A Quick Start Guide -- a.k.a. Too Much Information on this Website

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Stu Jackson

Learning Fast 101

There have been a bunch of new-to-them boat owners, many of the early Mark II's now changing hands.  Welcome to all of you.

There is a ton of information on this website.  Some feel it's daunting and overwhelming, and start asking questions immediately.  Any question is very welcome and we aim to please by helping out. 

One of the most useful, "quick studies" of this website I can recommend for each and every one of you new owners is to READ at least "The Table of Contents" of each of the main areas of the website to gain some basic familiarity of what is available.

          ********** the Tech wiki (http://www.c34.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page)

          ********** Projects (see the bottom of the Tech wiki page for link, here:  http://www.c34.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page)

          ********** FAQs  (https://www.c34.org/faq-pages/faq.html)

This "Guide to the C34 Technical Resources" (http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,2629.0.html) which you should also read, recommends that for folks with new-to-them-boats they at the very least read BOTH the Projects Page and the FAQ page. The links to those pages are in the first post on "The Guide" topic and on the Tech wiki page, down at the bottom.  The Tech wiki headings at this time are essentially all the FAQs and Projects in a different, subject-ordered format, rather than the chronological format of the original content.  Over time, the wiki will grow with new information.

NEW!!!-Jan. '07 -: Tech Notes, Projects, and FAQ Articles KNOWLEDGEBASE & Index http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,3362.0.html is also helpful.

I also recommend downloading and reading the "All Articles" tab of the Knowledgebase, which includes both the FAQs Page and the Project Page subjects.  It's a simple XLS spreadsheet.  You get there by clicking on C34 Tech Notes at the top of any message board page.

Finally, the Tech Notes Index is available here: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,3096.0.html.  You can print out this long thread by clicking on the blue "Print" button at the lower right of any of these message board pages. I've printed many of these topics out and keep them in my reference file or on the boat.  The Tech Notes Index is also the core of the Knowledegbase, which includes both the Projects and FAQs.

The REASON for recommending these "reads" is that if you do take a moment to read these "highlights" you may begin to remember having seen any number of important items and can investigate the details later on your own as you needed them, and ask specific questions as they may arise for you. 

It's all there.  Each of you, individually, have to read it, because we simply can't do that for you.  We've given you many different methods, and no one is suggesting you try to read 22 years worth detailed material plus this MB, but, heck, please at least read "the headlines." Please.  For instance, we don't know what POs of your early boats have done, only YOU do.

My PO, who was meticulous, did the wiring harness but NOT the alternator bracket or the traveler thru bolts.  How did I know about these things, like 10 years ago, before this board?  I read the material.  And this was before this MB.  He'd kindly provided me with the copies of all the Mainsheet magazines since 1987.  So, I contributed to the Association by actually creating the Index, which we then grew into the Tech Notes Online (available to C34IA members) AND the Index here (free for everybody).

A lot of these may be considered safety issues, and as such they remain the skipper's responsibility to do what is necessary, as he or she sees fit.  We share information, we don't presume to assume the responsibility for you and your boat.

I estimate it might take maybe a total of all of four hours of your time to read the Table of Contents for the FAQ Page , Projects Page, download and read the Knowledgebase, OR read the Tech wiki contents pages (just click on "C34 Tech wiki" at the top of each page of this Message Board).  It'd be a great start for each of you.

On a recent question about limber holes under Mark II engine beds, I was able to find the answer for the skipper who raised the question and I provided the link to that article. How'd I find it?  I remembered reading it!  And I don't even have a Mark II!

Rather than this being a Message Board where you "just ask questions because it's easier for somebody else to do your work for you" the respondents on this board are very helpful and will point you in the right direction and provide you with links to earlier discussions about your question.  That said, once you get the hang of it, you can help out that way, too.  One of the ways to do that is to read up as suggested, and also use the search engine, which is very good.  Using "quotation marks" and +word1+word2 and the Boolean "AND" computer search techniques will get the phrase instead of the individual words and narrow the search accordingly.

Don't forget the Critical Upgrades topic, necessary for older boats, wouldn't hurt everyone to read it:  http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5078.0.html
Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."

Stu Jackson


Many times you may note we ask folks to "do a search."  The reason is that this message board has a very good search engine.

However, what many may not be aware of is that there are TWO types of searches one can accomplish on this MB.  The wiki has it's own separate search engine.  This is just about the MB.

The first is the basic search box on the upper right hand corner of the MB page.  Just type in your word(s) and hit search.

One trick for this is if you want to search for two words, for instance "wing keel"  or "wiring harness" you should type in "+wing+keel" or "wing keel" with the parentheses, or else you'll end up with searches that bring up wing or keel, not the phrase.  Also use "AND" in your searches.  This may be basic search engine 101 for some super computer literate folks, but maybe not for all.

The second, and very powerful, search format is the search tab on the left middle side of the tabs at the top of the page, where it starts with Help, Home and then Search.  Click on that search tab and you get a dialog box where you can enter the search word(s) and then the name of the respondent.  I suggest that you use "Ron Hill" for your first searches, 'cuz he's the guy who "wrote the book" on most subjects.  The computer will also save the search words and the respondent's name, so all you have to do is type an R in the respondent's box the next time you do a search and his name will pop right up!  Magic, huh?  For instance, if you ever have a question about bleeding the engine, also type in Ken Heyman and you'll find all of his excellent contributions to the subject.

What we've been doing is to provide you with links to previous discussions if we do searches to find MB topics we remember seeing already.  The reason is that if we do a search, the software will not allow us to provide a link to the "search results" page URL we've found, that's just a "thing" with this software.  So I usually provide at least one link to a topic from my search results to get you started, so you can read more about it and then start your own searches using the same parameters (i.e., topic or search word(s) and, sometimes, the author).  For instance, if you're planning any long term cruising, using "waterdog" (Steve Dolling) as the author will bring up his excellent topics on his preparation and experiences of his family's cruise to Mexico.  Great material.

If you follow the recommendations in the Quick Guide topic to read the "Knowledgebase," the Tech Notes Index and the wiki "headline" topics, you'll also get a better feel for the references that Ron provides to the Mainsheet magazine articles he and others have  written about recurring topics.  For instance, if you do a search on "+Tech+Notes+Index" you'll find the MB topic which includes all the topics going back to 1987!  These are also in the "Knowledgebase," which is a download-able Excel spreadsheet, which can be searched using CTRL-F.  If you download it to your hard drive, you can use the links in the spreadsheet to get you right back to the subject you select through your browser.

And, please, for new owners of old boats, don't forget the CRITICAL UPGRADES topic, a sticky on the MB.  VERY important information.
Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."


As a "new" user, I would like to offer an additional opinion.  The stuff Stu said is very appropriate.  Thanks, Stu.  In addition, I've just browsed for hours looking at stuff randomly.  It's been fun and interesting.  Now that I've been doing it a while, I always go to the "show unread posts since last visit".  I keep up now on those strings.  It's amazing how much I've picked up - stuff I didn't know about to even ask the questions. - I have to admitt that the stuff about computers and navigation really went over my head  :thumb:, but that's kind of cool, I have a lot to learn -  So newbies like myself (even old newbies - hey, I'm 61 years old and have sailed all my life!) can expect to spend as much time here as we want.  I've invested 3 months into this board, and I know that there are people here who have spent decades.  So thanks to all the Oldies and the Newbies (and everyone in between), you've helped me on the learning curve of my new boat, and it's been really fun.

Andie Ryan

As a 'newbie' - greatly appreciated !  Lots of great content and information on this site, can be a bit daunting to know where to start, but this certainly helps.

Stu Jackson

Stu Jackson, C34 IA Secretary, #224 1986, "Aquavite"  Cowichan Bay, BC  Maple Bay Marina  SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)

"There is no problem so great that it can't be solved."