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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm Joe. I've been wanting to sail for the last 10 years and finally found myself in a good situation to get started. Naturally, I took some classes, worked as a hand on some other boats, wasted countless hours skulking around the docks pestering the owners for information, right? NOPE. I jumped in face first, bought a '79 Lancer 25, and I'm planning on taking it out to the lake on my first sailing trip tomorrow. Maybe not the smartest way to get started, but hey, I work for an engineering company, so what do I know about planning?

I found SailNet, and since the most consistent piece of advice I've read online is to ask someone else who knows what they're doing, here I am. I live and work in central Arkansas, and I plan to do most of my sailing on Lake Maumelle, at least for the time being. Like I said, I have a '79 L25, and it's in fair condition (I think...). I know it will float, it's got all the important bits, and the sails go up and down; we couldn't get the motor to start when I went to look at it, and the PO was reluctant to risk getting stuck on the other end of Beaver Lake with no way to get back if the wind died. It came with a 110% or 120% genoa (2 or 3 small tears in the middle), a 90% jib (not sure if that counts as a storm jib), a main with the battens missing, and a spinnaker. The PO said he's never used the 90% or the spinnaker, but that he and his buddy had sailed it every weekend or so up to the start of winter. It also came with a single-axle trailer (looks like it was factory built and then later modified, axle is from a mobile home) and a 9.9 Evinrude from the late '70s. Since the motor wasn't working and we couldn't take it out, the PO let it all go for $1000. At the time, it felt like an amazing deal, and most days, it still feels that way.

It needs a good bit of work to be in good condition, and I'm trying not to get overwhelmed by it all; I have a tendency to want to overdo things, and thinking about doing a complete refit makes me consider just getting out entirely. I'm trying to be realistic and prioritize my repairs so that I don't give up and I have it ready by the fall for a trip down to the Gulf. Right now my list looks like this:

1: Motor - It wasn't running when I bought the boat, but after soaking the carb in cleaner for 4 hours, it starts on the 1st or 2nd pull and runs OK. It's missing occasionally, and I'm thinking/hoping that cleaning out the points (assuming it has them) will solve this. I've also got a slow oil leak behind the prop, but I think that's just a seal that needs to be replaced. Also, the recoil spring's unseated, but, being the special brand of lazy that I am, I've learned how to kick it off winding around the flywheel, so I'm saving that problem for a night when I don't have anything else to do (though I don't know when/if I'll ever get one).

2: Electrical - I know that the bilge pump and VHF Radio work. I haven't tested the nav lights, but they supposedly work as well. I need to rerun the mast light wiring, and I'll probably need to replace the light itself. The interior lights are mounted but not connected; the wiring just runs out of them and then is spooled up on the ceiling. I think it could use another set of interior lights towards the bow as well. The trailer lights need to be rewired, but they're working right now so I'm not in a rush on them. The boat was previously fitted with solar panels, and the controller is still mounted. I'll eventually want to get 1 or 2 panels before spending a week on the gulf. It also has a 1500W inverter for charging a laptop or cell phone, but I haven't tested it to make sure it works.

3: Paint - There's a fairly fresh coat of anti-fouling paint on the bottom, and I'm hoping that work will be limited to just touch-up work over the next couple years. The top of the hull has a soft-coat (not sure if that's the right term, but it's what the PO called it) that is probably only good for another year. I'm thinking about redoing the top, and maybe the bottom, this coming winter, but I'm not entirely sure how to go about it; I think more reading will get me by on that front.

4: Deck - Overall, the deck is solid. There are a few areas where I can see spider cracks starting form, but it's mostly in the cockpit benches and around the base of the fore railing. It also feels like there's a slight weak spot between the mast step and the bow; the outer fiberglass feels solid, but it does give a little when you step on it. I don't know if it's got a core problem, but this is currently my biggest concern; I have no idea how to go about fixing something like this so I'm looking for any (though preferably good) advice. I'm going to try and get someone who knows a little more about it to take a look just as soon as I meet the guy. Also, since the boat sits tilted to starboard with the bow a little low, I get water draining from the cockpit, under the sink, and into the carpet on that side when it rains. Since I'm not sure how it's supposed to drain, I'm not sure how or if I need to fix it; the problem could just be the way it's sitting in my driveway, and it will go away once it's in a slip full-time.

5: Cabin lining - I have no idea what it's supposed to look like, but I'm fairly sure that it doesn't look right as it is. The PO did a little work on it, however, and I think I can get by without fixing it until the winter. One thing to mention though: it looks like the PO cut the wooden battens that run under the deck in order to run some wiring. These might need replacing sooner than later, and I'd appreciate any suggestions on how to go about replacing them. Keep in mind, my woodworking abilities extend to cutting, drilling, screwing, gluing, and breaking; if it involves anything else, please type slowly and use small words.

6: Hatch and well covers - Really, this includes all of the exposed wood on deck. It will all need to be sanded and refinished, as the sun has done a number on it. Also, the bottom piece of the main hatch has split into three pieces that I'll need to glue back together. All of the "wooden" (read: particle board) storage covers as well as the bench seats have some water damage, and I'll eventually want to replace them all. I'd like to replace them with either cabinet grade plywood or solid wood pieces, but I'm not sure if that's feasible due to the increased weight. Also, the cover over the icebox is missing, and I'm considering getting something made that will provide better insulation than wood.

7: Rigging - This all seemed to be in good order, except that the forward lower shroud on the port side won't get tight enough. I don't think it's loose enough to do any damage, but it's definitely got too much play. I think I can get away with just shortening it, but I'm planning on getting someone else to look at it and make sure the problem's not somewhere else before I do anything to it. Also, and this seems like it might be a big deal, the mast snapped in half at one point, and the PO had it welded back together. He said it was a really clean break, and he had it professionally welded and has sailed it for two years since. Still, I'm considering replacing it if I can do so without breaking the bank.

8: Misc - The rest of the problems are/seem to be fairly minor jobs that shouldn't require more than getting a part and attaching it. The sink isn't attached to the water tank. The plunger in the alcohol stove is rotten. The head may or may not work, and I'm not sure if I really want to find out.

Well, I guess that's about it. Sorry I don't have any pictures yet, but I've just been too lazy to stop and take any; I'll try to get some and post progress for each major job I undertake.

Again, this is a whole new world to me, and I won't turn down any advice on repairs, sailing, or pretty much any other topic. I think I can benefit greatly from the SailNet community, and I hope I can give something back eventually. If you're still here, thanks for sticking around; this post got a little out of hand.
 

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Chastened
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You're in Arkansas, on a lake. It all sounds fine to me. The boat looks like a good boat for a lake, from the drawings.

The only item that concerns me is the loose shroud. If you can't tighten it, it might be because the chain plate is ripping free of its mount.

Investigate that item very carefully. The rest is easy stuff. Have fun.
 

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Looks like you have a big job ahead of you :)
One hint. Measure your shrouds on both sides to make sure they are the same length. If one is longer than the other, the mast will not be straight and that is a bad thing. Sometimes they can be adjusted so they are the same length. And sometimes a shackle on top gets kinked and makes the mast lean one way. Take a close look at that with the mast up.
 

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bell ringer
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NOPE. I jumped in face first, bought a '79 Lancer 25, and I'm planning on taking it out to the lake on my first sailing trip tomorrow.
That's not really jumping face first as I got a 39' after sailing 12 times.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the tips. When we set up the mast, we just did visual inspection to make sure it was straight and in column (hope I'm using that right; just learned it while reading yesterday). Since the other shrouds seemed to be under the correct tension and we couldn't tighten the one in question any further, I just assumed that the length on it was incorrect. I'll give it a better look tomorrow once the mast is up again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, still no pictures. I'm bad about tunnel vision, and since my reading is hands down the most experience that any of my friends have, I tend to forget little details in favor of micromanaging the actual sailing of the boat.

I've had her out twice, once in fair wind and once in basically no wind. She seems watertight, as she's spent the last 1 1/2 weeks in the slip without sinking or any apparent leaks. The shroud problem I was so concerned about seems to have corrected itself somehow... I suspect that the mast either was or is slightly out of column, but considering we still made headway in negligible wind, I'm trying to worry about other issues for the time being.

At one point during the first outing, I decided I should try out the winches for the headsail. I knew that the port side winch was nearly frozen, but the starboard one seemed to turn fine. Unfortunately, it didn't stay attached to the boat fine, and it promptly snapped off when I put the first real turn on it. The glass wasn't damaged, as it looks like the winch itself had deteriorated, and I think it's just the base that broke and not the boat herself. I'm planning on replacing it soon, but I've got to get a couple measurements first; I think I'd rather try to match the bolt pattern than fill and drill for new holes.

Also, my 1500 watt inverter is shot. I can't really find anything wrong with it other than it simply doesn't work. I can put power to it and track the voltage through the inner workings, but somewhere along the way it's getting lost in the electronics. At this point, considering the price of a replacement, I've decided to punt on repairs and just spring for a new one.

Another "problem" I'm going to need to address is the length (or lack thereof) of the rails that hold the guides for the jib sheets. Mine are about 2' long, and the three guys I talked to at the marina said they'd never seen them so short. They said the rails on their boats run from about 5 or 6 feet off the bow all the way to the back cleats. I think these need to be replaced or complemented with others because I ended up just pulling the jib sheets directly to the cleats when I had my 120% on; the limited track just doesn't give a good angle under most wind conditions or points of sail.

Overall, I'm happy as hell with my boat! I've gotten nearly no work done over the last few weeks for the time I've spent clicking through sailing forums, so I know I'll have to get back to the 'real' world soon. But for now, I'm hooked, and the main reason I get up in the mornings is because it means I'm another day closer to the next time I can get on the water.

Thanks again to everyone who offered advice and encouragement! If you're ever in AR looking for someone to sail with, just give me a shout; I'm a fair host if you didn't bring your boat and an outstanding bitchworker if you did.
 

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Take some pictures! Its pretty hard to give some advice based on a brief description, especially when the questioner is new to sailing. The good news is most of what you need or want is available off the internet. The bad news is some of that stuff will exceed your boats purchased price. So pictures and more discussion will help you in the long run. Your mainsail needs battens. Without them you will quickly stretch out your mainsail. Measure the pocket lengths and widths. Sailrite is probably your best bet for affordable battens. Speaking of the rig, you need to do a couple of things. With the rig up. measure from the top of the mast to the two shroud chain plates run the tape up a halyard). The distance should be the same. suspend a plumb bob from the masthead (using the mainsail halyard). The bob should meet the boom about five inches behind the mast (this is called "rake"). Next, lay on your back and sight up the front of the mast. It should be straight, no "noodle" curves or leaning. If it looks "noodlely", adjust the lowers. If it leans, or the "rake" isn't right, adjust the uppers and head or back stay. When the geometry is O.K., tighten all the shrouds equally (assuming that you do not have a tension gauge). Buy and install some battens and we will move on to the next step - the "dynamic tune".

Don't worry about the length or positioning of your jib ("fair lead") tracks. The original builders do a pretty good job in designing them. The only issue that could come up is if you are flying a non-standard jib. If you want to check this, do the following: On a calm day, hoist a jib. Pull the jib sheet to the center part of your track. Sight up the sheet past the clew and see if the imaginary line intersects the headstay at right angles. Move the sheet up or down the jib ("fair lead") track until it does. This will be the nominal position of your fair lead car for that sail. Repeat for your other jibs. If the nominal position is outside of your current track, then you need to buy a longer track.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for pointing me to Sailrite, George! Some of the prices I've seen on sails have been pretty staggering, but those guys make me think I can extend the life of the current sails a fair bit longer. I'll go through the tuning steps you suggested, get the battens installed, and I swear I'll be back with some pictures.
 
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