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Old 26-08-2014, 14:40   #1
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Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

I posted here last year about having acquired an American Fiberglass Corporation Discoverer 18. Well, life got in my way, and it hasn't been in the water yet, and isn't likely to be before next year. However, I've got mooring and launching sorted for next year, so it will likely go in the water next May.

I've got parts for a bridle rig, as suggested by Barney Post in that earlier thread, and that will be installed before I walk away from the boat for the winter.

Here are the other things I know I need to check for:

1) Check all lines for damage, and replace anything that looks like a potential problem.

2) Check the hull for damage, deep scratches, or the like.

3) Make sure all fasteners are tight. (I know this one is important in motorcycles: how likely are things to come loose in a sailboat?)

4) Check everything that's supposed to move (blocks, pivot points for rigging, centerboard, rudder attachment, and so on) and make sure it moves as much as it's supposed to, and not more.

I know I'm going to need a new trailer (this one is damaged, probably beyond practical repair), but I'll have to get it in the water to switch, so I won't worry about that until next year. The tow vehicle is also still something of a problem, but I'll solve that over the winter. It's likely that the sail is also slightly too large, but I've never seen it rigged properly, so I'll withhold judgement on that until I've seen it set up right.

What have I missed? What am I forgetting to check? I'd like to do a thorough once-over before I leave it for the winter, so that I can have reasonable odds of not finding out something major is broken next May, with no time to repair it before the sailing season starts.

Thanks!
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:11   #2
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

Here's what you've forgotten; the point of owning a sailboat is to SAIL.

Seriously though, unless there's serious damage or missing parts, you should be able to set up that boat and check out all the important stuff in an afternoon, with a friend's help. Hull scratches won't stop you from sailing it.

How bad is the trailer? Unless the frame is rusted or damaged beyond repair, they're fairly easy to inspect and service. If you don't want to tackle the wheel bearings yourself, a local garage would be able to service both wheel bearings in about one hour.

Boat and trailer are probably no more than 1000 lb together, so just about any car should be able to tow and launch that.

Set up the boat this week, do any required fixes to the boat or trailer this weekend, and get some sailing time in before winter!
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:26   #3
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

Hello amckenzie4. Don't give up on the trailer just yet. You would be surprised at some of the heaps that I have rebuilt over the years. A mig welder and a little imagination can go a long ways. If you don't own a mig, ask around. Bearings, and running lights are a no brainer. There are a million trailer build web sites out there to help you.

Have fun with the boat.
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:27   #4
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

Adding to my own list:

5) Check the stays. I'm reasonably sure I checked them last time, and I know I coiled everything carefully and stored it carefully when putting it up last fall, but a closer check would be a good idea.
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:30   #5
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

amckenzie4,

I have to say I like Lake Effect's response better than my own thoughts, which are to take the sail to the boat ASAP, and see if it fits. I just hate to think of you not knowing if you'll be able to go for a sail when you do get it to the water. If it does fit, one less thing to concern yourself with; if not, you can deal with it when convenient, not all in a rush on launching day.

Fasteners, check the stem head fitting, and all the chainplates; make sure there's some kind of a keeper for the rudder and centerboard, so that they can't float out; make sure all the rigging is there, and all the line for the sheets.

I hope life gives you the opportunity for a test sail.

Ann

on edit: sorry for the redundancy. y'all were posting while I was writing.
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:35   #6
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Here's what you've forgotten; the point of owning a sailboat is to SAIL.

Seriously though, unless there's serious damage or missing parts, you should be able to set up that boat and check out all the important stuff in an afternoon, with a friend's help. Hull scratches won't stop you from sailing it.

How bad is the trailer? Unless the frame is rusted or damaged beyond repair, they're fairly easy to inspect and service. If you don't want to tackle the wheel bearings yourself, a local garage would be able to service both wheel bearings in about one hour.

Boat and trailer are probably no more than 1000 lb together, so just about any car should be able to tow and launch that.

Set up the boat this week, do any required fixes to the boat or trailer this weekend, and get some sailing time in before winter!


Well said, and pretty accurate. The reason I likely won't have it in the water is that it's a couple hundred miles away in Northern Maine, and I'll probably only have a couple of hours within arms reach of it this year, which will be in in mid-to-late October. I'm figuring about 20 minutes to get the bridle rig installed, but the boat launch is half an hour away.

The trailer I have is adequate for getting to the launch and back, but does have sufficient structural damage that I'm not willing to take it on the highway without approval from and work by a mechanic, and I'd rather not use it more than necessary. It's going to fail sooner or later, and I'd like my boat to not be on it when it does.

There is a chance that I'll be going up mid-september, and if I have a car with a hitch by then (I'm working on it), I'll likely try to get it in the water then. If by some miracle I also have a good trailer, the boat will likely come home with me for the winter: I live just west of Boston, Mass, so there are certainly places around that I could take it for an afternoon sail. I'm not going to be comfortable taking it out in Boston Harbor (hmm... I'll take a small boat I've sailed once, after not sailing more than once a year for more than 15 years, and take it out on the ocean... that's a good idea, right?), but there are lakes around that should be just about big enough to at least learn how it handles.

It's been a long time since I sailed solo, and I'm looking forward to it... I'd just rather I not endanger myself by forgetting to check something obvious!
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Old 26-08-2014, 15:48   #7
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

Another clarification:

I've sailed the boat once, with totally messed up rigging. We knew it wasn't right, but the people I got it from insisted on trying it anyway. The sail fits, in the loosest sense of the word, but may be about 3-6 inches too tall. My memory is that the boom sagged or in some other way didn't seem to fit correctly, because of the size of the sail. On the plus side, that problem got me a free boat, so....

So I know it's possible, if not necessarily ideal, to sail with it as is. And if I have the opportunity this fall, I will, and see how it feels with the right rigging. If it's clear it's not going to work as a long term solution, I'll still be able to sail while I get a different sail for it, or I can bring the sail home and replace it or find a sailmaker to shorten it a few inches. And if I have to wait until next summer to sail it, I can finish out the summer with the wrong sail, and replace/resize it next winter.
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Old 26-08-2014, 16:21   #8
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

Can you sail it with a reef in the main?
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Old 26-08-2014, 18:19   #9
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

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Can you sail it with a reef in the main?
Maybe? I haven't looked at the sail in a year, but I don't recall there being any reefing points. I'll look again when I can.

Is there a good way to reef it without those?
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Old 26-08-2014, 21:26   #10
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

Hey - clearly you're serious, and there are obstacles in your path. I hope you can find a way around them. I guess my main point would be that small boats have small problems. Be safe, but don't get too fussy either. The sooner you get sailing, the sooner you'll get the boat to 100% and the faster your skills and confidence will come (back).

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Is there a good way to reef it without those?
In many cases you can 'reef' the mainsail of a small boat by rolling it up on the boom.
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Old 27-08-2014, 06:00   #11
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Re: Old boat: what have I forgotten to check?

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Hey - clearly you're serious, and there are obstacles in your path. I hope you can find a way around them. I guess my main point would be that small boats have small problems. Be safe, but don't get too fussy either. The sooner you get sailing, the sooner you'll get the boat to 100% and the faster your skills and confidence will come (back).



In many cases you can 'reef' the mainsail of a small boat by rolling it up on the boom.
Thanks! I need to talk to a garage today who may be able to put a hitch on my car, which would solve the first major problem. If that works, I may yet get on the water this year.

All these problems are solveable, and honestly pretty small. They're just time-consuming. 8-)

Anyway, thanks for the input, all!
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