Hints and Tips



Genoa Track Installation on SO409

We have had our SO409 for  four years now and have slowly added various upgrades to the electronics and sail wardrobe. Our SO409 is the standard version with the 106% headsail and tracks fitted to the coachroof. It does not have the side deck tracks fitted. This year I decided I wanted to upgrade to the larger 135% genoa and also replace the original Dacron sails with cruising laminate sails. The difficult bit, I thought, was going to be fitting the side deck tracks. I studied another local SO409 Performance to see what equipment was required and how it was positioned. 

Before taking the project forward and buying any of the components I decided that I should remove the headliner in the saloon on my own boat to see what the underside of the side deck was like and see where the through deck bolts needed to be fitted. Once the headliner was removed it was clear that everything was already prepared for fitting the tracks. There was a channel moulded into the underside of the deck and slots already cut in the woodwork to allow access to fit nuts washers etc and tighten them up.

Now that it was clear that this was not going to be too difficult a job I went through the process of getting all the required components. All the deck gear components were available as standard from Harken and Spinlock. I ordered all the required fasteners from local supplier ensuring all were A4 stainless steel. The majority for the hardware for the actual track were M8 machine screws 60mm long. The bolt for the end stop at the forward end was 70mm long. All with penny washers and Nylock nuts. I was not sure what Jeanneau fitted to ensure the spread of the load under the deck but for safety I got a local engineer to make me up plates 80mm x 40mm x 3mm to put at each bolt, the standard spacing on the Harken track is 100mm. The only special bit that I needed to get was the mounting bracket for the turning block just forward of the main winch on each side. I thought about trying to make a template and getting local engineer to make it up but decided to order the pair from Jeanneau. Not the cheapest way forward but at least it would fit first time.

Once all the components had arrived and the headliner was removed the first task was to work out how to position the track to ensure it had a constant distance from the side of the coach roof. This would mean putting a slight curve in what is a straight piece of track plus ensuring all the bolts went through the deck and were positioned in the centre of the premoulded channel on the underside plus lined up with slots in the woodwork so I could tighten the nuts. The key to getting this right was to mark where the first hole would be below the deck, then check that at every 100mm the bolts would line up with the slots in the wood work. Once I was happy with the positioning I drilled the first hole from the inside out.

Next move was back outside to start drilling the rest of the holes. Using the first hole drilled from the inside the track was positioned on the deck and a bolt put through. Given the track had to be slightly bent into a constant curve I made a small wooden spacer which was the exact distance between the track and the side of the coach roof. With the first bolt in place I moved the spacer to align with the second bolt, using my good wife as an assistant she pushed the end of the track towards the coachroof until the track pushed the spacer against the coachroof at the second hole. Holding it in position I drilled down through the hole in the track and deck then before releasing the pressure on the track put the bolt through the hole just drilled. I then moved the spacer to the next hole and repeated the process, push track in against spacer, drill hole, put bolt in. 25 holes later I had a track with all the bolts dry fitted through the deck and all perfectly lined up. The only slight issue is that one of the holes is directly in line with the bulkhead between the saloon and the heads so this has been filled and an M8 screw fitted in place of the bolt

Next task was to remove all the dry fitted bolts and track then clean up all the drilling mess both inside and outside. You will need to put dust sheets down inside so the mess is easy to clean up. Once all brushed up I cleaned the outside of the deck well to ensure that the bedding adhesive would stick, I used sikaflex. Starting from the forward end I applied the sikaflex the full length of where the track would sit ensuring that all the holes were filled. 


Once this was done I carefully moved the track in place and put the first bolt through while holding the other end of the track above the adhesive. In a similar process to the drilling I then move slowly after putting each bolt through in turn and once all through checking each bolt was all the way through.

Back below deck and time to fit all the plates, washers and nuts. All plates were given a good coat of sikaflex before fitting, the washers also had a layer of Sikaflex applied before the nut was fitted. Once every thing was fitted then it was time to tighten them all up. Again a bit of assistance required as someone needs to hold the allan key on the outside while I tighten the nuts with a socket from the inside.

Next job was to slide on both sets of cars then fit and bolt on the two end stops..........job done. It took three hours to do the port side from start to finish and two hours to do the starboard side.


Next job was to fit a couple of fairleads and jammers for the Genoa car control lines. The fairleads were fitted with two 15mm Pozi head screws. I used quick release spinlock jammers for the lines and fitted them to the side deck in line with the padeye. Easy access to the bolts to fit the nuts from the cockpit lockers. Control lines fitted and lead back to the helm position. I used 8mm dyneema, probably a bit of overkill but it was an end of roll length and half price. I also added a piece of elastic between the end car and the adjustable car to keep a bit of tension between the two and to stop the car sliding up and down the track when not in use.

The last job was to fit the mounting bracket for the turning block and the turning block. This ensures the correct lead angle for the sheet onto the main winch. This is where the Jeanneau supplied mount brackets are used to mount the lock off block. Again relatively easy to fit with easy access for the nuts inside the cockpit locker.

So for a job that I thought might be a bit tricky for DIY it was relatively straight forward. I did it over a couple of weekends as I was waiting for some of the parts to arrive. However if you have everything to hand both sides and the various jammers could all be done in a day.

For those interested the parts list to do the job is as follows:

Rick James - SO409 - Topaz