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Generally speaking, Bay sailing is exactly what Catalinas were designed for. Did your friends tell you why "not for the Bay"?
 

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2) "externally regulated". Sorry, don't know what that means.
3) I asked the broker if he knew of anything that might come up in the survey. He said that the prop was over-pitched to accomplish a performance issue for the current owner. Not quite sure what this means either.
The alternator has a higher output than the stock unit. It's sending more electrons into the system. Best practice is to regulate the flow with a unit that is external to the alternator itself. Regulators run the gamut from simple devices that just make sure the batteries don't get overcharged to very complicated electronic switching systems. Here's an article on one particular regulator from Mainesail, one of the moderators here (who is having some health issues now I understand)


As for the prop overpitch issue, it sounds like the owner needed to run the engine at higher rpm's than he wanted to, so he replaced the prop with one with a higher pitch (blade angle). Very simply (which is the only way I understand it), if you increase the pitch of the prop, you generate more thrust at lower rpms. The goal is to size the prop so that the engine can push the boat efficiently without working too hard (exceeding specs). It's a function of a lot of things, including boat weight, prop size and pitch, engine horsepower, torque, shaft angle, etc.
 
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