• On September 1st, Maine Sail suffered a major hemorrhagic stroke. One of the most generous members of our sailing community, he has helped thousands. Now it's our turn. Click here to learn more

I am in deep trouble! Mayday!

Sep 24, 2013
36
looking looking Corpus Christi
I'm just curious about the people that suggested he try repairing this himself... does he even sound like a do-it-yourselfer to you? He really doesn't to me. Other than the fact he went on YouTube to learn to sail, don't feel bad, I did the same thing. But I have been working on my own cars since I started driving. Hell I took apart my father's brand new lawnmower and put it back together (yes it ran) and that was when I was 13.

Point is some people have no fear about doing a big job on their own, and some do...

Second point is, if every time something happens to your boat, you run to the boatyard, sailing is going to be a pricey "toy" for you. Let's not even get into something happening while you're out on the water... I would look into Boat US towing plan.

I suspect you are what is referred to as a "credit card sailor".

I deaply suspect the Catalina is a loss and a lesson. As common as the "smaller" boats are, they might be considered a dime a dozen boats, the chevy or ford of the boat world. You will never get the repair cost back out of the boat... it is NOT considered an improvement in any shape or form, all you are doing is making the boat whole again.

If you do the repair and decide to dump the boat and don't inform potential buyer, you would be a scammer. If you do inform them, they will raise an eyebrow and probably move on... but shame on them for no inspection.

Transfer of stuff to a new hull is useless on such a common boat... unless there is something special about the boat you have, finding the same size boat in need of a new interior in your area is probably a bust. Transportation of such a boat would be cost prohibited anyway. Let's not even mention would you pay to have it done or do it yourself? You are quickly adding a big $$$$ for a common nothing special kind of boat.

Choice 1) fix it yourself.
Choice 2) pay to have it done ( having gotten at least one more quote )
Choice 3) dump the boat and evaluate if you want another... i.e. ask the wife.
Choice 4) find Catalina club members in your area and see what happens from there... they may make it a "club event" to repair it. 5 people working on it could have it fixed in short order and for a lot less $$$$$.

A "fixed" leak scares the crap out of me, especially on the keel. If the keel drops off while sailing... people have died from that before.
 

JVB

.
Jan 26, 2006
268
Schock Wavelength 24 Lake Murray, SC
The conventional method for repairing this serious a keel problem involves using heavy lifting equipment and separating the keel from the hull. But you can avoid that by clever use of your trailer and Jack stands. You support the boat with jacks and work the trailer forward just enough to allow the stands plus the trailer to support the boat with the keel dangling in the clear behind the keel support platform. Then you can use a hefty hydraulic Jack or two to lower the unbolted keel just enough to repair the damage. This approach is not for faint hearted or not mechanically inclined people. I would not do it again. Instead I would sell the parts for salvage.
 
Sep 24, 2013
36
looking looking Corpus Christi
The conventional method for repairing this serious a keel problem involves using heavy lifting equipment and separating the keel from the hull. But you can avoid that by clever use of your trailer and Jack stands. You support the boat with jacks and work the trailer forward just enough to allow the stands plus the trailer to support the boat with the keel dangling in the clear behind the keel support platform. Then you can use a hefty hydraulic Jack or two to lower the unbolted keel just enough to repair the damage. This approach is not for faint hearted or not mechanically inclined people. I would not do it again. Instead I would sell the parts for salvage.
He already stated he doesn't have a trailer.
 
Jun 21, 2014
9
Freedom 32 Venice
Get the boat on jacks where you can have others work on it. Call out 2 or 3 marine handymen for estimates letting them know you want the MINIMUM work done to fix the issue. You do the painting and grunt work. Ensure there is a good connection from keel to hull. If not make the MINIMUM investment. Then add the repair costs to your initial purchase price and divide by 2. Sell the boat at that price or best offer.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
They said that the bolts had been pushed down and to repair it they would have to essentially take it off, fix it and then reattach it to the boat. As you can imagine, they want a fortune to do it.
I think we'd be more helpful if everyone stayed up to date on the suggestions already made and other information gained. Also, see the initial post in the quote above. So, are the DIYers saying not to do what the yard has said should be done? Take off the keel, fix it, and then reattach to the boat? There is no insurance, there is no trailer, there is no prior experience in boating, in boat ownership, or in fixing boats. It's hard to imagine how a newbie can do all of the above less expensively than the yard and still have a seaworthy boat. That is, where will be boat be hauled to work on it? If in the yard--then lay days will be charged while our OP spends time trying to figure out how to solve this or that unexpected problem. Is this a weekend project? Maybe the guy has a job? An in-the-water repair apparently is not what fixes the problem, etc. Perhaps he should buy some waterfront property downtown and a travel lift plus other equipment, and all kinds of permits; then hire a couple of fiberglass guys and then "do it himself." After all, we don't want to let those blood-sucking marina guys over charge us!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes: Iriegal
Dec 29, 2014
42
Oday 272 Kentucky Dam Marina
I am reminded of this quote: "Only two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port and the other was an atrocious liar." Congratulations. You have been initiated. Now fix that damn boat, any way possible, and get back out there!
 
  • Like
Likes: jimmcgee

Gunni

.
Mar 16, 2010
5,937
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
I suggest everyone read well the exhaustive reports regarding keel loss and all aboard Cheeki Rafiki (here and here) - prior to any further suggestions of minimal/DIY/push-it-on-to-the-next-guy talk. The crew of Cheeki Rafiki got a hand-me down repair of considerable effort and they were killed when it failed. Whether you are in the north Atlantic, or the Savannah River an upside-down boat can kill you. Unfortunately, a severe grounding can total your boat and you have to deal with it.
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
I am reminded of this quote: "Only two sailors, in my experience, never ran aground. One never left port and the other was an atrocious liar." Congratulations. You have been initiated. Now fix that damn boat, any way possible, and get back out there!
I heard it a slightly different way: "You have two kinds of sailors, those who have run aground and those who have yet to run aground!"
 
  • Like
Likes: Iriegal
Aug 22, 2014
43
Hunter 40 Corpus Christi
There has certainly been a lot of support offered here, but I won't be one of them. The owner should be taken at face value. He stated he is an idiot and probably the worst boat owner in the world. While it's possible to feel sorry for someone who has had a hard grounding, it certainly sounds to me like he should not be encouraged either to fix his boat OR to continue sailing. Ignorance is NOT bliss, it's dangerous.
 
Dec 30, 2012
1
sabre 42 Milford,CT
It is unfortunate that you had the accident. No matter what size boat you start as a novice it takes some time on the water to get your " sailors confidence". If you like what you bought get the professionals to repair it and, if possible watch how it is done- that's a great learning experience. Sailing is a great pleasure. Bad things happen-it could have been worse so get it fixed and enjoy your vessel. Happy Sailing!
 
Jun 4, 2004
392
Hunter 31 and 25 and fomerly 23.5 Stockton State Park Marina; MO
Now that was overly caustic and un-called for. I'd like to invite you to reconsider your comment. You know who you are.
 

shnool

.
Aug 10, 2012
556
WD Schock Wavelength 24 Wallenpaupack
JD I wish you lived closer to me (I'm in PA)... I'd be tempted to offer up my pole barn so you could trailer it inside, and work on it on your schedule, but let me offer the next best thing. Post your questions on the CatalinaCapri25 forum (as was suggested earlier). Many of those sailors have fixed the "catalina smile," which granted is NOT the same thing you are dealing with, but involves similar work. Maybe someone there would be willing to work with you and lives closer to you. I suggest that ONLY if you wish to repair it yourself. Its not difficult to understand work, it is HARD work. It's also not easy to separate keel from hull, and the right equipment goes a long way.

If you'd rather get back out there, then I'd suggest you shop around for more quotes. If the statement of work is close, and the hours assigned also close, then you are looking at a minimum of $3500 work, just going off of what you told us in this thread.

I dunno how good of shape your Cat is in (other than these obvious problems), but that's the low end value of the boat itself, assuming early 80s vintage fixed keel. Older than that, and they are almost a throw away item (sad to say 1970s vintage Catalina 25s aren't worth much at all).

The Catalina 25 is a very "common" boat so you COULD just cut your losses, and EBay parts. The spars will be worth something as will the rudder, tiller, outboard, and sails. Probably enough to get you halfway to a replacement Catalina 25 (or better even). It'll take a lot of work and I'd say recycle the keel if someone will take it, cut up the hull and have a bulk item hauler take it, that'll cost a pretty penny there in refuse hauling and cut into your parts profit, but at least it'll pay for itself. I think this option involves MORE work then repairing the boat, but likely easier and less costly if you make a mistake.

Whatever you do will cost you (more) money sadly... because I wager the boat does not have a trailer, so its of even less value to people who aren't local.

One option you haven't considered is donating the boat. It'd have to be with nearly zero value, but it's the only thing that won't cost you more money. Someone like the Sea Scouts MIGHT take on a project of this size I dunno.
 
  • Like
Likes: jimmcgee
Sep 24, 2013
36
looking looking Corpus Christi
All you guys saying "fix it and get back on the water" are not really helping. I suspect you guys are the credit card sailors I spoke of...

OP never said what he paid for a 32 year old Catalina 25
OP never said what the quote was for the repair on a 32 year old Catalina 25
OP did state he has no knowledge of boats and I suspect IS NOT a do-it-yourselfer

Putting what I suspect is way too much money into a 32 year old Catalina 25 having a boatyard do the work doesn't seem like a good option.

Saying "fix-it and get back on the water" is silly... it "sounds" supportive and it is the optomist answer... but not realistic in any way shape or form on a 32 year old Catalina 25. Just for argument sake, the last Catalina 25 was built in 1994... so it is at least 22 years old and in what condition before?

Keep telling this guy to dump money into the boat, money fixes everything... he just should plan on NEVER getting it back. Catalina 25's are not a boat that will increase in value because you bought one.
 
Sep 8, 2014
2,551
Catalina 22 Swing Keel San Diego
JD... ignore that negative comment above. You are not an idiot, we have all made mistakes... You are taking this situation with appropriate humility, I doubt you'll ever make the same mistake again. You certainly did the right thing by purchasing an inexpensive used boat... you already pointed out how much worse this could have been had you bought a new boat or more expensive, larger used boat.
BTW... I'm sure I'll make mistakes in sailing too, but I'm not even out of dry dock yet. I have, however, laid down some really expensive Italian race bikes on the track, just the nature of the sport. One particularly egotistical blow-hard called me an idiot once after a low-side slide that didn't do much damage to my bike other than crack up the race bodywork. After a few race spares were swapped out and some fiber-tape mended the cracks on the body-work I was back on the track... And that blow-hard who called me an idiot for making a mistake? I lapped him twice in the same session on his more powerful, heavily modified 'pro' race bike... then later in the day he was invited to leave by the track staff because in his efforts to catch up to me he was being overly aggressive and breaking safety rules.
 
  • Like
Likes: marke14

braol

.
Apr 16, 2014
348
Hunter 27 Rebel 16 Great Lakes Naval Base, IL
-I would put a keel re-bed repair under the 'Expert" or 'Almost-expert category.' On the 1-10 beers scale for time and effort involved I'd give the job 10 beers. The 35-hours of work sounds about right. I'm helping a friend rebed the keel on a Peterson 37' and I'd say we've easily spent that much time on it. (Most keels don't just come right off...we had to use a hole saw around each bolt to get it to drop and then had to back-fill the holes with epoxy and redrill....)
Anyways, what I would do (especially since the probable source of the leak was fixed already) is get the boat out of the water and inject lots very much thickened epoxy into the area between the hull and the keel until it fills the cavity and starts to run out around the "smile." Inject it from the bilge side via a hole drilled through the hull until the bit hits lead. Fillet the epoxy where it comes out of the gap between keel and hull, barrier coat it, bottomkote it, then run a fillet of 4200 or Life Caulk around it.
Some out there would call this a 'backyard redneck bondo job' but if the keel has to come off (if you can get it off) and there is any hull repair to be done, it becomes mostly just an epoxy and filler primer bondo job anyways. Keels and hulls never perfectly mate anyhow and there is always a certain amount of sealant that gets used on a new boat. Add to that the fact that any keel bolt replacement job on an old used boat is just not worth it or even possible if they are J-bolts. All the yard is going to do is straighten the bolts with a big, long steel pipe...so the safety concern is moot If you want a 100% safe boat with shiny new, straight keel bolts you need a brand-new boat. In fact, with a big epoxy-to-hull repair the keel will probably never fall off and may be more strongly attached than before (maybe). There is always the danger of water intrusion into the repair...but then, there was always danger of that with a new boat/keel...that's why there are things called bilge pumps after-all...
 
Sep 24, 2013
36
looking looking Corpus Christi
CloudDiver - the OP called himself an idiot in the original post... your answer of get back on the horse is the optomist answer I spoke of.

Just how much money are we talking about putting into a 32 year old Catalina 25? Not telling him not to sail, just curious how much money is too much to repair the boat is all. He can probably take that money, part the boat out and buy another boat...
 
Jul 27, 2011
4,530
Bavaria 38E Alamitos Bay
I play a lot of chess--hence, King's Gambit (the apostrophe is not allowed here in a user name)--probably some nine or ten thousand games by now; mostly on-line these days. Sometimes you make a bad move and want to "fix it" which usually means another bad move or bad game plan that leads to an even quicker defeat. Sometimes you just have to go on to the next game, with optimism of course!
 
Apr 17, 2016
13
projected to own one as I said ;-) none yet
jd4, one more input that I miss here - your pictures don't show the rear end of the keel, you certainly should inspect that rear region quite well. When you run aground the front side of the keel goes down, but the rear end bumps up into the hull, damage there might be hidden and could be a sleeping threat. Just wanted to mention that.
All other good advice has already been there, I doubt it really helps with your decision. If it was me, and I liked the boat, I'd try to learn how to glass (internet rulez here) and try to fix it myself.
 
Sep 8, 2014
2,551
Catalina 22 Swing Keel San Diego
When I said 'negative post above', I was talking about KenAckerman's post... While I was writing my reply your's had not posted yet.
Either way, you are posting some equally negative crap... Do you and KenAckerman really think the guy should just quit sailing all together just because he had one accidental grounding? Please, please, please go ahead and tell me you have NEVER made a mistake like that; in sailing or otherwise something as significant.

BTW, I never suggested he fix it... so I certainly hope you are not lumping me in with the so-called 'credit-card sailors' you spoke of. I really don't get how you can associated CC Sailors with people who suggest a DIY fix, that defeats the very nature of the definition of a CC sailor... they have more money than sense, so wouldn't they not plop down the CC to get a repair done rather than suggest a DIY fix?

CloudDiver - the OP called himself an idiot in the original post... your answer of get back on the horse is the optomist answer I spoke of.

Just how much money are we talking about putting into a 32 year old Catalina 25? Not telling him not to sail, just curious how much money is too much to repair the boat is all. He can probably take that money, part the boat out and buy another boat...