adjustable up front because I had a really keen crew.
Another approach.
W280 - short aft sections - never tried this - looks OK if you trust the attachment point
my boat again, last summer's Rally on the St. Lawrence - with Julia (my wife) - the hiking straps are hard (impossible to see) but note the nice Hans Gottschling storage bags (one on each side) - note also how relaxing it was to sail straight downwind under jib alone in winds frequently over 20 knots - the W, with the board full down, will in fact grudgingly make distance to windward under jib alone in a pinch -  we pretty easily did the U-turn into the marina at Cedar Point and sailed to our slip upwind under jib alone, if only to show off that we could go upwind under jib alone.
Here you can sort of see the forward parts of our straps - the loose straps are a trade-off: they stay out of the way in frequent, hectic racing tacking, but are easy to miss if you're in a hurry - note the waterproof chart thingmy - neither Julia nor I were much on chart work, but I did discover that this is a fine place to keep the smokes dry while the spray is flying
another way to relax: heaving to - note that the board is full up: lots of leeway but no need to touch the tiller and a great buffer against the puffs that were coming down the St. Lawrence - the little green storage bags hanging from the thwart are a Danish W idea: great for mini-storage of things like chocolate bars, smokes and lighters - in fact I burned a couple of useful small drain holes into the bottom of each.

... more ideas and pics from Mo Metcalf:
----- Original Message -----
From: Morris Metcalf
To: Chris Walden
Cc: Al Schonborn ; Bill Waller ; dick-harrington@uswayfarer.org
Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 9:49 AM

Hello Chris,
Long time no see. How are you doing? Sounds like you're getting ready for summer.
I would like to make a note regarding what Al has told you. Regarding the covering, by all means use the pipe insulating foam as he suggested as it is readily available and cheap. It can be replaced at any given time anywhere.

The straps definitely need to be anchored under the seats. As I recall, when I had my MK1 W3967, it had a stainless steel strap under each side of the thwart. you should see a couple of holes a couple of inches apart if yours was that way. My boat was an Avon and that could make a difference.

With regards to the rear anchoring, a thing to keep in mind is that the boats in the pictures are wood. My current MK3 has a stainless steel ring at the center attached to the bulkhead with a large backing plate for strength. This is not to be forgotten. The MK1 I had used the the wooden piece you describe as the rear anchor. It had three eyes in it as I recall and I believe those were for comfort adjustment. Al, this looks a lot like the old lifting handles on the decks but a bit smaller in height but with three slots. It is anchored to the keel. I hope that makes sense. I think wood boats have these as well (see photo of Butch's boat below).

Butch showing wooden piece (but no straps). I don't see anything on bulkhead here to indicate it was used,
so I believe wooden piece would have been the attachment point.

With the boat you have, Chris, I think, because of age and not knowing what is under the glass below that wooden piece, if I were you I would opt for the ring on the bulkhead. Keep it low so it has the strength of the bulkhead hull joint to help and use a backing plate of wood or aluminum. Those bulkheads were not very thick. With regards to the front, I would anchor it to the top of the centerboard trunk behind the mast. Adjust-ability here may not be required as it is such a short run from the thwart anyway. Your call. I would make it adjustable for the skipper though. Anchoring the strap at the thwart will save you if one strap or the other should break. I speak from experience. I, the skipper, had mine fail while hiking and I went over the side while wife stayed in boat, thank heavens. As it was, she just screamed get back in the boat which was far less of a problem than had she gotten wet. Had that happened I would still be hearing about it. At any rate, a capsize was avoided because the crew was able to keep the boat up.
I will be at Lake Eustis in a couple of weeks and will take a look at the boats down there. Most are MK1 so should be able to confirm all of the above.
I hope we can get together this summer. Last year I never sailed all summer. I intend to correct that this year.
Hope to hear from you

PS: Here is another pic:.

Richard using the ring in the bulkhead on a MK3 Notice Richard has the straps going up and under the thwart.

PPS: Two final pictures:

The picture of Richard showed the back of the boat MK3 (yellow boat). Here is the front from my boat MK3 (also yellow). In these pictures, I use an eye-strap  with a line through it. This line can be adjusted by retying the knots. The line does wear out at the eye strap. I have since put a small block on the eye strap with a short line with an eye in it. The straps tie to the eye on the line. That line goes through the block which reduces the wear and to a cleat on the side of the centerboard making it fully adjustable. I also want to point out the I am obviously ignoring what I told you about anchoring to the thwart. But then again, my wife no longer sails with me. I do watch for wear, though. End of my story.

... and a last word from Dick Harrington:
----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Harrington
Cc: Morris Metcalf W10295 ; Chris Walden W1395 ; Tom Graefe
Sent: Wednesday, March 28, 2007 12:04 PM

Hi, Mo and Chris,
... You already have Uncle Al's pictures of Blue Mist's hiking strap arrangement.  That is the way she came to me and I'm quite happy with it.  Having been an engineer all my life I adhere to the KISS principle.  Keep it simple stupid.  It's a good philosophy.  My straps are screwed down at both ends (forward and aft) beneath SS plates, as you see.  The straps are tensioned so there is very little sag.  There is no allowance for adjustment and the slack from one side does not translate to looseness in the other.  You can find them easily with your toes without having to search and ones balance is not affected by what the crew is doing.  I don't bother with the pipe insulation.  Maybe that's because I don't race.
Chris, did you look underneath the thwart of your boat to see if there aren't screw anchor attachment points for the hiking strap retainer?  They should be there.  Some people foolishly think that hiking straps are a nuisance and remove them.  You may need to replace the screws and SS retainer pieces.
The mahogany tie-down piece attached to the keel in front of the aft bulkhead is pretty strong.  How many deck handles have you seen brake off?  If so it is usually from hitting something very hard, like a dock, or having the screws pull out.  Of course racers remove the handles because they want their deck to be clean.  I think what I've seen done most often is heavy duty strap eyes bolted through the CB top plate behind the mast step and in back the same screwed either directly into the keel or bolted into the bulkhead.  As Al points out, the aft attachment point needs to be as low as you can get it.  So if you can find a spot on the keel that's best and it can be quite a bit forward from the bulkhead (I think that is even better).  I also like rings and on Blue Mist have them located at several places (even have one low on the mast).  If the toe straps are allowed to "float", i.e., slip from side to side, using rings will help reduce abrasion.  Large size SS rings are not cheap, but neither are good toe straps.  

... and a little tidbit from Tom Graefe (W9668):
----- Original Message -----
From: Tom Graefe (W9668)
To: Al Schonborn ; Richard Harrington
Cc: Morris Metcalf W10295 ; Chris Walden W1395
Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 11:15 AM

Hi Al and Dick et al.,

I had not realized toe strap connections could be such a hot topic!---but I'll add my 2 cents related to a Mark III used for cruising.  I added a shackle to the attachment at the rear compartment so that at the end of the day I can unhook the straps and get them out of the way--both for cooking and for sleeping.  Else you have the straps right in the convenient place for a stove and as another hinderance to putting pads on deck.  It's a bit of a hassle and I need to refine my set up: if the straps are too tight, you can't get the shackle opened and through the eye strap, but if they are too loose, well you know the problem with that.  It's also a matter of where the eye strap itself is located--right next to the deck, and I just have not bothered to move it. 

Tom (W9668)

FLASH: click here for pics of Jack Blodgett's W7978 wearing nothing but her hiking straps!!!