About the Sailboat Atom
This Atom...infinitesimal Atom
has within, a colossal power
For it marries a particle of earth
to the fecund sea
(From To Challenge a Distant Sea, the biography of Jean Gau owner of the original Atom, a 29-foot Tahiti ketch, in which he twice solo circumnavigated and whose writings of adventure inspired me to challenge my own distant sea. Click here for an excerpt on Gau from The Circumnavigators by Don Holm)
1963 28-foot Pearson Triton #384 Atom
Atom's Main Salon Looking Forward
Pearson Triton lines and sail plan with original fractional rig. Atom was re-rigged in 1995 in South Africa with a new mast two feet shorter than original and rigged as masthead sloop. She has a moveable inner forestay for emergency use in case the furling jib becomes disabled and to add strength to her rig. The inner forestay is supported by intermediate aft shrouds.
Main salon looking aft. The galley is minimal size so as to allow two full length bunks in the main cabin. The cooker is a gimbaled single burner pressure kerosene stove that I've used for many years. In this view it is out of its gimbals and bolted to countertop. See Atom Stove for a look at our newest stove version.
Port side main salon looking aft. I added a radio locker above the original ice box which is now used as a storage locker. I found the companionway ladder awkward and replaced it with a small center step. By extending the ex-engine locker forward I gained storage space and allowed the counter to serve as top step and the battery box as bottom step. We carry four 6-volt Trojan batteries supplying 440 AH.
Below is a list of Atom's current inventory for those interested in what equipment we find useful. That's not to say she's the perfect boat, perfectly equipped - far from it. Her skipper believes in strong-and-simple over theoretical yacht-style correctness and has no interest in racing or "restoring" her to original condition. For our purposes she must be better than original.
Atom's Sail Inventory:
- Mainsail - conventional battens with three reef points (next sail we may choose battenless for easier downwind reefing at the expense of some sail area)
- 145% furling genoa
- Working jib for inner forestay
- Storm jib for inner forestay
- Storm trysail
- Symmetrical Spinnaker with pole (to be replaced next with Code 0 gennaker-type sail on Facnor furler)
- 35 lb. Delta - Primary anchor on 150 feet of 5/16 HT G4 chain with 75 feet of 3/4-inch nylon line attached.
- Fortress FX-23 (15 lb) aluminum Danforth-type
- Fortress FX-37 (21 lb) storm anchor
- 18 lb stainless steel Danforth-type
- Extra anchors are in bags with 25 feet of 5/16-inch chain and 125 feet of 5/8-inch nylon line attached. Extra rodes available as needed.
- Lofrans Royal aluminum manual anchor windlass
- Collapsible grapnel-type dinghy anchor
Electrics and Electronics:
- Replaced entire electrical system including two 6-gang switch panels.
- Installed two 43-watt solar panels and charge controller.
- Added Volts, Amps In and Amps Out meters.
- Replaced incandescent cabin lights with halogen. Soon to be all LED.
- Davis anchor light with Marinebeam LED bulb.
- Four 6-volt T-105 Trojan deep-cycle batteries wired for 12v 450 AH.
- 1000 watt 12VDC to 110VAC inverter for tools, and various appliances.
- Two Garmin handheld GPS
- Kenwood TS-450 SSB transceiver and dipole antennas. (SSB transceiver removed in 2005. I may add a more compact modern unit such as an Icom 706MKIIG or Icom M802)
- Handheld and base station VHF radios. (AIS reciever on upgrade list)
- Toshiba notebook PC with back-up electronic charts.
- Autohelm digital hand-bearing compass>
- 12 volt handheld halogen spotlight
- Three 12 volt cabin fans above bunks and head plus one portable fan.
- Monitor windvane self-steering (sold in 2010 to be replaced with smaller Norvane windvane)
- Henderson MK 5 manual bilge pump
- Rule Saturn Aqua Meter bulkhead mount 3 3/4-inch cockpit compass
- Suunto bulkhead mount tell-tale compass above salon bunk
- Astra IIIb sextant and H.O. 249 Sight Reduction Tables (no longer used)
- Legs for standing the boat upright between tides
- The yuloh, a 16-foot Chinese sampan sculling oar
- Nylon webbing mast ladder
- 6 ½-foot plywood/fiberglass pram dinghy
- 3.5 HP Tohatsu outboard (used sometimes as Atom's auxiliary engine or on dinghy. Changed to 4-stroke 6 HP Nissan for US ICW passages)
- 16-foot fiberglass sit-on-top type Ocean Kayak (to be replaced with shorter plastic version.)
- Rope swim ladder
- Self-made vinyl sun awning (to be replaced, possibly with a Shadetree brand awning.)
- Cockpit dodger
- Bimini cockpit awning
- Bulkhead mount barometer and clock
- Gimbaled single burner kerosene galley stove with complete spare
Below is a list of some improvements and modifications I've done to Atom over the past twenty-five years. You may find some ideas here that could be useful on your own boat.
Deck and Hull:
- Installed a water can locker at forward end of cockpit footwell.
- Replaced all exterior wood with teak, including adding grab rails on forward coach roof.
- Installed a bronze portlight in forward end of the coach roof for improved visibility forward.
- Replaced rotted wood plank rudder with plywood covered in fiberglass and epoxy.
- Installed Monitor windvane with custom mounts.
- Installed Lofrans Royal manual anchor windlass and bow and stern anchor rollers.
- Replaced bow cleat with 10 1/2-inch bronze cleat and backing plate.
- Installed custom adjustable outboard motor bracket.
- Installed rigid bimini frame over cockpit.
- Replaced balsa deck core with polyurethane foam sheet.
- Installed custom pushpit incorporating two solar panel mounts.
- Added 1 1/4-inch wide SS jib sheet tracks extending from aft shrouds to deck scuppers.
- Added two stanchion bases and full-length lifelines.
- Removed propeller and filled in prop aperture in hull.
- Built new forward hatch and companionway hatch with stainless steel security bars.
- Built wood plank seahood for sliding companionway hatch.
- Installed cockpit dodger over companionway hatch.
- Replaced cabin windows with 3/8" Lexan and thru-bolted frames.
- Fabricated a 5/10/15-watt halogen, glass lens masthead anchor light. (to be replaced with LED)
- Attached keel extension plate to prevent lines from snagging between keel and rudder.
- Affixed rubber gaskets under cockpit seat lockers and installed locking latches.
- Sealed vertical lazarette locker hatch and installed a plywood hatch in top of afterdeck.
- Attached sculling oar pin bracket to afterdeck toerail.
- Installed stern anchor roller on starboard corner of afterdeck.
- Installed homemade ancor roller.
- Replaced 36-foot fractional rig with 34-foot masthead rigged aluminum spar and new mast step. (I'm still looking for a good deal on a replacement for the corroded boom)
- Installed removable inner forestay, two running backstays and related deck hardware.
- Replaced all chainplates with ¼ X 1 1/2-inch stainless steel.
- Added forward lower shrouds and chainplates to glassed-in knees below deck.
- Installed Harken jib roller furling.
- Converted roller-reefing mainsail to slab reefing with three reef points.
- Installed stainless steel reinforcement plate under mast support beams. (aluminum would be a better choice here to save weight)
- Removed Atomic 4 inboard engine and its accessories.
- Built a 43 gal (165 liter) integral water tank under v-berth connected to galley foot pump.
- Built a 30 gal (115 liter) integral water tank between cockpit floor and hull.
- Converted icebox to storage/electrics locker.
- Installed valves and plumbing to divert deck drains to hoses below for collecting rain water.
- Removed door between head and forward cabin and replaced it with a curtain, filled in V-berth and raised bunk 5-inches above waterline for extra storage and watertight integrity.
- Made most compartments watertight for collision protection and positive buoyancy.
- Installed a sliding single/double bunk on port side of main cabin.
- Replaced all counter fiddles with 1 x 4-inch teak.
- Extended ex-engine locker forward and removed companionway ladder.
- Replaced head with Lavac toilet placed behind a watertight partial bulkhead.
- Added second bookshelf at forward end of salon and full length shelves in forward cabin.
- Covered the plywood cabin sole with African iroko plank strips.
- Installed six teak handrails throughout salon.
- Installed telltale compass on bulkhead next to port salon bunk.
- Enclosed open lockers behind salon settee backrests with teak locker doors.
- Installed a shelf divider in chain locker behind watertight hatches.
- Installed a Henderson MK 5 manual bilge pump in port cockpit locker accessible on seat top.
- Replaced entire electrical system.
- Installed lee-cloths on main salon bunks.
- Installed shut-off valve in sink drain.
- Built a radio locker above ex-icebox on aft port side of main cabin.
- Built a fold-down table attached to forward main cabin bulkhead.
- Installed sliding doors fronting galley shelves.
- Replaced galley drawers with door access and added shelf in locker under stove.
- Installed two gimbaled kerosene cabin lights.
- Built a removable galley/cockpit table.