Monday, August 15, 2016

A bit of Kudos

Support groups are really important

Over the past 11 years that we have owned a sailboat, we have received an invaluable amount of support and feedback from the groups that we belong to.

Catalina Yacht owners make up one of the largest boat owners groups in the world, with so many models over that past 30+ years, and so many of them still in great condition, it's no wonder that someone considering buying a new or used boat nowadays looks on the web to find out how much support they can get from owners groups.

The Catalina 34 International Association and the Catalina - Capri 25's Association are two groups that we have belonged to and their support for dealing with the varying issues over the years have saved us so much work, worry and given so much additional pleasures and enjoyment from our boats.

This past year, as members of the Catalina 34 International Association and as owners of a now nearly 30 year old boat, we have done a lot on the boat and enjoyed improving our sailing knowledge, it's been an awesome year.

If you are considering buying a new or used boat, although I'm biased, really consider Catalina Yachts carefully. Get out to the boat shows, look at all of the models of different brands and compare them. Keep the comparisons on an Apple to Apple basis; An 38' Catalina cannot be compared to a 42' beneteau. A cruising boat cannot be compared to a racing sledge. 

Get down and dirty! Look under the engine, in the Bilge, under the anchor locker, beneath the V-Berth. Check out the standing rigging - lightweight or built like a Brick? You'll need to know what your plans are for the boat and that determines much of the requirements you'll be looking for. We're not racers, do we race - Yes - and we always learn so much more about sailing during those few short hours competing in a friendly local race. We like cruising - getting away for at least a few days, we're even planning on a month or more in the Bahamas next year, and our choice affected the type of boat we purchased.

But just as important as the materials, workmanship and reliability of the build, support for the model is really high up that list.

Over the past year we have done quite a few upgrades on the boat and several of them were not obvious, but the C34 Association has so many articles online I think we have done the right thing every time and had the support of very experienced owners that shared their experiences making ours less stressful and more valuable.

For example, the Outhaul on our boom looked a bit painful and likely to fail, we were in the process of replacing the sails and changing from a fixed footed main to a loose footed main and that meant the potential greater strain on the outhaul. So fixing it before the new sails were installed seemed the prudent thing to do. 
As always, I turned to the Association site for advice and past experience, reading dozens of articles on the subject of Mainsail Outhaul replacement. During that research, I found that several folks had upgraded the outhaul or a better haul ratio and, more importantly, that the Boom Gooseneck was a potential area of failure. 
So, while upgrading the outhaul, I also took a close look at the Gooseneck and found it was cracked! I would never have noticed that by casual inspection. I ended up replacing both Boom end castings. Now I know that we're not going to have that kind of failure while under sail and away from the maddening crowd.

This has been just one of the several upgrades that were completed with the valuable knowledge of the C34 Association contributors. 
So I cannot emphasize enough - check out the Support groups for any boat you may be about to buy.

I would be remiss if I did not offer kudos to the Catalina Capri 25 Association, we have been members or 10 years and were able to share with and benefit from the many other owners the knowledge gained while keeping our boat in the best condition.

This past month I have been working on the biggest job so far: A complete Engine Harness replacement, Replacing the Engine Exhaust Riser, and Engine Mounts. In each case, the Association has chimed in when asked and offered suggestions or links to online experience. I've even been able to purchase much of the materials for these projects from an Association member at very competitive pricing.

So Kudos! to the Associations that support all of us. 



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