New Project -=- 1982 Catalina 25 Foot Sailboat

The start of the restoration of a 25 foot Catalina Sailboat that is my new project.

This is the start of a new project for me. I have rebuilt a couple of sailboats over the years, both were small, and while it is a lot of work, it was also fun. So, I am certain that this project will be a whole lot more of a challenge.

How this all came to pass is that someone I work with bought this boat, and then he decided that it was much more work than he really wanted to get into, so he asked me if I was interested. I told him “Maybe, it depends on the price.”

The boat when I went to see what I was getting into...
The boat when I went to see what I was getting into…

Well, it turns out that he said that he would bring me the title. It cost me nothing! I was shocked.

So, I ended up with the boat, and it actually isn’t in too bad of shape. It needs a lot of cleaning, for I guess it has sat for 10 years, and of course it needs new ropes, but overall the rigging, inside, sails, mast and everything is there and all in fairly good shape, with no holes! The blemish on the side is damage to the gelcoat and needs some repair, from where it rubbed on the dock I was told, but I think it will be a fairly easy fix. It has no motor, but it will before the Spring, so my chores will soon begin.

Getting the boat back to the house where I could work on it was another chore, for the boat about outweighs my little Dodge Ram Pickup, but with help from my friends, I managed to get the sailboat to the house where I could work on it’s restoration.

I have been reading up on what I need to do to repair the boat, and yes, it has some damage as seen in the next photos.

Where the boat has rubbed the dock
Where the boat has rubbed the dock

The bow has been rubbed against the dock, and it needs to be smoothed out with fiberglass. The damage is only about 1/4″ deep, maybe even less, but that should not be too hard to repair. While i haven’t done extensive fiberglass work, I will research into the best way to do it and get the bow back to looking like new.

I was told that the boat rubbed against the side of the dock
I was told that the boat rubbed against the side of the dock

This is the blemish on the side of the boat. As you can see it is pretty much just into the gel coat, so it should be easily repaired. The spot isn’t soft, so it wasn’t hit hard, but it will require some work to make it look better and then I will see what I can do about painting the hull below the top deck.

Where the Cast Iron keel attaches to the fiberglass part of the boat
Where the Cast Iron keel attaches to the fiberglass part of the boat

This will be the hardest part to repair on the boat. I have read a lot about the Catalina’s and the infamous ‘Catalina Smile’, but generally that is on the front of the keel. This happens to be on the back of the keel, and there is not a whole lot out there on the Internet about how you manage to damage the back side of the keel. But regardless, from what I have read, the bolts that hold on the 1900# cast iron Keel become loose, or the piece of plywood that the manufacturer uses becomes rotten over the years and it causes the keel to separate from the bottom of the boat. I pumped out the bilge, found the bolts, and while I have not yet attempted to see if the bolts are in good enough shape to tighten to the 105# torque they are supposed to be at, the tops of the bolts still looked pretty good visually. As I read, you are supposed to put about 70% of the boat weight on the keel and then tighten the bolts and see about ensuring that the keel doesn’t ‘wobble’ when out in the water. Of course, you do have to grind out the crack, apply some flexible epoxy and then fiberglass over the repair, but that isn’t going to be too big a problem as I see. However, reading about taking out the plywood if it is rotten is a major chore, and I hope not to have to do that, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

You can see it has the motor mount, it just needs a motor
You can see it has the motor mount, it just needs a motor

In the next few days (I have off three or four), I hope to get the mast raised while the boat is in the driveway, then see about cleaning out some of the stuff inside, for there is some tools and items that the guy who gave me the boat left in there, and then see about starting to do a bit of the cleaning and sanding off of the bottom. I am not sure how much I will get accomplished, for I have some other things I have procrastinated at doing, like sanding and painting the entryway to the house, helping my wife with some of the landscaping we have been doing around the house, and then I need to see about getting the old hot tub working again, but I hopefully will have the energy to do some things other than the regular household chores!

Looks pretty good at a distance, just needs a lot of cleaning on the outside
Looks pretty good at a distance, just needs a lot of cleaning on the outside

Wish me luck, and maybe I will take some of you out next year for the cruise!

Gazmuth