Thursday, 15 January 2009

Introductions All Around

Lets begin at the beginning. We started sailing with friends a couple years ago, and decided it was enough fun to get a boat of our own. In our search, we finally settled on the Catalina 25 as our boat of choice.

Our Crew

Iris is crewed by a family of 4, with friends stepping in to help with races and as guests from time to time. Our Family has two co-skippers - myself and my wife, and the crew - Little Raven and Buddy Boy (nomenclature will never be explained, just accept that as their names...). Little Raven (LR) is 11 and has her White Sail One with the Canadian Yachting Association. Buddy Boy (BB) is 9 months, and is sometimes referred to as "Moveable Ballast". Whenever we visit another Yacht Club, the first question we are asked is "where is the baby?" Everyone loves him.

Surprisingly, LR and BB have taken quite nicely to sailing. LR often comes along on race day, and provides a much needed extra pair of hands. She is also quite fearless when it comes to foredeck responsibilities. So far we have only raced White Sail (JAM) but if we ever go in the Spinnaker Fleet, I know she will be right up there on the bow.

BB Mostly sleeps on the boat. The worse the passage is, the more he sleeps. The motion of the boat just rocks him and he is happy to snuggle into his carseat (with his lifejacket on) and snooze for the whole trip. Now that he has started moving more, we wonder how this summer will go. A tether is definately in the cards for BB. We will also need to install a Bimini to protect his tender skin on long days out in the sun.

The Boat

Catalinas in general tend to be well built for production boats, there is a strong owners association ready to give tips and lend a hand, and parts for the boats are generally easy to find. Catalina 25's aren't offshore passagemakers, but they are adequate for the waters we sail, with enough room for the crew and gear, and generally they aren't too difficult to sail.

We found Iris at the Ford Yacht club in the Detroit area, and had her trucked to our home. Since then we have done some minor work on her like refurbishing the electronics, replacing the hatch board retaining bits, adding gas struts to the pop-top, replacing the radio and some rewiring. By spring we hope to install a mushroom vent someplace in the forward section of the boat, refinish all the above-decks teak, rebuild the lower section of the engine, establish a GPS-Radio link and apply for an MMSI number for the radio, and maybe get the sails looked at by a professional loft.

Projects On the Go

Right now a number of boat-related projects are in process.

Battery Wiring
I have mostly finished rewiring the battery compartment on the boat. We discovered that the Charger that came with the boat was draining the batteries whenever we weren't attached to shore power. This was distressing since our slip is not powered. In order to overcome this challenge, we have replaced the batteries, disconnected the shorepower, and rewired the battery compartment so that nothing can bypass the 1-2-Both switch that determines which of the batteries the boat is drawing from.

Off-Season Storage
In the winter, we strip Iris down to the bare minimums in order to prevent moisture related problems, and to get a good look at any maintenance issues that need to be addressed. Storing all those cusions, electronics, sails, equipment, dishes, lifejackets, fenders, stoves etc. etc. etc. takes up a load of space. In fact, about 1/3 of our basement is full of boat stuff. I built a storage bin that a lot of the bulky stuff can go into and a pegboard wall to help handle more stuff. Now the mess is more compact and manageable, but the space still needs some refining. (as does my judgement in buying yet MORE stuff).

Refinishing Teak
When we put Iris to bed this winter, I took all the exterior teak off her. Now I am in the process of stripping all the varnish off the teak. I plan on refinishing the teak with Cetol in the spring.

Truck Shopping

We had an Astrovan, and while it was inadequate to pull Iris, it was very handy for hauling stuff back and forth to the boat. The Astro met its end this winter, and now we are shopping for a vehicle that is up to the task of pulling the boat, as well as taking gear from the house to the marina. Everyone is full of ideas about which vehicle is best, but since we will rarely be using the truck, we are looking to keep it as cheap as possible. I may just get another Astro, and continue to pay someone else to move the boat.

I'll update as projects and plans take shape, thanks for reading this far along!

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