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Old 25-02-2014, 00:21   #1
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Brisbane AUS
Boat: Cowther 43 - Hunter 40.5
Posts: 1,006
Crowther 43 project

Hey Guys.

Some of you may have noticed we have a new boat. Its a 2002 Crowther 43. Design 226A built by the Cat Factory in WA out of PVC foam core, kevlar, glass and vinyester It has dagger boards, twin 3GM30 (27hp) diesels with SD20 sail drives. Its accommodations rival that of a prod cat but with significantly less weight at 7000kg. It has a large rig and sail area so I hope it sails well. We are yet to find out Probably this weekend.

We still have our trusty Hunter Legend 40.5 which served us well, but she will be up for sale soon.

We (well I ) decided we should upgrade to a catamaran. Not that a cat is automatically up upgrade, but most would a agree a 43" cat is going to be an upgrade to a 40" mono in most respects.

Nikki has always wanted to live on a boat, but I only like living on boats while cruising like our year cruise from CA to Brisbane. Day to day living is much better in a house than on a 40 foot mono. But possibly a 43 foot cat could be pretty comfortable for living on while living an urban working life prior to setting of again in a couple of years. Plus of course I have always been a fan of performance multihulls having owned a nacra 5.8 and various other fast cats. And I want to be able to beach the boat in my favorite spots I used to go to in my trailer sailer.

Finding the right boat which is affordable was going to be a challenge since cats usually cost more for any given living space/performance criteria simply because you can buy such a huge mono for the price of a 40 foot cat.

So we took a gamble and purchased a neglected boat where pretty much nothing was working and requires an exterior paint job. However the interior is in decent shape and does not require any work.

Fast forward only 3 weeks later and I have fixed just about everything important besides the exterior paint work for what amounts to pocket change (against the expectations of some). We hope to take her for her first sail this weekend.

Here are some pics of what she looked like before she was neglected.
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Old 25-02-2014, 00:41   #2
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Boat: Cowther 43 - Hunter 40.5
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Its was sold without running engines, and at a cost of $26K to replace them and the saildrives I took an educated gamble. But I was pretty confident I would get one or both working.

All I needed was a spare battery and they both started right away lol. One pissed out oil everywhere thanks to rusted steel external oil lines (how can yanmar charge so much with crap engineering like this?). So we took the line off (thanks Shane for doing that **** job) and I tried to get a new one made up but apparently 8mm banjo fittings are impossible to get, so they reused the old ones. Cost $69. Yanmar price, $180 and air freight from OS.

So we just done some oil flushes, oil filters, primary and secondary fuel filters, upper and lower zincs, new start batteries and they all run fine! The engine bays were horrible so we degreased them and carchered it all. But the real test will be running them for a few hours atctually pushing the boat. But they performed fine in a saildrive "bucket test".

Now the sail drives. I checked the oil and it looked very milky. Yup salt water and oil. These can have a bad rep for being unreliable and expensive to fix compared to a shaft drive. But they take up less space in the boat and have less drag though the water under sail. Some have cone clutched which flog out, but these have dog clutches which is good.

When you take the prop off you can unbolt the crown wheel and it just slides off. 2 bearing style seals and a couple of big O rings is all that keeps the sea water out. I replaced all these seals, but when I dumped the sump plug on one to drain the oil out. We found it had no O ring!!!! No wonder it was so bad.

I was really worried when I re built it all that the oil went milky again straight away (you test it like an outboard with a plastic bin full of water over the sail drive when the boat is on the hard stand). So I done the old diesel oil flush on it. Put some gulf western motor oil in it and flushed it again with diesel and this time it was fine. It must have had a lot of sludge in it. So then I dumped that and put the proper gear oil in again.

So thats pretty much it for the mechanical side. The engines are now ready to test at sea. Still many other projects need to be done like the steering system etc.
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Old 25-02-2014, 00:54   #3
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Re: Crowther 43 project

A few people thought I was a bit mad buying this. If the engines were stuffed it might not have been a very good deal. But I was pretty confidant it would be OK. They turned over by hand etc so they were not seized and it appeared no one had even tried to start them. I actually went swimming in the marina to check if there was zinc left on the sail drives lowers.

Here area few more pics.

You can see one where there is a pile of rust under the hydraulic steering lines. Not good. I got a new one made up for $60. But we still have a bad prob with the steering pump behind the wheel. It pisses out oil.

I guess I will need to take it off and dismantle it and fit new seals. This must have been a known prob as there was evidence of an elaborate setup for topping it up with plenty of auto trans fluid plus a lot of fluid in a void under the pump. This will have to do for now. I will take the steering pump off once we get the boat in its mooring.

The boat has 2 x queen beds up the front and one queen bed on the port aft, which is the "man cave" now and provides a large storage and work area. On the starboard aft is the bathroom an instead of a queen bed it has a huge utility room which has the batteries, HWS, charger, inverter etc. Its big enough for me to get into.

It came with a spectra watermaker too.

On of the rudders was "repaired" when it hit a reef. The job was done so badly it was not funny. They just glassed some chopped strand mat over the area without even sanding off the antifoul paint. So I had to grind this all back and fix it properly.

I am paying someone to sand the rest of the bottom, spray antifoul on and epoxy barrier the bottom. As I am not confident the fairing compound they used is up to constant contact with sea water. Its going to cost $3000 but, the paint would cost me $1200, and it would take me ages and the hardstand cost is $70 per day. So I have been concentrating on other stuff so I can be launched on Friday. Sanding of poisonous antifoul is the worst job EVER. I just done this on my other 40 footer and do not want to do it again for a while. BTW I really need to fix that boat up and sell it!!!

The chart plotter and autopilot were not working either. But with some stuffing around I found it was just a faulty GPS sensor (I hope). The autopilot works again after I pulled apart the rudder position sensor and cleaned it.
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Old 25-02-2014, 01:04   #4
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Re: Crowther 43 project

A few more not so good pics. The galley up is huge.
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Old 25-02-2014, 01:12   #5
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Re: Crowther 43 project

No pics of the main bathroom unfortunately. I found the blue bench tops hideous in the kitchen, but in the hulls it looks ok. But it did not take me long to get used to it, now I think its acceptable. Not the "seamless" installation of the brine hoses for the water maker in the guest hulls sink.

The mess area is a queen size bed aft in the port hull at waist height which makes a perfect storage and work area. This would probably be the best bed for sleeping in really as there will be less noise (unless motoring) and motion. Plus its easier to get into as you don't need to climb up. But the forward beds would not be the best as a workshop area.
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Old 25-02-2014, 01:16   #6
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Some exterior pics.
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Old 25-02-2014, 01:25   #7
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Re: Crowther 43 project

The bimini canvas is missing. I plan to make a light weight hard top for it eventually, but for now 4 x 200W solar panels will give us power and some shade.

After a lot of weighing up options with MPPT controllers etc I just purchased 4 x 200W 12V panels and one user programmable PWM controller. In the end I just didn't think an extra $600 would be worth a possible 10-15% gain in amp hours when an extra panel is only $200. The charger is a cheap one but I can program max voltages etc so it should be OK for when I get lithium batteries.
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Old 25-02-2014, 04:38   #8
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Congratulations on a great project. I recon it is one of the best vessels going round. Will be a great vessel when you have finished.

Built by Cat factory means the Build will be first class with no worries in that area, Good galley/saloon layout and Yanmar motors with only 1500/1200 hours. Good buying.

Sounds as you are going great working through the issues. Like your idea to eventually move to a hardtop. Make sure you build in water catchment when you do.

Cheers
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Old 25-02-2014, 12:12   #9
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Re: Crowther 43 project

I see the ad is down so would you mind telling us the asking price?
How about the selling price.
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Old 25-02-2014, 12:34   #10
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Good job.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 25-02-2014, 13:09   #11
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Re: Crowther 43 project

You've made great progress in such a short time. We're probably going out sailing this weekend too. Maybe try to hook up somewhere?
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Old 25-02-2014, 16:24   #12
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Quote:
Originally Posted by downunder View Post
Congratulations on a great project. I recon it is one of the best vessels going round. Will be a great vessel when you have finished.

Built by Cat factory means the Build will be first class with no worries in that area, Good galley/saloon layout and Yanmar motors with only 1500/1200 hours. Good buying.

Sounds as you are going great working through the issues. Like your idea to eventually move to a hardtop. Make sure you build in water catchment when you do.

Cheers
Thanks. I was immediately struck by the design as something special and rare. Lloyd powell (cat factory) told me its a common design and many were built all around the world. But I cant seem to find a pic or any info on them. Its possible they changed the styling a little. I really do like the look of the boat though.

I believe the vessel is very strongly built with the kevlar etc. Bloomfield told me the engineering of this design is actually over and above survey requirements. The Crowther team were gong a bit over the top with strength at this time. Personally I would prefer if it was lighter, but at least I know its strong.

As for the build being first class, well it appears this was the boat that started it all for the Cat Factory and it was built for his father. Read this article Cat Factory | Catamaran Specialists So they would have learned a lot since then. The inside of the hulls have not been faired to the crazy standards as many would expect today, but its fine for me. I am a bit sus on the fairing compound they used underwater. Its prone to getting soft in areas where the surface has been damaged, which is why I have had a epoxy barrier coat done. The hull sides have "print through" of the underlying foam strips, but after its painted this will all be gone and hopefully not come back to any great extent as its post cured by now. I wish it was epoxy rather than VE, but looking at the other thread we have going even the best prod boats are using poly!!

I was going to make a hard top soon, but I think I will leave it until I haul it for paint. It will be much easier to make and fit it when the boat is on the hard again. I hope the 800w of solar on the bimini will be enough sun protection for now.
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Old 25-02-2014, 16:27   #13
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
I see the ad is down so would you mind telling us the asking price?
How about the selling price.
Asking was $220K, I paid less. But not by a huge margin. In hindsight I should have lowballed harder, but this boat seemed to tick too many boxes for me to risk loosing.
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Old 25-02-2014, 16:41   #14
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
You've made great progress in such a short time. We're probably going out sailing this weekend too. Maybe try to hook up somewhere?
I am physically and mentally exhausted! Shane helped a LOT too. We would not have had it done this quick without him. He is coming with us too. Its just Nikki Shane and I.

We will try to meet for sure. I will ring you. Launch is at 10am Friday (I hope!) Not sure on the plans from there. Might stay south of Jumpinpin first night. I can fit the sails and solar panels there.

Sat maybe try that place south of the sandhills you guys dry out at? I'm not sure I will be able to float out in time Sunday to get up the Brisbane river before the tide is running out too strongly though.

25K winds is not the optimal wind conditions to try to sail this for the first time though

Friday
2:29 am : 0.27 L
8:48 am : 2.59 H
3:26 pm : 0.32 L
9:07 pm : 2.18 H

Saturday
3:21 am : 0.22 L
9:33 am : 2.61 H
4:10 pm : 0.27 L
9:54 pm : 2.27 H

Sunday
4:09 am : 0.21 L
10:16 am : 2.56 H
4:49 pm : 0.26 L
10:39 pm : 2.33 H
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Old 25-02-2014, 17:00   #15
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Re: Crowther 43 project

Quote:
Originally Posted by dennisail View Post
Asking was $220K, I paid less. But not by a huge margin. In hindsight I should have lowballed harder, but this boat seemed to tick too many boxes for me to risk loosing.
Nothing you have said about the boat would of scared me away from it. Nice boat!
And a performance cat at that...

Looking for the same deal on this side of the States.

Best of luck to ya!
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