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.

2015-12-06 17.06.23

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.

2015-12-06 17.08.30

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.


Boating Safety class #9 Boating Safety & Florida Safe Boater Certificate

It’s a little odd that a chapter in the boating safety class is called “boating safety” isn’t it.  Guess what it was about?  What every class is about.  Boating safety!

There was talk of center of gravity in boats, how small boats can tip over if you don’t balance yourself in them.  There was a hypothermia discussion.  Did you know that you can get hypothermia even in warm water?  It just takes longer.  Your body at 98.6 degrees is losing heat to the water all the time.

There was also a life jacket fashion show.  Nowadays the fashion rage is to wear self inflating life vests.  They are becoming more affordable ($80 plus range) and don’t get in the way of your activities as much.

self inflating pfd

self inflating PFD

and with an easy tug on the cord or immersion in water you get POOF

self inflating PFD - inflated

self inflating PFD – inflated

Life saving luxuriousness!

This is more like what my instructors look like though

self inflating pfd - actual

self inflating pfd – actual

I also took the test for the Florida Safe Boating course.  Exactly the same stuff as the Maryland Safe Boater course.  I will get another safety wall decoration.

Only 3 more weeks to completion!  Ahead are Navigation, Powering your boat, and Knots.

You would think I wouldn’t be interested in the “Powering your boat” chapter, but I looked ahead and there is a section on winterizing your outboard motor.  All of my loyal readers will remember what a hard time I had last winter finding someone to teach me how to do it.

7.5 hp Mercury Outboard winterized

Oh, how I love craigslist!

I advertized for someone to help/teach me how to winterize my outboard.  I got a few responses from businesses that wanted to do it, one wanted to do it for $200 and then charge me $65 so I could watch.  Another guy just offered to come pick it up.  I passed on all those.  But I got an email from a guy in annapolis that is a mechanic/ship captain that said he’d show me how for $20.  Just the ticket!

I met up with him yesterday evening and we winterized it.  Turns out it’s pretty simple stuff.  I got to get dirty and smelled like an engine when I got home.  Yay!

Also, I’m updating my other pages (O’Day 22, O’Day 23) as I complete stuff on the list.  The winterize portion for the O’Day 22 is complete.  If you notice anything I miss, let me know.

Note for all you that might want to try at home.  Be safe.


Winterizing – Bilge

I went looking to pull the bilge pump. The hose was easy to follow  till it went under the center of the cockpit. No way to get to it without some
disassembly. There is no way the previous owner did this, so it’s made it  through at least 3 new jersey winters as is. I’m not going to worry about it.

By the way, I may be wrong, but I don’t know of a reason to have  so much extra hose laying in the compartment.  Why not cut it to the right size?

Last, I took out the gas can. It was stored in the bin right  behind this bilge pump hose. The bin is grungy from oil and gas spills and the  fumes were bad. I think I’m going to put it at the rear of the cockpit and  build a frame for it. I saw a picture somewhere of this, and I like the idea of  putting of an explosive fuel where it can ventilate and not stink up the living  quarters. HOWEVER, this may take up vital room in the cockpit.

Opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.

Hose to bilge pump

Hose to bilge pump

Winterizing continued – outboard

OK, wordpress is really pissing me off.  I can’t make it do a simple thing like insert a line break, or break into multiple paragraphs.  Sorry if this post looks bad.  It was originally much longer.  Also, the published post doesn’t really look like the edit I’m working in.  VERY annoying.
    • If some of what I do seems wrong, hey, cut me some slack – I’m learning as I go.  Also, comments arereally good – I LOVE comments.  And followers.  (Click the Follow button at the bottom right of the page)
    • I know I need to winterize the outboard. On reading the manual, it says if you’re going to not use it a while then unplug the gas while it’s running and let it run out. So today, I set up a bucket with water and started it up, unplugged the gas, and let it run till it ran out of gas on its own. It took a long time! I guess it’s pretty efficient.
    • I also put an ad on craigslist to see if I could find someone to teach me about winterizing and maintenance. I know I can figure it out from books, but maybe I can take a short cut and get some good guidance. We’ll see.
    • When the motor shut off I was left with a nasty looking bucket of water – yuck! I hope
      this is not the standard output of outboard motors and that when it’s tuned up
      it won’t be dumping this in the Chesapeake bay.
Winterizing Motor

Winterizing Motor

Dirty motor water

Dirty motor water

What to do first?

I managed to back the sailboat into the shed without knocking anything down.

Boat in Shed
Boat in shed

Ignore the condition of the shed.  It’s not mine and there isn’t anything I want to do about it other than seal it up so I can work in a heated space over the winter.

From this angle, it looks crooked, but it isn’t.

So, what is the first step?    Winter is coming, so I think I need to make sure freezing temperatures won’t damage anything.  Water will be the culprit to look for.  I think there are two places to worry about.

1. The motor: These things are a necessary nuisance.  I hear of people winterizing these things, so more research is needed here.  I did find the outboard’s manual scattered about the cabin.  I’ve rescued it and most of it (although moldy) is readable.

2. The bilge:  This poor boat has been pretty neglected, and I believe it has been awash with water inside.  It has a bilge pump that pumped it dry for the sale, but I’m guessing there might be water in the lines and the pump.  That probably needs to be emptied before the first hard freeze.

Why do I live in the frigid wastelands of Maryland? – oh yeah, for love, the wife’s job is here.  Someday I’ll move back to my beloved Florida,  (or as we like to say Flor-i-duh)

Mecury 7.5 hp
Mecury 7.5 hp

So back to the motor.  It’s a 7.5 horse power Mercury.  Built between 1974 & 1976, it’s younger than me, but not by much. The boat was build in ’75, so this motor is probably the original.  I know it runs, because the previous owner powered it around the point when bringing it from the slip to the boat ramp.  So I’m pretty confident it can do what I need.    I just need to learn how to take care of it.

So here’s the plan:
I want to sail, not just work on boats.  This is a trailer sailer, so I plan to get good at zipping down to the marina, pop up the mast, and zip out in the water.  I have two public ramps within 1/2 hour drive, and a couple more within an hour.  I may resort to a boat slip for the summer, we’ll see.
Over the winter, I plan to :
    1. gut the interior, clean it out and leave it that way till next winter’s project
    2. repair exterior items as needed – for example, the leaky windows
    3. check the rigging and repair anything needed to hold the mast up
    4. check the sails
    5. repair the trailer – lights don’t work, missing a spare, etc.
    6. Build any props, helpers, etc. to raise the mast easily.  Then practice!
    7. SAIL!
 When spring comes, I sail.  Would like it to be nice, but I don’t really care how it will look, since I don’t need external approval.  Looking for friends that want to go sailing.  All positive commenters are considered friends.  All commenters with beer are considered good friends and get priority seating over people who are just friends.
Oh, don’t forget I need to find a trailer for that O’Day 23 pop-top I’m aquiring this weekend.  Any help with that appreciated.