Deck Upgrades

The latest chapter in our ongoing series about the complete overhaul of a classic-plastic Pearson 36.


Here are my sons, Billy and Adrian, racing the boat home on NarragansettBay. The cockpit is clean and open. It was a remarkable upgrade and improvement over the original helm position.Onne van der Wal

During the winter and spring of 2015 and 2016, I completed a total refit of my Pearson 36, Snoek, so named after a saltwater fish indigenous to the waters off South Africa, where I was raised.

The first two articles dealt with an overview of the project and the revamped plumbing, respectively. Continuing on with more detail on specific areas of the boat, this month we’ll take a look at the new deck layout.


These before and after photos show the running-rigging arrangement at the base of the mast. The original blocks and line were very old, tired and dirty (left). I replaced everything with new Lewmar stand-up blocks and turning blocks; for the latter, I made the spacers myself, out of StarBoard marine-grade polymer (above). Hoisting sails and reefing them became much easier and more efficient.Onne van der Wal
I found two 6-foot-long-by-2-inch-wide stainless-steel bars online to use as backing plates for the new genoa-car tracks. Because I went from imperial holes to a metric offset with the new Lewmar gear, I had to re-drill everything — which I didn’t mind doing as I had to seal it all up anyway (left). Here I am with my caulking gun, getting ready to lay down the new track (right). Down below, the backing plate for the new track was much cleaner and better looking than the old one.Onne van der Wal
Under a tarp during the winter months, I removed the old saloon hatch, stripped all the wood and took everything into the shop to refurbish it (left). When all was said and done, I ended up replacing several of the hatches. Here you can see the hole for the head hatch just prior to bedding it down with sealer and bolting it home (right).Onne van der Wal
I didn’t keep any of the old hardware; it all went to the consignment shop, which took it with open arms (right). I was amazed; I thought it might all go into the dumpster. But I guess there are folks who like vintage gear. As for all the old fasteners, they ended up filling half a bucket (left). It was crazy. I really should toss them, but for some reason I just don’t have the heart to do it.Onne van der Wal


The single biggest job on the deck layout was moving the steering pedestal. When I purchased the boat, the wheel was just aft of the companionway and the mainsheet system, both of which were awkward to access or use (top left). With the help of the team at Edson, we moved the new pedestal aft — and added a Raymarine chart plotter to it — which opened up the entire cockpit for lounging and sailhandling.Onne van der Wal