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5,232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reading about Medsailors trials made me think that maybe it is not that unusual to have some problems the first month.

This is the list I have personally heard about or been on board for.

MedSailor: Pedestal and engine problem

Bristol 32: Lost rig on the delaware river attempting to move boat from
Annapolis to CT.

Catalina 27: Lost steering idler wheels. Inspector didn't do the contortions to see them.

Catalina 30: Water-lift muffler connection failed and general engine problems.

New York Guy: First time backing out of slip, shifter stuck and he backed into another boat.

Boat move this fall: Engine failed. Caleb was on that trip.

Boat move a couple years ago. Shifter fell off transmission as we were trying to dock at Citi Island.

Another boat move: Engine died as the PO had put in a fuel filter way too fine.

These are just the ones I can remember.

So when you bought your boat did stuff show up the first month or did it all go smoothly.

830 Posts
PO had the new engine installed. Yard I got it from never checked it ( or didn't qon up to water/oil problem!) post move. No anti-siphon break installed and it . acted up mid-first season. Needed to change oil and filter twice Labor Day weekend!

Motor stalled during "shake-down" move to new. homeport.. while in the channel below the C&D. OK, so we sail! Storm running up and bud sez let's pray she starts. Barely turned; but fired up in the Nick'o'time. Fortunately, the new batt was able to be resucitated. Purchased a 10A batt charger online.. Plugged in on the hard while working on the boat post-purchase Winter before last. Dropped in the water and went to start.. R-rr, r-r-rr-r---sputter. DOA! Called vendor and was sent got it!..wrong unit. Called again and he had to send a new unit, shipped at my expense. A-OK now :)

*knocks on wood*

What else.could go wrong ?
Can't wait to drop the stick next month!


Living the dream
350 Posts
Bad things came in threes for us. We brought our boat, which had been sitting on the hard stand, 400 miles from home. The yard it was in wouldn't allow us to stay on the boat overnight and accommodation was impossible and/or expensive around the area. As a consequence, and in preparation for relaunch, the wife and I resorted to sneaking aboard every night after the yard had gone home and then leaving early enough in the morning to get breakfast so we would "arrive" at the yard with the employees. That probably sounds worse than what it was as I'm pretty sure the yard turned a "blind eye" to customers in the same predicament as they didn't care if we were still there when everyone else had left, had a one way gate to get out of the yard and, for the most part, left a side gate discretely unlocked except for that one night I had to go around the boundary fence along the rocky shore at low tide. Thank goodness they didn't have a guard dog!

As a consequence we steamrolled the preparation of the boat including mounting some electronics, engine service, some minor hull and rudder repairs and an antifoul and a whole bunch of cleaning and other small tasks in three days. The launch day comes, our new to us boat looks as pretty as a picture and the yard promptly launches us into the water with their travel lift. So here I am, in the water on a boat I've never driven before. The engine of the travel lift is right beside my ear as I start the boat's engine. From the cockpit I cant hear the boat's motor. I put the engine in reverse and push the throttle back. Still can't hear the engine, but the boat slowly starts to move in reverse. I give the travel lift operator the thumbs up and they drop the slings. I ever so slowly move back about 50 yards or so, clearing a jetty and parked boats in the process. The boat is moving slowly, but has steering so all's good. Now the time comes to turn the boat so we can move out of the yards docking area. I move the throttle into forward and push it forwards. The engine stays at idle. I push the throttle all the way forwards and the engine still stays at idle. The wind has now got us and is pushing us back towards shore. Instantly, I realise what's wrong. I had disconnected the throttle cable at the engine in order to run the motor and when I'd reconnected the throttle, I hadn't done it properly and it had now fallen off. The immediate problem was I didn't have enough time to go downstairs, remove the engine cover and reconnect the throttle before we would end up against the rocks. Instead, I grabbed a mooring line and somehow lassoed a pile from the travel lift pier which pulled us up short of the shore. Of course it was low tide and the piles were oyster covered, but by some miracle we ended up with no more damage than a small scratch on the hull. Again by good fortune we stopped right beside an access ladder for the pier, which allowed us to hold the boat off the piles which the breeze kept trying to force us against. After that it got a bit weird in that all the yard staff had to leave for a scheduled safety meeting so we ended up hanging off the piles for about half an hour until the guys returned and dragged us off with their boat.

We finally made our way to a marina berth without further issue. After a celebratory dinner and quite a few drinks later that night, just before retiring to bed I decided to check the bilges. They were full of water as in almost up to the floorboards! The electric bilge pumps were non functional and of course, we had no idea how to get the manual system working at that stage. Resorted to pulling the engine water intake off the through hull valve and poking it directly into the bilge and then running the engine until it had pumped it mostly out. Problem turned out to be the stuffing box which had dried out and was loose.

And that ended that day. The third thing came a few days later when I managed to glance off a finger pontoon at reasonable speed. Some poor people on a nearby boat scattered like roaches when the lights come on as I came in hot, but fortunately no major damage done.

Heres a couple of pics of our launching mishap:


2,507 Posts

I have been very fortunate.

First boat was a Catalina 22 on a trailer. Sailed her for a year. No real problems with trailer or boat. I did screw up the forestay when I didn't use the furler properly and unwound the wire. I changed the forestay over the winter and didn't have any other problems.

Second boat was a Newport 28. She had been on the hard for over a year before I bought her. During the survey the engine would not start. Since I didn't own the boat I let the yard get her running and all. Survey came back clean. I bought the boat and then took her home - 35nm from Mamaroneck to Mt. Sinai. Got real lucky with the weather and had a fantastic trip home. Got to test the autopilot, self tailing winches, and other kit on the trip home. No real problems the rest of season with that boat. I got to learn about diesel inboards, marine heads, fresh water systems, dc electrical systems, rigging and flying a spinnaker, rudder repair, deck repair, bottom paint and all that fun stuff.

Next boat was an O'day 35. Bought in early December in Newport RI and then delivered home to Mt. Sinai in two days. My dad helped bring the boat home and we were smart enough to hire a delivery slipper. The trip went well. Very little wind on day one, but warm temps. Lots of wind on day two, but from a good direction. That O'day was a real good boat. Had one incident where the engine would not start but we were able to sail to the mooring. Otherwise no real problems in the 7 years I owned her.

Current boat was purchase about a year ago. Delivered from Mystic CT to Mt Sinai on a day with small craft advisories which included 30 kt winds. Fortunately the wind was dead astern the entire time and we FLEW home. Had an interesting time trying to furl the headsail in 30 kt winds, but managed. Spent a lot of time sailing that boat this year and just starting to get the hang of it.

I guess my moral is it's better to be lucky than good. I had the 3 'big' boats surveyed - all came back clean with nothing but normal repair type items. Of course there are no guarrantees and I am fortunate that the engine, trans, rudder, steering, hull, et al were all good.


Asleep at the wheel
3,016 Posts
Our first month with our first boat was great. Of course, we bought her in October, and she was hauled by November. In May when she launched, we discovered a problem with the outboard that turned out needing a lot of attention (the entire lower unit needed to be replaced). We had to buy a new outboard.

For our current boat, the boat was a bank repossession and was a real mess inside. She was also a 6 hour drive away, so I couldn't get down there too often. After the inspection and closing, I cleaned her out and started to clean her up, then had to go home. We hired a captain to move her from Deltaville, VA to the Annapolis, MD area so I could continue the journey. The captain moved her in some pretty rough weather, trying to keep with our timeline. He made it about 5 miles from the destination when the damping plate gave way, killing the starter and damaging some of the internals of the engine as well. We had to be towed (twice) for repairs, and the work took months.

So, to your fundamental question, I'd say that the first month or two are typically full of surprises. As is the first winter and spring.

Freedom isn't free
3,137 Posts
We're seasonal only so I'll take 1st month stories, as launch day stories...

My Capri 22, I did a massive amount of work on in the Spring of 2012, to get ready for launch. The trailer was a disaster, and I wanted to get it all working nicely... and safe!

So I put a decent amount of money into replacing the brake coupler, and safety chains, and oversizing the hooks for the safety chains, as well as replacing and lubing the extendable tongue... also as part of all this I had jacked up the boat on the keel support and did a complete bottom job (the trailer was a bunk trailer and jacking up the keel support allowed me to "tip" the boat on one bunk or the other, to paint in those areas).

So launch day came around, and I'm driving the boat to the launch ramp.. and every time I stop, and hear a loud CLUNK... then another CLUNK when I pull out... after it did it twice I came upon an accident... and had to stop... thankfully there was a big parking lot... I get out, and the pin had fallen out (or I had forgotten to put it back, I still don't know which) on the extendable tongue... the Trailer was literally extending to the length of the safety chains, and stopping, then when I'd stop it was collapsing in!!!!

I am now on the side of the road with no bolts to put in the trailer. I have $6 cash in my pocket... Where am I? in the parking lot of a hardware store!!!!

I went back in 4 times to get the properly sized bolts for the trailer to get it working...

So later on in the day as it was trial run and I had to haul out the same day (rare, but it was a VERY warm April day)... so basically the only time I day sailed the boat... I used an A-frame built from 2x4s... what I didn't know is the keel support had busted and floated away when I launched the boat... now there was nothing to support the bulk amount of weight of the boat on the trailer.

So I used my A-frame and lowered my mast... then proceeded to take apart the A-frame and LASH it to the spot for the keel support... it worked, and only delayed my hauling the boat out for about 20 minutes... Looked like hell but it worked... of course it meant I had to build another A-frame to raise the mast next time I actually launched for the season, but it was still a pretty good fix for the day...

The day was 4/14/2012, and here's a picture of the hardware store parking lot...

here's a picture of the jury rigged keel support...

It was all worth it, I sailed the length of the lake that day... and winds were great.. nobody was on the lake either...

Closet Powerboater
3,925 Posts
I think it is common. The starter motor on our Formosa 41 went out and left the new owners stranded on their second time out. It NEVER gave us so much as a hiccup.

When we bought our Formosa our engine overheated (I was able to shut it down) on our 3rd day out.

I suspect that owners use their boats in a certain way, and this repetition and habit of use hides flaws. With our overheating issue for example, the boat was way over-propped and it was the first time we pushed the throttle up. The PO may have just run the engine at low RPM all the time.

Other examples I can think of are people wrapping the halyard around the headstay because they use a different amount of tension on the halyard compared to the PO.

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