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Recommended Instruments for Close Coastal Cruising (Day Sailing)

dLj

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Mar 23, 2017
1,776
Belliure 41 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
@snoopy What keel do you have? Mine is a 93 TR with wing keel.
I haven't heard of any debris left over from the hurricanes being a problem. The bay is relatively shallow but plenty of sailboats with 5' draft sail it with no problems.
It sounds like Cape May and the marina fits your requirements and gives easy access to the ocean so you'll have fun.
Pretty sure the size of the hole required for the transducers will be the same. I replaced my speed transducer and it fit the same hole. Should be 2".
I bought my boat in late 2017. I've done a lot of re wiring, plumbing etc. All new DC and AC panel, upgraded charging system, etc.
If you need any help or have questions on your projects, let me know.
And if you need crew for the trip down river, let me know. Haven't made the trip yet so I am interested.
@snoopy_ That's a great offer from @Ward H - You should take him on on that!

dj
 
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Giro

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Jul 23, 2019
62
MacGregor MacGregor 25 Monterey
It never is a bad idea to install a VHF radio with GPS. Get your vessel registered with the US Coast Guard. I know we all have hand held iPhones or smartphones but they can go overboard. I like to have my radio attached the my boat, inside the cabin. Since you’re going to sail in shore waters (off shore), a depth sounder is also a must have item.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,839
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
iPhones or smartphones but they can go overboard.
:laugh: Yes they can.
The first day on the dock, as I was boarding my boat with my rigger to examine the boats rigging, I leaned forward and my phone sailed out of my shirt pocket and into the cockpit.

My rigger commented that in his experience more cell phones go for a swim then tools on a boat.

It was a message that has stuck. I secure my phone in a closed zippered pocket before I venture onto the dock. So far, no further endangerment of my phone has occurred.

But like they say about running aground. If it hasn't happened to you, you just have not spent enough time on the water.
 
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Aug 1, 2011
3,957
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
But like they say about running aground. If it hasn't happened to you, you just have not spent enough time on the water.
Does waking up in a cove at 2am and finding the boat right beside you that was 100 yards behind you qualify?
 
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Aug 1, 2011
3,957
Catalina 270 255 Wabamun. Welcome to the marina
Yeah, Selby Cove, Catalina 28mkii, the infamous "Escape" of Cooper Boating fame, way too close to the shore, way, way too close to the neighbours, thankful that the boat advertised as a wing, and years later, seeing it in the False Creek yard, sporting a very deep fin. That's the joy of boating - the fun never ends!
 
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May 19, 2016
114
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Ward,

Thank you for the offer, I am just in the planning stage and find it a bit overwhelming.

Mine boat is a 90 TR with wing keel, which I purchased in the spring of 2020. It felt like a monster to me the first time I boarded her. It was on the hard and sitting at the helm I was blown away by her size. It felt like a Destroyer to me. Once she was in the water it was better, but she was much bigger than our C22 in both length and bream.

I've done very little to it, I wanted to use it a little before tinkering with her for fear of damaging anything. However, I am growing my list of tasks of wants and needs, and prioritizing them. Then I can schedule available weekends that I may tackle that list, all before May 2021 trip.

As I said, we plan to live aboard her for long weekends, so I have a lot to do to get her ready for next season, but some the things I have planned are:

- Installing new head and sanitary hoses.
- Checking all thru-hulls. From our survey, some had dissimilar materials (bronze and plastic), while others were missing double clamps. Some had perforated clamps, which I would like to replace.
- Engine maintenance, such as fuel filters, transmission fluid, etc.
- Replace halyards. I experienced a lot of friction raising sails, which I thought was the masthead sheaves, but I think the lines may be too large; Catalina Direct sells them as 3/8" line and mine feel larger than that.
- Overhall all the winches.
- Add chain to anchor rode. I think the line is not correct and there is too little chain.
- The boat is being soda blasted, so that will have to be sanded, then painted with multiple coats of bottom and barrier paints.

I am a little fearful of the electrics, but I worked in electronics while in the Navy so I bought a few books and plan on tracing everything out and starting slowly. I'd like to replace the batteries, as I don't know their age or condition. I think there are two group 24 batteries for the house, and a much smaller one to start the engine... however the engine won't turn when using that battery bank, so I am forced to use "both" on the selector. I have to resolve this issue. I'd like to include some solar to ensure the boat maintains a trickle charge if power is lost while we are away, but not sure this is needed or will get done.

Anyway, I am rambling. I really miss it, especially with the cold weather and the inability to travel because of Covid.

Thank you,

Snoopy
 
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Ward H

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Nov 7, 2011
3,093
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
@snoopy_
Yep, This is the dreaming and planning season for our spring projects.
You have a pretty good list to work on. As far as electrical projects for the boat give check out this link. Wiring Harness Upgrades
Even if you don't have the Amp meter on your engine panel you should check to see if the wiring is still there. It was on my 93.
That site has a lot of helpful How To articles. Makes for some good reading when it is too cold to go to the boat.
Also check out this Featured Contributors forum section. Musings with Maine Sail. It has a lot of good threads boat maintenance, especially on electrical.
I do see you've been around the forums since 2016 so apologize if you are already familiar with these sites.

Big jump up from a 22 to a 30 but well worth it. I'm still amazed how big my boat is as I walk up to it on the dock.

Enjoy
 
May 19, 2016
114
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Ward,

I am familiar with the Marine How To site, not the other one. I actually have a Cutless bearing that needs to be replaced, which is how I found the MarineHowto site. I am waiting for the boat to be blasted to remove the paint from the cutless so I can get to the set screws to begin pulling it. I am planning on renting the extracting/installation tool to make the job easier; bearing was recommended to be replaced at the survey, slight wobble.

I am open to any and all advice, as well as links. My momma didn't raise no fool. :)

Thanks,
Snoopy
 
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Jan 7, 2011
2,829
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I sail on Lake Michigan, and my marina is right on the lake, so no thin water to worry about really. I day sail mostly but will go out and anchor somewhere a few nights in the summer.

My boat is equipped with the following:
- Chart plotter, which shows speed, map, depth, AIS targets, etc. I can also set an anchor watch alarm and MOB alarm.
- Wind instrument (speed, direction)
- Auto pilot
- VHF radio with AIS receiver (which is on NMEA2k network to feed chart plotter). Radio has DSC and gets position info from Chart plotter via N2K.

I find these electronics suitable for me.

if I sailed in an area with lots of fog I may want radar.
if in an area with lots of traffic, I may want an AIS transceiver.

As info on changing a cutlas bearing...


Good luck and have fun!

Greg
 
May 19, 2016
114
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Tally Ho,

Thank you for the link to the video, I think I have reviewed it before. In fact, I have reviewed many videos and websites, the best of which I think was MarineHowTo.com MarineHowTo. I have reached out to a site that rents the Stut-Pro tool and provides the bearing at what I feel is a reasonable price. However, I need to prepare the strut for extraction so I can do it in a timely manner, as suggested by the renter of the tool. I was hoping the boat would be soda blasted by now so I could easily remove the set screws, but that has not taken place yet. I was at the boat today and I think with some simple sandpaper I can remove the paint from the fin that the prop shaft passes through, then I could spray it with some PB Blaster and remove the set screws, and once that is done I could rent the tool and attempt to remove it.

I thought about buying the Strut-Pro tool, but it seems like a waste to buy something so expensive for such a specific job. Now that I think of it, I should ask my marina if they have the tool....

Snoopy
 
Mar 9, 2020
27
Catalina 30 MkII Oyster Bay NY
Chartplotter for sure. The iphone/ipad apps are only good for very casual/infrequent use. Just get the plotter. Depth is also nice for inland sailing. at that point must as well just get the suite of electronics (wind/STW). Start with the plotter and see what else you want. Unless you have your mast down, save those for next season.

Also if you're on a mooring a solar panel is a great upgrade.
 
Sep 29, 2012
13
Taswell 43 Center Cockpit currently the eastern Carrib
While reading the water and your sails is the best way to know, a few instruments can help alot....especially when the wind really pipes up and/or something doesn't go just right. We rely on our masthead windex alot, but we crosscheck the Raymarine ST60 wind speed and direction very often. The yarn telltails on the rigging are EZ to see, but the wind is so bent down low (near the deck) we hardly ever depend on them. A Depth meter is essential, we think(it's accurate and real, where the chartplotter depth chart may not be completely up to date and/or the GPS have you exactly where you're really at), but the boat speed is (at best) a nice-to-have. Knowing how to read/use paper charts is essential, but the chartplotter is so much easier and versatile (expanding the scale is really handy) and it's unaffected by rain or wind blowing it around. The AIS is not so much for you, but for other boats....we use ours all the time although it's surprising how many other boats do not have AIS. An autopilot is a really nice-to-have; it really comes in handy and we use it always....again, especially when things are not going exactly as you'd prefer (heavy wx, mx issues, etc.) or just to relieve the workload. And a VHF radio is essential, at least a handheld. We've used our radar maybe twice in 20 years.....but when you need it, you really need it (fog, etc); coupled with the chartplotter it can really help when sailing in an unfamiliar area. We have sailed overnight a few times, but almost all of our sailing over the past 20+ years, from Asia, to the Medd, to the Caribb, has been day-sailing....and all with the same instrument setup.
 

MarcW

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Dec 9, 2019
18
Hunter 356 Lancaster
For casual Chesapeake coastal sailing I would make sure there's a depth gauge, a wind gauge and then just use an iPad for navigating. A wind gauge will work with your AP so you can get wind angle autopiloting. We have one boat with a new Raymarine Carbon chart plotter. It works pretty well but I always, always reach for my iPad first. The one caveat is the iPad isn't as rugged as a dedicated CP so I always keep my iPhone on me too.
 
May 19, 2016
114
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Marc,

I have a Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotter with depth transducer that I bought for a Catalina 22, but never installed. I think I will install that on my C30 and shoot the transducer through the hull for a temporary solution. I will also buy a galaxy tablet with GPS and install Navionics on it for bigger views and a backup. My cell phone would be my third backup. I will use paper charts as well for in depth knowledge and backup.

I think I'd like to install a VHF radio that displays GPS coordinates for simplified radio distress calls if needed; my current radio lacks this feature. e.g. For spouse, friends, etc. to make emergency calls and be able to easily read off location from radio. I do have a backup handheld that I can maintain at or near the helm.

I also have a Raymarine autoilot, not sure the model, but it's a wheel drive unit and the instrument display is ST6002. Last season I noticed my compass was way off, maybe 10-15 degrees. Well, my autopilot display was very near my compass. I removed it for the winter, and now my compass looks very close to my iphone compass, so I am fairly sure that the electrical signal from the display may affected my compass. It's odd, all the photos of peoples boats show nav pods with all the electronics at the helm, do they do something special to limit the effects of electrical disturbances and their compasses?

For wind while sailing, I will use the mast Windex. For planning, tools like windy. I am not sure my autopilot supports wind angle information.

My boat has two Airmar transducers, depth and log. The wires are cut to the log, so it's definitely not working. The depth has wires, but I am not sure where they go. The prior owner may have taken the display or plotter with them, so i may be operational or useable.

Thanks,
Snoopy
 
Oct 16, 2019
3
Grampian 26 Fifty Point Stoney Creek
A radio with ais tied in to a fog horn. A chart plotter and an auto helm. A hand held gps will work. You don't need a wind meter. You can feel the wind and read the sea condition. You are not racing. A depth gauge and a volt meter to check your batteries and an automatic bilge pump.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,839
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Last season I noticed my compass was way off, maybe 10-15 degrees. Well, my autopilot display was very near my compass.
Yes Snoopy. You made a good discovery. When the motor of the AP is near the compass the magnets in the motor will disturb the compass. You need to move the motor, for the wheel AP, further away from the compass. You will not that the back of the wheel has two holes. This allow the install of the motor in an up and down position. Try to adjust the AP so the the motor is as far as possible.

An alternative is to get a compass and locate it on the side of the cockpit next to the companionway.

:plus: that the Lowrance fish finder/chartplotter can serve to provide the needs you want. You will need to figure out the transducer. The one that comes in the box is meant to be hung off the transom. This is not usually possible. You can try to locate the transducer against the hull to see if yo can get it to work. Note that the design of the provided transducer is not the greatest at sending signals through your hull and then recognizing them when they return. This is not a big thing. Test it out first. You may find it works fine for what you need. Your not trying to locate that big bass at 130 feet under the boat. You want to know if the sand bar has more than 6ft of water as you cruise over it. So if you can get the depth finder to tell you the depth to 25 feet your are pretty much golden.

Good luck and have fun sailing your new boat.
 
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Giro

.
Jul 23, 2019
62
MacGregor MacGregor 25 Monterey
The first time we made port at Avalon in Santa Catalina many years ago, it was as though someone had built a brick wall straight out of the sea when we hit a natural reef with our keel. Ever since that event, I’ve been a believer in depth sounders.
As far as I’m-concerned, any keel sailboat skipper is a fool leaving port without one.
 
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May 19, 2016
114
Catalina 30 Riverside, NJ
Giro,

How helpful is a depth sounder in that situation? How far ahead does it scan? Is it enough to stop or steer away from such an obstruction or are you looking for the clearance start dropping as the bottom is approaching? I am not familiar with depth sounders or their operation, but I figured they wouldn't protect against sudden obstacles, only upcoming clearance limits.

Snoopy
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,839
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Snoopy. The answer to your questions.
  • How helpful is a depth sounder in that situation?
    • Not very. Depends on how fast you are moving, how good are you able to recognize the changes in the bottom depth, how quick you are ready to put the boat in reverse, and how effective your boat systems are to stop the forward movement of your boat. A good skill building practice, go out in the water and practice emergency stops.
  • How far ahead does it scan?
    • Your system will be a sending out a signal that takes the shape of a cone.
    • 1611072470339.png
    • If you have it near the bow it will be reporting more of what is ahead of the boat bow only at a depth that extends in front of the boat. You can buy a "forward looking depth finder (sonar)" but that will put a protuberance beneath the hull. They act to slow the boat down by adding drag.
  • Is it enough to stop or steer away from such an obstruction or are you looking for the clearance start dropping as the bottom is approaching?
    • Yes to both of these questions.

You should not worry about this stuff. If you spend any time on the water you should just expect to run aground. Expecting this to happen keeps the idea on your mind when you are planning your route to cruise.

You will avoid the situations (for the most part) because you are attentive to the possibility. You will check the charts and choose routes that give you enough depth to sail your boat. When it comes to running near shallows, you will slow down and proceed with caution.

For the most part the serious rocks are clearly stated on the charts. Some even have names east to remember. There is a large rock in Ganges Harbor, BC near one of the marinas. It is named "Money Maker". Why are they marked. because other boaters have run into them and raised a ruckus.

What you have no control over are the sand bars that shift with the floods and storm surges. These are the more likely suspects that will spoil your sail. They occur where moving water slows down. Even these are marked on the charts.

Get a chart of the area your plan to sail and spend some quality time with it. Discuss your route with other boaters. These are the times that build your confidence. Then when you are on the water look for the things you studied on the charts. It is called situational awareness. Have the chart close to you. They have been helping skippers for the last 1000 years to go out onto the water and safely return to shore.
 
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