Catalina 250 Winter haul out

The Catalina 250 is a water ballast trailer-able boat.  That means she can’t stay in the water all winter because of the danger of freezing the ballast and breaking the boat.  I’ve been waiting for a good weekend to pull her out, and it happened this past Sunday.

One hazard of waiting too long to pull the boat is that you can wind up spending a miserable winter day on the water.  I had planned to pull it the weekend before Thanksgiving, but the wind was blowing way too hard for me to feel comfortable sailing from the boat slip out further towards the bay and then to the ramp on the other side of the river.

I was really quite nervous.  This whole boat owner thing can be pretty nerve wracking.  I read the owner’s manual to get a sense of what to do, but thankfully the previous owner agreed to go with me.  Yay Pete!

The weather was Sunny, about 50 degrees Fahrenheit with a light breeze rippling the water.  The motor has conked out when shifting gears during docking maneuvers in the past but this time fired up and ran like a champ.

We attempted to sail, but the breeze was so light that we were running out of daylight.  I fired up the motor and we headed into the ramp.

First I backed into a slip next to the dock and then we spent some time taking down the mast. It was pretty easy!

After that we pushed it over to the ramp, I got the truck backed up and then we eased the boat on the trailer.

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Boat going on trailer

Once it was mostly out of the water the plug was undone and the ballast water started gurgling out. It took 10 minutes for Pete to realize that we needed to also unplug the air hole. After that it poured out pretty quickly.

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Water ballast being dumped

Final step was to remove the rudder.   I drove over to Pete’s house where he was kind enough to use his pressure washer to spray all the muck of the bottom. By the time I headed home it was full dark. The boat is now sitting in my driveway patiently waiting for spring.

If I put the boat back in the water first weekend in April it’s only 16 weeks away. There may be a few cold sailing days before it warms up though! I think I need some advice on warm weather sailing clothes.


Catalina 22 Keel eye bolt repair complete!

Last weekend I completed tapping the hole for the keel eye bolt.  This is the last structural problem I had to solve before beginning the blasting, sealing and shaping process.   Naturally, it went smoothly up until it didn’t.

Considering all that’s gone into fixing this keel, I was pretty nervous about screwing up the screw job.  That’s why I had my friend JP come over.  He’s really into cars and has tapped holes before.  I know I do a lot of stuff on my own (with the help of YouTube), but I also like to have coaches too.

We got right to work.  The first thing we did was level the keel.

Level keel prior to tapping

Level keel prior to tapping


I used the keel tap I got from Catalina Direct and a tap driver I got from Home Depot.

Starting the tap

Starting the tap

Cast iron seems very easy to work with.  From what I read, it actually self lubricates as you work it.  Pretty amazing.When we drilled the hole, we didn’t use any oil, and we didn’t when we tapped the threads either.

It didn’t even need to be backed out as we went deeper.  We just kept turning and turning till it was in deep enough.  Also, we only needed hand strength to turn it.

Deeper and deeper

Deeper and deeper

Once the tap had gone all the way in, the filings were all at the bottom of the hole.

tapping complete

tapping complete

I used my pancake air compressor to blow them out.  Yes, I closed my eyes.  No, I don’t want to go back to the eye doctor.

Now, here is the not so great part.  There is probably some trick here, but once it’s screwed all the way in, it’s perpendicular to the keel.  No amount of changing where I start screwing it in makes a difference.  All the way in = perpendicular.  This may have something to do with where the tap is when you start.  Not sure how we would be able to tell how it would wind up.  It might also be that the area around the hole is not quite level.



If I back it off a bit, I can get it parallel with the keel, but then the shoulder of the bolt is not flush

Parallel, but not flush

Parallel, but not flush

So what do I do?

A) leave it perpendicular

B) leave it parallel, but with a slight gap around the shoulder

C) see if grinding down around the edge of the hole will let the bolt go a little further and wind up with the shoulder flush and the eye parallel.   I’m a bit worried that I might screw up the threads and not make a different anyway.

OK you mechanically minded folks out there.  What do you think I should do?

P.S.  After we were done, JP gave me a ride in his race car – A lotus.  He’s been building it the last 3 years to actually race on the race track.  And wow, it does have some acceleration!  Pretty too.






Obligatory Anniversary Post – 4 years

Hardly seems like 4 years, but there it is.  Hope you’ve enjoyed reading.

This year I wrote 35 posts.  I posted mostly about the non-progress on the keel, but also about a few good books I read and a couple of overnight sailing trips I took with friends.

From all posts in the last 4 years, the top 4 posts have to do with sunfish posts.  Yes, I know I don’t have a Sunfish anymore.  Sorry sunfish people – no more sunfish posts since I gave the boat to a good home this year.

The next popular post is about propane tanks.  NEVER rent your home heating propane tank from a supplier.  It will cost you way more than if you just buy it outright.  Yes I know this post is from 2013.  It’s still useful to know.

At 191 views, the next most popular was about removing the Catalina 22 keel weldments.  Yes, I know, I still haven’t glassed those back in. Yes I know this post was from last year.

I have been a bit overwhelmed by work this year.  I definitely let it get in the way of summer fun, but sometimes you have to give up short term fun for longer term goals.  It’s a bit hard to take as weekend after sunny weekend roles by outside my office window.

Work also got in the way of progress on the Catalina 22, I’m expecting to do a bit better on that next year.    I finished tapping the threads for the keel eyebolt this weekend, that should be the next post.

I’m glad I have a Catalina 25 that I can actually sail, and once spring rolls around I am going to spend a lot more time on the water.

Thanks for coming along for another year.   Now enjoy some pictures from the Catalina 25 last weekend.

Selfie on Catalina 25

Selfie on Catalina 25

Heading out to the West River

Heading out to the West River


Other sailboats outward bound

Other sailboats outward bound