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  #1  
Old 09-13-2010
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Does anyone ever feel this way?

I recently bought a 1975 Bristol 27. We motored it from Chicago to Milwaukee (about two 10 hour days). At the end of the first day the motor stalled a few times trying to get into gear, and smoked a bit. I have been dealing with a leaky head, and a lot of unknown rigging. So, yesterday we motored out of our mooring and after a few minutes the motor revs started oscillating. I turned quickly and went back to the mooring. Now after the worry of moving an unknown boat a long way, and dealing with a bunch of other new-old boat things, I am at a point that I don't have any confidence in the boat.

Have you ever felt like you can't trust your boat, and it scarred the crap out of you?
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Old 09-13-2010
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It's an old boat. It probably needs some work. You bought it, take ownership of the problem and fix it until you trust it. Either that, or sell it and buy a new or refurbished boat that is "sail ready", that you feel you can trust out of the box.

I get the impression that you're not mechanically inclined. Now is a great time to learn. Bristols are good boats, give her a little love and you'll be able to trust her.
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  #3  
Old 09-13-2010
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Just curious, did you have the boat surveyed when you bought her? If not, then I'm not too surprised you're finding all sorts of rude awakenings in terms of unexpected problems. That's why you have boats surveyed.

Second what Bubblehead said... either fix it or sell it. If you can fix it to the point you trust it, that's probably better IMHO if you're planning on long-term cruising than selling it and buying one that you know nothing about.
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Old 09-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barquito View Post
Have you ever felt like you can't trust your boat, and it scarred the crap out of you?
On Saturday, my wife, my mother, and I took a sail as well as got some errands done such as pump out the holding tanks and fill up with diesel. We decided to have a leisurely dinner at the yacht club before heading back to our home port in the dark.

On the way back, my Mom and I reminisced about our life sailing with my father. As a kid, I figured there was some unwritten rule that said:
"Sailboat engines will always fail at the worst times" and it's corollary, "You will never return from a daysail before Midnight".

Just a few examples:
In a SJ21 with a Seagull outboard, we were returning from watching fireworks in Commencement Bay and after the show headed back to our marina in Day Island. Part way down the Narrows, the Seagull quit (as it was wont to do frequently). We had little wind, and were running against a 3-4 knot tidal current. It had been a very hot day, and quickly turned into a very cold and very long night. We made it back to our dock around 4:00am, docking under sail (easy to do with the dinghy-like handling of the SJ21.

Sneaking through a very narrow channel against the current to get into Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island (my Dad didn't want to go around Satellite Island to the decent channel) in our SJ24, the Evinrude outboard literally blew the cover right off the engine. We suddenly had no power, no sails up, and were in a channel about 30 yards wide with rocks on either side. We got the sails up quickly and were able to tack through the channel and drop anchor (to the great entertainment of the other boats in the anchorage).

My Dad took my wife and sister-in-law out for a day sail in Commencement Bay in his Cal29. Great day, great sail, the outboard quit. Again, the wind died, the current was against them, and they sailed back into the marina at 2:00am.

Growing up, this type of thing happened all the time. Mostly because my Dad never saw an old sailboat or old outboard that he didn't like. Everything either was a "bargain" or had "potential". Hence, I always thought that sailing was the process of dealing with one minor crisis after another. That doesn't even consider racing, where boat and gear were pushed to the limit during the winter season.

So, I have two suggestions. First, fix and maintain your equipment so you have confidence in it's performance. Second, mentally prepare for problems because they will occur.
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Old 09-13-2010
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Hey,

It's not always going to be that way, but it can be like that for a while.

Over the last winter I did a bunch of work on my boat, including a lot of work on the engine cooling system. Of course, as soon as the boat got launched and I motored to my mooring, the engine overheated. I fixed it and all was well for a bit. Then the water heater died (just wore out) and i removed it while I waited for my new one to arrive. The engine overheated again. then I installed the new heater and the engine overheated again. It got to the point that whenever I went out of the boat I expected to have overheating problems.

Eventually I solved all the problems with over heating.

In early August, 3 friend and I spent 4 days cruising the Long Island sound. The boat worked perfectly. I touched my toolbox one time to tighten a loose bolt. At the end of Aug my family and I spent 6 days cruising around. We ran into awful weather, including a storm with 35 kt seas and big choppy waves. Again, the boat was perfect, no problems with ANYTHING (engine, transmission, plumbing, rigging, sails, steering, electronics, etc. etc. etc.).

So, my advice is take some time, find the problem, correct the problem, and you will feel a lot happier.

Barry
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Old 09-13-2010
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Quote:
Just curious, did you have the boat surveyed when you bought her? If not, then I'm not too surprised you're finding all sorts of rude awakenings in terms of unexpected problems. That's why you have boats surveyed.
The boat was surveyed (worth every penny). However, because it was still out of the water, the survey didn't include engine.

Quote:
So, I have two suggestions. First, fix and maintain your equipment so you have confidence in it's performance. Second, mentally prepare for problems because they will occur.
Thanks for the encouragement. I think this is just a matter of getting over the hump with various systems. Most of the things that are giving me grief, are things that I didn't have on my previous boat (a Catalina 22).
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Ahhh, that's why you're feeling betrayed. You had the boat surveyed, and figured all would be well. That's a reasonable assumption, now let me welcome you to "real life".

Don't worry, you'll get her right. My boat's almost 42 years old, and I trust it. I sailed in 25kts just last Thursday. You'll get that way soon.
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  #8  
Old 09-13-2010
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What kind of engine is it? A4 or diesel?
A 27' has more systems then a 22'.
Takes time getting used to.
Welcome to the club.
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  #9  
Old 09-13-2010
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I too have an older, still fairly new to me boat and I trust her fully and completely....

I trust something will break... I trust something will go wrong... I trust she will let me fix eventually... And I trust her to get me back safely, if late and tired. Most of all I trust her to give me a good time, if I can let go of the fear of the above issues.

I do hope that we can get to a place where things do not go wrong all the time, but for now it is not so bad. I am learning a lot about the systems and getting them squared away one at a time. By the time I get half way through, I expect the first ones to start breaking down again. Oh well. Last trip we ended up sailing into 3 docks because the engine died yet again. Luckily we had practiced on two of the docks before. I have towed her into an anchorage after dark with a dingy with oars, luckily we did not have to go far. I am in the processes of rebuilding a replacement engine, hopefully that will fix at least some of the issues there. Hope to have it done by the spring.

Fair winds, and good luck...
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Old 09-13-2010
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On our new-to-us boat, it was more a matter of figuring out what switches went where. I've figured out most of it. One mystery switch controlled a light I didn't know how to turn on, for instance. But I still have no idea how to turn on the engine "room" blower. She's got a diesel so it doesn't matter as much as if she ran on gasoline (where it's absolutely critical to use a blower, I understand)..

Trust her? Yes. And she's a blast to sail. I'm finding I look forward to solo sailing as much as sailing with competent friends aboard.

Regards,
Brad
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