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Old 26-04-2016, 06:36   #1
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Sailboat questions

Hi Folks,

The wife and I are thinking of going from our go-fast power boat to a sail boat. We are getting tired of the fuel costs, getting banged around in the slightest of chop and the noise amongst other things.

I spent a fair amount of time on sailboats when I was younger(47 foot). I would have to take lessons to refresh my memory but one thing I never did was any of the maintenance on a sailboat. I can tell you all about powerboats, sterndrives, vdrives etc but I know nothing about rigging, lines, sales or any other sailboat specific maintenance requirements. Can someone point me in the general direction of where to read up on these things or give me the quick rundown?

The boat we are looking at is a 2015 Catalina 315


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Old 26-04-2016, 06:56   #2
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Re: Sailboat questions

Look for books by Don Casey and Nigel Calder.

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Old 26-04-2016, 07:05   #3
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Re: Sailboat questions

I came from the powerboat world myself and have come to the conclusion that maintenance related to sailing is rather straight forward and or infrequently required.
A way to determine if what I'm saying is true is to look at the older threads, I can assure you that there are tens times as many threads on engine and drive train that there are on sails and rigging, and the sails and rigging questions are usually not it doesn't work, how do I fix it like the engine threads are.
They are usually which do I need, best place to buy kind of threads
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Old 26-04-2016, 07:25   #4
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Re: Sailboat questions

Oh man, that's a broad question. For starters if you are really bored and a nerd like me then you can read this, here is a link to a Catalina 355 manual. All the general info about maintenance should be the same.

Owner's Manual - Catalina 355 Owners

Are you planning on fresh or salt water and was your speed boat on fresh or salt water?

One regular engine maintenance item on the ocean and with an inboard that you wouldn't be used to is the exhaust mixing elbow needing to be replaced every so often.

Learning to tune the rigging on the mast and inspecting connections is good to know. The mast stays are replaceable maintenance items depending on age and condition.

Specifically on Catalina's per their manual (and I don't know if this is true for other boats and I also don't know how drastic it is on Catalina's) but they say after you tune the rigging you need to check the engine/drive shaft alignment.

Instead of bellows you will have a stuffing box. That boat specifically comes with a dripless stuffing box which is adjusted differently then a regular stuffing box.

You are probably already familiar with heat exchangers and zincs.

If your speed boat was not a cuddy or cabin cruiser you will have to learn about your amp hour usage, charging, how many battery banks do you want and how do you want to use them.

another very useful site but gets more into the nitty gritty instead of general maint is

Welcome To Photo Gallery by Compass Marine How To at

it is run by a member here Maine Sail. Very knowlegeable and as you run across new system or questions, check his site to see if he has covered it.
-Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum
-Molon Labe
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Old 26-04-2016, 07:45   #5
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Re: Sailboat questions

Sail and power both have:

engine and drive train
pumps and plumbing
wiring, charging and other electrical stuff
hull and deck
wood work
navigation, charts, electronics
general seamanship

Sailboats also have:
mast and rigging

So with a power boat background you could come to sailing with 95% of what you need to know about maintenance and repairs.

Masts, unless they are wood or suffered damage don't usually need much repair. Inspect it for cracks, corrosion and damage occasionally.

Rigging. Inspect it for corrosion, wear and damage. Experts and insurance companies say it should be replaced every 5-10 years regardless.

Sails. Look for wear and tear, saggy and baggy (often referred to as blown out sails, they don't perform well).

Nigel Calders book is an excellent resource.
The water is always bluer on the other side of the ocean.
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Old 26-04-2016, 09:01   #6
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Re: Sailboat questions

I find this web page very useful:
A lot of tips about sailing and also maintenance.
S/Y Herminia
Voyages of S/Y Herminia
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Old 26-04-2016, 09:09   #7
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Re: Sailboat questions

Catalinas also have very active owners associations and websites with forum specific to that particular model. The C315 is a newer version of the venerable Catalina 30 (over 6,000 were built!). You will not have to reinvent the wheel.

There are boat-specific issues that are well covered in those forums.

There are more NON boat-specific issues that are covered in other owner association websites (like our The Catalina 34 International Association and others) where Catalina-family boat issues are discussed and documented (i.e., different boats, same engines), or boat systems like electrical and plumbing that are identical for all boats of that size range.

Good luck.
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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Old 26-04-2016, 09:18   #8
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Re: Sailboat questions

The Nigel Calder books are great, and a good reference anyway. Sailboats with shaft drive are less maintenance than an stern drive on a powerboat. It seems everyone I know with a stern drive either, needs it fixed, just had it fixed or is worried about it! Everything else is pretty much the same except of course sails and rigging stuff.
I do think you need to evaluate how you want to use the boat. if for weekends or short term, the bottom line is you cant get anywhere in a sailboat, or you have to leave, get there then return right away! But if time is on your side, yes, banging thru chop is not fun for me either!

"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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