Re: Our New Boat
Thanks everyone for the well wishes..
We cannot wait until Sept when the boat will be commissioned. I am just hoping that between than and March we can get all the rest of the gear installed before we cut the docklines. It is a very tight schedule and not sure we can get it all done. I will say at the Annapolis Boat show in Oct our credit card will take a major hit :>)
I thought I would share some of the things I have learned along the way on production boats.
OEM eqipment. Depending on the builder most of it is middle grade and some items are lower grade. I knew most of this from my current boat and all the upgrades I did to her.
Sails - OEM Lower class of Dacron sails. Made for weekend and some coastal cruising. Not for serious cruising. We are going with a full set of Bainbridge's Challenge Sailcloth, made for blue water. Jib/Genoa Miter Cut 135% W/Cover&Foam:7.77 oz Challenge Marblehead Premium Dacron. Three reef patchs on the leech and foot sewed in for optimum chaff protection. The mainsail will be 8.62 oz ChallengenHigh Aspect Premium Dacron with SS clew block and clew cover, tripled stitched. We still haven't made up our mind on light air sail; code 0 or asymetrical sail.
Dodger,bimini and connector. - Total redesigned made to withstand high winds, with welded handholds vs bolted/set screwed.
Salon cushions and cockpit cushions. I learned that there are 3 major grades of foam; A,B,C with A being the best. Most manufactures use either B or C. Since we will living on this boat for years to come we are going with grade A with two types of foam compreshion. Fabric is a whole different thing with most manufactures using lower grade to help keep cost down. Fabric is rated on many faucets: breath ability, abrasions and clean ability. On a sailboat with the harsh environment one needs good fabric to last. We are going with a fully redesigned interior cushions for the salon area and cockpit.
Fuel system. I want 500 NM range under power. The boat comes with only a 66 gal tank and I need another 40 gallons. Gerry and I went round and round on this on where we are we going to put additional 40 gal tank. In the end I am going to convert one of the water tanks which is 40 gals to fuel. My thoughts are I can always make water but I cannot make dinosaur fuel. I still have 125 gals of water capacity which is plenty for just the 2 of us. We will look at putting a watermaker after cruising around for a while. Dual Racor fuel system, similar to the Fuel Boss system.
Engine Room - Self discharging and autoshut off fire extinguish system. Night light too.
Refrigeration- We are putting in water cool vs air cool. Easier on the amp draw and keeps the salon a little cooler. Upgraded insulation on the freezer box and I will insulate the refrigerator.
Electrical system- Battery system. 3 battery banks. I don't like the way Catalina wires off the alternator. We talked at great lenght on this subject while I was at the factory. I will have to change it when I get the boat up to better standards plus put in a real battery monitor system. When I put on the solar panels we will redesign this system. The boat comes with a standard 60 amp alternator and 40amp battery charger. I am thinking of leaving the engine alternator alone and putting in a 100 amp battery charger plus 350 watts solar panels. My thoughts are when cruising there are only 3 types of wind, on the nose, too little or too much. In my 5 years of cruising my current boat I motor 57% of the time for hours at end on all major crossings. The engine alternator will do here in charging the batteries. When anchored out, I do not want to run the engine to charge the batteries. Very in efficient and costly. My bullet proof Honda 2000 generator will charge the batteries here. We run this thing every morning to make coffee and sunset to make dinner for a total of around 2 hours a day. I am NOT putting in a diesel generator. To much money and too much maintenance (they are always broke). My Honda is the best piece of equpment that always works and cheap to buy and operate. I am having a special shelf in the starboard locker bulit to place the Honda.
Galley. Catalna 445 has one the best galley I have ever seen. Bob Perry would love this galley. Up until I saw this galley, I alway thought Bob's Valiant 42 galley was the best design and in most respects still is. We are adding a freshwater foot pump and seagull water filter. I am not a fan of saltwater washing but if I need too I can always fill one gallon jugs off the swim-platform to perform a saltwater rinse. Cheap and better this way.
Handholds. We are adding a handhold in the day head. Not sure why Catalina didn't add one here because there is one in the forward head. I think they forgot about this one. We are in a big discussion on an overhead rail in the salon. The ceiling is 6'4". A normal hand rail will not work for us short people. This one is stil not decided yet. In the video that is what the 3 of us were discussing.
Electronics. Raymarine suite here. Not my first choice. Simrad is. Moving the chartplotter from Catalina's location to the top rear of the cockpit table. This way I can reach it from either helm and program/monitor while sitting on the cockpit settees. Where the charplotter was, we are putting in a Nightwatch box with locking door. Flashlight, horn, ERIP, and other safety equipment will occupy this space. The compass will move from the end of the cockpit table to the one at each helm station.
Anchor system.. Deep secret..... I don't want 110 page thread on this subject. Lets just say I am carrying 3 anchors. I will probably upgrade the windlass later.. I want to see how this bare minimum power rated one will do. If it overheats I will change it out.
Bling.. Underwater lights, LED rope cockpit lights. Boat comes with LED mood lighting in the salon. The back side lifelines will be converted to SS pipe (safety and might put solar panels here. Also according to Brain, I need real estate for 4 grills. LOL
Catalina 445, Hull #90