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Messages - Stu Jackson

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On  September 20, 2019, I was motoring back from a few enjoyable nights at my favorite local anchorage when I experienced a fuel starvation issue for the first time in my boat.  We have sailed Aquavite since 1998.  The engine simply sputtered and died, would restart after a few minutes and die again.  There were no previous issues, ever.

I replaced the fuel pump.  I had corrected the fuel flow from the tank to the primary when we first got the boat.  I replaced the primary filter last year.  I replaced the secondary filter.   When a test sail proved fruitless, I had to go further.

I remembered reading the Racor manual ages ago about a "fuel check valve" that's cleverly hidden at the inlet of the filter housing.  It's called a ball check valve, which keeps fuel from emptying from the filter if the tank is below the filter, which makes sense.   I undid all the new fuel hoses I'd just put in (!) for the new fuel pump and unscrewed the primary filter and bowl, and then removed the housing.

The filter housing is the Racor 220 / 225 Spin On Series, using the ubiquitous Racor R24 Series filters, installed on most Catalina 34 boats.  On the top of the housing is a large plastic screw, identified in the manual’s first page diagram as the “Flow Check Valve” and on page four, it is replacement part list Item 3, part # RK20011, “Check ball valve and plastic cap.” 

I unscrewed the check valve plug and O ring and found 33 years of accumulated tiny black particles that kept the ball from rising and allowing fuel to flow.  It didn't take much crud at all to stop the ball from working properly.  It's a very small chamber about the size of a quarter and the ball is smaller than a dime.  There was actually no "bad fuel" issue, just decades of what I would consider to be normal stuff found in any liquid.  I cleaned it out, and things are back to working properly.

If you have fuel starvation issues, or anything that reduces your engine RPMs, consider this obscure fuel filter housing ball check valve as part of your diagnostics.

Main Message Board / Re: cheek blocks
« on: August 07, 2020, 08:57:17 PM »

Make them the same on both sides, why not?

Nominal 1" wood teak spacers, 7/8" measured.

Very helpful, clears the electrical inlet, too.

Main Message Board / Re: What’s in your chartable?
« on: August 04, 2020, 06:55:05 AM »
Ron, do you have a link, or could you post the Mainsheet tech article you wrote about installing an extra shelf over the vberth for charts?  Thanks

Steve,  Here:

How did I do that?  I used the Knowledgebase, which has an entire section on storage, and is a simple, searchable spreadsheet.  Whenever Ron syas "I wrote about it in Mainsheet" that's where I go to find it.

Main Message Board / Re: dual engine guages
« on: August 02, 2020, 10:01:34 AM »
Many of us have put hinges or a hatch holder on that flat cover.  Makes it much easier and you don't risk stepping on the engine.

Main Message Board / Re: Just overheated the engine
« on: August 02, 2020, 09:59:51 AM »
I agree with Kevin.  I left our slip with a (rare for me) guest.   I forgot.  1/2 nm later I just opened it.  Lucky no broken vanes but never bothered to look 'cuz she pumped right up.

Re: muffler.  Review the raw water flow on your engine, and you'll see why you don't have to.

Main Message Board / Re: C34 Take Two
« on: August 01, 2020, 05:29:40 PM »

In regards to the Critical Upgrades List, I'd be interested to see what recommendations a surveyor would come up with pertaining to the List on a boat with none of the Upgrades.


Good point.  When I had Aquavite surveyed in 1998, I had an excellent surveyor, who had also surveyed another C34 we'd offered, but it failed survey for a number of un-C34-related issues, including the PO flat out lying about some stuff.

When he saw this boat, he looked up and smiled and said, "Wow, where'd you find this one?  You have a winner."

Back then we had a fledgling website, with some very good information, but if you'll check the CU date, you'll see it hadn't been invented yet!  The Forum didn't start until 2001, IIRC.

In any event, since he'd been surveying a lot of C34s then, I gave him a few printouts and the link to the website.  The really good one is this OLD FAQ:  It was an early "version" of the CU.

That's why, at the suggestion of one of our friendly skippers, we started Critical Upgrades.  And we're very pleased it has helped so many prospective owners, and existing owners, for that matter.

My PO had done the harness upgrade, but not some other things.  And then we all discovered some new ones to add to the list.  Recurring issues also prompted me to start the 101 Topics.  I just hate retyping the same old, same old... :D :D :D

And, to their credit, regardless of what Ken Kloeber keeps saying, Catalina did implement a few of them themselves.  Not perfect, for sure, but they did.

Main Message Board / Re: Anchoring - Is this Safe?
« on: July 30, 2020, 09:49:50 AM »
So, would you suggest in this case that I'd be best to use a bridle off the two bow cleats? Also, I wonder if the better off-season modification would be to beef up the anchor locker cleat with a huge back plate (still a pull force), or to install a centreline cleat on the bow?

One of the better solutions I have come across was offered by Steve Dolling, and it appears in the 101 Topics, Steve's Anchoring 101:

Steve’s Anchoring 101

The Rocna.  All 20kg of it with 100ft of chain.  The rest of the world can debate all they like.   When I pull into a place like Bodega Bay at midnight and the fog is so thick I can't see the jetty 50 feet away to make an entrance, I drop my hook in the rolling ocean swells with the surf crashing (Foster says it's like staying in a cheap Best Western beside the highway), and I sleep.  And in the morning I have a windlass to pull the beast up and I wouldn't trade it for anything.   (I also wouldn't add more chain - this works perfectly in 25 to 30 feet of water - you let all the chain out and you tie off nylon at the preferred scope and don't bother with snubbers and chain hooks and all that stuff...)

This was our best upgrade.

Unless you're in a heavily restricted, i.e., crowded, anchorage that is only 10 feet deep, this works very well.  I really appreciate tips & tricks that save additional effort.  And work.  :D

If you can assure yourself that the existing cleat is firmly anchored (pi!) then you've solved the centerline fairlead.  It's always good to get a fair lead.  :D

Your boat, your choice.  :D

Main Message Board / Re: C34 Take Two
« on: July 30, 2020, 09:41:07 AM »
Kevin, yes, of course, you're right.  I was simply, and inadequately, attempting to steer the prospective owner to systemic and "under the hood" items that we have learned specifically about the Mark I to 1.5 Catalina 34, that are not so apparent.

You are, of course, completely correct. 

Main Message Board / Re: What’s in your chartable?
« on: July 30, 2020, 09:36:58 AM »

Nicely done. Now the trick is keeping it that way.

My experience has been that as long as the dividers are there, one gets in the habit of replacing items where they best fit, it becomes a good habit.

My wife is convinced it is the only good habit I've had since she's known me.   :cry4`

Main Message Board / Re: Anchoring - Is this Safe?
« on: July 29, 2020, 08:43:42 PM »
There's a damn good reason for the midline center cleat on our old Mark Is.  It's called a fair lead.  Two words. 

Yes, CY shoulda put three cleats on the bow, two like the Mark IIs and KEPT the centerline cleat.

Not so hard.  We followed Ron's advice:  add side cleats and continue to USE the center BIG momma.

You're right about shear vs. pull.

Main Message Board / Re: C34 Take Two
« on: July 29, 2020, 08:31:05 PM »

Another consideration would be how well the boat is equipped and upgraded. Some examples; dinghy+motor, generator, full set of boat covers, sails, etc. You'll pay a fraction of the price for these upgrades that come with the boat as opposed to buying them later.

Actually, this ^^^ is just the small stuff.

Read Critical Upgrades to find out what is REALLY important.

Main Message Board / Re: What’s in your chartable?
« on: July 29, 2020, 08:28:32 PM »
Me, too.

Helping out since 1998!  :D

Main Message Board / Re: Water in Aft Cabin with following seas?
« on: July 27, 2020, 10:53:12 AM »
Drain hole for the C34 mark II models by the stuffing box bilge area - Picture from Catalina to show you where to drill

Main Message Board / Re: Sold Boat #1344
« on: July 26, 2020, 05:38:06 PM »
It's been a pleasure having you share your contributions, thanks.  And good luck with your search, happy hunting.  Don't be a stranger, I'd bet you could answer someone's future question.  :D

Main Message Board / Re: Anchor fit
« on: July 22, 2020, 06:41:19 AM »

It would help us to help you if you shared your hull #.  And where you sail.  In this case, too, is the anchor there for only safety or do you like to anchor out a lot?

Please read the links I provided above one of which includes a discussion about what Steve Dolling (aka waterdog) and I call our "toy bow rollers."  We have found them to be excellent for reasons included in those texts.  You don't necessarily need an extended roller.

If, however, you want to keep your danforth, then yes, either that or a hanger on the bow pulpit, which is a bit cheesy for a C34.  I did it on our C22 and C25.

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