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Old 04-01-2016, 12:11   #16
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

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You did not ask for sailing advice but you did not tell us about your experience, only that this was the first boat you owned.

The most important things IMHO:

1. Make sure the boat is not going to start leaking.

2. Make sure the boat has a very good electric pump that is well screened so it won't get clogged.

3. CLEAN UP THE FUEL - the stories of a boat which was not run much for years getting bought and somewhat setting ou, the fuel tanks getting shaken up and dirty fuel killing the engine - REALLY KILLLING IT - so you have to take a couple of hours clearing it back out, or maybe, need to take the fuel pump and injector to be rebuilt - these stories are legion- sometimes things go really bad and the boat and lives are lost. Totally get rid of all old fuell, replace all filters, IMHO put in a system with two independent filters.

4. Anchor -one good anchor is priceless when you need it.

5. Basically, whenever you go anywhere alone you should have a line to strap to - one long strong line from the cockpit to a bow cleat, assuming it's a well anchored bow cleat.

6. Charts, or a chartplotter, GPS, and VHF - I don't know what you might be able to get away with - but with all these things, you know where you are, you know where you can't go because of inadequate depth - and if you need help you know where to direct the help.



7. If you don't have much sailing experience, of local experience, I would try to talk someone into going along - even paying them -

I know you did not ask any of this but I've had LOTS of bad experiences buying abandoned boats and moving them without a haul out first - right, forgot - thru hulls - you might have gate valves on a boat that old - gate valves are terrible - I've had the handle fall off in my hand, and the valve starts leaking from the handle hole, can't be stopped -

Which reminds me - if you can get those expanding plugs they use for a non-permanent pipe stops or freeze plugs in cars - you might want to consider pluggin as many thru hulls as you safely can - obviously you can't plug the cockpit drains, or the engine -


Saran Wrap - you ball up some of it and stuff it in a hole, it expands and is strong enough to block many leaks. LOTS OF IT.

Also, with saran wrap and cable ties you can wrap a leaking valve with the wrap, as tight as possible, and then put on the cable ties = the surface tension of water will prevent it from getting through all that plastic if it's just a foot or two below the surface.

8. You can repack a packing gland in the water - but do not even start if it looks corroded much.

9. Some boat have packing glands on the rudder - if you do, get it repacked.

10. If you wrap a packing gland with mastic like they used to use to attach car windshields, then put a hose clamp on that and screw it down just enough to expend the mastic, it will totally stop leaks until you get the boat hauled.

Sorry to go on and on but "first time boat owner, got to move it right away" got me going I guess.
I really had to smile at this list...you obviously have a lot of "hands on" experience. Brings back some interesting memories...

I remember replacing the stuffing box in the water on my first boat. I remember staring at it for a LONG time telling myself that such a [relatively] small hole couldn't possibly let in that much water...it's amazing what you can accomplish when there are no other options. LOL!
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:30   #17
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

Rivera Beach marina is an excellent area for your project - right next to several of the best mechanical supply liveries and near an excellent anchorage with enough tide to ground your boat for bottom cleaning and zinc inspection - just pull in at high tide and wait - no real wake on the non-weekend days, great bottom, and no one minds if you clean there.

Save your money, the marina has a paid and a free dinghy anchorage, there is water available at Phil Foster park, and free excellent docks 5 miles south at West Palm beach. Free, free busses to food stores, free busses to places to eat, and free entertainment several days/week at down town West Palm.

You can get everything you need - and lots you don't need - at Boat Owner's Wherehouse, just a short walk from the free dinghy dock.

Coconut Grove is my favorite staging place when I feel rich - right next door is Coconut Grove Sailing Club - better water, mooriings, and shuttle service to/from the shore. Quiet sleeping with good protection, 5 minutes from Byscayne Bay.

Enjoy . . .
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Old 04-01-2016, 12:30   #18
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

As usual there is nothing but good advice on this thread for the new chapter in your life.

Just stay calm, and enjoy it for the adventure that it will be. Your new boat will teach you a lot about yourself if you are willing to accept whatever happens with an open mind. Problem solving is an ongoing part of daily life afloat, and in many ways part of the attraction.

As many experienced folks have pointed out already, keeping the water on the outside, and an anchor or two with plenty of rode is imperative...a sweep or a couple of long oars and you will have more confidence.

Best of luck, and above all enjoy!
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Old 04-01-2016, 13:22   #19
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

another thought: have a look at noelex's "Photos of Anchors Setting" thread. You will want to have some kind of anchoring gear ready to go, as mentioned above, in case you have to stop the boat in a hurry. Your anchor is the only 'brakes' you have for that, if the engine has cut out.
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Old 04-01-2016, 13:31   #20
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

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Originally Posted by morven55 View Post
I really had to smile at this list...you obviously have a lot of "hands on" experience. Brings back some interesting memories...

I remember replacing the stuffing box in the water on my first boat. I remember staring at it for a LONG time telling myself that such a [relatively] small hole couldn't possibly let in that much water...it's amazing what you can accomplish when there are no other options. LOL!
I'm sure many of us had similar experiences! When I finally opened the stuffing box, there was no difference in the amount of water coming in as there was nothing left! I ended up using a piece of rope as a temporary solution until I was able to get packing material. That was a real learning experience.
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Old 04-01-2016, 14:09   #21
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

If there isn't one already installed pick up a small diesel rated fuel pump from an auto parts store. Wire it with a switch & fuse before the primary filter. Fuel will run through it so it only needs to be on when you need it. Great for priming after changing a filter or as a back up fuel pump. You can also let it run while you work on the boat & it will circulate & clean your fuel.
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Old 04-01-2016, 14:14   #22
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

I didn't see any mention about electrical systems and I apologize if I am duplicating anything.


First, make sure your starter is good as well as the starting battery. Make sure you have an alternate means of starting your engine. If it is an inboard, older engines sometimes had a hand crank. If so, make sure you have one. If not, you'll need an auxiliary method, such as a NOCO jump starter. There are others that are similar. These new jump starters are typically only six or so inches long by three inches wide and less than two inches thick. They are good at starting engines up to six liters. In addition to being small but powerful, they take up so much less room than the older style jump starters.


Once the engine is running, make sure it is charging your house and starting battery. Test the batteries before you get underway. If they aren't taking a charge, you'll need to sort this out. The batteries may be bad, but there are many other possibilities too. When you find and fix one issue, don't assume you are done, since there are often multiple issues on older electrical systems.


If the issue is wiring, it is sometimes faster to just run new wires directly and worry about making them neat and hidden later. Since you are short on time, a temporary solution for bad nav lights is to use battery powered ones for short periods. Check your steam light and your anchor light, assuming you will be anchoring and not docking. A battery powered light can work as a steam light if you have an available halyard to attach it to. Battery powered lights are not a great solution but in a pinch they will work. If you're going to run a lot at night, you'll burn through a set of batteries roughly every night or night and a half if lucky. I think the battery powered lights often use four AA batteries.


If you're electrical system has a lot of issues, you can use battery or solar powered lanterns or oil lamps in lieu of interior lights. You can use a hand help GPS if necessary instead of a more permanent solution.


I prefer to have a working depth finder but if you are careful and have good charts you can work around this. Again, you may need to wire it directly to the battery if the entire system is questionable.


I would absolutely have a spare bilge pump, with plenty of wire, so I could directly wire that, even it the current pump is working. You never know when the system will stop working. I had to move a friends boat and we directly wired his bilge pump since we didn't have the time to fix the bad wiring. His directly wired pump ended up being THE pump for several months until he got around to wiring it properly.


I'm sure there are other things that I should mention but the nav lights, starting the engine, and the bilge pump are the most important items.
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Old 04-01-2016, 17:11   #23
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

Do not forget ammonia. Cuts through grease, oils, and slime. Also dawn detergent to get rid of oil films. Lots of rubber gloves and oil absorbing pads.
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Old 04-01-2016, 17:23   #24
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Re: Only 2 weeks with 1st sailboat before I have to sail away!

Regarding bilge pumps remember that nothing moves as much water as a bucket. Also, make sure your flares are not expired. Easy to miss.
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