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  #1  
Old 05-16-2007
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Just Purchased a Columbia 8.3; Questions!

Greetings,

I'm excited to say that I've just purchased a Columbia 8.3, which is a dream-come-true. I'm highly impressed with the design quality of this and other Columbia's that I've seen.

I've been out sailing three times already in wind up to about 10 knots and can see that she's a stable, well-balanced ship. There are some issues, but I'm quite sure they're all fixable. This brings me to a few questions--any advice anyone has related to the Columbia 8.3 would be greatly appreciated:

1. SAILS/SAILING. I'm considering a new set of sails and am wondering if anyone has had good experiences with having new sails made, or perhaps could suggest another production boat with sails that would fit well. I saw a used jib for a Newport 27 today at the marine consignment store. Does anyone have the exact rig measurements for the 8.3? I know that sometimes the literature doesn't quite match the boat and was hoping to find some tried-and-true numbers.

2. RUDDER. The upper rudder bearing seems to be either badly worn or perhaps not seated properly, as the rudder stock (attached to a tiller) is very loose--it probably can move up to 1/4" in any one direction. I'm wondering if anyone has tackled this. I was thinking that I'll probably need to replace the upper bearing--is this simply a UHMW bushing? Would any modifications be recommended for the rudder system while I'm at it? I was also thinking about installing a full height rudder tube to house the bearings, bonded to both hull and cockpit sole, and then do away with the flexible stuffing box. Also, has anyone had good success with a particular bearing for either top or bottom?

3. WINCHES. In addition to the two Lewmar 16 sheet winches, the boat came only with one halyard winch mounted on the mast, a Lewmar 6 I believe, and this winch is broken. Were not two halyard winches standard and can anyone suggest a replacement and, in particular, where to get the winch base/pad that is contoured for the mast! Is that a custom fitting or...?

4. FUEL TANK. The boat's stock fuel tank had been removed due to corrosion, and now there is simply a 7-gal. jerry jug. I'd like to get at least the original capacity of fuel back in the boat. Does anyone have any specific recommendations--does some stock tank fit or is a custom tank required? Any success with a particular solution?

5. CABIN HEAT. I was thinking about installing a Dickinson Newport propane heater, as I really like the visible flame and good heat, although if there were a simpler effective option, I'd love to hear about it!

6. DODGER/BIMINI. What success have people had with dodgers and/or biminis installed on the Columbia 8.3?

I'm looking forward to getting this girl back into shape and to enjoying many good years. And I'll be eager to share what I learn with the group. It's good to be on here with something to talk about now!!


Best regards,
Tristan
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Old 05-22-2007
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I have recently purchased an 8.7, which is a very similar design. I can't help you with the rudderstock problem, since mine has not required any attention. I would disassemble the halyard winch and see if you can salvage it. You may just need to lubricate the bearing and clean the pawls. Spare parts are available on the internet. Although I have two halyard winches, I've found that I can raise my 170% Genny without the winch as long as I'm pointing into the wind (and it's not really blowing more that 10 knots).
Detailed information on your boat can be found at Columbia 8.3 Specifications

I have a propane force 10 Cozy Cabin heater. The unit works great and takes the chill off the cabin when outdoor temps are as low as 25 F. However, there is no convenient place to store a propane bottle, so you may have to hang one on the stern rail. The Newport model is a nicer unit and will look great in the main Saloon. My heater is mounted to the forward port bulkhead in the saloon and the vent pipe runs through the bulkhead and up on the head side of the bulkhead. This arrangement warms up the head nicely, but you have to be careful not to get singed on the vent pipe when you have your pants down!
The previous owner replaced the aluminum tank with a plastic model. A 15 gallon tank can be guided through the cockpit locker and mounted on the original tank platform (on my model). I don't remember who built the tank, but it was not a custom unit.
I have a doger installed, but no bimini. Mine was put together by a local shop in Seward, AK, and it looks pretty old.

I've found the boat to be a suprisingly good performer and really stiff. I'm not sure what it would take to put the rail under, and I don't really want to find out.
Erik
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Old 07-16-2007
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I am a relatively new owner of an 8.7 also. Bacon Sails in Annapolis is not only a source of consignment and new parts and accessories, but provides a really neat web site that lists your 8.3, providing the dimentions as well as some used sails that will work for your specs (sometimes with modification, and in varying degrees of condition and price.)

Paste this address into your browser, pull down the manufacturer box, pick Columbia, and you'll find her listed along with most if not all the other models

http://www.baconsails.com/database/boatspec.php

Best of luck to you

Steve
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Old 09-21-2010
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Tristan,

I have some sails on consignment at Bacon's in Annapolis for my old 8.3. Several of them were new so they should work for you. I was about to pull them back and see about selling them on ebay or craigslist because they had been there for a while. If you are still looking, let me know. Jib and a couple of Genoas.

The boat is great. Mine got crunched a few years back during Ernesto when my neighbors boat broke loose and smashed my hull for 8 straight hours....

Keep your eye on your portlights if they are original. Take the time to remove the teak plywood from the inside and examine it for rot. If they were leaking and the wood is starting to rot from the back side, you can use CPES epoxy to stabilize it and not ruin the teak side. Other than that leak, it has been a great boat. The 8.7 is as well.

Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2010
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Oh,

I forgot, my 8.7 had two winches on the mast and the 8.3 had only one....go figure!
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Old 09-27-2010
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Congratulations on the purchase of your columbia. I have a 8.7 which I purchased from Chance Maryland last year. Have been working on it ever since and hope to launch this coming spring. Can't wait. Hope you have as much fun as I anticipate I'll have. Keep in touch
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Old 10-14-2010
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I recently took ownership of a 1979 8.3. The interior is a wreck, but the basic structure is sound and all deck hardware is there and functional.
I'm replacing all structural bulkheads and furniture. There is a bimini frame mounted to the pushpit, and it seems a good fit with plenty of headroom. I've seen the boats with a dodger and if done well, it's a great addition.
Not sure of the fuel tank size. May depend on your engine.Diesel or gas?
The simple fix for the rudder play may be as simple as a delrin or nylon washer at the base of the shaft. You may have to remove the rudder to install. The meter boats are famous for chain plate leaks. Check your bulkheads for rot at the attachment points,and for elongated mounting holes. Check the bulkhead under the mast base. Remove a couple of chain plates and check for corrosion. The factory plates were aluminum, and corrosion has been an issue where the plates pass thru the deck.
I also own a Columbia 8.7 and a Columbia Saber. I've done similar repairs on both of these boats as well.
Let me know if you have any questions that haven't been addressed.
Columbia-yachts.com is a great source of info.
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Old 11-21-2010
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Tristan,

I currently own a '78 Columbia 8.3. Great boat! I regularly sail on Long Island Sound with main and 125% genoa in 10-12knots, 15knots is about where I consider reefing. In regular 3-4' sets she's really solid, but in 2' chop she starts to pitch and roll a bit.

As to your questions .... I've had all the same issues with my boat. Give me an hour or so to look up old receipts for the fuel tank and I'll post some specifics on all of your questions.

The Yahoo Group 'Columbia Yacht Owners Association' is a great on0line community for us owners, not limited to boats though, which I like.

BTW, the C8.3 is an absolute pig in lightwinds, and tends to wallow downwind .... I love the boat anyway.

--Tim
S/V Wind Gypsy
1978 Columbia 8.3
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Old 11-21-2010
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SAILS/SAILING
If you can wait until I winterize in a few weeks, I can measure my sails and post the dimensions.
Meanwhile, Columbia Yacht Owners Association has all the stock dimensions listed on the site.


RUDDER
The PO shimmed the rudder with circles cut from 1gallon plastic milk cartons. The last set of shims probably lasted 5 years and have finally disintegrated. It's a cheap effective solution. I'll probably drop the rudder and do some glass work. Currently I'm just living with rudder play.


WINCHES
A couple of my winches one work in one 'speed.' Eventually I'll take them apart and repair or replace. It's another 'live with it' thing.

If you install a 2nd halyard winch, the pair on the mast of my boat are directly opposite each other, about 2' above the cabin top.


FUEL TANK
IIRC the original tank on my boat was 18 gallons, heavily corroded, and one of the first thing ripped out and replaced.
This Moeller tank (rated for diesel and gas) is the one replacement I used, which fit very nicely, no mods required.
Model G dimensions Fill
MOE-032519 19 26.00 x 16.00 x 11.75 Top

Basically, measure the tank you have and search for a stock tank that fits - you should find one.


HEAT
The PO used a little $20 space heater from West Marine. I threw it out.My family wears extra sweaters when it gets cold.


DODGER
Check out the photos of the various boats the Yahoo Group - lots of them have dodgers and/or biminis.

If you want measurements for a dodger frame let me know and I'll go did my frame out of the garage. The issue I had with it was that the mounting screws hadn't been sealed .... and the C8.3 cabin top is plywood cored ..... and there's a lot of delamination on the sides of the cabin top. One of these days I'll get around to doing a small recore and reinstalling the dodger.

Anything else specific? I've done some deck recoring, some glass work, did areplaced a bit of the cracked exterior woodwork, bit of rewiring, installed asolar panel and PWM charger, helped a friend haul out the Yanmar, changed out most of the thru-hulls, made and replaced the chain plates .... If I can't remember I can always go look at the boat next time I'm at my boat club.

--Tim.
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Old 01-18-2011
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Columbia mounted chain plates on plywood bulkheads...most leak...check for rot. You may need to replace the outboard section of these bulkheads.
Do you have an Atomic 4 engine? If so you can find info on Moyer Marine. com

Domenic...Columbia 28
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