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Topics - Braxton

Unfortunately we are not using the boat enough to justify the expense anymore.   
So onto the block it must go.   

Wing Keel
Tall Rig.

Asking $45,000.   
Currently located in Tacoma WA.
Main Message Board / replacing cutlass bearing
May 10, 2016, 10:50:59 AM
We just hauled the boat out for a new coat of bottom paint.    An inspection of all the underwater bits revealed that I need a new cutlass bearing.   After looking at the tech wiki and previous discussions on the forum I have a few questions.   The boat is an 1988 hull #805.

1) There seemed to be some confusion on whether there are set screws or if the bearing is simply pressed in.    Is there a definitive answer?   Are there set screws?
2) Seems like I can remove the shaft with the rudder on but I can only put the shaft back on if I install the shaft before the bearing.    How do I then install the bearing?   Do I need one of these:
3) If I have to go to the trouble and expense of finding that tool isn't easier to just press the old one out with the shaft in place?
4) The shaft size is 1" but what is the outside diameter that I need?  What length is it?
5) Any other questions I should be asking?

Main Message Board / Oil out of breather tube
August 15, 2015, 06:52:30 PM
Today after running our engine (universal m25xp) we discovered a ton of oil in the bilge.   Engine was about 3 quarts low and it looks like all of that oil was dumped out of the breather tube into the bilge.    Internet lore points to kubotas having an issue with the oil gallery plug becoming dislodged and causing a build up of oil in the head with the result being oil coming out the breather tube.

Has anyone experienced this?   If so was the fix as simple as replacing that plug?   Is getting to that plug a user serviceable thing?

Any other useful thoughts on this?

Fleet 5 / marinas in olympia
July 19, 2010, 10:09:29 PM
We are doing the south sound for our cruise this year and I'm planning for us to stay on night in Olympia.   Does anyone have a recommendation for a good transient Marina in Olympia?   
Main Message Board / Fleet 5 Rendezvous Bread
September 13, 2009, 09:38:04 PM
Fleet 5 just had its fall rendezvous.   For our Saturday night pot luck I baked bread and several people asked for the recipe.   They may have just been being polite but just in case they really wanted it I'm presenting it here.   The recipe is designed so most of the work is done at home with pretty much only the baking done on the boat.   The uncooked dough can be kept in its loaf pans for several days if needed.

To give full credit where credit is due this is a recipe that I've adapted from one I found on the Seattle PI's web site.   (  I adapted it to make it more boat friendly.

2 days before leaving for your cruise:

In a large bowl mix:   

3 cups lukewarm water

1 ½ tablespoons granulated yeast

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt or other coarse salt

6 ½ cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour or bread flour.

I use a large kitchen mixer to do the work for me.   Add the water yeast and salt, just let it stand a minute or two.   No need to proof the yeast or do anything fancy.   Then add all the flour at once.   Mix it until everything is well blended and then mix for 10 minutes more. (This is why I use the mixer).   No kneading is needed beyond this.

The dough may be more moist then experienced bread makers are used to.   That's OK, get over it :)

Cover with plastic wrap with some holes in it and stuff the bowl in the fridge for 24 hours.

1 day before the cruise

Lightly oil three 9 x 5 loaf pans.   Divide the dough into three equal parts and plop it in the pans.   Cover with plastic wrap and stuff the pans in the fridge.

day of cruise

bring the full pans with you and store them in the fridge.

day you want the bread

remove the bread from the fridge and let it rest at boat temperature for 30+ minutes.

preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

put a shallow pan filled with water in the base of the oven.

bake the bread for 35-40 minutes.

The bread is done when it sounds slightly hollow when tapped on top.   The crust will (hopefully) have achieved a golden brown color but the color and texture of the crust can be dramatically affected by many factors such as: the temperature and humidity of your fridge, the actual temperature of your oven, the sea conditions during your sail, how many times you tacked, etc...

Serve warm with some high quality butter or olive oil.

Craig will be doing a full write up for Mainsheet about the rendezvous.   But here is one pic as a teaser for what fleet 5 does when we get together:

Blackdragon:   sorry to hear about your run in with our homeland security folks.   But you must understand that Florence and Coos bay are hot spots for anti-American activity.   

I am sorry to hear that you chose to skip Depoe Bay in favor of safer harbors.  (   This decision shows a lack of fortitude that will surely serve you well in your coming adventure.

BTW: has RSS feeds for all of their blogs.   You you subscribe to it here:

Steve, you can now take comfort in the fact that when ever you post it will delay my workday by a minute or two.   

Main Message Board / Leaking hatch in the salon
August 16, 2009, 10:02:36 PM
Just got back from a 5 day cruise around Puget Sound.   Everything went beautifully with the exception that during two rain storms we were discovered the hatch in the main salon leaked.   

Further investigation showed that the seal between the gasket and the lens has failed for about 1/3 of the circumference of the hatch.   I've picked up some caulk to try and reseal it from West Marine (   but I am usnsure if I'm going down the right path.

In my mind the best thing to do would be to pop the whole lens out and seal the whole thing instead of trying to just jam caulk into the failed section.   I'm guessing the whole lens will pop out with a good shove.

A few questions:

1) I found this in the wiki:   Does anyone know of any other tech notes that I should be reading up on?

2) Is my caulk OK or do I need to be using what Craig used?

3) Is popping the whole lens the correct approach or should I just try and jam the caulk into the failed section of the seal?

4) What am I missing?

Main Message Board / exterior wood treatments/care
July 21, 2009, 09:40:07 PM
This is an offshoot of the fake wood conversation on the swim ladder thread but I thought that thread had already been hijacked enough.   So I'm starting a new one.

I don't envision myself doing the fake wood anytime soon so I need to figure out what to do with my present external wood.

The previous owner had varnished all the exterior wood.   The varnish is now degraded to the point that I need to do something.   I'm inclined to sand/strip off the varnish and simply oil the teak.   I like the look just as much and oiling every month or two is much more appealing then varnishing the wood (even at a much greater interval).

What do other people do/recommend?

Is the exterior wood universally teak or is there a chance that Catalina snuck some other type of wood past us?
Fleet 5 / Leukemia Cup?
April 17, 2009, 02:55:07 PM
Would anyone be up for a fleet 5 entry in the Leukemia Cup on June 6?   I don't think many of us are racers but it might be fun to get together and see how we rate against the crews with matching jackets and Kevlar sails.

Disclaimer: I haven't yet asked for a hall pass for this weekend, but I don't anticipate that it would be a problem for me.

Here is some more info on the cup:
So while performing some other unrelated maintenance on the engine I noticed that my alternator belt was extraordinarily loose.   I attempted to tightened it up as much as I could but even after moving the alternator all the way out on the adjustment bracket it was still to loose.    I replaced the belt with the handy overpriced spare that I got from Universal and surprise surprise it didn't fit any better.   The solution should be to simply move to a shorter belt but I'm worried I'm missing something.    To my knowledge the alternator is the stock alternator and all the pulleys are stock.   Why would the stock belt be to long?   Am I missing something or do I just go down to NAPA and get a shorter belt? 

(And when I sat to loose this is what I mean: well over an inch of deflection when pushed on and the belt flops around like a freshly caught fish when the engine is running.   It still seems to turn all the pulleys just fine but I'm worried about slippage when the alternator gets under load)
Main Message Board / Stuck fuel shutoff switch
September 29, 2008, 07:51:05 AM
Yesterday was easily the best day of sailing that we've had since we got our boat.   Unfortunately the day was marred by a non starting engine when we were ready to come back in.   Ultimately the culprit turned out to be the engine kill/fuel shutoff switch on the engine (M-25XP).    Its stiff enough that it takes a pair of vice grips and a long screw driver user as a lever to budge it.   

Does anyone have any experience working on these things.   My thought was that taking it off, cleaning it up, and lubing it will put it back to normal.  But I'd love to learn from everyone else's experience before I dive in there myself.    I haven't done any exploratory surgery yet so I'm not completely sure how it goes together, any pointers there would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance :)

-Braxton Allport
-Ballou '88 #805
Fleet 5 / Diving vs. hauling
August 26, 2008, 09:23:04 AM
So growing up on the Chesapeake I'm used to having to haul a boat out every winter.   There the problem is barnacles while here my impression is that they major issue is plant growth.   It seems to me that I could haul much less frequently if the bottom got a good scrubbing  and the zincs got replaced with the boat still in the water.

What to people typically do around here?   Do people haul the boat every year, do they substitute a dive for a haul out?

If you use divers what do they typically charge for a cleaning and a zinc replacement dive?
Main Message Board / Yet more Sea Monsters
July 28, 2008, 10:00:36 PM
The sea monsters are at it again.   On the way out from Gig Harbor on our way back to our home port in Tacoma sea monsters attacked Ballou.   (Why do that have it in for C34s?).     We were 3/4 the way across the upper part of Tacoma Narrows when the engine stopped pumping water and the temperature shot up.   We immediately turned tail and headed back towards Gig Harbor.   By the time we were 1/4 mile out of the entrance the temperature gauge had pegged itself right along with my blood pressure.   Being that we were in 250 feet of water and that peak flood was scheduled for 45 minutes later stopping was not an option.    We made a beeline for shore and I told my crew (my father) to let go the anchor when we hit 75 feet.   Now I know that anchoring in 75 feet isn't that unusual for everyone else who sails in the Northwest.   For me, ( I grew up on the Chesapeake where I don't think I ever anchored in more then 10 feet of water) believing that an anchor can hold in 75 feet with four knots of currents is the equivalent of thinking that a deathbed conversion could save my soul after a life time of sin (its possible just not very likely).   

By some miracle the anchor held.   Now with our pulse slowing we set about solving the issue at hand.   The impeller proved OK but the raw water strainer produced a golf ball size clump of seaweed.   We thought we had solved the issue but after cleaning the filter and reassembling everything we still pumped no water.   :cry:

Opening the seacock without anything attached proved that no water was getting through.   Some poking with odd bits of wire produced only a trickle.    I was fishing through my clothes for my bathing suit when my father pointed out that it was I who had had the foresight to look at the current tables before leaving and that 4 knots of current who simply sweep me away and leave him newly promoted to captain but with a still clogged water intake.

Ultimately the solution was relatively simple.   With a reassembled strainer and the intake hose detached from the impeller housing I blew with all my might on the end of the hose.   This failed miserably.   Then my father (with a slight chuckle) pointed out that he still had the seacock closed).   He opened the seacock, I once again blew with all my might and we we rewarded with the sound of a rush of bubbles outside the hull. 

With everything reassembled we fired up the engine and were rewarded with the happy gurgle of water being ejected from the stern.

The hardest part of the whole experience was getting the anchor back up.   Even with the Ballou powering against the current hauling up 300 feet of anchor rode was a workout that I will not soon forget. 

I'm not sure how many Karma points we used up getting the anchor to set on the first try, but its good to know that you can successfully anchor those conditions.

However, I think we need a bounty on these sea monsters.   They obviously have it in for C34s for some reason that is not under stood by us mere mortals.
Fleet 5 / 4th of July in Tacoma
June 18, 2008, 02:19:32 PM
Has anyone experienced the 4th of July festivities in Tacoma from their boat?    I was wondering if its worth going out and jostling with the other boats off of Old Town?
Main Message Board / Peltier based dehumidifiers
May 06, 2008, 06:01:24 AM
Does anyone have any experience with Peltier based dehumdifiers (such as   They seem appealing due to their low power draw but there seem to be frequent complaints of durability issues.

Any idea if they are safe to leave unattended on a boat?