Cascade 36′ Cutter/Yawl

Just after launch This is my current boat to take me to the limits of my imagination.  A Cascade 36 which came out of the mold in 1972, Hull #51.  She is a sister ship to ‘Rain Drop” who won the 2008 Pacific Cup;  although, originally designed as a racer/cruiser her refit is to make her a lively and comfortable cruising boat.

cascade 36 drawing

  • Following are a couple of photos of Max, the original owner aboard in the waters around the infamous Columbia River Bar circa 1974 (look just over the hatch in the first photo, to the right of the mast).  Max
  • After arriving in the boatyard, 100′ from the building where she was molded, I emptied all the lockers, removed electronics and ships stores and sorted contents for storage.  On the Hard – Interior It was a mess inside, and continues so,  each time I tidy the next project seems to pull the rug and mess again comes from nowhere, but now the end is in reach and the question is left or right  when I cross the bar.

As time allows I will continue to gather and post the stages of refit, including designing and installing the toe-rail, the bowsprit, the aft cabin, the ‘arch” and windscreen, the keel encapsulation and more.


All boats are concocted of compromises, and although the Cascade 36 is a very strong, seaworthy design which performs well in racing and cruising with relatively few weaknesses, still some issues are common to the design.  Perhaps the most common and potentially serious weakness is the hull to deck bond and toe  rail system.  The factory deck is laid up in the mold to a 1/2″ marine ply core.  The hull has a doubled 1×4 mahogany shear clamp laminated to the inside of the hull.  The deck is fitted over the shear clamp and glued and fastened to the shear clamp, then the joint is glassed with a few layers of cloth and resin on the outside.  With the expansion/contraction of the materials along with the flexing of a plastic boat this joint could crack through the fiberglass joint tape and let water into the wood causing degradation of the wood and of the joint.  This was in addition to the hull encapsulated stainless steel chainplates which would protrude through the deck.  The flexing of the chainplates could provide a crevasse along their edges allowing water to penetrate to the wood underneath, and encourage rot in the wood and crevasse corrosion of the chainplate.  These two weakness were realized over the years and the chainplates were eliminated while the hull to deck joint was strengthened with a new proprietary toe rail system.  This system is extremely strong allowing the standing rigging to attach directly to it;  while also fastening to both the deck and the hull thereby strengthening the bond.  This was a major improvement and has for the most part been a successful improvement, but as with all things boats one change can introduce another potential problem;  that problem is in the hundreds of fasteners used to attach this toe rail to the boat.  Each fastener penetrates the fiberglass of the hull and the deck into the wood beneath providing hundreds of paths for water to penetrate when the bedding compound should fail.  This potential for failure was too great for my liking and the Cascade Toe Rail was very difficult to come by so I decided to design my own system which I describe below.  I also decided to strengthen the hull to deck joint and with the help of a friend who is also an expert on composite boat building I was able to do so.  After grinding through the gel coat  on both the deck and hull and fairing the joint radius we applied tape and resin to the joint overlaid with try-axial cloth and resin in sufficient layers to achieve approximately 1/4″ thickness extending about 8″ onto the deck and the hull.  This was feathered into the hull and the deck to provide a fair surface for the paint to follow.  Another project I wanted was an Aft Cabin primarily for storage of my spare set of sails and other light weight stowage.  I did not care for the Cascade fastening system for their aft cabin kit so I cut one of their’s down the middle fore and aft and widened it about 6″ which allowed it to be glassed and faired to the combing.   Being intended for cruising my boat was to have a dodger system and mainsail sheeting system to allow the cockpit to be relatively free of the working lines while allowing a soft-top dodger and a bimini to be rigged while underway in the tropics.  I also wanted a place to mount a wind generator and radar which must be out of the way while being accessible;  I wanted a riding sail at anchor;  I wanted a method of lifting my dinghy with motor attached &/or mast stepped out of the water to a sufficient height for security.  I chose to install a mizzen mast to accomplish these wants and it is created and will be installed before launch.



  • Encapsulating the Keel

Encapsulating Keel

  • Hull to Deck Joint
  • Aft CabinIMG_0409
  • Cockpit Arch and Convertible Dodger:  This spring  2012 I prepared the Cockpit Arch for filling with resin and foam which then was encapsulated in about 3/16″ of tri-axial cloth and resin.  The outside aluminum tubing is 2″ and the center tube is 1″ Schedule 40 6093 T-6 alloy.  The U channel on the top is 6061 T-6 aluminum.  The armature formed was welded and faired then the hollow spaces were stuffed with closed cell structural foam.  Next a thinned resin mixed with very small foam granules were poured to fill the crevices.  After that the tri-axial cloth was applied with resin.  I built the arch in my home shop leaving an attachment bolt connecting the tubing bare for installation into the cockpit combing on the boat.  Cockpit Arch in shop ready for resin and cloth
  • Dodger
  • Paint System:  This entry is a slideshow taken over several days while I sprayed the finish LPU coats.   All exterior areas above the boot stripe have at least 6 coats (most have 8) and the deck non-skid areas have 9 coats.  Cascade 36 – Paint – Aug & Sep 2012


  • Installing new Fixed Ports
  • Toe Rail and Lifeline System
  • Here is a slideshow of making the bow roller plate which will also support the bowsprit.  the plate is 5/8″  and the brackets are 3/8″, both 6061 T-6 aluminum.  There are two rollers and the brackets are welded to the plate.  I will post a second slideshow showing the unit finished and  mounted to the boat.  [quicktime] Anchor Rollers-1.m4v[/quicktime]
  • Bow Rollers install
  • Bowsprit install
  • External Chainplates
  •  Mizzen Mast for Wind Generator, Radar, Dinghy Lifting  and Riding Sail