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Topics - John Langford

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 7
Main Message Board / Return from the dark side
« on: May 20, 2020, 11:35:36 AM »
After an abortive effort to embrace power boating, Kate and I are looking forward to returning to the sailing world. The power boat, a Ranger Tug, works beautifully and is a delight to be on in anchorages and at the dock. But after one summer of cruising we found that we really missed sailing and the simple pleasure of working with the wind to get from one place to another. Our beloved 34 Mk II, ‘Calypso‘, is in the hands of yacht club colleagues, Jim and Allison Lucas, who are are contributors to this forum. So we are on the lookout for another post-2000 34 MkII or 355, or even a 350 or 36 in the Pacific Northwest. Not an easy search in these Covid induced, closed border days.

And thus my question. Do the LOA figures published in the spec sheets by Catalina include the anchor roller in the calculation? Our slip at the yacht club is limited to  boats no longer than 36’5” and the administration takes the measurement very seriously. A 34 Mk II has a published LOA of 34’6” but is charged for 36’ with a Bruce or Rocna on the roller. The 355 and 350 LOAs are both advertised to be 35’5”. If that includes the roller, then with an anchor they should be less than the ironclad limit of 36’5”. A Catalina 36, at 35’6” apparently doesn’t make the cut and is forced onto the long waiting list for a longer slip.

So if anyone has authoritative information on how Catalina makes its LOA calculation I would be delighted to hear it. No reply when I asked Catalina directly. We made one bad mistake by trading Calypso in for a powerboat; we don't want to make a second one by buying a boat that doesn’t fit into our slip. The waiting lists are too long for an ancient mariner.

And, of course, if you have a 34 mk II in the Pacific Northwest that you are prepared to part with, please let me know.

Main Message Board / Edson pedestal cable yoke
« on: June 01, 2019, 12:24:51 PM »
Another day, another weird boating incident.

Leaving Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island, in the San Juan Islands, I noticed that the throttle lever moved slightly when I alternated the gear lever between neutral and forward. By the time I cleared the Harbor, I could not move either the gear or throttle control without the other lever moving around a lot. Effectively, I could not use the gear lever without firmly gripping the throttle lever and couldn’t shift into neutral or reverse at all without the the throttle lever forcing up the revs. No fun at all.

Since I had always thought of the two functions as being independent, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Instead of trying to reanchor and work on the problem I left the motor ticking over in forward and sailed back to my home port, 13 miles away.  But when I approached the marina I couldn’t sort out how I could get into it and down the passage to my finger and then stop the boat. In the end, I turned the motor off and on while in forward and at the end ‘dead sticked’ into the slip without too much fuss. Luckily the wind was light.

I took apart the binnacle and the Edson pedestal cable cover in the aft cabin but couldn’t see what was going on inside the pedestal. The throttle and gear shift cables were both properly connected at the motor end. It was my neighbour who saw me staring at the problem and suggested that there was a yoke halfway up the pedestal that secured the pedestal end of BOTH cables. Thus, the unusual interaction between them. We removed the guts of the engine panel lower down the pedestal and found a nylock nut and a washer and the hole for the bolt securing the yoke to the pedestal. But no sign of the bolt. We took off the wheel. I manipulated the two cables from below until he could see the end of the bolt. Then, putting a long screwdriver down into the pedestal from above I was able to push on the loose yoke until eventually he was able to capture the bolt as it poked through the hole in the pedestal wall. This was a lengthy and frustrating experience that left me with a few choice words I would have loved to share with the Edson pedestal designers. Deployed a healthy dose of loctite, tightened down the bolt and put the whole mess back together. Status quo ante.

Further thought. If you have your engine panel apart for any reason, you might want to put a wrench on the nylock nut visible at the back of the panel.

Main Message Board / Finding the waterline
« on: February 19, 2019, 03:17:34 PM »
I would like to accurately establish how far above or below the waterline the engine raw water outflow joins the exhaust riser in the engine room on the MK II with the M35BC. There must be a simple way to do this that is less trouble than attaching a clear hose to the raw water intake and observing how high the water column rises inside the hose. Any suggestions?

Also, by rough measurement I estimate the capacity of the M35BC aqua lift muffler to be about 12 litres. Has anyone actually done a more accurate measurement?

Main Message Board / Fuel line vacuum gauge
« on: January 24, 2019, 04:45:14 PM »
Inspired by a Cruising World piece, I recently installed an oil filled Durachoice 0-30 inHg vacuum gauge between my primary Racor filter and my fuel pump. I installed it vertically against the wooden frame for the engine compartment on the starboard side with gauge facing forward. It can be read by lifting the companionway access hatch under the upper set of steps. The installation was straightforward and the engine works fine. So fuel supply is fine. The odd thing is that there is no deflection of the gauge when the engine is running. I have recently changed filters so I wouldn’t expect much deflection. But none?

Any thoughts?

The Cruising World article can be found at:

Main Message Board / Westerbeke 30C Three
« on: November 21, 2018, 07:04:28 PM »
For a second year in a row, Westerbeke is offering this engine (25hp and 2.5:1 transmission) via distributors in Canada as a Christmas present for $7995.00 (Can) or about $6000.00 (US). Has anyone used this engine as a replacement for the Universal 25XP or 35B. Facing a rebuild or a cranky old age engine it looks like it might be an attractive alternative.

Main Message Board / M 35BC Electrical draw
« on: October 30, 2018, 04:35:34 PM »
With everything off at the electrical panel, my monitor shows a 6 amp draw when the engine key switch is turned to the first position (engine instrument panel powered up, buzzer out of commission and glow plugs not engaged). Would the panel draw that much or is something else going on? Any suggestions?

Main Message Board / PSS shaft seal and engine movement
« on: October 16, 2018, 01:32:49 PM »
In the course of adjusting my throttle cable to allow my Universal M35BC to produce full power, a strange thing happened. As I pushed the engine under load AT THE DOCK up to 2500rpm, the top of the recommended cruising range, my shaft seal began to spray salt water. I have used PSS shaft seals for many years and this had never happened before at any power level up to 2500rpm.

My first thought was engine alignment but I checked it out and it was fine. Then I tightened up on the bellows by about 1/4” and the problem went away. But then I wondered if the culprit was putting the boat under heavy load at the dock. My question is: when powering up at the dock, will the engine surge further forward on its mounts than it would underway? And could it do so enough to cause the shaft seal interface to become so loose it would begin to leak? Any views on this?

Main Message Board / Adjusting throttle cable
« on: October 09, 2018, 08:00:14 PM »
I used to be able to reach 2900 rpm, but recently the throttle control on my 1999 Mk II M35B is hitting the binnacle stainless steel support tube at about 2500rpm. It feels like there is slack in the cable as I push it forward.  The cable is as tight as it can get at the engine end. Before opening up the binnacle, I would like to know if it is possible to adjust the throttle cable tension at that end. Does anyone knowing that is the case and, if so, how the adjustment is made?

Main Message Board / M35 low oil pressure alarm switch
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:21:08 AM »
My oil pressure gauge is working but the oil pressure alarm function has stopped operating. I replaced the alarm on the panel itself but it still doesn’t sound when I turn the key or stop the engine. I suspect that the oil pressure alarm switch that is very hard to access low down on the port side of the engine.

Has anyone dealt with this problem. Any advice welcome.

Main Message Board / Mk II oil pressure alarm
« on: September 04, 2018, 07:22:05 PM »
My oil pressure gauge is working but the oil pressure alarm function has stopped operating. I replaced the alarm on the panel itself but it still doesn’t sound when I turn the key or stop the engine. I suspect that the oil pressure alarm switch that is hard to access on the port side of the engine.

Has anyone dealt with this problem. Any advice welcome.

Main Message Board / Coolant system maintenance
« on: January 26, 2018, 03:57:58 PM »
I am going to take off my heat exchanger and have it cleaned and pressure tested. To that end I have read all of the useful advice by Mike V, Ron Hill and others on this topic. However, I still have a question. The submissions mostly focus on the heat exchanger alone. But what about cleaning out the that part of the coolant circulation system internal to the engine block? Does running the engine with a rad cleaner and water before taking off the HX worth the effort or should I just focus on cleaning the heat exchanger itself?

Main Message Board / Accessing M35BC starter and solenoid
« on: January 01, 2018, 12:44:11 PM »
Happy New Year to all.

I would like to do some preventative checking and cleaning of solenoid and starter electrical connections on the port side of the engine. Unfortunately, I can't see any of this part of the engine either from the open engine box in the companionway or with the engine cover in the aft cabin completely removed. It looks like the next step would be to remove the alternator and possibly a couple of the coolant hoses on the port side and get at it from there. Has anyone found a better way of getting working access to this area of the engine?

Main Message Board / Installing solar panels
« on: December 28, 2017, 05:11:57 PM »
I’m just finishing up a project that might interest other owners. I wanted a bit of protection from the sun while sailing and I also wanted to use solar power to keep up the batteries while cruising. So, instead of getting a professional to build me a Bimini and then putting expensive flexible solar panels on top of expensive Sunbrella cloth, I decided to build a smaller Bimini frame (two flat horizontal tubes instead of the normal three tubes with a curved crown) to support two 150 watt Renogy hard panels. As you can see from the Photo, I have left the Centre portion between the bridle wires open for the moment but may fill it with smoked plexiglass or even a piece on Sunbrella with a clear panel to allow me to see the sails. Since I spend most of my time when sailing sitting on the port or starboard coaming , I may end up doing nothing.

My Bimini frame attaches to the push pit rail just like a regular Catalina 34 Bimini frame. I needed two 20 ft lengths of polished 304 SS 1" .065 tubing for the two horizontal elements and the vertical stiffening on the port and starboard pushpit rails. Another 6 ft of tubing were required for the side-to-side stiffening visible just over the top of the green Sunbrella wheel cover in the photo. The structure is very rigid and there is minimal drag from the panels themselves. A local metal shop did the four bends. With the various fixed and hinged rail mounts, end cap fittings etc. The frame construction was around $600 Canadian. A local Bimini maker quoted around $3000 merely to build the frame. I can provide more details re the lengths of the horizontal and vertical sections and the stiffening elements etc if anyone is interested.

Because of the potential for shading (radar mast and dome, backstay bridle wires) I decided to use a separate Genasun 10 amp converter for each panel. Therefore, I led the package of four 10 gauge solar panel wires down the inside of my radar mast through the starboard lazarette locker under the reefer compressor and along the big PVC tube carrying the reefer lines forward to the evaporator. Not a process without moments of trauma. That PVC tube terminates in the space just above the aft starboard dinette seat where the batteries and water heater are located. I then led the wires down to the "Starboard" converter panel visible in the second photo.That photo shows the two Genasun converters, the two studs collecting the positive and negative output of the two converters and an on/off switch on the positive cable to the battery bank. The red 10 gauge wire is protected by a 30 amp cube breaker on the positive battery stud. That breaker also protects the positive wire from the 120v AC Xantrex battery charger.

Everything is up and running. I can’t report reliably on results and performance as I turned on the system on December 21, the day with the least sun of the year and all of that at a very low angle through the rigging of other sailboats on my dock. The batteries were already fully charged so at this point my battery monitor tells me that all the batteries are asking for is a trickle charge to keep them at 13.50 volts or so. The experts say that on sunny days in the spring and summer I should expect to be able to easily replace the 60 amp hours I use in a normal 24 hours at anchor or sailing. We will see.

Everything include, this project cost around $1600 Canadian. The two panels were under $600 and the converters were $130 each.

Let me know if there are questions or suggestions.

Has anyone done this? My present alternator is mounted on a heavy duty bracket attached to the block. The bracket looks like it is original (same paint as engine). It has two arms. There is a long bolt connecting the forward to the aft arm with a lock nut at the aft end. Between the two arms - in order, looking aft - there appears to be a washer, then the 1" spool of the alternator with its 1/2" mounting hole, and then some kind of long hollow spacer over the bolt. I can't provide a picture because it is obscured by the alternator.

 It is quite difficult to access the nut so I am seeking advice before trying to disassemble all of this and trying to fit the replacement alternator. One question is how does this arrangement stabilize the alternator? The diameter of the alternator mounting hole (1/2") is much larger than the diameter of the bolt.

I appreciate that this may not make a lot of sense if you can't see it. But if anyone knows how this works I would be grateful for some advice.

Main Message Board / Fuse question
« on: May 25, 2017, 02:37:30 PM »
My 1999 Mk II does not have a fuse in the 9 inch 10 gauge line between the common terminal of the battery switch and the many circuit breakers on the electrical panel. I have noticed that this is a common feature on more contemporary boats. Any views on whether this would be a necessary or prudent addition?

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