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Topics - NewToTheRoad

Main Message Board / Mast wedges and tuning
May 29, 2019, 01:31:21 PM
So some background and a few questions.

Background - mast was stepped\re-stepped by yard and I replaced the standing rigging.  New mast boot was put on (that I purchased from Catalina Direct) before the mast was stepped .  This is NOT the split boot version but the exact fit version, maybe too exact..  The process was owner assist so tuning is left up to me.  I'm a bit confused on the tune\wedge process.

Questions -

1.  Mast boot does not fit (see pic) exactly as mast is a bit off center toward aft.  I am assuming that rig should be tuned prior to wedging, and the wedges help to support and hold that position.  Correct?  Or are the wedges part of the tuning process?
2.  Will tuning possibly move the mast's position within the mast collar?  I would imagine that a 1/4" port forward at the collar would move like 5x that at the masthead so I'm not sure that will be possible.
3.  Also, due to the vang attachment hardware (see pic) I will be unable to slide the boot upward to wedge, unless I cut it, but CD says if I do there is no room for overlap. So, assuming mast can move forward, and boot fits, then my only option is to wedge from below or buy the boot to be installed with mast in.  Does that sound about right?  Do wedges really hold from below or will I forever be fighting gravity?  Seems to me that wedging from above would be ideal because you are wedging the mast against the metal mast collar.  Seems like wedging from below you are wedging the mast against the cabin top which doesn't seem right to me.  Then again Spartite does this so maybe not a big deal.

Honestly, there is very little play in this boot.  The plastic is very rigid and it would only seem to be able to fit if the mast was exactly centered in the collar opening.  I imagine a heat gun might help stretch the boot too.  A rubber mallet helped slightly.

Hey guys.  Rebedding chainplates and find what seems to be an aluminium spacer corroded to the bar.  It made it quite difficult to unscrew the rod.  The other side was easy and the spacer freely moved up and down the bar.  Has anyone encountered this?  Is it a reaction of dissimilar metals - steel and aluminum? 

I'm in the process of rewiring the mast and notice the existing cable from the wind transducer was not routed through the conduit.  I will be replacing it.  Should it ideally be routed through the conduit or is there a potential interference issue with the electrical wires?
Main Message Board / Spreader boots to prevent chafe
February 21, 2019, 09:09:21 AM
Adding new sails this year and I want to protect my investment.  The spreaders were previously taped and had a tendency to chafe and eventually rip the 150 genoa.

From experience, which type of spreader boots do you prefer and why?

Rubber ones.|118|2358491|2358503&id=1004624
The sewn on leather kind.
The wrap around fabric kind.

BTW, my mast is down so I can easily sew new ones on if that is the limiting factor.

Main Message Board / Port side clutch mounting
August 29, 2018, 09:25:38 AM
I am considering adding a triple clutch to the port side cabin top, where my boat currently has nothing other than a winch and a cleat.  A few questions for those that might have done this?  Do I need a pad for the cabin top, similar to the teak one on the starboard side, or can I mount directly on the top?  Also, do I need any sort of backing plate below?

My intended use is for Jib halyard, Spare jib halyard, Boom topping lift.

I found this one post where it looks like they were mounted to the top -,8607.msg61003.html#msg61003

Main Message Board / Alternator alignment issue
June 18, 2018, 09:59:43 AM
So it looks like the PO at some point replaced the alternator, but it has no markings so I don't know what it actually is or what it's rated for.  What I do know is that there is a lot of belt dust which tells me it's out of alignment.  It's a bit difficult to tell from these pics but I'm pretty sure the alternator needs to go slightly further aft.  From what I can tell though the alternator bracket itself (bolted to front of engine) is flush with the engine with no shims.  Therefore I can't see how it can slide any further aft.  I think my 3 options are:

   1)  Change belts yearly and live with the dust (replacing one in pic with a Gates belt this week)
   2)  Replace the alternator with one that fits better ($$)
   3)  Have someone machine a custom bracket that allows the alternator to be positioned aft ($$) - There is a hose just under the tension bracket that could make this tricky.

Are these my only options or am I missing something?

note:  will use straight edge against the pulleys to determine actually how far out of alignment


Main Message Board / Rebedding needed?
October 25, 2017, 07:03:38 AM
After my first sailing season with the new boat I notice some staining around the chainplate hardware on the deck.  Oddly, in the sunshine it looks more to be a pink color than anything else.  However due to it's proximity and inability to wash off I am thinking it must be rust staining perhaps from water getting underneath.  Maybe it's time to remove, clean, and re-bed with butyl.  I know that the PO had never done that.  Am I on the right track here?


I spent many hours this past weekend doing this - both the wrong (3+ hrs until I quit) and right (1 hr) ways.  I thought I'd offer some tips from my experience to possibly make it easier for the next sailor. 

The wrong way
Quickly Scan the directions from Beckson and go your own route, thinking how hard could it be.  It took me 3 hours to get one seated, or so I thought.  My thumbs and forefingers still ache.  You will think you have the wrong size.  After testing with a cup of water it leaked into the aft cabin. 

The right way (follow the Beckson directions)
1.  Stretch the new gasket all around its circumference as you would a balloon, being careful at the seam area.
2.  Start by seating the legs of the gasket somewhere between 2 corners. 
3.  Once you get a bit of it seated, bend the gasket part away from the channel (where the leg is seated) so that you can get a your tool to seat the rest of the leg.  You would hear a snap but you will get some feedback that the leg was set in place.  Beckson suggest using a ruler but I used a wooden paint stir stick and it worked great.  The entire leg should go into the channel, especially around the dogs, or you will have leaks.
4.  You will likely still have to stretch along the way and the last corner won't be easy.  when you try and seat that typically another one pulls away.  By stretching and re-seating you will finally get it.
5.  Note:  Back off of the dogs before closing the windows as the new gaskets are not yet compressed.  If you don't you could break the Beckson lenses.

My second gasket took about 45 minutes, then I went back to the first and seated my work from the day before using the stir stick.  No leaks!

note:  You will know when the leg is properly seated as it goes ALL the way in, especially near the dogs and hinges which I couldn't get with my fingers.  If you see parts of it showing and you think it will be ok it will not be.  You will get leaks and the gasket may pull away when opening and closing the port.  The leg is intended to go ALL the way in. 

I was confused when I read the directions about bending the gasket 90 degrees.  I finally figured it was toward the port opening (not perpendicular to the track) and was for the purpose of getting the stir stick to seat it fully in the channel.

Here are a few pics to illustrate.  It should be 1 pic but I couldn't take and do at the same time.

Good luck!


And this is how one thing leads to another..

Small leak in to back cabin which I feel is coming from the Edson Pedestal.  Looks like the previous owners attempted to fix with tape and caulk.  Anyhow, after researching some previous posts my plan was to back off on the nuts, lift up the pedestal slightly (if possible), and put some butyl tape underneath.  Until I sheared off the bolt.

Looks to me as if what's left of the aluminum bolt is corroded to the backing plate.  The entire nut came off as did the lock washer.  On their site Edson states as of 1987 they began using aluminum bolts to prevent corrosion.

I would think that I could just push the remaining up and pop the hex head out of the pedestal base.  No luck.  I can barely get a hammer in there and tapping the stub upward doesn't move it.  Could the bolt be corroded to the base throughout?

If I can't get it to move, is my only option to drill out the hex aluminum bolt from above?  Maybe a right angle drill from below????

Hard to tell from the attached pic but the back left is the one I mugged up..


Main Message Board / Dinette base restoration
April 23, 2017, 06:53:23 PM
I was refinishing the cabin sole over the winter and just couldn't get past the look of the old, corroded base.  So I took it to a local metal shop to get it sandblasted, which left it pitted.  He offered to smooth it out and have the body shop paint it.  Yeah, why not..  The admiral thought it was a waste until she saw the finished product.  Came out pretty nice IMO.

Main Message Board / Solar charger without controller
January 11, 2017, 10:06:10 AM
Hey guys,
  Boat is stock with no battery charger other than the alternator.  She will be kept on a mooring 100% of the time so I obviously need something to keep the batteries charged.  Currently I have just 2 that appear to be 75AH each.  What do you think of this charger, which appears to require no controller based on my batteries being above 50AH?

note:  This will be an interim solution.  In the next year or two I will probably look to add battery capacity (at least a dedicated  starter but maybe golf cart route) increased solar panel, charge controller, etc. 

Also, current 12v needs are just some small instruments, vhf, toilet, bilge pump, and LED lighting.  No refrig or AC.


I am in the process of refinishing my cabin sole, which by the looks of it hadn't been done in 28 years.  My question has to do with the screw holes.  Some of the screws heads needed to be drilled out and others were sunk almost all the way through so the floor was probably loose in those areas.  So, I have bigger holes than I need in many of the sole boards.

Question 1:  My guess is that my best choice is to fill the holes with epoxy and then redrill and countersink for the same size screw.  Does that sound like the right plan of attack?

Question 2:  It seems like everyone recommends treating the bottoms and sides with a brush on epoxy if they are raw wood.  Is that the same type of epoxy that I would use for filling the screw holes?

Question 3:  Are these the same clear epoxies that I would use to fill the deep gouges in the veneer?  In all my research I see people commenting that the epoxy is very hard to sand so that makes me a little nervous.


Looking to install a new Rule 3800 bilge pump with a Float switch and a 3way auto/manual/off switch to replace the existing toggle on/off switch at the main panel,

My question is where is the best place to install the 3way switch?  Logically it could go somewhere near the existing control panel at the nav station adjacent to all other switches.  Another option is to put it just above the door access panel to the water heater.  My thought on this is that it is a short run to the battery and simple to snake.  But then would I want to add a bus to the battery area for ease of this and future connections?  Not sure hooking to a terminal directly is best practice.

If I were to locate it near the control panel would I just get power from where it goes into the A/British switch (from the batteries)?

Note:  I'm a total newbie at this stuff and trying to learn as much as I can from  previous postings so please bear with my ignorance.  It will be my first wiring job toward an eventual system and battery capacity upgrade in a year or two.

Main Message Board / #697 comes out of hiding
September 05, 2016, 05:07:48 AM
New owners here!  1988 MKI Std rig, Fin keel - Hull #697

It's our first sailboat and we are looking forward to the challenge along with the help from this fine site.  Our primary cruising grounds will be Narragansett Bay and some day beyond..

The boat was owned by the previous owners for 24 years with good maintenance but very little in the way of upgrades.  We've read 101 and looks like we have some fun, cold weather projects ahead..

Firstly, thanks in advance for reading and helping.

I am seriously contemplating purchasing a 1988 Catalina 34.  I have looked at a number of 30's and have looked at my first 34 and I think she may be the one.  However, I have not shopped around too much and want to make sure I don't make a rash decision.

The seller (quasi broker\wholesaler) wants $33K.  The condition inside and out is excellent.  Finish is great, standing rigging good, some new running rigging and new traveler, newer cushions, new bimini, outside teak all refinished, rails sparkling, 16,000 btu marine A/C, macerator.  Electronics are VHF, a Garmin GPS\Chartplotter, and a belt drive auto pilot.  Sails seem to be in good condition.  Bottom job less than a year ago.  Engine fairly clean, 350 hrs on meter but seems a little artificially low for a 23 yr old boat.

From everything I can tell this looks to be a well cared for and maintained boat.

This will be my first sailboat and intend to use it in FL on the ICW and some protected coastal cruising.  There are just 2 of us but kids and hopefully many guests will be visiting. 

Most of the 34's in this age range that I see online are asking near the mid 40s.  So $33k looks to be a good deal.  I am also wondering if this might be too much boat too handle as I am fairly new to sailing (power boated for 20+ years).  However, we love the stability, roominess, and comfort for weekending and longer trips.

I would love to have some input from all you Catalina experts.  If it is a great deal then my first step would be a professional Survey!