2013 Easter Seals Regatta Report

My son spent several months in the NICU at Childern’s and St. Paul’s Hospitals when he was born. In that time I saw many parents who were from all over the province with desperately sick Children in the hospital. With time off work and accomodations in Vancouver being with your sick child can be more than moste people can afford. This is when I learned of the service Easter Seals House provides; they offer 49 self contained suites near Children’s Hospital to those from out of town who need to accomodation while their children are in the hospital. When I realised the Easter Seals House was the main recipient of the funds raised through the Easter Seals Regatta hosted by RVYC I knew I wanted to do the race and contribute to this cause.

Sun, 15-knots and out sailing. Life is pretty good.

Through my work we organized a team of all amteurs and a raffle to raise funds. With $390.00 raised and one ‘practice’ we were ready. I attended the Skipper’s reception with Cheryl, Huxley and Jesse at the local BMW Dealership. There was free food and drinks which was nice. There was a skipper’s package with some nice swag and the sailing instructions. I was surprised to see a ‘square’ course. I had never done a race like that and the sailing instructions were the simplest I had read; in short go around twice.

The day of the race we headed out early to get some practice in with my raw crew. Jesse agreed to accompany me on the race so we could at least fly the kite. I was glad he did; it was blowing 15 knots and the conditions would be challenging for the raw crew. As we sailed in the bay we ran into the Volvo Open 60 Hugo Boss which was touring VIPs out in the bay. We spent the rest of the time leading up to the race practicing manuevers. Around noon we saw the mark boat still positioning marks so we thought we had some time as we sat high of the startline. Suddenly I realized the 4 minute signal had just gone. We immediately put about and ran down to the line only to cross 5 minutes after the last boat. This was not good since the next closest boat froma PHRF perspective was rated 160, 51 seconds faster!

Rolling the competition.

My game face.

We cut the committee boat close and headed up towards the windward mark. While this was a simple course I saw at least 4 other races being conducted and a lot of conical race marks out on the water. We were able to follow them close enough. As we rounded the first mark we saw that we had gained on roughly 5 boats. We reached through the confusion of pleasure craft, freighters and other racers to the second corner mark. at this point we were within striking distance of 3 boats. We hoisted the chute and took off. Downwind is not the best point of sail for the Weasel but today everything was in our favour. We walked past a big cruiser with an A-Kite, another monster with whites and suprisingly a Chote 27.

Not one of our finer take downs.

Now to get that pole down.

Running for the finish.

Catching up!

After the douse at leeward mark another reach ensued. We could hear over the radio the RC moving the marks in to shorten up the course. We found ourselves trying to guess where they were. After the windward mark we were a bit lost when the mark boat came up and pointed out the new position of the next mark. To our suprise we saw the two bigger boats ahead of us. They hadn’t rolled us they had taken a different unrelated mark and were now way ahead. The Chote sharted to make up ground and we battled it out. After rounding the corner mark we sailed in company both trying to figure out where to go. The SIs said after this mark we should peel away towards the enterance of False Creek to finish. This didn’t make a ton of sense to round to starboard as you could just avoid it completely to head to False Creek, we thought it must be a port rounding then to heavily bare away for the False Creek finish. This we did and saw the Chote behind us round to start and head towards some mid-point between Kits Beach and RVYC. The RC was not were we expected. We then made a messy douse and close reached for the line. It was a close one but our mishandling of the rounding and douse cost us. Still considering the state of the crew we had to work with I was impressed with our perfromance. Most importantly we had a blast.

All done the race.


Following the race we put on some ‘pirate gear’ we had left over from Huxley’s Birthday Party and sailed down into False Creek to be ‘reviewed’. We got some candy and swag thrown aboard and then headed back to RVYC. The reception at a club which in my past experience can be cool and austeer was warm and friendly. The food and music were good. The beer at a fair price and everything was good except it was pretty empty. The facilities were in place for a 80 boat race not a 30 boat race. Still it was a sunny day and we had cool drinks in our hands.

All in all it was a great experience and something I will do again not just for the racing but for the cause.

For more details on this event and Easter Seals House:

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Instrument Panel Project Part 3

While it needs a clean; I think the finished panel looks great!

If you have followed our previous blog posts concerning the installation of our new suite of instruments and the engine controls on our forward port-side cockpit bulkhead you know we used a product called starboard.  When the installation was complete we encountered a few problems that lead us to replace the whole panel and start from scratch.

The first problem with our original installation was the starboard was too small; there were small gaps at the top we had to ‘fudge’ with 5200. The size also meant there was no room for expansion.  When we installed it the screws needed to be so close to the edge that they caused the edge to ‘bulge’ out. Finally I attempted to router the sharp edges with a Dremel tool which further damaged the edge.  It was time to start over.

This time we bought a much larger piece of starboard. I then took it to my yacht club’s wood shop and ripped it to the appropriate size on their table saw.  Next I nicely routered the edges with an actual router.  At the boat we removed all of the instruments and cleaned the 5200 off of them.  Next we used the old panel as a template in cut out the new holes for the instruments. We also took advantage of the bigger unit to install a new fuel gauge.  You will remember with the new engine we put in a new tank which included a fuel sender already installed.

The Starboard formed nicely around the curves in the bulkhead.

With the new panel cut up to allow the installation of the instruments we then began the process of attaching the panel to the bulkhead.  We used most of the same screw holes but had them ste further back so they did not break through the sides. We also found the bottom of the bulkhead was concave and, much to our surprise, the starboard bent nicely around the curve. We again used 3M’s 5200 to bed everything down.

Now it was time to start wiring up everything. For most items this was pretty straight forward since we had all the wiring run.  The challenge we ran into was the new fuel gauge had to have its wiring run fromt he fuel tank through some solid carpentry which we could not access.  With much difficulty we were ablet to run some thin rope throught the small channel, form a loop like a clothes line and by attaching the wire tot the rope pull it through.  We left the rope in place for any future jobs.

The UV cover for the instrument panel made out of Sunbrella.

The cover half removed showing the instruments it protects.

These simple snaps are far more effective than velcro.

Next we 5200-ed the instruments back in place and wired everything up. We also took this time to wire in our VHF to our GPS to enable DSC calling. Surprisingly everything worked beautifully first try.  It all looked great; however I was concerned about what UV rays would do to the isntruments that did not have covers like the tacometer and the fuel gauge.  I had seen one Volvo instrument panel that had been exposed to the sun for 4 years and it was horribly weathered.  So I created a sunbrella cover that could attach with snaps and on the way back from the Collingwood Channel race we installed it. The final result is a much better than our first attempt.

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We’re Number Two, No Wait, Number One – 2013 FCYC Spring Series Update

We're number two...the race was too close to call. So close that the team thought they had finished in second.

The FCYC Spring Thursday Night Series is always a good time. The races are very structured and well run. The post race festivities are usually well attended and all in all is a great way to waste an evening.  This series proved to be challenging for Team Sea Weasel with two terrible performances at the begining of the series with a 6th place finish and disqualification after we hit the pin and failed to finish.  So it was awesome to redeem ourselves last Thursday with a first place showing in a truely photo-finish race. The race was so close that when the team had finished they thought they had come in 2nd not 1st.  In the end only 12 seconds seperated the top 3 boats.  Thursday night sailing at its best!

Only 12 seconds sperated the top three boats.

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2013 Collingwood Channel Race Report

Beautiful weather and bacon wrapped steak was on the menu for this year's Collingwood Channel Race.

One of the first serious race’s I did with the SEA WEASEL was West Vancouver Yacht Club’s Halibut Bank. The race is typically set for the beginning of May and usually combines good wind and ‘warm’ weather. The race starts and finishes off the south tip of Passage Island with the mark set for the slow boats of Patos Island near Gibsons. Each year we have done the race we have finished and spent the night at Snug Cove on Bowen Island. This year when I checked the VARC schedule I saw that it had been replaced with Collingwood Channel. It turns out WVYC will be alternating the courses each year between Halibut Bank and the resurrected Collingwood Channel race. This year’s Collingwood Channel course would start and finish off the south coast of Passage Island as before with the main difference being the mark set at the day beacon in Collingwood Channel on the west side of Bowen Island between Bowen and Hutt Island (approximately). So this would be a new one for us.

Heading back to the finish line with UBC in the distance.

The forecast called for 20-25 knots out of the northwest. This is our ideal type of conditions for the SEA WEASEL so we were stoked. We also had a full crew with Curtis, Dave, Dustin, Jesse and Rookie-Quinn. The day came and the WEASEL motored out to do battle with the usual suspects. At the start line we found the conditions were far lighter in close to Passage Island. We stayed towards the pin and when the start came found ourselves in not too bad of position probably 2-3rd across the line. The rock star of the start was Slingshot who took off and as we would find out later dominate the race. Quickly Surveyor, Ed and Salus over took us. We thought the lumpy conditions and the building wind would favour us but it was not to be. As we approached the southeast coast of Bowen Surveyor headed north on a big deep tack and right into a wind hole. Salus went the opposite direction on a deep tack south. We played the short tack game with Ed towards the south of Bowen. We tried to keep close to the coast. Ed began to fall behind preferring to take longer tacks and not going as close into shore. After 30 minutes along the coast we had lost sight of Lark, Surveyor and Salus; Slingshot was still far ahead and we had overtaken Ed.

Heading along the south coast of Bowen.

Point Roger Curtis at the southwest of Bowen was fast approaching we had to decide whether to go west along the channel, stick in close to shore or take the middle. We could see that many of the western boats had parked and saw some of the boats in the middle/close to shore still moving. It was surprising that the westerly breeze had not made it into the area. We chose the middle path and made decent progress about halfway up to the mark flying the kite. We then hit the wind hole and sat moving at less than a knot over ground. We were in a good position closer to the mark than the majority of Div 7 boats which appeared to favour the westward course. As is always the case the wind began to fill in for the other boats. We battled painfully to hit the wind line. Finally in the blazing heat we made it to the wind and began our downwind run to the mark. Lark and Ed had profited by the wind and were well around by the time we got going. Slingshot, a perfect light airs boat, was long gone already.

Dave flies the kite

Rounding the mark we opted to stay in the wind which meant heading along the western edge of the channel. We thought this would keep us out from shore but still moving.  This did not pan out; the wind shut off midway down and the wind indicator was spinning in every direction.  We then opted for the backup wind indicator…the BBQ.  Dave had a stroke of genius and brought bacon wrapped steak tips.  The grease fire that ensued acted as chemical warfare against our competitors while pointing us in the right direction to follow the wind.


As the wind did fill we saw that Ed had gone way out and now was stuck.  We closed the gap somewhat before they took off in the 20 knot northwesterly we had beat into on the way there. Now it was a drag race.  Slingshot and Lark were way ahead and our fight was for third.  We put up the kite and blasted downwind at 7 knots in 18-20 knots breeze.  We were making up time on Ed but would it be enough to correct over him? As we got closer and closer we ate up the distance but between Bowen and Passage the wind died.  The advantage of a stiffer heavier boat with more sail area boat disappeared and we moved to a more equal footing.  We crossed the line 7 minutes and 14 seconds behind Ed and corrected out 4 minutes and 28 seconds behind Ed.  We were disappointed but we all had to admit it was an amazing race.

Team Slingshot took 1st for Division 7.

Estabrook fill's the cove with the reek of burning flesh; classy as always!

Seriously what is he cooking?

With time to spare we radioed USC Marina on Bowen and got our slip assignment.  Before heading there we thought we would put in an appearance at WVYC.  It was harder than expected finding a place to tie up but after a lot of back and forth and consummate seamanship we tide up behind Salty Trousers (another VRC boat) at the WVYC’s mast tower slip.  We climbed the ladder and hit the club with the usual style and eland one expects from team Sea Weasel.  As always the Div 7 gang was good for a laugh and a fun night.  After the burgers were consumed, the pitchers emptied and the results read we headed back down the ladder to the Weasel and made our way to Bowen.

Dave and Dustin failed to notice the ladder and opted to take the chain down. Note Dave's look of child like joy.

Wings and Nachos!

Time for darts; I think I won...

The next morning looked like a scene from Jones Town.

At Snug Cove we set about getting another dinner and relaxing in true Weasel fashion.  The details of that night don’t bear repeating but needless to say it was a good time.  The following morning after our usual ‘Snug’ breakfast we set sail for Vancouver.  This return trip we took time to fix up the Weasel and finish our cockpit instrumentation project. All and all this was another epic race/cruisey weekend; making Collingwood/Halibut bank one of our favourite Spring races.

With breakfast in our bellies Dave takes us home.

Curt piecing together the events of the previous evening makes a startling discovery.


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CS 27 Stanchion Replacement and Life Line Netting Installation

With Southern Straits upon us and babies onboard, Team Sea Weasel decided it was time to upgrade the defective stanchion bases and add life line netting.

For years now I have had an issue with the CS27.  Frankly it is the only real engineering complaint I have with the boat.  The stanchion bases that hold the stanchions that support the lifelines are made out of cast aluminum and attach with two bolts through the toe rail and are secured with nuts and washers on the inside of the hull.  This configuration has a few drawbacks.

  1. Cast aluminum is not very strong
  2. The cast aluminum ‘prong’ that inserts into the
    stanchion base is weak.

Over the years I have replaced 4 stanchion bases; usually due to crew grabbing them to stop the boat while docking or through natural accidents aboard. Of course CS Yachts is now defunct and the only source for these parts is HollandMarine in Ontario who now manufactures these.  I found them great to deal with but the moreor less custom parts were expensive.

Thew bases now fit around the outside of the stanchions; increasing their strength. Protech even added drain holes to provent damage caused by freezing.

The new stanchion bases were made from heavy duty stainless steel with only one problem: the inward angle.

That's not going to work.

Additionally these parts still had all the same drawbacks as the originals. Finally with Southern Straits upon us and a renewed concern over safety now that I am a dad we decided to replace these with acustom stainless steel bases.  We hired Protech Rigging to replace them.  They delivered their product on budget and on time.  They made one minor however.  The bases did not have a little lip to go around the toe rail.  The person manufacturing them thought the lip was designed to give the base an angle so the new bases were built based on that angle. The result was the bases were on a 5-10% inward angle.  This did not work and was a problem as we had a race 2 days out.  Needless to say we were annoyed the original configuration was not followed and Protech graciously offered to remake them ASAP. While we sat there staring at the problem; Dave said why don’t we just turn them around?  I proceed to tell him why it wouldn’t work until in an effort to demonstrate it to poor simple Dave I realised this would work; and work well.
We dry fit an entire side to prove out the theory. Now the stanchions would point out slightly.  This worked perfectly we could now more easily move forward and we did not have to get the bases rebuilt.

Dave's solution to our problem; the stanchions now faced outwards.

While this angle makes it slightly more complicated getting aboard it is actually really nice for going forward and skirting the genoa.

The installation was tricky and messy with copious amounts of 5200, paper towel and painters tape. With the bases secured we reattached the stanchions.  These were a slightly different design; rather than the base being the male end inserting into the female stanchion Protech reversed this to give it extra strength.  With the bases mounted we
stood back and were impressed.  They looked great and would rip out of the deck before snapping.  Mission accomplished.

This was a surprisingly tricky job. Remember to have a hot-knife or cutting this stuff is going to be a mess.

After becoming a dad; child proofing the boat took on a new priority. We replaced our weak stanchion bases to ensure that they could actually keep someone onboard if they slid into the lifelines.  I thought this was great and our little guywas now safe and secure aboard.  Of course you only have to look at the lifelines to see that a little kid was
going to slip straight through them.  We decided it was time for lifeline netting.
Like all projects this looks like it would be easy but wound up taking 2 days to complete properly.

This life line netting turns the boat into a floating crib!

We purchased 40′ of West Marine’s standard life line netting and 200′ of white utility line to attach it to the boat. For tools we used a hot knife and our hands.  This is a tricky job and where to start is more of a challenge than you would think.  We made a number of errors before getting it started; once you hand it going it got a lot quicker.  The first step was to start off with a clove hitch and lash the top of the life line netting to the aft corner of the stanchion we went in a meter and temporarily tied it off. We then worked our way from the stanchion down to the toe rail and out along the bottom with a new piece of line.
This allows you to get the tension and spacing right.  From there we would work our way forward about a meter at a time doing the top and bottom. CS in its wisdom had toe rails with attachment points for most of the way forward. When we encountered areas where the holes were spaced out further we ran a length of line along the bottom of the tow rail out to the pulpit base and then lashed the netting to this line. At the pulpit we lashed the netting to the pulpit and cut the netting with a hot-knife.  This is a really important step as the netting will unravel immediately unless it is cauterized. When we were done we looked at the finished project and it looked great.  It did take a while to get right and more rope than I would have expected but we were all safe and ready to go.

Huxley approves!

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Sunbrella Hatch Cover/Companion Way Cover Project

The finished project installed on the Weasel.

Our original canvas companion way hatch dates back to the 1980s and was in rough shape.  It had been attached with velcro and snaps; the screen was completely gone and had numerous holes where the pad lock had worn through the canvas.  In short it needed a replacement.

The old hatch cover was completely worn out and worst of all it didn't match the rest of the canvas on the boat!

The old screen material was completely gone and the flap'c velcro was worn out

The padlock fitting had worn through the canvas.

So; recently Cheryl had gotten into sewing so I was thinking we could make our own hatch cover.  With all the extras I wanted this would cost $300+ so I figured going DIY would save us a bunch of money.  I drafted up a plan for a hatch cover somewhat similar to our old one.  It would use the same snap points along the top of the cover and on the companion way hatch. It would attach on the sides with snaps.  Since the cover would often not be buttoned down I thought I would weight the bottom to hold it down in the wind.  I also decided that the screen was not something I was interested in but would go with a vinyl window (for us bugs are not an issue but rain and drizzle are so the window would retain heat better and keep the rain out).

Cheryl handled most of the complicated sewing.

I did my part too!

I sourced the materials from Sailrite as it was more or less one stop shopping. For this project I needed the following items:

  • 2 yards Sunbrella Fabric (Pacific Blue)
  • 1x Roll 20 Gauge Vinyl Window Material
  • 6′ Velcro Tape
  • 8′ Nylon Backing Tape
  • Double Sided Seam Tape
  • 8x Female Snaps
  • 4x Male (Screw In) Snaps
  • 1x 6″x6″ Patch of Leather
  • 8″ of White Nylon Tape
  • Thread
  • 4x Lead Weights
  • 3M 5200 Fast Cure

For equipment we used the following tools:

  • Hot Knife
  • Elna 520 Sewing Machine
  • Sheers
  • Fabric Pencil
  • Steam Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Snap Dye and Press
  • Power Drill
  • Ruler
  • Tape Measure
  • Hammer
  • Cutting Pad
  • Quilting Pins

I used the original cover as a rough template and double checked the measurements with at tape measure on the boat.  When I cut it out I had to add enough fabric to double fold over edge (there is probably a technical name for this that I do not know). On the bottom I needed to leave enough room to sew in pockets for the lead weights.  In the end this was a lot harder to measure out and cut but in the end I had the main piece cut out and the folds ironed in.  We then sewed this with our Elna 52o sewing machine.  It handled the canvas folds without a problem. We put the weightsin little sealed pockets along the bottom of the cover.

SInce the cover is often sitting loose we weighed it down with lead weights. Note the stitching on the edge. Very heavy duty.

The next step was to sew in the window.  I will skip this description but refer you to Sailrite’s excellent video on how to do this which I followed religiously.

The vinyl window installed.

The window from the interior with the nylon backing tape visible.

Close up of the backing using Sailrite's installation method.

Next we cut, folded ironed and sewed the flap that would protect the vinyl window.  This was straight forward. We added the velcro around the sides and bottom edges. We also sewed in a piece of velcro to allow the flap to be rolled up and secured (see the picture).  We also had an issue with the last cover being worn out from friction with the pad lock fitting.  I had the idea to sew in some leather on the inside to prevent this (see below).

This leather patch will protect the canvas from wear on the lock.

The flap that covers the window was outlined with Velcro to secure it in place.

The finished flap on the hatch cover with a nylon pull strap on the bottom in white.

Now the flap was sewn on and the project was ready to be installed on the WEASEL.  Curtis and I headed down to the boat and attached the snaps on site so we could confirm their placement onsite. This was the right call we carefully did them one at a time with the existing snap attachment points on the boat. We added new side male screw snap points on each side using 5200 to seal them in place. The snap dye and press is simple and I would recommend getting a proper tool not the smash it with hammer one that I had; still with a few swollen thumbs we got it done.

Snaps were mounted along the tops and sides.

The hatch cover installed and snapped down.

After finally snapping the cover in place I was shocked we made something that looked so nice.  It was a very polished product and I would recommend it as a first canvas boat project.

A view of the cover with the flap up and the window exposed.

Hey; whats on this side?

A view from inside looking out.

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Repowering a CS27 Sailboat: Part Seven: Sea Trial and Final Thoughts

The WEASEL returning from her successful sea trial.

Finally the new shaft arrived and attached.  The engine was filled with lubricants and coolant and the new fuel tank with fuel.  The boat was put in the water and Alex and Curtis fired up the engine for the first time and took it out for a sea trial.  Alex was great about going through the operation of the engine and covering off some tips and tricks.  He also got us a ‘servicing kit’ so we could effect some basic servicing if we were away from land.

Our current 13" 8 pitch left handed Martec two blade folding prop.

The current martec two-blade folding prop is not ideal but workable at this stage.  It is a left-handed model; this meant we had to swap things around so in theory it is running in reverse all the time.  This isn’t an issue since the gear ratio is almost identical; however even like this it is under pitched and we need to move from an 8 to a 9.  We would also want to switch to a right hand model so as to get the most out out of the gear ratio.  Despite this at 2600 RPMs the engine propels the boat at about 5.7 knots.  The broken in cruising RPM range should be 2800 but give that we have a under pitched prop on the boat we can cruise up to 3200 RPM.  2800-3200 RPMs take us to where we want to be: 6-6.5 knot range.

In addition to getting the boat moving faster there were a host of other benefits.  The engine was definitely quieter and a lot smoother.  The push button start and digital display is great and I love the single leaver throttle/gear control.

After it was all said and done we sat back and looked at what had to be one of the hardest and most involved projects we have done.  I think it would have been a lot less difficult had we not had so many personal commitments but life happens.  If I had some advice; I would say prepare for a month of being out of commission minimum, 5-7 days on the hard, about 40 of your own hours and if you have a boat like mine plan on spending north of $16,000 (basically the replacement cost of the boat).

What we did right:

  • Replacing the fuel system – defiantly a good call.
  • Selling the old engine – hey $400!
  • Hiring a professional installer
  • Selecting the Volvo Penta D1-13
  • Moving the engine instrumentation to a more prominent location
  • Making the time for hull maintenance despite our chaotic schedules
  • Upgrading the strainer and fuel filters
  • Hiring a shipwright to reconfigure the engine beds
  • Replacing the cutlass bearing

What we did wrong:

  • Putting money into the engine when we had a good idea it was gone
  • Delaying the decision to do the replacement
  • Hanging the fuel tank with screws on one side


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Repowering a CS27 Sailboat: Part Six: Haul Out and Engine Install

The Weasel hauled out awaiting her new engine, and a cleaning.

Now that we had a new fuel system, engine beds and the whole thing cleaned up and ready to go we needed to haul out the boat.  We would need to pull the shaft and install a new raw water through hull fitting so it was necessary to be on the hard.  At the same time we were going to slap a coat of paint on the hull, give it a polish and put on some new zincs.  As always we opted for Granville Island Boat Yard.  We like to support the local business and Jason who works there is a friend of ours.  We also find it convenient and close to home.  The only hard part is dealing with tourists (if I have to hear: “is that boat a BMW?” one more time…).

The only issue was we needed a tow and life was conspiring to make that difficult.  Dave had a baby due any day now, Curt was getting married that weekend and Huxley and I were sick; the timing was not ideal. On the Saturday before our haul out date we enlisted Mike Whately and his boat Volare to give us a tow.  This was fairly seamless and we tied the WEASEL up at the temporary slips near the travel lift that morning.

The boat hauled out and ready for the engine to be installed. The hull looked a little rough.

The boat was hauled out at 10am on the following Monday and Stem to Stern started by using a forklift to drop the engine in the boat.  Now we lost control of the project; and most of the work was left in Alex’s capable hands.  We moved on to take advantage of the haul out to clean up the boat.

Our brand new Volvo Penta D1-13 ready to be hoisted into the boat.

I have written other more detailed articles on haul out’s and since last year we had epoxy barrier coated the cast iron keel and done a lot of old paint removal this project was relatively pain free.  Granville Island Boat Yard did a good job pressure washing so only a little prep-sanding was required to begin the usual bottom job. One difference was we used West Marine’s CPP Ablative Anti-Fouling Paint.  It was about $60 a gallon cheaper than our usual Micron CSC.  The CPP is essentially Petit’s Horizons branded as West Marine’s.  We also tackled the topsides with ‘magic-eraser’ pads, Fiberglass Stain Remover (FSR) and 3Ms Heavy Duty Fiberglass Restorer and lastly 3M Marine Wax.  As you can see from the photos it did an amazing job.  The hull looked like an old bingo queen’s nicotine stained teeth and after it was as white as ivory.

Burning the midnight oil. Busy personal schedules meant we kept weird hours at the boat yard.

Even Linda helped.

Since Stem to Stern did the install there was little we needed to do even still I can outline how the project went from a layperson’s point of view.  With the engine in the boat Alex prepped the beds by adding angle aluminum and resin ‘starboard’ shims.  While we had removed most of the old gear shifter (a two knob model) he finished the job and installed a new single leaver model.  The fuel system lacked a rancor filter, which Alex mounted and placed in the starboard lazerrette on the forward bulkhead.  The fuel tank needed a return fuel line, which require a modification to the vent hose port, which he did.  That is something I didn’t think of when we installed the tank.  A new through-hull valve was also needed with basket on it to stop debris from getting in and strainer.  He put this in and mounted a proper sized strainer in the lazerrette with the fuel filter.  Both of these items were now easily accessible and since we only kept sails in that locker would not be imperiled by shifting gear.  The engine was re-wired with new battery cables and a new battery switch with a key (the new engine was keyless).  The control panel and the tachometer were mounted on the instrument panel.  I had not considered this as an option but it looked great and was really functional.  The old mounting location meant you had to bend down under the tiller to start the engine; now we could easily do it standing up and keep an eye on the RPMs while steering.

Our new raw water through-hull with a coat of anti-fouling on it.

New raw water strainer

New rancor fuel filter

We needed a larger 3/4" Through-hull valve for the raw water line.

The new key less engine controls and tachometer on our new instrument panel.

Our new throttle and gear shifter is a single leaver model.

At this point Alex pointed out that our fuel tank install with the screws and the foam spacers was not adequate.  He made a great suggestion that we bolt a short piece of strap to the stringers that the tank hung from and then put the tank in place and bolt the two pieces of strap together.  This worked perfectly.  We then replaces the foam wedges with small painted sections of 2”x4”.

Alex also suggested that we replace the cutlass bearing, which was worn out and save some labour costs.  This we did.  The project involved removing the old bearing by removing the bolts and then using a loose hacksaw blade to cut through the old bearing.  Then with a flat head screw driver and mallet we tapped the old one out.  The bearings apparently only come in 4” models and our cutlass was 5” so we made sure that the flush end was aft so that it would provide that little bit more support to the rear of the shaft.  The cutlass was leaned out with a wire brush to make sure there was as little resistance as possible.  Next we purchased a 3’ length of 3/8” diameter ‘ready rod, two large 3/8” nuts and four 1 ½” washers.  When combined (see picture) we were able to use this configuration to torque down the bearing into the cutlass.  We then took a medal drill bit to make shallow notches (very carefully so as not to go through the thin metal).  Then we tightened on the locking bolts and dabbed them with paint.

The cutlass with the prop-less shaft still in place prior to the bearing being replaced.

The old cutlass bearing in place. You can see the wear.

The old cutlass bearing from the other end.

The cutting begins after the screws have been removed from the cutlass.

With the old bearing cut it was a easy job hammering out the cutlass bearing out with a mallet and flat head screw driver.

The new bearing

The old cutlass bearing.

The cutlass bearing slid in effortlessly without lube. This system worked really well.

This rig with two washers, a nut on each end of a piece of ready rod and the bearing in between made it easy to torque it down into the cutlass.

Cutlass bearing replaced.

With the Martec 2 blade folding prop off we took the opportunity to polish it up with fine grit sand paper and brasso.  We still have not found a satisfactory way to keep the fouling off the prop but being clean and smooth has to be a good start.

With an engine installation one of the issues is that the prop shaft has to be reworked since the new engine was a different length and would require a new coupler to be machined to fit.  The shop that handles this was too busy and consequently we were forced to spend a long weekend with the boat on the hard.  This did give us a chance to take care of some additional side projects.

And lastly here are some pics of our new engine in place awaiting the prop shaft and sea trials:

Our new Volvo Penta D1-13 installed.

There is not a lot of clearance at the bottom of the engine.

The D1-13 close up.

Last shot of the engine with the bilge pumps and hoses reconnected. It looks like a million bucks, or 17k rather.

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Repowering a CS27 Sailboat: Part Five: Replacing the Fuel System


We selected a 12 gallon Moeller permanent inboard fuel tank to replace our corroding steel tank.

The WEASEL was built with a steel tank suspended beneath the cockpit floor, held against two glassed in stringers with nylon straps.  With this configuration the deck-fill fitting was on the cockpit floor and all of the hose connections to the tank were in the extremely tight place between tank, the stringers and the cockpit floor. The steel tank had never been polished and even the exterior was rusting badly.  It made no sense to pull the engine and leave the old tank in place only to clog future fuel filters or worse damage the new engine with contaminated fuel.

The old fuel tank mounts with the nylon straps cut away and the tank removed.

The first step was to remove the old steel tank.  This proved rather simple Dave merely undid the hose claps on the vent and fill hose and cut the nylon straps.  Dave was able to remove this singlehanded and when I arrived at the boat found it sitting on the dock box.

The next part was the scary part.  We emptied the tank into a jerry can.  We had a funnel with a filter and I was surprised to see the amount of sludge and rust that poured out.  I shuddered to think of that making its way into our new engine.  We then disposed of the empty tank and took the contaminated fuel to the Marina Office where Mike helped us dispose of it into their chemical reclamation area. NOTE: I do not recommend doing this with a jerry can you value since all the sludge gets sucked into the tank and unless you want to spray it out with a hose and spill diesel water everywhere it contaminates the can.

We selected a polymer replacement tank; a Moeller 12 Gallon internal permanent tank.  This unit came as a complete unit including all the fittings and the sender included.  The dimensions of this unit were not far from the original tank so we thought it would be simple.  There were a few things we needed for this project:

  1. 3/8 Withdrawal fuel hose for the engine (approximate length 3”)
  2. 3/8 Barbed fitting for the fuel withdrawal hose
  3. (Yellow) Thread Sealing Teflon tape
  4. 4” of 1 ½ inch fuel fill hose
  5. Diesel Deck Fill Fitting (the old one was a 2” diameter hose)
  6. Duplex 18 Gauge Marine Wire for the sending unit
  7. Hose Clamps (Various high tension clamps)
  8. Steel Straps and bolts/washers/screws
  9. 1”x1” Weather Stripping Foam

This first attempt at mounting needed to be reworked. The venting hose configuration would changed, as would the mounting harness and wood blocks were added to keep the tank on a slight angel and allow room for the hoses.

I have to say this project I thought would take about 2 hours, in the end it was 8 hours and one trip to the marine hardware store.  Additionally we would have to make additional changes when the engine came to be installed.

First step was to remove the old fill cap.  CS in all its wisdom had a cored cockpit floor except where the fuel fill cap was so we had no core rot issues to address.   We removed the fill fitting and cleaned the area.

The Dahl metal stripping painted with rust paint. Note the ill fated screws.


Next we dry fitted the tank to see where we needed to mount the straps.  A few things occurred here that made us pause.  We realized that the fill spout on the tank and the vent barb were far to long.  In addition the new seadog fill fitting had to wide a flange and too long a down pipe in conjunction with the tank.  We turned the tank upside down and bucked off the excess 2” off fill spout and the barb. It was important to cut these upside down since we did not want the debris going into the tank.  Next we cut down the seadog deck fill fitting and re-dry fit everything.  This all looked good except the vent hose was too kinked.  We opted to put the tank on a slight incline by spacing the front end down about 1” to give the vent hose a nice bend.  We also pre wired the sender so we could add a fuel gauge at a later date. NOTE: In the end the engine would need a return fuel line to the tank and the vent hose would be too kinked in the space so Alex would install a horizontal two-barbed fitting.

The withdrawal hose and wired sender. It would have been easier to put the withdrawal hose on prior to mounting the tank.

The fill hose and original vent configuration.

So now for the easy part, simply strap the tank in place and put the hoses on right; not so much.  The problem with every project on a new boat is that it is never as simple as popping off one piece of hardware and subbing in the new one.  Nope it is a McIver like series of bastardizations.  We used Dahl’s plumbing hold down steel stripping.  I opted for the galvanized stuff but new that would start rusting out anyway so I coated it in 2 coats of Tremclad’s Rust paint.  Honestly I would next time do it with a brush in precut lengths and make sure it had four coats.  Still with the new PSS Shacft seal and the coats I gave this stuff will last as until the next idiots removes the tank.

This strapping has nice holes big for bolts and small for screws alternating down it.  We had the new tank in position by one of us being wedged over the prop shaft and the other hanging upside down in the lazerrette.  This job cannot have too many hands but we made do with two.  We bore out four new holes for the bolts in the stringers and with the engine out of the way bolted in the two straps which we had already cut with tin snips into a rough length.  It is important to note that we double backed the metal straps so that the bolts went through two holes and used washers and lock washer/nuts on the other side of the existing stringers.  This part was easy; we made the mistake of thinking we could use the same combination on the other side.  Of course this was not to be.  We could not get a tool in the tight space to tighten the bolts.  Instead we used heavy duty stainless steel screws with washers.  After 5 stripped screws we settled on the right sized pilot hole and tensioned the band up as much as we could. NOTE: The screws would not work in the end.  Before the engine install we took them off and redid the project with bolts.  We did this by cutting two 6” strips of the steel straps and bolting those in place with the tank out of the way.  Then with smaller bolts we connected the two pieces of strap. This idea came from Alex and worked beautifully.  We felt kind of stupid at the time.

Moeller recommended putting some kind of shock absorbing material between the tank and the mounts so we used adhesive backed weather stripping high density foam.  This was pretty easy to install and we doubled up the front 1/3 of the tank so it was on a slight incline to allow more room for the venting hoses. NOTE: This also did not work as there was too much give.  We used 2”x4” wedges (painted) and screwed/strapped into place with the same metals trapping material.

Weather stripping foam was used between the tank and the stringers to prevent any abrasion.

Now we made a fairly amateurish mistake by not attaching the vent hose and the withdrawal hoses prior to installing the tank.  With many a bashed knuckle we finally got the hoses on.  The fill hose was meant to be last. We in fact had it sticking through the hole on the deck and onto the spout on the tank to keep it aligned.  We removed it and then put the deck cap in and measured the distance.  We then cut it to length put the hose clamps loose over the pipe and put the deck fill fitting on.  We used our old friend 3M 5200 Fast Cure Sealant.  With that sealed and screwed into place we tightened the hose clamps and sat back and looked at a fully installed tank.

The modified vent/return hose barb. This is a horizontal configuration as opposed to the original vertical mount.

The new engine and tank give each other a lot of clearance.

The one thing we did not install was a new primary fuel filter/water separator (such as a Rancor) we planned on leaving this to Stem to Stern.

The rancor fuel filter mounted above the raw water strainer in the starboard lazerette.

As if this project wasn’t enough Stem to Stern strongly recommended that we replace our old battery switch with a new one that would protect our alternator if the batteries we’re changed while running.  This was a pretty straight forward swap out.  We opted for the Perko with the locking feature since our new Volvo was a keyless start model and this provided some poultry security measure.

The old battery cables were replaced to ensure clean runs to the battery and engine.

The locking Perko battery selector switch.


Moeller Tanks

Moeller 12 Gallon Tank Diagram


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Repowering a CS27 Sailboat: Part Four: Engine Bed Reconfiguration


The beds without the angled aluminum added or other engine mounting hardware.

The engine beds awaiting reconfiguration to the accommodate the new Volvo Penta D1-13

With the engine removed it was necessary to reconfigure the engine beds to accept the new engine at the right angle and height.  For this we wisely outsourced the task Duncan Pollen, a shipwright from Lund that works up and down the coast.  He was referred to us by Stem to Stern.

This was pretty straight forward all we did was put Duncan and Ben in touch and Duncan rebuilt the beds to accept the new engine.  Initially there were concerns about having to move the companionway forward to accommodate the new engine; which fortunately was not the case.

The PSS and shaft.

To do modify the beds Duncan cut down the old beds, thro ugh the fiberglass and wood.  Then using polyester putty and marine ply would he smoothed out the work at the right height.  Next he removed the old ‘fiberglass dam’ that separates the engine bilge from the rest of the bilge (to catch oil). He did this to accommodate the oil pan of the new engine.  Then he built a smaller ‘damn’ further forward.  Everything was then fiberglassed in and gel coated.  The beds would later have large aluminum angle iron mounted to them to give the engine mounts something to bite into.  Starboard (the product) resin shims would be used for the finer adjustment and to put a spacer between the steel mounts and the aluminum beds.

The beds cut down and marine plywood puttied into place.

Cutting out the old bilge dam.

The new engine beds configured and ready to go.


It took Duncan about 4 days including time for things to dry to complete the modification.  We were happy to see that the boat was left spotless and the work was neat.  In the end we was thoroughly pleased with letting someone else take responsibility for this finicky work. Now it was time to tackle the fuel system.

The final product with the engine in place.

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