After a year working on the pilot house, I realized there were aspects of a sailboat that I needed to know that might be best learned first hand on a boat about the same size. An even more compelling reason was that I just had the itch to spend some time on the water and I could see it was going to be years until I finished the pilot house. So, we bought the Catalina 27.
The survey done at purchase revealed hundreds of blisters in the hull. I was personally assured by the surveyor that they were not serious blisters and he explained how I could eliminate them forever. He actually proved to be right.
I learned a lot about wiring and plumbing in the 14 years we owned her. The most significant repair was when the cast bronze cooling water feed fitting failed one day out on The Sound and I found exhaust poring out of the cabin and cooling water spraying all over the engine room.
When I tried to replace the riser I found that Catalina had sold their replacement parts operation to Westerbeke, so I purchased and installed their water jacketed riser.
In the photo you can see the new riser is not as tall as the old one. Unfortunately, it's not as tall as the exhaust loop. The significance of that did not become evident until the starter/ignition switch failed. Normally this would not have been a problem but a former owner had converted the engine cooling to fresh water which needed an additional water pump and heat exchanger. Rather than a mechanical driven pump an electric one, powered through the ignition switch was installed. The result was water backing up into the engine, which corroded a piston and froze the engine. The cylinder was fortunately undamaged so with some minor honing and a new piston, the engine ran like new again.
This is my brother-in-law Joe on watch in the cockpit as the Catalina self steers across the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 1998. I developed the tubing and pulleys and was able to use it on Dr. Mark's Erickson when we sailed up the coast from Astoria.