Re: Apparently I'm not meant to have a boat...
I have been monitoring this thread since it started. I am glad that there finally seems to be light at the end of the tunnel for you, and I am confident that once you have this resolved you'll have a great boat that your family will love.
Reflecting back on how you got to this place, I feel especially bad that you did not choose this path. You had a great boat before Sandy took it from you. That acquisition was not totally without problems either, but because it was a smaller boat your solution was easy - just buy a new outboard motor.
Which leads to an important lesson for others who are just starting out with their first boat. Starting out with a simple boat with minimal systems (such as Jim's prior Catalina 25) is lower risk and likely to get you on the water quicker with less risk. If this "new boat" had been Jim's first one, he almost certainly would have given up by now. But having already sailed on his first boat, and gotten a taste of the joys that lie ahead (and some experience with solving problems), he knows the value of persistence in solving the issues with this second boat.
After reading Jim's issues with this boat, and the other issues that some of you here have described with your own boats, I realize how fortunate I am that I have never missed a day of sailing due to mechanical problems (knock on wood). Much of that is luck, but part of that is simply the fact that my little boat has relatively simple systems that are easy to fix. If my outboard motor were to go kaput, I could easily replace it. Of course, an outboard has other deficiencies if you get into serious swells and chop, but you can't beat its simplicity.
So for those of you who dream of starting out with a 35-40 footer, and looking to save money by getting a project boat for your very first boat, I'd suggest getting started with the smallest boat that can meet your minimal requirements. You'll be much more likely to get on the water with such a boat. Hold off on that "project boat" until your next one (or later).
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Formerly posted as "RhythmDoctor"
1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)