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Messages - Patches

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Main Message Board / Re: New Dinghy feedback requested
« on: August 26, 2020, 06:08:21 PM »
Shocking, but I received received my new Westmarine 260 RIB, FBG floor, today--a week early no less.

To Gunners point, it is made made in China.  So were the Zodiacs and the Highfields.  I'd be curious to know which inflatables are NOT made in China.  Defender's are, and I think the new Achilles are too.  Avons maybe?

Anyway, I think the quality of the Westmarine is certainly not as good as the Zodiac Cadet 260 RIB I looked at in depth yesterday.  But it is half the sale price of the Zodiac or Highfield and has a two year warranty like the Highfield.  I like the size, and it is still relatively light, so I'm going to roll the Chinese dice and keep it.

The Zodiac salesman, pretty well informed, was not enthusiastic about aluminum RIBs --and he had a bunch to sell.  His point was that once the powder coating starts wearing off its a fight with corrosion.  He also liked being able to repair fiberglass pretty easily.

Thanks to all for your input!


Main Message Board / Re: New Dinghy feedback requested
« on: August 24, 2020, 06:31:20 AM »
Many thanks for all the replies!

Our local Highfield dealer is running ads on Craigslist saying it is discounting some of the models mentioned, so I'm going to contact them today to find out what "discount" means.

Comparing the Zodiac Cadet Aluminum RIB 270 (82 lbs) with the Highfield UL 260 (70 lbs) looks to be the closest "apples to apples" comparison.  Both have powder coated aluminum hulls, keel guards, welded fabric seams, welded lifting points, and quality PVC tubing material.  Zodiac claims you can use a little bigger outboard but, as mentioned, I'm going for now with my lightweight Tohatsu 5hp. Tube size looks to be 16" for the Zodiac, and 15" for the Highfield.

Both boats are made in China, and warranties are also pretty good on both boats (Zodiac: 5 years, Highfield: 2 years on entire boat, 5 years on hull).  I'll also look at the next size up Zodiac Cadet Aluminum RIB 300 (95 lbs) and the Highfield UL 290 (86 lbs).


Main Message Board / New Dinghy feedback requested
« on: August 22, 2020, 06:53:25 AM »
I have been using a Westmarine rollup (RU 260) with a Tohatsu 3.5 (2 stroke, 29 lbs) with good results for the past several years.  It is about the lightest weight set-up available, everything breaks down pretty easily, and it has been perfect for moving around two people from ship to shore.

This year, however, i have some captained charters I'm offering in the San Juan Islands and I need to be able to move 3 people at a time. For a lot of reasons, I want to go to a RIB--understanding well the weight penalty.  I managed to find a Tohatsu 5hp, 2 stroke with about 5 hours on it, and weighing in at about 42 lbs.  So that is what I'm going to use to push the new dinghy, and I can heft that on/off the dinghy from my swim step.  After looking at some helpful posts on this forum--though dated--I also ordered a Westmarine 260 RIB, FRP hull, with a 1000 lb payload.  But it does weigh in at (gulp) 115 lbs.  Going up a size (10') moves the weight up even higher, and makes the prospect of getting it inverted on the foredeck more difficult.

My biggest priorities are durability, getting people safely from ship to shore, and price point.  I'm not taking the boat to the tropics, so I'm not as concerned with paying the premium for Hypalon tube material. I'm also only going to use it a few months out of the year, and store it in my garage when not in use.

Although i ordered my dinghy last week, I'm not sure it is going to be here when promised (9/5).  I found good prices locally on the Zodiac 270 and 300 Aluminum RIBs with PVC tubes, and they can be picked up tomorrow for $600 and $800 more than I'm paying for the Westmarine FRP 260 RIB.  They also only weigh 82 and 95 lbs, respectively.

Looking for feedback based on experience with these models.  I don't mind paying a little more for better boat, but I don't know anyone who has purchased an aluminum RIB, or the potential drawbacks of doing so.  Our beaches up here can be cobbly.



Main Message Board / Re: C34 Take Two
« on: July 29, 2020, 12:35:10 PM »
Moving from a Mark 1.5 to a Mark 2 comes with some pretty good upgrades.  I have a Mark 1.25 (swim step, but no walk through transom as on Mark 1.5) and I find the following Mark 2 upgrades desirable:

1.  Deck stepped mast with compression post.  Aside from the debate about which is better offshore in a stinking blow, a deck stepped mast doesn't leak below through the partners as readily as a keel stepped mast.  You also don't need to worry about mast wedges or the space between the mast and the mast collar.  Those can fall out, make noise, or shift requiring attention.

2.  Water heater location.  In the Mark 1-1.5 it is under the sink making access to everything else under the sink a real pain.  In the Mark 2 it has been moved to under the starboard settee making access to both the water heater and below the sink much better.

3.  Engine access.  Getting at the back of the engine/transmission in a Mark 1 requires serious boat yoga.  I, like many, put in an access hatch in the aft berth to provide better access to the transmission, heat exchanger, exhaust riser, and hoses.  It also came in handy while re-wiring the engine and panel.  The Mark 2 has better access to this area already.

4.  Cockpit/swim step layout.  This is pretty good on the Mark 1.5.  The Mark 2's carry the beam further aft, resulting in a broader swim step. But unlike many boats, the Mark 2 doesn't take it to the extreme.  If you've ever spent the night at anchor on one of the newer Beneteaus when there is a little breeze, you'll likely have experienced the "Transom Slap" phenomenon if you're trying to sleep in the aft berth.  The very wide, and flat, sterns tend to "slap, slap, slap" all night.

In addition the above there are little refinements to the cabinetry and galley layout which seem to improve the boat.

For what its worth, we looked at a well kept C36 1.5 and decided we preferred our C34 1.25.  The V-berth is a lot bigger, and there was no cabin door on the aft cabin.  We also like the mid-ship head on the C34.  The C-36s do seem to have better storage however.  We also thought the C34 sailed better.


Main Message Board / Re: Mast collar and Partners pics
« on: July 24, 2020, 12:48:43 PM »

I'll try to explain it.  If you are standing on deck, looking down, the collar-through which the mast fits-- is actually raised above deck level to a height of about 1-1.25 inches and is about 3/16" wide. It is what the lower portion of the boot fits over to create the seal at the deck.

Outboard of this, the collar also has an oval shaped flange which fits over, and covers, the hole cut in the deck.  It is secured flat to the deck with screws or bolts--I'm not at the boat.  But if you see nuts arranged in an oval around the mast opening from below deck they are bolts.

IMHO, there is no reason for silicone in the space between the mast and the collar.  That space is either taken up with Spartite or wedges.  Preventing leaks down the mast should be done by taking care to (1) seal the boot or wrap around the mast, (2) seal the boot or wrap around the raised collar, and (3) seal the sail slot (the real culprit for leaks) with some silicone where the boot or wrap can't enter that slot.

For whatever reason, the prior owner of my boat did the same thing--gooping up the space around the wedges with a lot of silicone.  It doesn't work.  Especially if you ever want to use a product like Spartite and your task is to first remove all the old silicone.  Silicone is easier to completely remove from the mast vs. gelcoat.  But still a pain.  I subscribe to the idea that silicone should be used very sparingly anywhere on a deck, and as a last resort, because of how difficult it is to completely remove it when it fails.

Hope this helps.


Main Message Board / Re: Mast collar and Partners pics
« on: July 22, 2020, 09:55:08 AM »

I just cut off my old mast boot yesterday and replaced it with a "wrap" product.  I wish I'd known, I would have taken a photo for you.

There is definitely room for Spartite on my partners.  I use rubber "door stop" wedges between the mast and the mast collar and then used the mast boot wrap (Windblown product) which is amalgamating.  I have to say, it was a pain to wrap because I didn't completely remove the halyard blocks at the bottom which are attached to the collar. Also, the difference in circumference between the mast and mast collar made a tight wrap on the mast difficult in places--resulting in some creasing. 

I got two full wraps of the mast/collar with the Windblown product, and then finished the top with a white outdoor duct tape.  Also added some silicone to the sail track to prevent water from going down that opening.  We're in for a dry spell for the next 10 days, but I'll try to report back once we get some rain.

One more thing, I don't have a rigid vang.  Some time ago I raised the mast fitting for the vang (by drilling and tapping new holes) to allow better access to the partners area from above.  It allowed me to loosen the hose clamps and slide up the boot in order to add wedges.  This ended up being to my advantage when switching from a mast boot to a mast wrap as I was able to get a little better wrapping above the partners, but below the vang fitting.


Main Message Board / Re: Atlantic Crossing
« on: July 17, 2020, 02:13:05 PM »
I remember reading somewhere-can't remember now--that Catalina Yachts delivered some new C-34 boats to England/Europe by sailing them over there.

Main Message Board / Re: Composting head
« on: July 10, 2020, 06:14:34 AM »

Unfortunately the Corona virus has affected plans.  The charter business closed between about mid-March and the end of May due to lockdown.  Since then, the priority has been generating business and I had a two week interruption for a haul out/maintenance in early June.

I did install a new water heater in the locker between the head and chart table.  It is a "Quick" model, 4 gallons, cylinder-shaped, which is only about 12" in diameter and fits through the door opening of the locker.  I put in a platform and mounted the new water heater to it.  The difference for access is so much better, and I really like the freed-up space under the sink where I was able to mount  a new carbon water filter and manifold for the water tanks.  I should also say that I think the 6 gallon model would also fit in that space, as the 12" diameter of the tank does not change, only the length.  I added a thermostatic mixing valve kit from Quick to control the temp once the heat exchanger is hooked up, and this adds about 5" to the depth of the water heater.  So the 6 gallon will certainly work without the optional mixing valve kit, and I think it will also work depth-wise if you decided to add it.

Right now, the new water heater operates only under shore power.  I'm waiting to connect new engine hoses to the water heater--for heat exchanger heating-- until I can remove the existing Jabsco head and waste line (which runs along the bottom of the locker to the holding tank).  Once I do this, there will be a convenient pathway for the new engine hoses from the engine, under the cabin sole, forward to that opening for the waste line, and then aft through that opening to the fittings on the new water heater.

Incidentally, I installed 3/8" barbed fittings on the new water heater. That will allow me to run 3/8" hose all the way from the engine to the water heater and back.  No stepping up to 5/8" hose just to accommodate the 5/8" inlet/outlets on the Seaward unit.

Because I'm trying to maximize revenue right now for the charter season, I've decided to wait to remove the Jabsco head and go to a composting head. I should add that I think I've convinced myself that the Airhead is the model of composting toilet that will fit best in our Catalina 34s.  I built the cardboard mock-up of the C-head (which I really like) and I found that it just wouldn't fit as well in the existing space given over to the Jabsco.  In other words, the footprint of the Airhead, especially with its rounded footprint in the back, would seem to  fit better.

I look forward to being able to post about the conversion to a composting head in the future--likely the fall when the charter season slows down.


Main Message Board / Re: Sealing Mast Partners
« on: July 03, 2020, 07:22:38 AM »
Many thanks to the brain trust!  I thought I might be overthinking this and appreciate the simple solutions recommended.


Main Message Board / Re: salon table pedestal rebuild?
« on: June 30, 2020, 09:12:21 AM »
I just scrapped my original table and started from new.  Let's face it:  the original table was designed to act as a platform for an additional berth.  It was always an uncomfortable "bumshuffle" to get any one around the table.  And over time, the old Zwaardvis telescoping post had broken at the place where the clamp tightened the post.

I purchased the Zwaardvis fixed table base with a tapered post through Fisheries Supply (maybe $90).  I had concerns that it would be "wobbly" but that hasn't been the case at all.  The base is a big enough diameter that with the new (smaller) table top being moved outboard slightly, it still covers the old hole though the sole.  I opted for a teak table top which folds in half (on sale at Defender) so that it will either seat 3 for dinner or 4 for drinks in the dinette (maybe $160 on sale).  The top is clamped (top clamp/table support for 2 3/8" post was $35) to the top of the post and swivels through 270 degrees.

The advantages are (1) the whole thing can be removed, (2) much easier to get in and out of the dinette even when in place, and (3) versatility.  The disadvantage is that you can't drop it to make a berth, but that was never going to happen anyway.


Main Message Board / Sealing Mast Partners
« on: June 27, 2020, 09:00:43 AM »
I have purchased some new flexible "mast tape/wrap" to replace the more rigid "boot" which seals the opening where the mast penetrates the deck at the partners.  As designed, rainwater is able to follow the continuous sail slot below deck and leak on the floor boards below.  At least on my boat, the rain doesn't follow the sail slot all the way to the bilge.  It wicks about 1-2" aft of the underside of the partners and then plops on the floorboards.

The more ideal solution would be to use a Spartite-type product to pour in the gap between the partners and the mast to seal the area from water intrusion.  But with a mast boot or the wrap I'm going to use, you're left with plugging the sail slot above deck where it meets the boot or tape or it will leak during every rain.

I'm trying not to overthink this.  But I'm wondering if there are preferred ways of plugging the sail slot above the boot/wrap to eliminate the leaks?

As always, thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts.


Main Message Board / Re: Replacing Cutlass - this seems outrageous
« on: June 17, 2020, 12:54:47 PM »

Your experience with Seaview North sounds like my last experience with them at Seaview Shilshole about 5 years ago.  After receiving several assurances about the cost to do things, I was presented with a bill roughly $1500 more than what they quoted me.  Luckily, my boat was already in the slings and was to be the first boat to launch that morning.  No new boats could be hauled until they launched mine.  The sign on the wall said:  "No cash, No splash."  So I decided to use that to my advantage.

I refused to pay more than quoted, which turned into some pretty pathetic back and forth offering to "settle" the bill for somewhere in the middle. "Nope, remember how I asked you about how much it was going to cost to the work and you said 'at most'?"  Meanwhile the Travelift operator kept coming into the office saying "the 9:00 haulout is here, what do you want to do?"  Finally, I paid what was quoted and they splashed me.

Very refreshing to go to the DIY yard in Port Townsend and avoid these kinds of issues.  And glad you got good work at a fair price by Top to Bottom.


Main Message Board / Re: Prop and cutless bearing
« on: June 16, 2020, 10:32:36 AM »
Another successful cutless bearing replacement with Dan's (Indian Wells) loaner tool.

The work was pretty straightforward.  Dan's tool differs from a Strut-Pro in that it pushes the cutless bearings in only only direction.  It pushes the old bearing onto the shaft forward of the strut, which you then have to cut off.

I used channel lock pliers to hold the old cutless bearing with one hand.  I then used a Dremel EZ Lock metal cutting disc in me other hand to carefully cut the outer brass casing lengthwise.  The Dremel made it very easy to make a very precise cut and to even stop short of cutting through the rubber bearing surface underneath.

Once I cut through one side, I rotated the bearing 180 degrees and made an identical second cut.  Then I inserted a large flat head screwdriver tip and twisted the two sides apart.  This served to tear the remaining rubber on one side of the bearing.  I then forced the bearing open far enough to slip it off the prop shaft in one piece.

An unintended benefit of bisecting the old bearing this way is that I now have two "halves" of the old bearing which should come in handy when inserting new rings of GFO packing into the packing nut on the stuffing box.

When re-installing the prop, I "lapped" it per Mainesail's excellent guide on his "marine how to" site.  I found both Prussian Blue and Permatex Valve Grinding compound at my local NAPA dealer.  I also decided to try Pettit's Barnacle Barrier spray-on zinc product on the prop, strut and shaft.  Thought I would give it a try here in the PNW after mostly positive reviews.

If anyone needs Dan's tool, please contact me and it is yours to use for the cost of shipping.  Big shout out to Dan for his generous loaning of the tool.  No need to remove the shaft (or rudder) to replace the cutless bearing.


All is well.  It turns out the cracks caused by the improper blocking were actually superficial and confined to the outer fairing material on the keel.  These were ground back, filled with G flex epoxy, and a layer of fiberglass cloth added. Then fairing, sanding, barrier coat and bottom paint.  Results look very good.

Hung in the slings for about 2 hours before launch yesterday.  No new cracking and everything looks tight.


Re "banding the whole joint."  This did not come up.  Again, there is one hairline crack, about 6 inches long on the leading edge of the joint.  So I gather it makes sense to explore the continuous nature of that crack by grinding it out and then decide whether to "lap" the joint.  Actually, he will be using a larger dremel-type tool with a cone shaped bit which, as he showed me on another boat, makes a pretty tidy "v" shaped opening of the crack.

The other two cracks are at the front and back edges of where the keel meets the hull (not on the keel/hull joint), and show as 1" hairline cracks.  I take it "lapping" is not appropriate here.  I am familiar with lapping of the hull/keel joint as I could see this was done by a prior owner of a prior boat of mine.  It would seem this is overkill, but I guess he needs to get into the crack to determine whether it is appropriate in this case.

Many thanks for your prompt responses as I've got to approve work today.

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