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Old 10-08-2012, 08:41   #1
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New Boat Owner

HI! I recently purchased a 1963 Pearson Alberg 35 and would like some advice. This is my first sailboat and I am using it as a live aboard. I have never had a boat like this before and would like to know the best way to care for it. Its currently docked in Charleston, SC (which is where I live, so it will be staying here) and had a major refit including new bottom paint in 2009. What should I expect to have to do to her in the near future? I was thinking of hauling her out and painting her bottom, topsides and deck. Currently, she only has a composting head installed and I am thinking of installing a holding tank and electric head. I'd also like to update her electronics and replace her tiller with a helm. Are these somewhat realistic projects and how dificult would it be to do most of this work myself? Thanks for all the help!
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:10   #2
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Re: New boat owner

G'day Kev, welcome aboard CF.

You're wanting to get rid of the simple composter and go for a complicated electric flusher? Most seem to go the other way, though it's your boat to do with as you please. These folks seem to be pleased with their composter, and recommend Coir instead of peat. Pete would agree. PacificSailors.com

I had a look at what an Alberg 35 was http://bluewaterboats.org/alberg-35/....wow, nice boat, congrats. Helm was an option, so perhaps you can take a gander at a helm-Alberg to get an idea of how the manufacturers did it, or even retrofit original parts.

How difficult something is, that depends on you. Here on CF you'll usually find someone that's done it, and will be able to encourage you, orsave you doing it. For instance, I'm over 1000km away from salt water and am sadly boatless, so I think it would be better if we swapped places....I'll save you from having all the fun, and from owning that beatiful sturdy boat. Of course, you might have a different view of this idea...
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:16   #3
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Re: New boat owner

If this is your first sailboat, try it with the tiller before you even think of changing over to a helm. I prefer the tiller myself, you can sit up under the dodger when it's snotty, and get the whole mess out of the cockpit when not using it just by lifting it up.

You really should do bottom paint before spending money on a lot of other things, but the rest is up to you and your preferences.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:17   #4
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Re: New boat owner

Hi Kevin, congrats on your new boat.

A few notes.

1) Painting the bottom is the normal thing to do once the bottom needs painting. You haul and do it. Tons of info on the forum here about it.

2) Painting the topsides is a more rare, complicated, and expensive (time/$$) job to complete. It also shows a lot more if you screw up. If it doesn't really need painting, I would wait a bit until you have more experience.

3) Why replace the tiller? It gives more feedback while sailing, is more simple (less to break), and can free up a lot of space in the cockpit. I would def recommend you stay away from this job until you have more time under your keel as a sailboat owner. Your idea on it might change. And finally, think of resale value.

Good luck!
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:34   #5
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Re: New boat owner

Hi Kev, You dont say whether it is your first boat, Just your first sailboat,

I have no idea on your experience, or lack off,

If its your first boat, dont pull out any thru hulls, like the Dunny seawater intake,

You cant stop the inflow of water if you do this, once you have it on the hard is okay,

Every thing you do, depends entirely on your experience and or capability in doing things to your boat, The knowledge is on here, just ask, they will tell you,
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:04   #6
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Re: New boat owner

No, this is not my first boat, however my previous boats were powerboats in the 17-22 foot range. The topside paint, IMO, does need to be replaced. Large sections of it are heavily oxidized and there are a number of areas where the paint has been entirely worn away. The deck also needs paint as the top coat is quite litterally flaking away. Mechanically the boat is in great shape. She had the engine, standing and running rigging replaced in 2009, and the sails were also restitched at that time and the boat has done very little sailing since. She also has a reverse-cycle a/c unit installed and a wind generator. As far as replacing the tiller, that is not real high on my list, but something I'm considering. Though I may end up prefering a tiller. With the head, its a very poor design on it and in all honesty, I try to avoid using it whenever possible.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:15   #7
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Re: New boat owner

Hi Kevin,

Congrats on the new boat. You picked a good brand.

Not sure about your particular boat but a number of Pearsons were built with a steel mast step (the base plate in the bilge of the boat where the bottom of the mast sits, in case you aren't familiar with the term).

Over time the aluminum mast sitting in the steel step corrodes, sometimes seriously. I had to cut 3" off the bottom of my mast and replace the old steel step with a 3" higher Al/polymer replacement.

So worth while looking at the bottom of your mast to see what it looks like.

2009 rigging should be good for years but ask what all was replaced? Did that include chainplates, mast tangs, etc or just the wire and end fittings. If just the wire would be good to inspect all the other bits.

Enjoy

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Old 10-08-2012, 11:41   #8
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Re: New boat owner

The bottom paint should be redone every couple of years +/- depending where you are. The zincs should be replaced as soon as they show a lot of deterioration... again dependent on the water you are in. This can be done by a diver in between bottom paintings. These should be high on your list as should investigating the mast step (support under the mast) as mentioned above. The composting head sounds like a PITA to me but some on this forum are using them. A good manual head is not hard to flush and less problematic than the electric generally. You can do a simple bottom painting yourself. If you have blisters etc then you may want to have it done. painting a hull and deck is a BIG project, best left to professionals, but depending on your skills and how much time you have, it can be done. DOne poorly it can make the boat look wore than some oxidation....
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:15   #9
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Re: New boat owner

Skipmac, the mast on my boat is deck stepped. Is there anything in particular I need to watch out for with that? To the best of my knowledge, all the rigging, including the chainplates, etc were replaced in 2009.
Also, forgive me for sounding niave, but I've never had to paint a boat before, what makes painting the topsides and deck such a big project compared to the bottom? I have a week vacation coming up soon and was planning on hauling her out and doing the work then. From everything I've read online, it looks like I can have the boat sanded and primed in a day and the bottom paint applied in another. What else should I be planning on doing to her while she's up on the hard?
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:31   #10
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Re: New boat owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin84 View Post
Skipmac, the mast on my boat is deck stepped. Is there anything in particular I need to watch out for with that? To the best of my knowledge, all the rigging, including the chainplates, etc were replaced in 2009.
Also, forgive me for sounding niave, but I've never had to paint a boat before, what makes painting the topsides and deck such a big project compared to the bottom? I have a week vacation coming up soon and was planning on hauling her out and doing the work then. From everything I've read online, it looks like I can have the boat sanded and primed in a day and the bottom paint applied in another. What else should I be planning on doing to her while she's up on the hard?
Well again, don't know the details on your Pearson but mine the deck is balsa core. If your mast is stepped on deck there will be a lot of pressure on the deck under the mast. The core should be removed under the mast and just have solid glass to take the weight. Don't know if Pearson did that or not so look at the deck around the mast step to see if it is compressed, small stress cracks, etc.

And speaking of cored decks, on almost all older boats you will see leaks in the multitude of fittings screwed into the deck: winches, stanchions, blocks, tracks, etc. You need to check around all these to look for the same symptoms, compression and cracking. If you see that deal with it immediately. Means the core is seriously compromised, probably rotted at that spot and with the potential to spread. Remove that fitting and screws, gouge around in the hole to see if you pull out some wet, rotten wood of some sort. If you do find this you need to make some sort of tool to clean out all the rotted area, let it dry, fill the empty space with thickened epoxy, redrill the holes and reinstall. Another way to deal with this issue on a more wholesale basis is to get someone with a moisture meter to check the decks.

Regarding painting the cabins and decks vs painting the bottom, think about the difference between painting a car to get a nice finished, shiny look vs slapping a coat of Rusoleum on an old trailer. If you paint the decks you have to deal with non-skid. Don't want pretty, smooth clear decks, you'll slip and bust your posterior. Then you will have all the previously mentioned fittings to paint around or remove. If there's old paint flaking off you have to remove the old stuff and do a really, really good surface prep. Otherwise the new paint will be flaking off in short order.

This should be enough to keep you busy for a couple of days.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:43   #11
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Re: New boat owner

One week for bottom and top paint on a 35 foot boat, and you have never done this before? You are being a little optimistic. My 20' daysailer, for bottom paint alone, took me 4 days. That included finding and repairing the 35 or so blisters and assembling unanticipated supplies, but that was just my own personal discovery of joy. You will have yours too, perhaps not in blisters, but something else unexpected will surely visit with you.

You can mitigate that risk by hiring someone who has experience, and working along side he or she. It was tremendously helpful to have just some advise next to me in the yard, and would have saved me two of my four days of bliss in the hot sun to have had that person working with me as well.

I have not done topside painting, but as I understand it that is usually a two part paint, thinned to perfection, which requires some skill.

Best - Scott
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:49   #12
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Re: New boat owner

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One week for bottom and top paint on a 35 foot boat, and you have never done this before? You are being a little optimistic. My 20' daysailer, for bottom paint alone, took me 4 days. That included finding and repairing the 35 or so blisters and assembling unanticipated supplies, but that was just my own personal discovery of joy. You will have yours too, perhaps not in blisters, but something else unexpected will surely visit with you.

You can mitigate that risk by hiring someone who has experience, and working along side he or she. It was tremendously helpful to have just some advise next to me in the yard, and would have saved me two of my four days of bliss in the hot sun to have had that person working with me as well.

I have not done topside painting, but as I understand it that is usually a two part paint, thinned to perfection, which requires some skill.

Best - Scott
This is exactly why I'm asking. To know if what I'm reading is acurate or not. The City Boatyard here in Charleston offers all these services ($19/foot for bottom paint or $275/foot for hull side painting). But that just seemed a bit expensive to me. In addition to the $8/foot haul out fee.
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Old 10-08-2012, 15:48   #13
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Re: New boat owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin84 View Post
Skipmac, the mast on my boat is deck stepped. Is there anything in particular I need to watch out for with that? To the best of my knowledge, all the rigging, including the chainplates, etc were replaced in 2009.
Also, forgive me for sounding niave, but I've never had to paint a boat before, what makes painting the topsides and deck such a big project compared to the bottom? I have a week vacation coming up soon and was planning on hauling her out and doing the work then. From everything I've read online, it looks like I can have the boat sanded and primed in a day and the bottom paint applied in another. What else should I be planning on doing to her while she's up on the hard?

The differences between the bottom and top:

Top:
Remove all deck hardware
Repair deck rot under said hardware
Surface prep
Taping off
Application (2 part or 1 part? Spray or Roll+tip - all require skill to look good)
Removing of tape
Retaping to apply nonskid
Application of nonskid (generally easier than the normal topside paint)
Removal of the tape
Install /rebed of all deck hardware

Bottom:
Fair (if needed)
Fix blisters
Apply paint with a roller (Coverage, not looks)
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Old 10-08-2012, 16:41   #14
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Re: New boat owner

Kevin,

Has the boat had a professional survey? That would be a great place to start. A good surveyor will help you prioritize what needs to be done based on the type of use the boat is going to see and where the problems are. Also, if you plan on doing the work on the boat yourself you probably want to be in a yard or marina where such activity is welcomed. You can also get to know people who own and repair the same boat or may have owned a similar boat in the past and can relay their experiences to you both good and bad. I would say a I spend a good percentage of my time in the yard chatting with other sailors. It gives me a perspective on the jobs I am thinking of doing and has probably saved me tremendous expense and unimaginable heartache.

If you do not plan on doing most of the work yourself plan on spending many times what the boat will ever be worth even after the work is complete. Boat work is expensive even when the labor is free, repairs are time consuming and planning for certain projects can take an unbelievably long time. I have spent hours taking numerous measurements for the simplest small pieces that needed to be fabricated and installed. There is rarely any such thing as a plumb or level surface pieces need to be cut a little at a time and test fit. The silliest little project can take days.

Best bet is to make the boat safe for the short term and learn to live with some of the perceived shortcomings until there is a pressing requirement to change something. That way you can do with it what you want which probably is to sail it. In the meantime you will have opportunities to buy nearly new equipment for pennies on the dollar from those looking to change things out on their boats. There was a guy in my marina who would replace almost new electronics every year because he needed to buy the latest and greatest during the winter months. The poor suckers in the yard who got stuck helping him snake wires and mount equipment were usually given the nearly new radar unit, chartplotter or autopilot that he had just ripped out. I wish he asked me for help!!! If you are looking to make changes and improvements for an upcoming extended voyage plan on spending some serious dollars and missing a few deadlines.

Good luck with your projects and congratulations. It is certainly a life changing experience and probably one for the better.
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Old 10-08-2012, 23:11   #15
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Re: New boat owner

Thanks! For now, I'm going to be using it 90+% of the time as a live aboard just tied up at the dock. But I do want to take her out into the harbor to do some sailing. I've got a list of projects to do, but since I'm not planning on doing any serious cruising for a few years, I can stretch out the projects. The electronics will probably be the last thing I update so I can make sure they're as up to date as possible before going cruising.
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