Another Excalibur 26
I just purchased a 1967 Excalibur from two owners in San Diego and will be ferrying it to Dana Point sometime in March. I will be replacing the outboard in the well with a new motor before I attempt to move it. I also know that there are several current or former owners on the Sailnet board. I would like to use a 25" XL shaft outboard, 6 or 9.8 hp, but according to the drawings I've seen, I have concerns that the foot and prop might hit the rudder with the XL motor.
Have any of you used a 25" motor in the well without issue? If so, can you tell me what combinations have definitely worked for you and anything you tried that hasn't? Or...any other suggestions as far as putting a new four stroke in the well.
Thanks for your help.
An update. I pulled the trigger on a 20" Tohatsu 6hp with Sail-Pro prop and alternator kit to add to the sailboat. I expect to receive it tomorrow.
I was not able to verify whether or not the twin-cylinder four-stroke 8+hp motors would properly fit in the well area without mods. It is a light motor that will be much easier to remove from the well after each trip.
I also was not able to confirm that a 25" leg would clear the rudder, so I went with a 20". I e-mailed a few owers and ex-owners who confirmed that the 20" motor worked good in the well so I went in that direction.
6 hp is a little anemic, but I know it will fit and if I really like and decide to keep this boat long term I will upgrade again after some time.
If the weather agrees I am planning on moving the Excalibur from San Diego to Dana Point the last weekend of the month. I plan to document the move and will post a narrative and pictures from the trip.
I went down to check on the boat over the weekend. Because I am two hours away by freeway, I can't just run down to take a look any time I want. I'll wake myself up in the middle of the night with questions about the condition of gear, equipment, rigging, etc.
It seems some things are easily remembered, other things get fuzzy in just a couple of days so I prepared a checklist of things to go back over and drove down on Sunday morning.
She has pretty traditional pocket cruiser lines.
The stern, though, is where she shines. I'm not much of a butt man, but I sure like this rear end. I can't believe anyone would hang an outboard on their Excaliburs.
The previous owner met me at the Marina and cleared out the last of his things. It gave me a chance to closely check out the three jibs the boat came with and raise the main for a last inspection. Everything looked good. A small tear is present in the smallest jib that will require repair.
The hull paint is chalky and faded but a run over an area with some compound resulted in a decent shine so a weekend of polishing will likely get me by until I haul her out for new hull and bottom paint.
The initial inspection left me with the impression that a very recent previous owner went through everything and had it pretty well set up. My inspection Sunday confirmed this.
The running rigging is all fairly new. The sails are only a few years old and still in good shape. The rudder is firm and smooth and the tiller handle recently replaced. The standing rigging is older than a few years and will be one of the first things addressed when I get her to Dana Point. It is, however, solid and balanced. The deck has minimal cracking and no soft spots and was repainted within the last few years. The mast does not seem to have settled the deck and the mounting hardware looks to be relatively new. The varnish is starting to chip in some spots but was completely redone within the last couple of years.
The electrical system was all redone fairly recently and although I found some things I'll want to improve on, it looked pretty good for now.
The bilge had minimal water...fresh water from recent rains, and the new manual bilge pump cleared it out quickly. Three thru-hulls were present--sink, head, deck drains. Two were almost new and in good condition. The valve for the deck drains is older but turns freely and seems to solidly seat in open and closed positions.
The plan from here is to go down a day before, prepare everything for the trip, install and run the new engine, sleep on the boat and leave early Friday morning for the first leg to Oceanside.
I was able to successfully move the Excalibur last week. The original plan was to go down to Chula Vista on a Thursday morning, spend the day prepping the boat and then leave early Friday morning. California has received more than average rainfall this winter and several systems were supposed to move through over the course of a week. A strong system moved through at the beginning of the week and another strong one was supposed to move through the following weekend, so the Thursday, Friday, Saturday plans wouldn't work out.
it did look, however, like I could sail all day to Oceanside on Wednesday before a small storm moved onto the coast, and then leave early Thursday morning after the small storm moved through, and before the next one came through on Friday.
So, I closely watched as the weather forecasts juggled clear and wet days. On Monday evening, my Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday plan looked like it would work and I drove my truck down to Chula Vista on Tuesday morning and met a diver at noon for a hull cleaning and last minute inspection.
Ray Collins with Your Personal Dive Service really saved my bacon. Normally he would have preferred to wait longer after a rain to get in the water and clean a hull, but he agreed to get in and take care of my boat because he knew my window to leave was tight. I spent the rest of the day cleaning the cabin and all of the cushions and placing everything I wouldn't need, including the old engine, in the back of my truck. I installed the Tohatsu 6 hp motor in the well and rigged up lashing lines for the tiller and outboard in case they were needed. In addition, I found a jib sheet that was partially torn, so I removed the existing sheets and installed a new set.
On Tuesday night I got everything together and attempted to sleep in the dinette bunk. The odd sounds of the marina and the anticipation of the trip the next day left me awake most of the night. I did manage to get an hour or two of sleep and got up at 0500, moved my truck, grabbed a quick shower in the marina, drank an instant breakfast drink and set up the jib on the bow and cast off as the sun was coming up.
Leaving on Friday morning would have put me out about the peak of high tide and allowed me to ride the tide out of San Diego Harbor. Leaving on Wednesday put me out of the marina just past the peak of low tide and forced me to push through the incoming tide all the way out of San Diego Harbor.
San Diego Harbor is really, really big
I motored out of Chula Vista Marina and began my turn to the right to stay in the deep channel. I didn't turn sharp enough. 100 yards out of the marina, I ran aground. I felt the sand and silt begin to grab at the keel, turned the tiller sharply and put the engine in reverse. It wasn't enough, soon enough, though, and I was stuck.
I put the Tohatsu in reverse and rocked the hull from side to side. I could move the hull and felt a little free movement but did not break free. I put the engine in neutral and walked forward onto the cabin top and raised the main sail. I held onto the mast and leaned out as far as I could and was able to rock the boat but not free it.
I finally realized that I may not be able to free myself without help, and called for Vessel Assist and felt guilty of the ultimate in stupidity as two boats with fishermen motored past me; at least one person in each boat shook his head in disbelief. Vessel Assist would not be available to come down to the southern end of the harbor for 45 minutes to an hour so I watched the tide creep up the channel marker posts.
Vessel Assist: Sailing vessel making assistance call, are you or your boat in imminent danger?
Me: Negative, Vessel Assist.
Vessel Assist: What is the nature of your call, sailing vessel?
Me: I'm on the shoal.
Vessel Assist: Oooooohhhhh.
When several inches had been gained, I tried again. After a few minutes I was able to free the boat and moved over a few feet into the deep channel and began my trip. Again.
Just before I got to the Coronado Bridge, Vessel Assist caught up with me. The agent asked if I was the blue sailing vessel that was on the shoal near Chula Vista but he already knew the answer. I answered and told him how as the tide came up I was able to break free on my own. Rather than treat me like a loser, he was really helpful. He pointed out several other areas to be cautious of and said he had gotten caught down in Chula Vista during some really negative low tides like we had that Wednesday morning.
He left me to help a cabin cruiser whose engine shut off and would not restart.
I fought the current around the corner and at 60 - 70% throttle was only able to move about 4 knots.
The rest of the trip through the harbor was uneventful and I exited at about 1030. It seemed to take forever to get out of the harbor and it was a relief to spot open water in front of me.
I noticed two sail boats behind me. One didn't make any ground on me and eventually turned south towards Coronado Islands. The other was much larger, a 45 - 50 feet racer with poles bare and the motor pushing it along at 8 - 10 knots so it didn't take long for it to overtake me. At the time, i was managing about five knots under the main and outboard.
As they passed me, closely on the starboard side, I nodded and waved. They returned the wave and looked the part in matching racing gear and jackets. I, on the other hand, looked pretty funny in my straw hat, large life preserver, shorts and running shoes. It wasn't the last time I'd see them up close.
Around the Pt. Loma kelp beds
I wanted to stay as close to the edge of the kelp beds as possible without taking too much of a chance of getting caught up in the weeds. As I turned to the west, the bigger racing boat continued south. I was able to monitor his position by watching his mast on the horizon and eventually he turned to the west and began to reel me in again.
The ocean was calm and flat and there was almost no swell. I opened up the Tohatsu a little and experimented with throttle settings and checked my speed against my GPS. The Excalibur would move at 4.5 to 5 knots at 65% throttle and could go about six knots at full throttle. The amount of noise and vibrations at full throttle was enough to become uncomfortable for long periods of time, so I varied the throttle settings every fifteen minutes or so.
There are those who would say that single-handing this trip, even something this easy, was foolhardy. I had led many sailing trips with people with little or no experience, but every time, someone was able to follow directions and take the tiller or wheel while I worked the sails. This trip was my first truly solo sailing trip and I had concerns with what could happen if I were to fall overboard. I did my research, found what my biggest threats were, and attempted to reduce the chance that they could hurt me.
The rules: Always wear a life jacket. Carry a flashlight, knife and handheld radio in my pockets at all times. Drag a seventy-five foot line with a fender tied at the end and a number of hand tied loops. Have a rope ladder tied to a stern cleat at all times. Do not piss overboard. Do not move forward on the cabin top unless the engine was at, or near, idle. Always leave a hand or foot firmly wedged to a solid part of the boat--handrail, shroud, mast, boom, stanchion, toe rail. I do not have a safety harness but will add it to the list of necessary equipment.
In a short period of time, the racing boat passed me on the port side. Two of the three men were on deck and waved to me again.
The winds shifted to the southwest and gave me very favorable winds towards Oceanside. I raised the jib and reduced throttle a little. After trimming the sails I was able to maintain a steady 7.5 knots under canvas and motor. It was a very relaxing cruise up the coast and eventually I spotted the Carlsbad Power Station.
Originally I had planned on making the trip in one leg if I could make Oceanside by 1400. That wasn't going to happen.
Lowering the jib in increasing winds and bobbing into Oceanside Harbor
I didn't get close to anybody else until I was almost to Oceanside. The winds had increased, I could see a light squall line to the southwest and two converging swells were beginning to toss me around. I knew I should lower the jib so I lashed the tiller, decreased the throttle and placed the nose into the wind.
The lashing didn't keep me straight into the wind and the steering friction setting on the outboard loosened up enough that I began to motor around in a wide circle while I lowered the jib. I literally wrestled the sail down onto the deck while I heard the outboard rpms increase as I heeled over far enough to loosen the grip of the prop on the water. I kept a bungee cord tightly in my teeth throughout the ordeal and was able to secure the jib on the foredeck, worked my way aft and released the tiller and straightened the outboard.
I was exhausted and downed a half liter of water in a few chugs as I lashed the outboard to prevent it from moving from side to side too much.
Two power boats were making their way into Oceanside Harbor and I moved myself into sequence behind them both so I could mimic their lines and approach angle. The swells were not breaking but were meeting at the harbor mouth and caused a lot of jostling around as I motored in under the main. I cleared the harbor opening and things settled down quite a bit. A light rain turned into a steady downpour as I neared the guest slips.
I pulled in and wound up my drag line and placed the fender on the lazerette as I approached the guest slip with the main still raised. I would have liked to lower the main, but didn't feel I could turn into the wind in the narrow opening and get the sail lowered without someone on the tiller, so I approached the dock at an upwind slip, next to, much too close to, a really pretty Cape Dory.
The main was producing too much power and I placed the engine in reverse in an attempt to slow me down a little. I didn't notice that the fender on my drag line had fallen in the water. It very quickly ended up in the prop and the engine stalled. I was committed to my line but the wind was pushing me too close to the Cape Dory so I released the main, shoved the tiller over and missed the other boat. I was able to circle around one more time and ended up two slips upwind on the downwind side of the slip. This was a much better position and I was able to set her gently against the dock and port side fender and secure the two port side dock lines before I lowered and flaked the main.
I was tired before the excitement but was now ready to fall into the bunker and sleep the entire night. In the rain, I secured the boat, removed the outboard, removed the fouled line, cleaned up the cockpit, and headed below for a sandwich.
I called my family to let them know I made it safely to Oceanside. As I ate my sandwich and treated myself to my first Diet Coke of the day, it went from dusk to dark. It was after hours and the Oceanside Harbor Police had other duties to perform rather than worry about checking in the little blue boat in the guest slip. As I ate my sandwich I monitored radio calls on 16 as the Coast Guard was dealing with a disabled boat off the coast that was abandoned by half the crew in a dinghy who went off looking for help. Now the other half was about to get help but no one knew where the dinghy had ended up. A man left his boat in a dinghy to get help for the rest of his family, who waited for him in a perfectly secure, floating power boat.
I didn't hear the resolution of the incident before turning off the radio, putting on some dry clothes, and lying down on the dinette bunk. I listened to the rain and the port fender squeaking against the dock most of the night.
Out of Oceanside and a swell ride to Dana Point
I hadn't slept much because of the noise the fender, a foot or so from my ear, made all night. I did manage a few hours in the early part of the morning after texting some family in the mid-west to check in with them as they were getting up to start their day.
The sun came up and the clouds had cleared away during the night. There was fog off the coast but not a cloud in the sky. I drank a breakfast drink and ate an apple for breakfast, dressed and wandered up to the harbor office to pay my slip fees for the night. The woman running the front desk was very nice and the $26 I paid her was very well worth it.
I went down to the boat and began to prepare things for the day. Because I knew it should only take a few hours, and after the drama I had the day before when I lowered the jib, I kept the sail tied down onto the bow and vowed to leave it there unless I really needed it.
A couple appeared from the nearby hotel and entered the Cape Dory. Fortunately they had not been present as I dodged their beautiful boat in my rodeo the night before. They said hello, got into their boat and fired up the inboard. I watched foamy waves splashing against the breakwater and decided to watch the Dory leave and see how rough it would be getting out of the harbor. They left the harbor under power only and I watched their mast slowly make way out of the harbor while moving way up and then way down every ten seconds or so.
I didn't want a repeat of the morning before but figured that if they made it out in a full keel cruiser, there should be enough water depth for me. I raised the main, started the outboard and pushed away from the dock. The tiller didn't feel right and was not reacting to my commands as it should. It moved clearly one way but banged against the stops to the other. In the meantime, I was in the middle of the harbor and not heading where I wanted to go. I unlashed the outboard and used it steer me back to the dock. When the dock lines were secure, I looked in the engine well and did not see the rudder at all. At first I thought I lost the rudder. In my tired state, it took me a minute to realize that I had secured the tiller out of phase and had turned it backwards towards the bow.
Two mornings, two dumb mistakes. It was easy to correct and I pushed off the dock and headed back to the harbor opening. When I reached the mouth I expected to see six foot breaking monsters coming into the channel. There were large swells working their way into the harbor, but they were not breaking and I while the Tohatsu labored over each wave, I made steady progress out of the harbor and in a few minutes was steering to a heading of 310 towards Dana Point.
The seas were smooth but had sets and sets of big rolling swells. There were deep and tall but round on top and spaced out every fifteen to twenty seconds and did not give me any trouble.
There was pod after pod of dolphin. While on Wednesday I probably saw about 100 dolphins, on Thursday between Oceanside and Dana Point I saw about 1000. They were everywhere and kept me entertained all the way up the coast. Many swam within my reach off each side of the Excalibur.
I passed San Onofre and before I knew it, I could see the details of the hills around Dana Point. The swells remained but the seas were calm and the sky was clear and winds light and crisp. I lowered the main outside of the harbor and idled into Dana Point.
As dramatically as each morning started, Thursday afternoon was calm and the boat gently coasted into my slip and allowed me to step off the deck and casually set the dock lines.
The Tohatsu 6hp long shaft outboard
The motor was a good choice for the boat, but not a good choice for the trip. A single cylinder four stroke should be used for short periods of time to get the boat into and out of the slip. It protested every minute at full throttle and left a ringing in my ears if I kept if there for a long period of time. On the other hand, I never felt severely under-powered with this motor and the sail-pro propeller. I would not have been able to have easily lifted a 9.8 horse out of the well several times in a day and the size of the leg of the larger engine will definitely cause more drag when under canvas alone with the engine in the well.
At 65% throttle it is relaxed and quiet and relatively smooth and gave me an honest 4 - 5 knots. I covered approximately 70 miles over the water in two days. I ran the engine a total of fourteen hours and burned exactly eight gallons of gas. An average of nine miles per gallon and five miles per hour over the course of the trip is respectable.
When I got the engine home I checked the amount of oil in the engine while I changed it. I burned almost no oil and the color of the oil was still acceptably clean at the fourteen hour mark. The longer it ran, the smoother it ran. The extra long shaft would probably have cleared the rudder, would probably have been quieter, but would have also caused more drag.
The only time this prop even hinted at coming out of the water was when it was heeled way over and turning--a situation I probably won't be in again.
I am still not satisfied with the steering friction and hope to find a way to lock it in the straight ahead position rather than just screwing down the tension screw.
It was a good choice and I am confident it will serve me well.
Hey tdipps, I had a excaliber for a couple yrs and we had it in DP, it still may be there along with 3 others, ya should hunt them down.
Boat was a blast to sail
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