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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-09-2007
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Cutting costs and corners

I'm just a young airman (i don't make much) and bought a fixer upper (Chrysler 22)... well, more like a money pit. I don't know anything about sailing other than it looked fun so my wife and I found a oat close by and got raped in the deal. I payed 2 grand for a 1975 Chrysler C-22 swing keel with pretty paint and the trailer. We jumped on the deal. Everytime I go to work on it, I notice it requires more money to fix.

I want to sail the damn thing and am cutting corners where I can, based on my uncle's advice and what I believe to be common sense. I want to know if some of these other things are acceptable and if you guys can reccomend and other area to save.

Okay, I was thinking about the boards to lock the cabin. I want to use something less exspensive than teak. If I got to replace it in 3 years instead of five... who cares. I'll have prolly sold the boat by then. It has no railing around the sides (can't tell if it's called stanchions or lifelifes or both) But 1 aluminum pole is about $130 less than SS. The mast is aluminum and hasn't rusted to death since 1975. I just want them to hang a small grill and a flag on, I don't want them to hold me if I fall. I only want them for the transom area anyways. Electrical, I am thinking about just using car adio wire from walmart and replacing the incandescent bulbs with a 4 cluster of LED bulbs. I was thinking of using brass hinges or trying to find some from SS at homedepot for $% instead of $35 at west marine, to fix the seats and port cover. I replaced the swing keel line with 3/16 steel cable from lowes and a $3 SS shackle from lowe's too. I figure, the replacement costs $8, so what if I gotta drop $8 and 20 minutes every 6 months or so versus buying some special marine grade stuff from west marine for 5 times that every 6 years.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-09-2007
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L0keman-

I would use either Lexan or marine plywood for the drop boards. The Lexan is much easier to do...cut them to shape, and use them... no finishing required.

The lines around the outside are called lifelines and the posts holding them up are called stanchions. The reason they use stainless steel is because it is far stronger and far more fatigue resistant than aluminum is—so it is far less likely to fail unexpectedly. This is not an area you want to skimp IMHO. If you're only going to be putting them around the cockpit, you might as well go stainless steel. It is stronger and less likely to drop your barbeque grill into the water.

Don't use car audio wire because it will corrode rather quickly. You dont say where you're sailing the boat, but if it is on salt water, you'll end up doing the work and paying for the materials twice if you use speaker wire instead of marine-grade electrical wire. The LED clusters are a good idea, I've done much the same with my boat.

If your on salt water—don't use any brass for any external hardware. It will corrode very quickly. Zinc is bad too... some cleats and things are made of Zamac, which is a zinc alloy, and shouldn't be used on a boat in salt water.

As for the swing keel line... using plain steel cable, if you're on salt water is less than wise. The price difference is not all that large, and it will last considerably longer—as you put it... it will cost five times as much and last six years... versus 20 minutes of your time and the $8 every six months. Do the math... five times as much is $40 over six years... and replacing it every six months for six years is $96 plus four hours of your time. Also, if it does fail, it will probably happen when you least want it to... and that could possibly endanger you, your wife or your boat.

There are places you can economize. Like not shopping at West Marine for the things you need, but getting them at commercial fishing supply houses or over the internet.

One thing I've learned over the years is that it is generally cheaper in the long run to do a job right, with the right tools and right materials than it is to do a shoddy half-assed job and have to come back and fix it time and time again.
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Old 04-10-2007
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Lokeman...if you are trailer sailing on lakes and KNOW you are doing a half assed job but just want to have some fun...everything you suggest is fine and will last a while.
If you are in rougher waters...you gotta think twice about safety related stuff.
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Old 04-10-2007
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Quote:
Okay, I was thinking about the boards to lock the cabin. I want to use something less exspensive than teak. If I got to replace it in 3 years instead of five... who cares.
Doesn't make a huge difference what you use as long as it keeps the rain (and thieves - if that's an issue) out. You can use regular plywood if you seal it really well and plan on replacing it every couple of years. Marine Plywood would be better, Lexan would be really great (might cost money though).

Quote:
I'll have prolly sold the boat by then. It has no railing around the sides (can't tell if it's called stanchions or lifelines or both) But 1 aluminum pole is about $130 less than SS.
On a 22 foot boat they are more decoration than safety feature. I wouldn't worry about them right now - later - if you keep the boat - get stainless steel.

Quote:
Electrical, I am thinking about just using car audio wire from walmart and replacing the incandescent bulbs with a 4 cluster of LED bulbs.
Might be better to go with house wire. The audio wire is not heavy enough to handle what the battery MIGHT put out if it shorts - it is possible for your battery to start a fire.
Quote:
I was thinking of using brass hinges or trying to find some from SS at homedepot for $% instead of $35 at west marine, to fix the seats and port cover.
Good idea - West Marine is expensive and there is no need to waste money - just don't use regualr steel because it is really difficult to get rust stains out of fibreglass.

Quote:
I replaced the swing keel line with 3/16 steel cable from lowes and a $3 SS shackle from lowe's too. I figure, the replacement costs $8, so what if I gotta drop $8 and 20 minutes every 6 months or so versus buying some special marine grade stuff from west marine for 5 times that every 6 years.
Make sure you check that cable religiously - like every time you take the boat out of the water. It is a fairly important piece.

You are not doing anything that a lot of other folks haven't done. My one suggestion would be to remember that, if you intend to sell the boat in the forseeable future, you shouldn't do anything "permanent" to it that cannot be easily fixed or upgraded by someone buying it from you.

Hope the project goes well and that you have many great sails in her !
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Old 04-10-2007
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Having replaced the keel cable on my 1974 Venture of Newport 23 many times over the last 30 years I would definitely not use cheap galvanized cable again. It will rust through in just one season in fresh water; much less in salt water. It seems to deteriorate from the inside out so you can't always tell its condition by feeling or looking at it.

If your keel is fairly heavy and the cable breaks while you are sailing, the keel could swing freely with enough force to damage the centerboard trunk and/or hull. (Been there, done that.) Also, you would have to dive under the boat to replace the cable in the water since you can't get the boat back on the trailer with the keel down.

Flexible stainless cable is a far better choice. I opted for 1/4" this time and have had no problems for the last 6 years. Be sure to use 3 bulldog clips or 2 nicopress fittings to form the loop around a thimble on the end. (A cheap nicopress tool can save you a lot of money in the long run; you can replace all your rigging yourself as necessary, as well as the keel cable.)

Henry
Chiquita
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Old 04-10-2007
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source for relatively(!) inexpensive boat wire

Hi-

If you decide to rewire your electrical system with good tinned 'boat cable' try this source on Ebay: "genuinedealz". Their cable is decent tinned and stranded wire. I've purchased about 700' from these guys and have been happy with the results.

Dustdevil38
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Old 04-10-2007
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I second the Genuinedealz guys there have just about anything in marine wire you can think of and everything I have recieved has been Ancor or Pacer Marine which are top shelf wire mfg's.

Scott
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Old 04-10-2007
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"Cutting costs and corners" sounds so... Improper.

I graduated cum laude from The Kentucky Institute of Hillbilly Engineering, so here's how ya do it:

- Forget the stern pulpit. Whew! Time for a beer break.
- Forget the lifelines. Yep, we're knockin' this list out cheap!
- Forget the wiring. You really gonna stay out that late on a 22?
- Do not skimp on the keel winch cable.
- Companionway hatch depends on your security/privacy needs. Thin clear plexiglass is cheap.

My advice assumes you're a state park lake trailer sailer, and wife refuses to camp. When it's time to grill, raise the keel (with your quality cable) and beach at the picnic area of your choice. Throw down a blanket & $10 charcoal grill.
You can get a transom mount flag kit at any boating shop.

Run all lines to cockpit & lack of lifelines isn't a big deal. One might say they look kinda silly on a small boat.
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Old 04-10-2007
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iokeman-
"I'll have prolly sold the boat by then."
Remember that if you do a half-assed job with the wrong gear, the nexdt buyer will either run away, or will pay way less knowing that they have to now REDO all the labor you have put into the boat, PLUS more labor to undo what you've done.

"It has no railing around the sides " You don't need stanchions and lifelines at all, there's no requirement for them. However, kuldge jobs are likely to fail way sooner than you think. If you call around (or shop on the web) you may be able to find used stanchions that are 'good enough' and just skip the pushpit and pulpit railings, ruin the lifelines nearly all the way around and mount your BBQ on a larger stanchion post or a piece of pipe secured to the hull.

"Electrical, I am thinking about just using car audio wire from walmart and replacing the incandescent bulbs with a 4 cluster of LED bulbs."
First problem, untinned wire (non marine wire) will rot out way sooner than you think. And the next buyer will simply decrease his offer by the cost of the wire. Second problem, you can slap in some LEDs but if they are not in a USCG-approved fixture...you're only kidding yourself. You can just skip the lights for now and sail in the daytime only if things are that tight.
But I'd suspect an "airman" might be able to do a little scrounging from the maintenance crews on base, wire comes on spools and everyone who uses spools has to throw away "short" ends that might be all you need.

"I was thinking of using brass hinges or trying to find some from SS at homedepot " That's probably safe--assuming the hinges are robust enough. On boats, bronze is preferred to brass because of corrossion issues in plumbing, but for isolated hinges and such brass will probably be fine. Stainless certainly will be.

"I replaced the swing keel line with 3/16 steel cable from lowes" The other option is not to use steel cable, but to use something like Kevlar or Aramid synthetic line. In some applications, it will outlast wire of any kind. Just remember, that keel wire is important--it's not something to scrimp on.

If you got decent sails with that boat, the price might not have been so bad. If you really got a raw deal...chalk it up to "tuition" and put it behind you.

But kludge jobs that will cost you extra labor time, extra repair time, and scare off the next buyer? Try to skirt the fine line, don't go "penny wise pound foolish" on yourself either.
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Old 04-10-2007
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HS-

To clarify, my replacement of the incandescent bulbs with LED clusters was meant for cabin lighting, not navigation lighting. I do have USCG approved LED navigation lighting on my boat, since I tend to be an energy miser.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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