2021-09-12

Servicing the Arco 6 Winches

Our Catalina 22 came with Arco 6 winches. Once a year your winches should be cleaned and maintained. Our haven't been serviced since we got the boat seven years ago and who knows how long before that, so it was well past time. While ours are Arco 6, the info below applies to virtually any single speed winches, for example Lewmar winches.

Arco 6 Winch

A sailboat winch is actually a relatively simple device. It is essentially a ratcheted drum that only turns clockwise. It provides mechanical advantage when pulling on lines. If more advantage is needed, a winch handle can be attached to the top which makes a bigger lever giving more mechanical advantage.

The winch works by having a cast outer drum that has serrations on the inner side, and an inner main shaft that the upper part turns. Set into the inner main shaft are a set of pawls. The pawls are pivoting metal blocks that are moved by springs. The springs push the pawls into the serrations in the drum. Because the pawls are mounted at an angle, as long at the winch is turned clockwise, the serrations will push the pawls out of the way. But if the winch tries to turn counter-clockwise, the pawls will be pushed by the springs into the serrations and stop the winch from moving.

To service the winch, I followed the directions on this web site:  https://m17-375.com/2010/04/12/winch-maintenance-arco-6-style-winch/. Another web site worth looking at is the Stingy Sailor's. Also Emily & Clark's Adventure has a nice video on winch maintenance for a two-speed winch. The basic idea is you open the winch, clean out any gunk that has accumulated, replace any spring that are no longer working, grease it all back up, and put it back together. If you are working over water, it is highly recommended to make a box that goes around the winch to keep any parts from jumping into the water.

Winch Box

I started by removing the spring ring at the top that holds the winch together with two small flat blade screwdrivers. I noticed that there were springs that were sticking out, obviously not right. After removing these springs with needle nose pliers, I proceeded to remove the pawls. There are two levels to the winch: lower pawls that are attached to the part of the shaft that doesn't spin, and upper pawls that are attached to the part that does spin. On the Arco 6, there are a total of four pawls, but on a bigger winch there may be more. There are two half disks that fit between the upper pawls and the lower pawls. With the outer shell removed, these simply slide out.

The winch is designed to be serviced.There is a small indent in the upper part of the winch. By spinning the indent above the lower pawls, they can be slid up and removed. This then makes the upper pawls removable. By sliding them into the space where the lower pawls were, they can then be removed the same way. To remove the pawls, they must be pushed in, or the angle won't be right. After removing the pawls, all the parts should be cleaned in a solvent like turpentine or mineral spirits. Then the whole thing should be put back together.

Items needed to service winch,
plus lots and lots of paper towels.

And that is where we ran into the first hitch. The springs on the Arco 6 were mangled and wouldn't stay on the pawls. These springs and pawls were not designed well, with little loops of spring that go over the ends of the pawls to hold them in place but pop out easily. I couldn't find replacement springs of the same design. However, the pawls of the Arco 6 can be replaced with Lewmar small winch pawls. The Lewmar pawls are a little shorter, but work just fine. The springs mount in the middle rather than the ends. Unfortunately, the kit comes with six pawls, so it will take two kits to service both winches, leaving four extra pawls. After replacing the pawls with the new pawls, the springs can be serviced in the future for almost nothing (I found one place that sells them for 15 cents each), and extra springs come with the Lewmar pawls.

Pawl from the Arco 6.

I greased the movable parts and parts that come into contact with each other with Harken winch grease. The tube says to not grease the pawls. After reversing the disassembly procedure with the new pawls, the winch went back together nicely and give very nice satisfying clicks when rotating.

Cleaned winch with Lewmar pawls

2021-08-30

List of Essential Tools and Supplies for a Boat

Having worked on our boat for the last seven years, we have found that there are some essential tools that you will need to have on your boat. We created a page with the list and links to where you can buy these items. You can find it here: https://www.yachtslog.com/p/essential-tools-and-supplies-for-boat.html

2021-06-29

Marine Vexillology: Flags on U.S. Pleasure Boats

Vexillology is the study of flags. There are different rules for different countries. These rules have been established over hundreds of years. This post distills vexillology as it applies to U.S. pleasure boats (and mainly sail boats).

Some terminology: vessels wear flags, people fly flags. Flags have two dimensions, called the fly (width) and the hoist (height). The hoist is also the point closest to the flagpole, and the fly the point furthest away from the flagpole.

What Flags Can I Fly?

  1. U.S. Ensign

    The U.S. Ensign

    The U.S. Ensign, commonly called the U.S. Flag, has the highest precedence. It is placed in the most important location on the boat. The design of the ensign is laid out in Title 4 of the U.S. Code Chapter 1.

    Most U.S. Ensigns have the wrong proportions, because the hoist to fly 10:19 ratio in the code causes the flags to wear out faster than a more commonly available 2:3 or 3:5 ratio. Finding 10:19 ratio U.S. Ensigns is difficult. This calculator will give you the correct other dimensions, if one is specified.

    The size of the ensign is based on the size of the boat, with the fly sized at one inch per foot LOA (length overall) of the boat, rounded up to the next commercially available size. Thus a Catalina 22 should have an ensign with a 22" fly, and 24" fly ensigns are available (although not with a 10:19 ratio—opportunity for someone). Other flags on the boat should be 1/2" for each foot of the tallest mast over the water line (30' to 15" for the Catalina 22), or 5/8" per foot LOA for power boats. A flag pole should generally be at least twice the hoist of the ensign.

  2. U.S. Yacht Ensign

    The U.S. Yacht Ensign is worn interchangeable with the U.S. Ensign while sailing in U.S. waters. One or the other should be worn, but not both. It has no meaning outside of U.S. national waters, so if traveling internationally must be replaced by the U.S. Ensign.

    U.S. Yacht Ensign

    The U.S. Yacht ensign originally meant that the vessel was traveling from U.S. port to U.S. port and did not need to clear customs. Carrying goods that required U.S. customs while wearing this flag was considered smuggling. Since pleasure yachts typically did not have goods to declare, they also started wearing this flag. The flag has a 2:3 ratio.

  3. State Flag

    The State Flag is optional, but if worn, it has lower precedence than the U.S. Ensign. Some states, such as Washington, have codes on wearing flags on vessels.

    Washington State Flag

    The Washington State flag has a 5:8 ratio, but other states may have other ratios.

  4. Courtesy Ensign

    When visiting another country, the civil ensign of the other country is displayed, generally on the starboard spreader. The civil ensign may not be the same as the national ensign of a country.

    The Canadian Civil Ensign
  5. Yacht Club Burgee

    A yacht club burgee can be worn at a bow staff, but is generally flown from the starboard spreader on a sail boat. If the state flag is worn on the spreader, it can be flown below the state flag or moved to the port spreader. It generally has the form of a pennant.

    Edmonds Yacht Club Burgee
  6. Organizational Ensign

    Organizational ensigns are from groups such as the United States Power Squadrons or Coast Guard Auxiliary.

    The U.S. Power Squadrons Ensign.
  7. Private Signal

    A private signal is a flag that identifies a person on board. It generally has a swallow tail.

    Examples of Private Signals
  8. Other Flags

    There are other flags that are worn on occasion. The quarantine flag on entering a new country, regatta flags, man overboard flag, owner absent flag, etc.

Where Do I Fly Them?

There are six places that you can fly a flag (shown below in descending order of precedence). The rules that apply on land, where the U.S. Ensign is placed physically higher than other flags, do not apply to marine vessels. Flags should be placed at the place of highest precedence to which they are entitled to be worn. For example, a burgee or private signal is never flown at the stern. On the other hand, if a courtesy flag is worn on the starboard spreader, the burgee could be moved to the port spreader.

  1. Gaff

    The gaff is the pole that comes off the mast on gaff rigged boats. Unless you have some very unusual rigging, this doesn't apply to most sloops or power boats. However, to simulate this location, a flag may also be worn no more than 2/3rd of the way up the back stay on a sail boat.

    Flag at the Gaff.
    (Modified from a photo by Susan Davis CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Flagstaff on Stern

    This is a pole attached to the stern of the boat. It can be centered, or offset, usually to the starboard, if necessary.

    The Schooner Zodiac with U.S. Ensign Worn on Stern
    The Schooner Zodiac with U.S. Ensign Worn on Stern
  3. Bow Staff

    This is a pole attached the the bow of the boat. On most sail boats this would interfere with the foresails, so this mostly applies to power boats.

    Flag on Bow Staff

  4. Starboard Yardarm or Spreader

    If there is more than one spreader on a side, then it is flown from the lowest one. There may be more than one halyard on the spreader, in which case the outermost one has higher precedence.

  5. Port Yardarm or Spreader

  6. Masthead

    The truck of the mast is the top (technically the ball at the top of the mast). If there are more than one mast, it is flown from the forward mast. On many sailing vessels, wearing a flag here interferes with sails, antennas, and anchor lights, but a pig stick can be used when at anchor.

When and How Are Flags Flown?

The U.S. Ensign or U.S. Yacht Ensign is typically raised at 8 a.m. or when the boat is first boarded. It is lowered at sunset. If other flags are raised or lowered at the same time, the U.S Ensign is raised first and lowered last. The U.S. Ensign should be raised quickly and lowered ceremoniously. If you are leaving a vessel, and do not expect to return before sunset, then the Ensign should be lowered before you leave.

State flags and courtesy flags are generally raised and lowered at the same time as the U.S. ensign. Yacht club burgees are generally worn day and night. Personal signals may also be worn day and night, however, they should not be worn when the person is not on board.

Additional Reference

If you are starting out, a good place to start is this page from the U.S. Power Squadron. They also offer a 37 page booklet ($15 including shipping) that is the definitive reference on flags on boats.

2021-06-13

Origo 3000 Alcohol Stove

Dometic Origo 3000 Alcohol Stove

We purchased a Dometic Origo 3000 alcohol stove from someone on Craigslist. This stove is a drop-in replacement for the Kenyon 126 stove that came with the boat. We had decided to buy this stove a couple of years ago, but never quite got around to it. When we went in to buy one, we discovered it had been discontinued, and there really wasn't anything else on the market to replace it. The story is that California discontinued selling denatured alcohol on January 1, 2019, so Dometic discontinued the entire line of alcohol stoves. These can be found used, but are increasingly difficult to find.

You might be thinking propane, but propane needs special storage on a boat to keep it from blowing up because it is heavier than air. Many propane tanks have leaked, filling the bilge with propane gas, then a spark blows up the entire boat. Alcohol is much safer.

The stove fits neatly on the pull-out galley on the 1969-1985 Catalina 22s. The one-burner version is necessary to fit later Catalina 22s that have a galley.

2021-06-06

LED Lights in the V-Berth

We are doing more stuff recommended by the Stingy Sailor. On his site, he had a project to install LED strip lights in the V-Berth. I ordered the parts. The dimmer switch literally came on the slow boat from China, so took almost a month to arrive.

It was an easy install. Just wired in to the cabin lights circuit and stuck up the LED lights. One 16' roll of the lights only leaves a few inches left when covering the entire V-Berth edge. The only issue that we had was because of the construction of our boat, the little trough on the starboard side was not as accessible as the port side, so the lights were a little more exposed. This is a cheap and easy upgrade and makes the dark forward part of the cabin much nicer.

2021-06-01

Outboard Motor Stand

We built a stand for our old outboard. We used the plans linked from the Stingy Sailor web site by D. Hayes Jr., with some modifications. The motor we wanted to put on the stand is a long shaft Johnson Sailmaster, so the uprights on the plans were too short and we needed to make them longer. We also wanted to be able to get a trash can under to motor on the stand for testing, as an outboard motor flusher doesn't work with the design of the Johnson motor. Otherwise the plans worked well.

We used scrap lumber that we had lying around. We just had to buy four casters at $6.29 a piece and a box of 2.5" deck screws at $10.25, and sixteen 5/16x1" lag screws at $0.31 each for a total of $40.37 plus tax. It took about five hours, but we aren't really fast at this kind of stuff and more experienced carpenters could probably do it in less than half the time.

Read the plans carefully, as it isn't clear from the parts list that some of the angled cuts need to be on the 4" side of the 2x4 and some need to be on the 2" side. We did that wrong on a couple of pieces and had to re-cut. It was obvious in retrospect, but at the time it was a "doh!" moment.

Most of the work was done with miter saw, but there is one piece that we needed an 8° angle on a 24" rip cut, so used the table saw. All of this work could also have been done using just a saber saw, or even a jig saw, although it would have been slower. Other than that, it just needed an electric drill, and used a socket wrench to put on the castors. This is not precision carpentry, so junk wood and bad tolerances are allowed.

2021-05-24

Engine Cut Off Switch (ECOS) Requirement

As of April 1st, 2021, a new law went into effect regarding Engine Cut Off Switch (ECOS) on boats. So what is an ECOS? It is that lanyard that probably came with your outboard if it was made any time recently. It attaches to the helms-person and the motor. In general, it looks something like this:

They also make electronic ones that you attach to you or your PFD that will kill the motor if you fall in the water or get separated from the boat, but all the ones I saw were pretty expensive and really designed for bigger boats where the crew might not notice that someone went overboard.

Here is how the actual law reads:

SEC. 8316. ENGINE CUT-OFF SWITCHES; USE REQUIREMENT.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 4312 of title 46, United States Code, is amended—
 (1) by redesignating subsections (b), (c), and (d) as subsections (c), (d), and (e), respectively;
     and
 (2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:
  ``(b) USE REQUIREMENT.—
   ``(1) IN GENERAL.—An individual operating a covered recreational vessel shall use an engine
         cut-off switch link while operating on plane or above displacement speed.
   ``(2) EXCEPTIONS.—The requirement under paragraph (1) shall not apply if—
    ``(A) the main helm of the covered vessel is installed within an enclosed cabin; or
    ``(B) the vessel does not have an engine cut-off switch and is not required to have one under
        subsection (a).’’.
 (b) CIVIL PENALTY.—Section 4311 of title 46, United States Code, is amended by—
  (1) redesignating subsections (c), (d), (e), (f), and (g) as subsections (d), (e), (f), (g),
      and (h), respectively; and
  (2) inserting after subsection (b) the following:
   ``(c) A person violating section 4312(b) of this title is liable to the United States Government
       for a civil penalty of not more than—
    ``(1) $100 for the first offense;
    ``(2) $250 for the second offense; and
    ``(3) $500 for any subsequent offense.’’.
 (c) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made in subsections (a) and (b) shall take effect 90 days after
     the date of the enactment of this section, unless the Commandant, prior to the date that is 90
     days after the date of the enactment of this section, determines that the use requirement
     enacted in subsection (a) would not promote recreational boating safety.

I'm not a lawyer but after parsing through a bunch of the law and various other sites on this, here is my understanding of what this means for our Catalina 22. It doesn't apply to boats 26 feet or longer or if the helm is enclosed in a cabin. That doesn't rule out the Catalina 22. The critical passage in there for the Catalina 22 is "while operating on plane or above displacement speed". In general, sailboats just don't get on plane (okay, some of those America's Cup ones do, but we aren't talking about low-flying wind-powered airplanes). It also doesn't apply if your boat or motor didn't come with an ECOS (ours did). Here is what the Coast Guard FAQ says about being "on plane": "Sailing vessels are generally not capable of getting 'on plane' because of their displacement hull, whereas a ski boat, bass boat or runabout can usually achieve planing with little effort."

What does "or above displacement speed" mean? Well, the displacement speed provided by this formula:

The LWL is the Length at Water Line in feet. On a 1985 Catalina 22, the LWL is 19'4" or 19.33 feet, so the displacement speed is 5.93 knots. So this rule could apply if we are under motor moving faster than 5.93 knots, which theoretically could happen if we are moving at full speed with a tide in our favor. If your boat has a ECOS (which are required on all new boats and motors) and you are under motor moving faster than 5.93 knots (for a Catalina 22), you should have that ECOS attached to both you and the switch. This is pretty infrequent, so just make sure you have the cord nearby.

The more likely place that a sailer will run into trouble with the rule is on their dinghy. Some dinghies definitely can get on plane, and that's where you can get into trouble for not having a ECOS.

In general, besides the rules, just don't be stupid about it. Use one where a kill switch makes sense. Your chances of getting stopped by the Coast Guard are low. The most likely place you will run into trouble is if you fall into the water and your boat smashes into something else or comes around and runs you over. Then they will likely fine you on top of your other problems. These rules are there to codify common sense, which some boaters just don't seem to have.

2021-05-22

Lazerette Gas Springs

After the 400th time the lazerette lids have fallen on us, we decided to get the kit that the Stingy Sailor sells for adding gas springs to the lazerettes for the Catalina 22. These make it so you need to keep the lazerettes down rather than trying to keep them up. They are a little on the expensive side for what they are, but the kit works with all the parts, and there are reasonably good instructions.

It took maybe two hours to install. Just some advice: although the instructions say to start on the port lazerette, I would start on the starboard side. You use the port lazerette more often so if you make any mistakes it should be on the lazerette you use less frequently. When you place the bracket inside the lazerette, place it back as far as it will go into the corner. At least that is what worked on our 1985 Catalina 22. We had to re-drill the holes to move it back further when it wouldn't close. Also, we subtracted 1/4" (10.25" instead of 10.5") to the distance from the back wall for the location of the top bracket from what was in the instructions when we did the second lazerette.

We get a smile each time we open the lazerettes now as they aren't falling as we get the gas tank out and other stuff.

With the springs, it is important that your latches for holding the lazerette shut are secure while under sail. You don't want the lazerettes popping open at the wrong moment (such as if you turtle the boat), as they now default to open rather than defaulting to shut.

2021-04-16

Settling in to the New Marina

We got our boat in the water again. Launching was a breeze since the Edmonds Marina doesn't have a boat ramp. Instead they do all their launches with a sling. You pull up in your trailer, disconnect all of the tie downs and in a few minutes you are in the water. From there, we tied up and raised the mast. All for $22 (the off-season price), billed to your marina monthly bill. Here is the video of the launch.

This is so much easier than doing a trailer launch. Then an hour or so to get the mast raised and then a short motor over to our slip.

2021-04-01

What Happened Between 2017 and 2021

It's been quite a while since our last post...but there are reasons!

We finished the 2017 season, and pulled out. We launched again for the 2018 season. Then after a few sails, Greg and Sandi spent a month traveling around Europe. Germany, Italy, Greece, Italy again, and back through another part of Germany.

After we got back, we went out to go for a sail. As we were getting ready, Greg grabbed the lifeline to pull the boat into the dock, and instead of coming in, the boat tipped. WTF? And then we figured out what happened: the keel cable had snapped during the most recent wind storm. You know, that thing we kept saying we needed to replace. Fortunately, we were docked above sand and the 550 pound keel rather than continuing unabated, smashed down into the sand. We were incredibly lucky, because if the water were any deeper, the keel likely would have continued and probably sunk the boat as it smashed into all kinds of fiberglass. The lake water level was lower at that point, too, which saved us.

So we had a friend with scuba gear come out and thread the new keel cable that we'd had sitting on our shelf up through the volcano and back onto the winch and attach it to the keel. Back in operation! Well, no. Because, it turns out that 550 pounds of cast iron in free fall has a tremendous amount of force, and it bent the keel locking pin (part 15 in the drawing). This means that we ran into problems with raising and lowering the keel. We did manage to get the keel up, but with difficulty and could not lock it with the pin. We pulled the boat out shortly thereafter for the season. 2019 came and went with no repairs and no sailing due to a large home renovation project.

2020 came, and with it came the pandemic. We scheduled to get the boat down to CSR Marine to get the repairs done, but the trailer lights didn't work. It took us a while to debug that our ground wire had snapped. We finally got that fixed and the boat to CSR, but by the time they finished, the 2020 season was done. It was kind of too bad, because sailing is one of the few things you can do during a pandemic, and there were many days where we said, "it really would be nice to go sailing."

CSR Marine is expensive, but we felt that they did good work. They actually came in under their initial bid. They took off the keel. They cut out the old locking pin (15) and fiberglassed in a new locking strap (16). Since they had the keel off, we got a lot of other keel maintenance done. We replaced all the keel raising hardware, a new keel winch (1), tube around the volcano (5), the brass turning ball (7), the pivot the keel goes through (13), the pivot pin (14), installed the centering kit so the keel no longer thunks. The pin put a big gouge in the side of the keel, so the keel was ground down to the metal and refinished with a better profile. New bottom paint. Added a zinc to the keel, which it never had before. And had them wax the hull. All this work cost more than what we initially paid for the boat, but we kind of feel we got a new boat out of it. The only parts in the picture above that didn't get replaced were 8 (the volcano itself), 9 (the keel eye bolt which looked fine), 11 (the keel, which got refinished), and 12 (the keel shoe casting, which looked fine).

Also, around this time, our hosts providing our dock on Lake Washington sold their house and moved to Arizona. (Thank you for those years there, John and Barbara!) So we got on the waiting list to get a slip at the Port of Edmonds Marina 25 minutes from our house. In March 2021, we got a call from the marina that they had a slip for us. We signed the paperwork and as of April 1st, we had a slip. We weren't quite ready to get a boat into it but the slip was waiting for us.

What we learned: Don't put off replacing the keel cable. It is possibly the weakest link in the entire Catalina 22 design.