A New Boat in Nashville

I found my new (to me) Catalina  on the Trailer Sailor Forum, when a frequent poster suggested he solve my title line,  "sailboatless" by buying a friend's 22 in Florida.  The price was right and the referrer said the boat was in great shape.  I bought it sight unseen and started looking for a trailer to get it home.  

A trailer was found in West Tennessee on Ebay.  It was a bass boat trailer, but I had just bought a cutting torch and welder for use on another boat and felt confident I could modify it for the Catalina.  Again, the price was right and I brought it home the first of February to start work on the bunk boards.   After all the welding,  I was tickled to find all the critical measurements had come in exactly as planned!  However, after the boat was loaded, the bunk boards were determined to be too wide in the front with the boat sitting back as far as it ended up.  He could not resist taking a picture of the trailer in front of the pink motel in Bradenton, FL before the carpet was taped onto the bunk boards.

We checked the wheel bearings and found them to have plenty of grease.  Just to be on the safe side we cleaned the bearings in the first hub to examine their condition.  Uh oh, they had a scored bearing or two, so they were relegated to spares and new ones were installed.  After looking at the other bearing on that axle, it  needed replacing too.  At that point it was decided a run to Boater's world  for two more sets of bearings!  After replacing and repacking all the bearings, one of the Bearing Buddies was replaced and all the hubs were filled with new grease.

The lights were all checked and worked perfectly.  It seemed the trailer was ready for a 1,500 mile trip.  We had no spare, but the tires appeared to be in very good shape and I couldn't find the right wheel/tire combinations - because I was looking for a 14" wheel with a 4 on 4" bolt pattern when it was actually a 13" wheel!

The trailer pulled great on the way down, which was encouraging.

As they approached the boat, the green color was kind of discouraging.  The 1" think barnacles and clams on the rudder did not bode well.  The owner thought the keel cable had been eaten by electrolysis, so my Son-in-law was prepared to dive and fix it.  After finding the cable in the murky water, Rich determined it was still attached.  Yeehaw!  A few cranks on the handle and the keel was raised making the boat ready to get loaded.  

What a guy!  The water was pretty cold.

Rich and my daughter Jessica proceeded to walk the boat around to the loading ramp, right at the dock.   The water was not very deep, as can be seen.  The wind was blowing pretty well, but once Rich figured the rudder needed to be centered, he pulled it easily without hitting anyone's boat.  A feat of which I took particular note, since I like to sail onto and off  docks.

The next step was to tape up the spiffy maroon bunk board carpet.   By now quite a crowd had assembled at the dock area of the retirement trailer park,  My family was becoming the prime entertainment for the weekend! 

About the time we got the boat loaded the first time, Christy Day, formerly from Nashville, showed up to help.  After 3 or 4 more times loading and unloading, the bunk boards and bow chock was adjusted to my satisfaction and Rich's consternation, since he had to back down the ramp and pull back up numerous times.

At this point I might mention Rich is an infantry Sergeant with the 101st and doesn't know "take your time to study the situation."   Rich knows "take a quick look at the situation and use decisive force to accomplish the mission!"  As those of us who have rigged our boats for the road know, this may not be the right approach!  I heard Christy saying, "It might be a good idea to fasten a safety line to the mast before you take it down."  Haha, I turned around to see Rich undoing the fore stay.   "Whoa, lets look at all the shrouds and get the boom off first." 

After one little problem, we got the rest of the gear stowed and lashed down pretty quickly.  As a testimony to our methods, they never had to redo a single lashing the rest of the trip. 

While rolling up the main sail I noted it was a North in great shape.  An unexpected bonus.  The previous owner had retained the roller furling jib, so it had no jib. 

They tested the tongue weight.  It had negative tongue weight and it almost got away from us!  That brought a round of laughter form the crowd. Bob remarked under his breath, "Luckily the guy with the video camera doesn't know my name or how to send the tape to anyone!"

After one more stop to pick up a 4 hp motor, also purchased on Ebay, we headed home.  I had gotten in the habit of putting my hand on all the tires of the tow truck and trailer, along with the hubs of the trailer at every stop.  I noted that only one tire was warming up at all, and it was not even as warm as the truck tires.  None of the bearings were getting warm, so the decision to replace them all was paying off.

Rich's Z71 with a Vortec engine, Allison transmission and Chevy's towing package was a hoss of a tow vehicle!  It pulled the boat at 70 mph like there was nothing there.  We kept the "towing" selection turned on because it resulted in less shifting.  We also kept the all wheel drive selected because it rained most of the way home. 

After 600 miles of getting blasted by 70 mph rain (and some sleet), the grundge was dramatically reduced.  However, I still wonder  why we didn't find a car wash in Florida, where it was 70 degrees, instead of waiting till we got to Nashville to wash it in 32 degree weather!   The trip took a total of 58 hours.  Not much time for sight seeing! 

I plan on setting the boat up for racing, although I am planning a unique paint scheme that will make it easy for the race committee to point out any over early's!