Some of the upgrades they’ve employed are helpful for those first getting engaged in the whole program. Here are Don’s commentary on the upgrades to share with all J/70 friends:
“The first is the J/70 mast stepper that was made by RCR’s Brian Buczak (initially designed & engineered by the J/Boats Team in Newport). We’ve now used it several times and it has made stepping and dropping the rig much easier to accomplish, especially if you don’t always have three people around to help. As you can see from the picture, there is a wooden piece that sits on the stern rails and is fastened down to hold in place. There is also a tall post approximately six feet high, with a trailer roller at the top (the key piece!), that fits through the cross beam that we clamped down on the motor bracket by using a c-clamp. While down in Florida, friends of ours from the J/70 fleet stopped by as we were stepping the mast and commented on how easy it looked when using this contraption. When the rig is down, we could very simply slide out the stepper and secure it to the trailer while the cross beam held the mast in place when towing. We highly recommend using something like this and we’d be happy to show you the one we are using.
The other new upgrade that we are using is the soft deck installed on the floor of our cockpit. We absolutely LOVED this addition. The deck not only looks good but has great grip, wet or dry, and provided good cushion on the knees when in light air and kneeling on the cockpit becomes a necessity. We’ve been told that the weight of the deck is about 3 to 5 pounds, but the benefits greatly make up for any added weight. This past weekend in St Pete brought some bigger breeze on Saturday and we found ourselves on our side a few times. At the angle of heel we would normally slip on the deck but we had no such issue with the soft deck. There are several suppliers of these soft decks and we have not tested them all out, but the “Raptor” deck we are using has really worked out great.