How To Remove Old Hardware – Gracefully

By Rich

Few things can make a boat look older than patched holes on the deck where unwanted hardware used to be. Anyone who has raced on a 1980s era raceboat can attest to this commonly-encountered visual blight.

Our Sabre came with the “option” of pulpits around the dorade vents.


Presumably these were to protect the vents from getting ripped off by wayward sheets during tacks, but they may have also been intended to provide a hand hold to on-deck crew at sea. Whatever the original design intention, I never liked the look of them since the first time I saw them in the brochure for the Sabre 425 during college in the early 1990s. Our upcoming Florida winter gave me a definitive reason to pull them out: we plan to store the boat at a slip in Ft. Lauderdale, so we need a place to store the dinghy on deck. Plus we learned last spring that towing a dinghy at sea is a bad idea, so we’d like to put the dinghy on deck while on ocean passages, too.

This past weekend, I pulled them out and filled the bolt holes with epoxy, which resulted in six of those ugly brown spots on the deck.


Blech. Since I had nearly a full quart of tan topside pain left over from my counter balasting project, I decided to cover these up. I began by using one of the pulpit mounts as a guide to cut a perfect painter’s tape pattern.


Then I taped around the spot left by each mount, and painted over the area – after cleaning thoroughly with acetone and lightly sanding with 220 sand paper, of course.


I returned the next day to remove the tape and wipe up the excess that snuck under the tape. It looks pretty good. I just need to return with a bit of Iron Out to get the remainder of the rust stains left by some of the pulpit bases out. The color match was pretty good and will improve as the new paint dirties up a bit. This fix doesn’t need to be perfect; the paint patches just need to camouflage these areas enough that the eye is not drawn to them.

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3 thoughts on “How To Remove Old Hardware – Gracefully

  1. Any chance you have an extra genoa? I have a fractional rig on my 29? I’m looking for new sails but desperately need a new genoa first and foremost.

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