|Midship Cleats -
A problem with the Catalina 30 is the lack of a midship cleat. While
rig a spring line to a stanchion it's not as quick or easy as a
cleat. T-track cleats from Schaefer solve the problem nicely, and at
under $100 they're an inexpensive solution. After three seasons
that have included strong winter storms and the worst nor' easter in 15
years packing winds over 60mph they're holding up well.
Dockside Hookups - Quick connects
for dockside water and cable TV are standard on new boats.
boat didn't come with them factory installed plan on spending a full day
doing the installation yourself. (Read
& MiFi - This is supposed to
be easy right? Not at most marinas, and most of the off the shelf
devices that are supposed to boost your signal simply don't work.
The best solution turned out to be re-programming a router as a
dedicated repeater using DD-WRT software to pull in the marina's
router. A separate router hung off the repeater provides WiFi access
from anywhere on the boat, and for several of our dock neighbors as
well. Hey you have to be a good neighbor right? (Read Article)
Old Boat - We do a complete remodel the interior and exterior
Where's Norm Abram when you need him? (Read
12,000 BTU Air Conditioner - Air conditioning is the key to
marital bliss, but installing air conditioning in a 30 foot boat
will make you curse like a sailor. (Read Article)
Chartplotter, Instrument Package and NMEA 2000 Network - When
the old Raymarine ST50 package started to go it was time to replace
and upgrade our instruments. The trick was to design a system that
would be flexible, and allow the integration of XM weater and radar
down the road. Finding the right combination meant juggling a lot of
complex variables and equipment from several manufacturers. (Read Article)
Dripless Shaft Seal - No more wet bilge and no more boat odors!
But oh my, what an amazing amount of work went into this job. (Read Article)
|Tunes, New Sony/Bose Sound System - Installing a sound system
that integrates CD, Satelite Radio and an MP3 capabilities with
speaker systems for the salon and the
The existing Sony stereo was a good unit, but the installation
was a bit kludgy. Relocating the stereo and VHF made for a cleaner
looking installation. An MP3 Player mounted under the stereo
provides a library of CD's and requires no space. A Sony wired
remote and MP3 connection at the helm allows you to operate the
stereo from the helm while sailing and to move the MP3 there so you
have access to all of its controls. Separate speakers in the salon
and cockpit provide background music whether sailing or at the
The last piece will be to add a Sirius satelite tuner to the
system in the spring. (Read Article)
12vdc Rechargeable Fans - These quality,
low power, inexpensive fans work as well at anchor as they do tied up at
the dock. They have built in rechargable lithium batteries and will
charge from both 12vdc and 110vac outlets. For their size they move
a surprising amount of air and are one of the best little boat
upgrades we've done.
|Updating the Cooking Systems - The
cooking system seemed to work fine when the boat was surveyed but
was quirky on the trip up the Chesapeake Bay and troublesome at the
A new regulator/gauge package helped and fixed the old gauge
that was no longer accurate. Then I disassembled the range, cleaned
the burners and scrubbed everything until it shone like new. It's
since turned out quite a few meals. (Read Article)
|Better Refrigeration - A fridge
that keeps stuff cold and a freezer that keeps stuff frozen
shouldn't be a problem - but this is a boat. Though the Aldor
Barbour system seemed to be working properly the fridge wasn't
getting as cold as I thought it should and I was seeing water
backing up through the fridge drain. The solutions were simple but
Cranking down the temperature just led to the evaporater icing
up. Adding a seals to the top of the fridge made a huge difference.
The original top had been cracked and improperly repaired so it was
no longer sealing. This winter Catalina is fabricating a new top and
I'll be installing insulating foam around the entire fridge. That
should keep things cold.
The odors and water backing up into the fridge turned out to be a
combination of a bad check valve in the foot pump and a design flaw
in the plumbing. The fridge now drains into the bilge and the
problem is solved. (Read Article)
|Heat Aboard - Fiberglass is great
for a lot of things. Keeping out the cold isn't one of them. Our
solid fiberglass hull provides no insulation when you're sleeping
aboard in the winter. Two electric heaters and a comforter do the
trick until night time temps hit 40 degrees. After that you're not
|Carpet on Board - It was nothing
short of amazing at the difference in the interior with new carpet.
Fitting it to all the cuts, turns and curves of a boat, well that's
another story. (Read Article)
Odors - When we bought the boat it had a, shall we say, odor
problem after sitting for three years. Somewhere along the line a "mechanic"
overtightened the fuel lines coming off the fuel tank. This started
cracks in the rubber lines and a slow diesel leak that was a bear to
track down and the real source of the "boat smell". Once the leak was stopped the real work began -- getting
the diesel smell out of the boat.
The bilge was vacummed out, everywhere diesel had leaked was
washed with Greased Lightning. The engine was washed down using
Simple Green to remove any dirt/grease/oil build up that might drip
into the bilge. Then the whole bilge was scrubbed with Spray Nine,
followed by a wash down with fresh water. Stubborn areas were
scrubbed with a 15% bleach solution.
were removed from the boat and steam cleaned and the carpet was
replaced after everything else was done. Air fresheners were added in the salon
and in the berths. Now the boat smells better than new and there are
no odors aboard.
The other issue was cigarette smoke. One of the previous owners
was a heavy smoker. I originally thought the cabin sides and ceiling
were off white. Then I started cleaning around the galley with Spray
Nine and discovered they were bright white! That led to scrubbing
everything down with Spray Nine. Now the interior sparkles.
|Electrical - I built a four switch 12vdc sub-panel with it's own 5 amp breaker to power three 12
volt outlets, an additional fan for the aft berth and a circuit for
soft courtesy lights that will be built into the cabin floor. That
way guests can find their way below from the cockpit at night
without the need to light up the whole cabin. (Read
Upgrading the interior wood trim - Like most boats ours had more than a
few screw holes where previous owners had attached items and some places
where the woodwork was showing its age. Making over the existing woodwork
and upgrading the trim was a natural outgrowth of the cabinet project.
New companionway doors.