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Old 06-03-2016, 19:46   #1
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Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

Hello guys and gals!
I'm new to the forum. After finding a number of answers to recent sailing questions here i decided that it may be beneficial to become a member! It is apparent that there is A LOT of knowledge here about everything marine.

So, a bit about me! My wife and I recently purchased a sailboat i can only describe as a fankenboat from a close friend who offered it to me at a price i couldn't say no to.

The boat started off life as a 20' Enterprise single mast sloop style racing boat. (from what i can tell it is similar in design to a catalina) After sailing it in coastal races in California, the previous owner had it rebuilt in 1990. He added 4 ft to it(yep, cut it right down the middle and extended it) and added a bulb keel as well as foam injected the hull. From what i can figure it was done very well and he won a number of races with it in this configuration. After selling it to my friend it saw minimal use and was stored for the better part of ten years. As a result, when i purchased it, my wife and I had our work cut out for us. A lot of refinishing, and now, the biggest endeavor I've encountered (which is actually what brought me to this forum!) is that i need to completely rewire the whole boat. So i think i may have been a bit of an "over-sharer" but i look forward to learning as much as i can from the users here! Thank you in advance for what ever wisdom and knowledge i can glean here!

~Ian Kincaid
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Old 06-03-2016, 19:50   #2
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Re: Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

Welcome and good luck.

You could start here, plus buy Charlie Wing's great boat electrical book.

Electrical Systems 101 Electrical Systems 101
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Old 06-03-2016, 19:54   #3
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Re: Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

Thank you Stu! I will definitely make use of that link!
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Old 06-03-2016, 21:11   #4
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Re: Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

Well, welcome here! Now just how much wiring are you planning on putting in? ( I am thinking you won't need too much.)
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Old 06-03-2016, 21:23   #5
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Re: Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

Thank you Don! As far as the rewire goes, I'm looking to just do a basic 12v system to run nav lights, audio system, cabin dome lights and basic marine nav accessories ie. gps, fishfinder etc. So nothing very advanced, but the current wiring in the boat is completely corroded and will need to be replaced in its entirety. that being said, i'm looking at replacing everything from the battery to the buses to the light fixtures. I am a relatively mechanically minded person and have some experience doing electrical work in home construction, but it seems everything i read tells me the marine world is completely different. So my education itinerary will include everything from fuses to proper battery mounting and storage. I'm looking forward to learning it all, but at the same time, i don't want to burn my boat up!
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Old 06-03-2016, 21:25   #6
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Re: Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

My boat was in a similar state, the only working wiring was bow and stern lights. So fortunately it was legal as long as I wasn't anchoring at night.(we got a slip so all good) over the winter I have added mast lights and cabin lights.and vhf
This worked out well, allowing me to sail right away and enjoy the boat. Also gave me a project for the winter.
I would recommend doing the minimal wiring needed to be legal and safe. You can always keep improving but make sure you actually spend some time sailing and enjoying your boat. At 24' you don't need much electricity.
Running lights are important. Cabin lights can be flashlight or lantern if you sleep aboard. Ice box or cooler needs no power. Vhf radio is a good idea but you can use a hand held for a season or 2.
Sailing is fun, don't wreck it by turning it into too much work;-)
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Old 07-03-2016, 08:24   #7
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Re: Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

You have a lot of learning to look forward to. One thought: get the right quality tools for the work - crimpers, wire strippers, multimeter (volt, amp, ohm), etc. A small boat like that only needs some basic wiring but you will be faced with the same basic systems that the most complicated boats have, and that can be daunting starting out. Get some good books (many suggestions elsewhere here). West Marine online has some good basic diagrams as does bluesea.com. Buy quality tinned wire and terminals. You don't have to have the absolute best of everything but it has to be quality. And make everything tidy and secured. You don't get that in the books.

Make sure you fuse everything (as shown on all diagrams) and/or use circuit breakers. Tie down everything - wire, cables, batteries. Have fun.

P.s. draw out/diagram every circuit and then save the diagrams (as built not as planned after you install). And stay safe around battery voltages. They won't kill you but they sure can start a fire and melt wrenches. AC can kill so you have to know what you are doing with it and don't cut corners there, if anywhere. Follow standards - not your garage buddies.
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Old 07-03-2016, 14:50   #8
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Re: Hello All! New sailor from Colorado

Thanks for all the advice guys! once i get into it some more i'll find an appropriate place to post up some pictures of the project and share what i figure out.
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