It's all well and good to buy used goods. They say why buy new and eat the depreciation when you can buy used and get a deal. I say, why is it no matter how hard I try I get burned buying used. There's always something wrong with used goods.
Take my most recent acquisition, Sparkle Plenty. I shopped high and low for two years to find the perfect boat. Then I noticed that the steering wasn't what it should be. At first I thought it was Bob's sailing skills. And then I thought it was the nature of this particular sailboat. Then I saw that the rudder swung all the way to starboard (for you non-sailors that's to the right) and that it barely swung over to port.
So I e-mailed the company. We've gone back and forth. I've sent photos of the steering linkage (located in a bulkhead under the cockpit - accessible via the queen sized berth). Here's the latest e-mail from the manufacturer of the wheel steering assembly:
Good Morning Bob,
Thank you for your photos! I think the first thing to do if you haven’t already done so is to witness the steering movement from down below while someone is turning the steering wheel hard over to hard over. I noticed that both take up eyes are installed opposite to the way we have them pictured in our bulletin. I’m not sure if the excess stud of the eye is impeding the travel or not. It should be obvious when you witness the rudder travel. Also, make sure that the stainless vertical pin that the take up eyes pass through is rotating when the wheel is turned.
I also noticed in one photo that the lock nut on the upper take up eye has backed off and should be secured. Also the 4 rope clamps that secure the steering cable should be installed with the curved side of the clamp against the dead end of the steering cable and the flat base with the studs protruding through it against the live side of the cable. It is a good idea to coat the exposed cable between the take up eyes and the white conduit end fittings with TEFLON (Super Lube) lubricant while turning the wheel hard over to hard over. Do NOT use a petroleum base grease. It will brake down the inside wall of the conduit.
Let me know your results. Thanks again Bob!
Got my work cut out for me.
The nearest Catalina sailboat dealer is 250 miles south. Sparkle Plenty is in the water and not an easy puppy to put on the trailer. It would be a hassle and an expense to take her into a dealer so far away for a repair that seems relatively easy.
Well, easy for some. Bob is not mechanically inclined. What takes someone who is an hour to do a job like this would take Bob 6. Not kidding.
Making this repair requires laying on the stomach or back or on your side . . . and looking up which puts strain on the neck. Back in the day Bob was rear ended by a trolley car in San Francisco and came out of it with the mother of all whiplashes. To this day to strain the neck is to cause major pain for days on end.
So what do I do? If you guessed an auto mechanic who does mobile work you were correct. I've got the directions as to what to do. I've got the diagram of how the steering linkage should be connected. All it takes is ability and strong neck muscles. A mechanic and I are meeting at the boat this morning to make the repairs. Taa daaa!
Back to why I hate buying used. So what happened here that the boat's steering links are so screwed up. I have no clue. She's had like a couple of owners. It's apparent there's been some repairs to the stern fiberglass. For some reason it looks like the steering was repaired or replaced. Repaired or replaced wrong. This always happens when I buy used. Always.