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  #1  
Old 06-30-2007
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Just bought my first boat! Catalina 27 diesel

Hi Everyone -
I sort of jumped into buying my first boat today, a 1976 Catalina 27', with tiller and diesel Yanmar. The boat is in better condition than most other 1970-era boats I've seen, but the spreader brackets are cracked, and the bow sprit is bent badly (tree branch dropped on it).

My question is - what should I check out on the boat now that I have it, and what should I do while it is in dry dock?

A few things I need to address, feel free to comment with ideas:

1) Replace Spreader Brackets
2) Step the Mast and hook up wiring (while the mast is down - any electronics I should add? New VHF arial maybe? GPS antenna (or is it better to mout GPS low in the boat?), maybe Radar?
3) The icebox and sink drain do not have a seacock on the outlet, but a regular water valve (gate valve I think) - should I change this? Is it urgent?
4) The diesel fuel tank is loose - the fiberglass matting that holds it in place is loose, and the tank is essentially loose to slide around. Any advice on this?
5) The bow pulpit is bent - should I try to unbend it, or do I need to buy a new one?

I paid just $2,000 for her - just need to haul her to water (20 miles) and step the mast.

Any idea?
Phillip
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  #2  
Old 06-30-2007
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You should focus on the basics. Replace any seacocks that show corrosion problems. Check engine and rigging. The instrumentation can wait. Get a portable GPS, it will give the best value for the money and you can use it on and off the boat.
You should be able to fix the tank with some straps. Something must have broken - fixing that would be the natural way to repair.
Get a metal worker to fix the pultpit. For that kind of money you will have plenty of work to do. The main thing is to keep her afloat.
Have fun!
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Old 07-01-2007
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Quote:
1) Replace Spreader Brackets
2) Step the Mast and hook up wiring (while the mast is down - any electronics I should add? New VHF arial maybe? GPS antenna (or is it better to mout GPS low in the boat?), maybe Radar?
3) The icebox and sink drain do not have a seacock on the outlet, but a regular water valve (gate valve I think) - should I change this? Is it urgent?
4) The diesel fuel tank is loose - the fiberglass matting that holds it in place is loose, and the tank is essentially loose to slide around. Any advice on this?
5) The bow pulpit is bent - should I try to unbend it, or do I need to buy a new one?
Quote:
I paid just $2,000 for her - just need to haul her to water (20 miles) and step the mast.
I'm going to assume that you're working on a pretty tight budget, so you need to prioritise. The three things you need to worry about, in order of importance are:

Make it float

Make it go

Make it comfortable

You mention that the diesel tank is flopping around, and that the fibreglass has become loose. Based on this, you should assume that there are some issues with the hull that need to be taken care of...

Is the boat in the water ? If so, start by taking out everything that you possibly can, and then drying out the bilges completely. Now start looking for water. Leave the boat in the water for at least 48 hours. If there is water coming in anywhere, figure out what is allowing it to come in and fix it. Don't ignore a slow leak thinking that the bilge pump will take care of it.

If the boat is not in the water, then put it in and do this before you spend any money elsewhere. You don't want to go out and buy new spreaders or pulpits, only to find that you can't afford to replace the shaft or the seacocks.

Next, while the boat is in the water, get inside and close it up. Now get someone to spray water on it everywhere. Look for leaks, particularly at the stanchion, ports, hatches, and deck hardware. If you find any - fix them.

Now, before you put your mast up, assemble everything to make sure that it all goes together as it should, that all of the pieces are in good condition (no cracks in the metal, no burrs on the shrouds and stays. Don't try to use rigging that is in poor condition. You, or someone else can get killed very easily if the rig comes down or pieces come loose and start flying around.

Buy new lines for all of your running rigging. Use something like 3m silicon spray on all of your sheaves and blocks and make sure that they are running smoothly, and that no pins are coming loose anywhere. This is the time to put on new spreaders.

Now check out your sails. Examine them carefully for signs of wear, fraying, and loose stitching. If there is loose stitching, get it fixed. If you don't, the sails will probably tear at some point, leaving you with a much bigger repair bill.

The next step is to make sure that your engine is working. Check your oil levels, thermostat, impeller, all hoses, battery connections, stuffing box, anything and everything you can think of, and can find in the owner's manual (which you should be able to download if you don't have one).

So at this point, you have a boat that floats and that can go. If you don't have the wherewithal to replace the bent stainless, then take it off and throw it away if you can't bend it back into a workable shape. Your boat will sail fine without them and while they do add a margin of safety, there are thousands of boats out there that have never had them. I checked out a couple of pics of the Cat 27 - it doesn't appear that it has an actual bowsprit - so I am going to assume that you are referring to the pulpit (the steel frame on the front of the boat).

If you have any money left, then you can start replacing/repairing/upgrading the interior.

Good Luck !
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Old 07-01-2007
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Did you get the boat surveyed before buying her??

I generally don't recommend mounting the GPS antenna much above deck level on a monohull, as the pitch and roll of the boat will affect the GPS readings much more the higher up it is mounted. Generally, the best spot for it is on the stern pulpit railing.

I would replace the gate valve with a ball seacock, but if the drain is above the water line, it isn't necesarily something that has to be done right away, especially if the gate valve is in good working order.

Fix the tank back in place. Use epoxy and fiberglass it back into place. Having it loose like that is a good way to damage the tank, the fuel lines and other parts of the boat.

If the bow pulpit is just bent, but the stainless steel tubing that makes it up isn't crimped or kinked, then you should be able to straighten it and use it again. If the tubing is kinked or crimped, then you'll probably need to replace it—since that kind of damage really reduces the strength of the stainless steel tubing.

As for hauling her...UGH.. Do you have access to a travel lift or crane at both locations? Where is the boat now—on the hard, on a cradle, on a trailer, in the water??? If she's on a trailer, or a cradle, then it isn't that difficult to move her.

On a trailer—tow the trailer to where you want the boat splashed, provided the place has a crane or travel lift capable of lifting the Catalina and puttiner her in the water.

On a cradle—rent a flatbed trailer and crane... lift the boat, move the cradle to the flatbed trailer and bolt it down, put the boat back on the cradle, then proceed as above.
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  #5  
Old 07-01-2007
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Any suggestions on a cheap, maybe even used, handheld GPS?
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Old 07-01-2007
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Look for a Garmin GPSMap 76C. Has decent battery life, runs on two AA batteries, color screen, easy to use, water-resistant and floats.
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Old 07-01-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
Hi Everyone -
I sort of jumped into buying my first boat today, a 1976 Catalina 27', with tiller and diesel Yanmar.
Congratulations! (IMO that's the best combination for that boat.)

We were considering a Cat 27 w/outboard, but decided we wanted something with a bit more room down below, for extended cruising, and an inboard engine. (Same reason.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
The boat is in better condition than most other 1970-era boats I've seen, but the spreader brackets are cracked,
You'll need to replace those right away. If they fail under load the entire mast may come down, which won't be pretty. Catilina has a replacement kit with stainless brackets and a compression (really anti-compression) tube. (There are a couple tricks to getting that pesky (anti-)compression tube in place. Goggle for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
My question is - what should I check out on the boat now that I have it, and what should I do while it is in dry dock?
What the others have said. In addition: C-27 Known Problems.

I don't see this mentioned on that page: The Cat-27 mast is stepped to the deck. Below that there's a compression post that runs from under the mast step to the sole of the cabin. Under that is a compression block between the cabin's sole and the hull. That compression block is wood and it's in the bilge. It's common in older C-27s for the compression block to soften and rot after being exposed to too much water, too often, for too long. (Go figure, eh? ) Google for "C-27 compression block" and similar terms for info on this. The guy whose boat we were considering had his C-27 on the hard for a year, re-fitting her. He drilled both that compression block and the wood filler in the bilge (over 300 small holes in that latter piece, he said) and injected some kind of epoxy the (dried) wood would absorb, then painted both with barrier coat (IIRC).

(Btw: If anybody's in the market for a C-27 [tiller and 9.9HP outboard] in the S.E. Michigan area, apparently in top condition and with lots of upgrades, I know right where you can find one.)

Good luck and have fun!

Jim
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Old 07-01-2007
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Oh, and no need to replace the VHF antenna if there's nothing wrong with the one that's there, in my opinion. If you do feel the need, you might wish to consider transom-mounting a somewhat larger, high-performance fiberglass antenna, instead. The owner of the boat we're buying did that. When I questioned it, he replied "Well, my thinking was if the antenna's on the mast, and the mast comes down..." "Oh," I repied, "I'd never considered that."

OTOH: A transom-mounted antenna, no matter how high-performance, may not have the range of that tiny little whip antenna you commonly see atop masts. (For VHF range, line-of-sight is king.) At least when the mast is up

Jim
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Old 07-01-2007
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Hi Jim -
thanks for the info.
I did look at that compression "block" in the bilge, and it did look soft. it looks like the epoxy that covered it had cracked away, allowing bilge water to soak the wood.
If anyone has any more info on how to fix this - please let me know.
I still think the boat was a decent price - $2,000. The sails looked brand new, the interior was in good condition, and I couldn't see any water marks on the inside of the boat. And its a diesel.

Phillip
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Old 07-01-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
Hi Jim -
thanks for the info.
You're quite welcome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 7tiger7
I did look at that compression "block" in the bilge, and it did look soft. it looks like the epoxy that covered it had cracked away, allowing bilge water to soak the wood.
If anyone has any more info on how to fix this - please let me know.
I saw a discussion on this, somewhere, but apparently I didn't save the URL. Sorry. You might check Catalina Owners.com for owners sailing production sailboats or International Catalina 27/270 Association.

If I recall correctly: There aren't many options. If the wood is not beyond rescue, you could try letting it dry out, which might take quite a bit of time if it's really badly soaked, and try the epoxy injection fix. Then seal it up. Otherwise the only other fix, I believe, is to remove the compression post (which wasn't difficult, as I recall), take up a bit of the cabin's sole, and remove and replace the compression block.

Sounds like a PITA. And perhaps it will be. But make no mistake: Fixing this is something that has to be done. All of the mast's downward force is applied to that block of wood.

Jim
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