Start Here: At Least Her Hull is Watertight, December 2013, Indiantown, FL

I got her in late December of 2013. The boat was in Indiantown, FL, and I was in Richmond, VA. Indiantown is in South Florida, just east of Lake Okeechobee – about 1200 miles from Richmond.

St. Augustine to Indiantown, Florida

The former owner and his son were driving from Titusville, FL, to check on the boat. The boat had not been checked in “a few years…”. The former owner briefly mentioned to his son that he thought there may be a “small” rainwater leak in the boat… I suppose it doesn’t have to be a big leak to cause big problems over the course of a “few years” (6?). The bad news is that the boat had 3, or so, feet of water INSIDE it. The good news is, I suppose, that means the boat’s hull is watertight.
My friend Ned was with the father/son pair when the, uh, issue was discovered. He wisely drilled a couple of holes into the hull to drain her. May as well allow gravity to do all the work.
(*note to self, repair those holes before re-launching)

more "before" pics
Fast forward a few weeks. My boyfriend and I are trying to figure out the least expensive way to bring the boat up to St. Augustine, FL (North Florida, 30 mins south of Jacksonville.) Adam lives in St. Augustine. The boat was originally given to him, but I desperately wanted to fix her up and get her cruising. I have more time for a job like this than he does. So he passed her on to me. The marina/boatyard seemed to be out to make a buck any way they could. To be honest, I thought the marina should have been happy to work with us financially since we were saving them money in disposing of the boat. As it turned out, the marina would not allow us to do ANYTHING to the boat without first paying them to move it to the “work yard”, then paying by the day AND renting their tools. We just wanted to put an outboard bracket on the back so that we could move the boat up the ICW to St. Augustine and power wash the inside. Meanwhile, we’re paying $300/mo for storage. The marina forbids us to stay overnight on the boat (wasn’t exactly appealing anyway.) The closest hotel is 30 mins away and not great, and we are driving 7 hrs round trip from St. Augustine to get to the boat. The boat was a very generous free gift but it definitely cost us overall.

The Dirty Cockpit
Smoke stained from the nearby sugar cane burning

I did the math. The ridiculous marina costs involved in mounting a bracket and launching the boat, plus the cost of fuel to motor the 200 or so miles. Not to mention that it was pretty cold at night. I would have to find someone to help me as Adam couldn’t take the time off work. Then, there were the logistics of cars and rides, etc. And living on a moldy disgusting boat… Then what? she would need to be hauled again ($$$) once we got to St. Augustine so that I could work on her properly.

Dirty Catalina 30

Stern of the boat

Catalina Smile
The “Catalina Smile” as I believe it’s known. I’ve seen this smile on a number of different makes of boats in various marinas.
Looking down at the cabin sole, Catalina 30
Looking down at the cabin sole
Moldy ceiling, Catalina 30
Mold everywhere, yes, that ceiling is supposed to be white
what wasn't coated with diesel fuel, was covered in mold. Catlina 30
what wasn’t coated with diesel fuel, was covered in mold.


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This is the lovely head, actually a cool composting toilet, looks like an Airhead brand.


Some seriously spectacular mold.   I guess cans of Great Stuff can explode if left on a boat in the Florida heat.

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And then there’s the motor. A previous owner had replaced the Atomic 4 with a diesel Yanmar. Guess what, after being completely submerged, for unknown years, IT TURNED OVER!!! yes. It turned over, easily actually. YAHOO! Knowing the former owner, it’s not surprising that he pickled the engine properly before leaving the boat.

IMG_0059 IMG_0061 IMG_0062   It would seem the engine is salvageable. Adam managed to figure out the nut to turn and it turned with no problem! Adam then pumped everything out of the entire engine, cylinders too. Then he filled EVERY orifice with diesel fuel. Hopefully, this will keep it viable til we can really work on it. Not allowed to do ANYTHING here in Indiantown. I’m sure they would have charged us had they known we turned the engine over.

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One thought on “Start Here: At Least Her Hull is Watertight, December 2013, Indiantown, FL

  1. John Rolka November 4, 2014 / 7:05 am

    Wow that boat is in rough shape… I hope it was free, because the PO should be paying you to take it. I’m on my second boat. A catalina 30, a lesson i learned with my first boat was pay the money up fron for something you dosent need too much work. The repair costs as you learn and your time. My first boat was a Catalina 27, got it for 2K had a hole recently punched in the fordeck but otherwise was totaly funtional in the water and sailable. Over the first winter i repaired the hole, but went on to replace a bulkhead, rebed and reinforce all stanchion bases, take out 2 thru holes, replace and recess sink pump, replace and recess the main switch, replaced the toilet, replaced the head cabinetry structural repair of the catalina smile and painted the decks. All together i had her 2 years before she samk in Sandy. I did 17K of work, and i had nothing like what you have there. With the new boat i picked up something that was in good shape, could spend weekends on the boat with my family right away and only needed minor, accessory projects. It looks like youve got a gut job, there are some blogs of a similar strip and refit leslie transporter or something like that also on sailnet theres a guy whos posted pics form a catalina 27 rebulid. The catalina 30 though only 3 feet longer is a much bigger boat, and far more compliceted in terms of systems… If youve had boats before youll be able to prioritize and work on things you really need, with the 27 i spent lots of time fixing things that ddid really do much. I joked just slap some drink holders on her and go sailing. the 27 and anyones first boat is a huge learning experience, in my case i did a lot of work, learned how to do a lot and what was really important, i hope you have a project you can get to the end of. Ill keep an eye on this, and good luck.


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