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Catalina rub rail installation

I was recently presented with the task of replacing a rub rail on the 1996 Catalina 36. This project can really give your boat a fresh look and of course help protect your boat with minimal cost.

What you will need:

  • New Rubber for your track. (can be ordered from Catalina)
  • Aluminium track. (can be ordered from Catalina)
  • West System Epoxy
  • West System Fairing Compound
  • Acetone
  • Plastic Putty Knife
  • 3M 4200 Sealant
  • A drill, drill bits and driver bits (2 is helpful if you have an extra set of hands)
  • Hand screw driver
  • Socket Wrench
  • A Screen roller (looks like a pizza cutting wheel)
  • Soap
  • Rubber Mallet
  • A friend
  • Some good music (some parts get a bit tedious)

Removing the old rubber and track

You will want to start by removing the existing rubber.  This part should be pretty self explanatory.  Take the screws out of the ends and just pull it out.  If you are not replacing the aluminum track you can skip the next few steps.
The track that I removed had a combination of screws and bolts fastening it to the hull.  If this is the case with your boat I recommend starting by removing the screws first.  You can use your power drill to do this, just be careful not to strip the screw heads.

Now comes the fun part: the bolts.  You will need to access the back sides of them in order to access the nuts and the washers.  Fortunately, Catalina simply hid them just behind the wooden trim rail just under the hull deck joint inside the cabin.  Just remove the screws holding the wooden trim rail in place and there they are.  Have your friend go in the cabin with a socket wrench and use your drill/screwdriver to remove the bolt.

Getting ready for the new track

Two Components of Epoxy

Fairing Compound

In my case I the holes on the new track did not line up with the old bolt holes.  So, I elected to fill the holes and abandon the bolt holes all together in favor of screws.  To keep the water out I filled the old holes with the West System Epoxy and filler.

You will need to start by mixing the two components of the epoxy in the proper ratio.   Then mix in the filler SLOWLY until the mixture is almost the constancy of peanut butter.

Take your putty knife and use it to force the filler into the screw holes.  Try to make sure there are no voids.  Fill a few more adjacent holes then use your putty knife to scrape off the excess fairing compound.  Use the acetone on a rag to wipe away the fairing compound residue around the holes.

It is likely that the compound will sag and or sink into the holes as it dries so you may want to repeat the previous step for a smoother finish.  Keep in mind that the compound can be sanded the next day.

Protip: Once you put the fairing compound on the holes and clean them up with acetone place a small scrap of wax paper over them to help prevent sagging.

Filled screw and bolt holes

 Installing the new tracks

Filling holes with sealant

Start at the back of your boat and line up the track with the end cap.  Have your friend hold it in place.  Pick a drill bit with a smaller radius than your screws and drill a hole through the first hole in the track into the boat.  Squeeze some 4200 sealant in there and insert the screw.  Do the same in the middle of the track and then at the end.

We tacked the track up all the way around the boat this way before we drilled for the rest of the screw holes.  However you decide to do it don’t forget the sealant!

Inserting the rubber

The rubber can be a bit tricky to install.  Make sure you pick a warm day.  Start at the stern and squeeze it together and work it in for a foot or so to get it started.

For the rest of the track insert the bottom of the rubber in the track soap up the rubber.  Then, roll your screen roller  along the top of the rubber to flex the top down and use a mallet just behind it to tap it into the track.

I have included a video to clarify the instructions.

Annapolis, MD

May 3 – 5, 2011

We said our goodbyes to Tangier on the morning of the 3rd and headed up the Chesapeake to Annapolis, MD. On the way, Spinny slept, Kris studied up for his captain’s license, Carol cleaned, and Gary and I alternated at the wheel. We spotted a ship wreck used for Naval target practice and passed several hard working tugs. And then, in the middle of the day…
Flies! Horrible biting flies, out in the middle of the Chesapeake! Out came the fly swatter, and I became a fly hunter on an waterborne safari.
Once the flies had been vanquished, we came upon a fleet of cargo ships all anchored and empty, just to the SE of the Bay Bridge and Annapolis. Large, silent giants all out down the bay, and to the distant ocean. It was a strange and mysterious sight.


We came upon a quieter Annapolis than the one we’d seen in October. The boat show was no longer in town, and the harbor, though still dotted with sailboats, was not full to the brim with them as it had been in the fall. The sight of Maryland’s capitol from the bay still filled me excitement. There is something grand and old world about the Annapolis skyline over the water. I love that this is a State capitol that has not been taken over by skyscrapers and high-rises. When I walk the streets I can still feel the spirits of the early colonists who walked the city themselves. Kris and I strolled about town often, usually without any destination in mind. There are clothing shops, gift shops, book stores, a comic book store, tea shops, candy shops, ice-cream shops, coffee shops, art galleries, and assorted restaurants all across downtown. Some of our favorites include Chick & Ruth’s, Mangia’s Italian Bar and Grill (best slices of pizza in town), Pusser’s, and City Dock Coffee. Spinnaker prefers blueberry scones from City Dock, and peanut butter treats from Paws, the city pet store.

They're neck and neck.

On Wednesday, the previous day’s rain had cleared enough by evening for the weekly Wednesday sailing races. The racers came flying around the corner and slid into the side of the mooring field, sailing to the Spa Creek bridge for the last leg of their race. It was an amazing sight, all of those mylar sails stiff in the wind, hulls healing over for maximum speed, slipping into the waters between the docks and the moored boats. I stood on the deck, memorized by their grace and dexterity. I could not tear my eyes away until the last boat glided past the mooring field.

Wednesday night we explored some of the nearby shipyards. While searching for a new boat some years ago, before they found Horizons, the Krasnoskys spent many days looking through the shipyards around Annapolis. For old time’s sake, we poked our noses around the dry-docked boats. Kris found a few that peaked his interest,

Duck on the St. Michaels marina dock. Quack!

and I enjoyed walking around the boats at night, their large hulls looming above me. It is erie to see boats from the point of view that a fish must see them in the water.

On Thursday we visited Kent Island. Carol and Gary were eager to lunch at their favorite restaurant over the Bay Bridge, the Stevensville Crab Shack. After they feasted on crab, we all headed over to St. Michaels for a stroll about the small Maryland town, were there were a few more gift shops, an ice-cream parlor, and a quiet little marina.

The State House dome.

On our last evening in Annapolis, Kris and I took a ride around Back Creek to look at the local docked boats. The waters were still and the air smelled wet with deep smalls of teak, moss, oil, and briny bay water. That night we took one last walk around the city with Spinny. The streets were cloaked in a black velvet dress, lit warmly by the street and shop lights. It was a lovely night indeed.

Horizons at the dock in Edgewood.

I am sad to be leaving the boat for the reality of bills and work, but I will always keep the memories of the amazing places I’ve seen and experienced while onboard Horizons. Hopefully I will be able to take another long adventure with her crew sometime in the near future. I wish them all well on their trip back to Sandusky, Ohio as they re-trace the route we took in the fall. They will most likely be pulling into Battery Park by the end of the month. Until then, I’ll be back home, dreaming of all the new horizons that await Kris, Gary, Carol, and Spinnaker on the last leg of their journey.

Tangier Island, VA

May 3, 2011

Houses beyond the island marsh.

Tangier Island. A quiet place, removed from the hustle and bustle of the world. Imagine a New England fishing town taken from the shore and plopped down on its own little island, left to its own for decades. The people are all very friendly and glad to have you. The inlet is littered with docks, crab traps stacked on shore, and small motor powered crabbing boats. The houses are almost all whitewashed, a few handfuls of paper homes all placed along narrow paved roads. There are but a few trucks on the island. On a cool spring evening, the small streets are buzzing with golf carts, teens and children on bicycles, and those out for an after dinner stroll. Everyone here knows everyone else on the island, so do not be surprised if the town’s people give you a taken aback stare before saying hello. There are a few small restaurants and gift shops on the island, but the shops are only open in the summer for the short tourist season. Signs all around the island give insight into the island’s history. My favorite was the large purple painted house that was apparently imported from Dublin for a Tangier resident.

We pulled into Parks Marina for the evening. Mr. Parks is eager to talk with travelers. He and Gary hit it off beautifully. We were not the only travelors to find safe harbor at the Parks residence. Mr. Parks is kind enough to feed the stray cats on the island. Among all the feline visitors walks Mr. Parks’ big old dog (whom Kris and I lovingly dubbed the “Dingy Dog”). He keeps watch over the dock, and greets you with a slow tail wag. Bathrooms are provided in the dock house for your convenience. It’s a slow paced, sleepy place to be, and it suited us just fine for the evening. Tomorrow we are off on my last leg of the trip, up the Chesapeake further to Annapolis, MD.

Stopped for a while in Annapolis, MD and back to Ohio

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven’t gotten a chance to blog further about our adventures yet. Kris, Carol, and I are currently back in Ohio. Carol and Kris have business to tend to at Cheers and I unfortunately need to start getting back into the swing of things in the real world. Gary and Spinny are with the boat in Annapolis, relaxing and working on boat maintenance. I will blog about our adventures from May 3rd to the 5th as soon as I can. Right now many of my friends back home are all graduating and between all of the celebrations and visiting I have just enough time to type this little message to you all.

Look for posts on May 3-5 soon! Then, sadly, I will be signing off, as I will be staying here in Ohio. Let’s hope this rain stops soon!

Down the ICW to Tangier Island, Virginia

May 1 – 2, 2011

We traveled up out of the Palmilco Sound, down the ICW, and out into the Chesapeake Bay. On the ICW, the cool air and lift bridges that we came upon along the way reminded me of the Erie Canal. We even went through a lock!
A word to the wise, however. The bridges and the lock on this stretch of the ICW are interestingly timed. There are hours during the working week that most bridges are closed, due to heavy traffic. If you are planning on passing through here, I recommend that you do it on the weekend, as the bridges will typically open open upon request on Saturday and Sunday.
As we grew closer to the Chesapeake, more and more buildings and developed areas popped up along the ICW. Near the north end we encountered numbers large tug boats, huge cargo ships, and some military ships as well. Once we’d entered the Chesapeake, the crab traps began dotting the water. They lead us all the way up to our last stay before Annapolis: Tangier Island, VA.

Roanoke Island, North Carolina

We stayed on Roanoke island for our Outer Banks visit. Roanoke Island was one of the first places in North America to be settled by the English. It was first discovered by the British in 1585 by Richard Grenville on a mission organized and financed by Sir Walter Raleigh. When Richard left the island, he left behind several men with the promise of sending settlers soon after.
Here is the Wiki article on the rest of the history of Roanoke:

Elizabeth II

In 1587, Raleigh dispatched another group of 150 colonists to travel to Roanoke and preserve the newly found land of Roanoke. They were led by John White, an artist and friend of Raleigh who had accompanied the previous expeditions to Roanoke….On July 22, 1587, White and his men arrived back at Roanoke and set out on a mission hoping to find the Englishmen that Sir Richard Grenville had left behind the year before. They had found nothing except for what they thought may have been the bones of one of Grenville’s men. On July 23, 1587, White appointed his men to dive off of the North end of the Island in another attempt to find the remains or evidence of Grenville’s men. They were counting on these men to help with the affairs of the new colony, but when all of their efforts turned up nothing, they gave up without hope of ever seeing Grenville’s men living.[1]
On July 30, 1587, White and his men traveled to the neighboring Island of Croatoan in an effort to determine the disposition of the people of that Island and to see if they could find an ally in them. At first, it seemed as though being allies was not an option, but as they began to converse and negotiate fine details of the history of relations between the two Islands, it became apparent that they would be able to trust and rely on one another.[1]
On August 18, White’s daughter Eleanor gave birth to the first English child born in the Americas, Virginia Dare. Before her birth, White re-established relations with the neighboring Croatans and tried to re-establish relations with the tribes that Ralph Lane had attacked a year previously. The aggrieved tribes refused to meet the new colonists. Shortly thereafter, a colonist named George Howe was killed by natives while searching for crabs alone in Albemarle Sound. Knowing what had happened during Ralph Lane’s tenure in
the area and fearing for their lives, the colonists persuaded Governor White to return to England to explain the colony’s situation and ask for help. There were approximately 115 colonists—the 114 remaining men and women who had made the trans-Atlantic passage and the newborn baby, Virginia Dare—when White returned to England.

Because of the continuing war with Spain (Anglo-Spanish War), White was not able to mount another resupply attempt for three more years. He finally gained passage on a privateering expedition that agreed to stop off at Roanoke on the way back from the Caribbean. White landed on August 18, 1590, on his granddaughter’s third birthday, but found the settlement deserted. His men could not find any trace of the 90 men, 17 women, and 11 children, nor was there any sign of a struggle or battle. The only clue was the word “Croatoan” carved into a post of the fort and “Cro” carved into a nearby tree. All the houses and fortifications had been dismantled, which meant their departure had not been hurried. Before he had left the colony, White had instructed them that if anything happened to them, they should carve a Maltese cross on a tree nearby, indicating that their disappearance had been forced. As there was no cross, White took this to mean they had moved to Croatoan Island, but he was unable to conduct a search. A massive storm was brewing and his men refused to go any further. The next day, they left.

The end of the 1587 colony is unrecorded (leading to it being referred to as the “Lost Colony”), and there are multiple hypotheses as to the fate of the colonists. The principal hypothesis is that they dispersed and were absorbed by either the local Croatan or Hatteras Native Americans, or another Algonquian people; it has yet to be established if they did assimilate with one or other of the native populations.”

Ye Old Pioneer Theater.

We stayed in the town of Manteo, named after early settler’s Croatoan guide. The town is in Dare County, NC, named after the first born British child in the colonies. The town was quiet as most things open up in the summer for the tourist season. The people of Manteo are a pleasant and friendly. Kris and I chatted for a good hour or so with one of the workers at Ye Old Pioneer Theater, an independently owned movie theater that has been in business since 1918. The marina we stayed at was right across the water from the replica of the Elizabeth II, the ship the colonists brought over to the new world. One thing is for certain, Manteo is filled to the brim with history.

More of the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Here a few more photos of our stay by the Outer Banks.

Cape Hatteras lighthouse.

One of my favorite places on the Outer Banks was the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. This historic light house still sends out a guiding beam to sailors at sea. However, it is not in the spot it stood in for decades. The shoreline was slowly creeping up on the lighthouse, and in the 1990s, it was decided that the structure should be relocated. They moved the entire tower, in one piece, 23 miles inland on a rail and cart system. It stands at the equivalent hight of a 12 story building. However, we weren’t able to climb to the top as the high winds at the time were too strong to allow for visitors to climb the tower. It was still a beautiful sight from the ground.

Flying Away: Kitty Hawk, Jockey’s Ridge, and Kite Boarding

The Outer Banks are famous for long beaches, sandy dunes, and…wind. On a nice breezy day you can see kites of all colors and shapes flying up and down the beaches. The ocean is dotted with windsurfers and kite boarders, kits and sails zipping through the air. In this wind swept place, on the desolate dunes, the Wright brothers became the first men to fly on their own power. Here the breath of the skies plays constantly over the ever shifting landscape.

Kris is airborne!

Our first wind adventure brought us to Jockey’s Ridge, the largest dunes on the Banks. It’s here that Kitty Hawk Kites gives hang gliding lessons. Kris took to the skies here a few years ago. Today, however, the gliders were furled and put away, as the winds were gusting up to 45mph. That couldn’t stop Kris from flying his power kite! With the sand stinging our skin, the power kite took to the sky. Kris made several jumps and drags. The kite lifted him up into the air about 9ft at one point. After 20 minutes of flying, Kris put the kite away, his body sore and a smile on was his face. Now that was some crazy flying!

A replica of the Wright brothers\’ first flier.

We headed north to the Wright Brothers Memorial. Here we saw replicas of the brothers’ 1903 glider and 1904 flier. The flier was the first power driven airplane that was successfully flown by man, if only for 12 seconds. We saw the dunes were they flew, now a great grass covered field. The winds were ripping across the land. It was easy to see why the Wright Brothers chose this place to test their airplane, with the steady winds and the wide open spaces.

Kris and the power kite field.

Kris couldn’t get enough of the wind sports, and when he got a chance to take a kite boarding class, he had to take it up. The weather was glorious in the morning when we dropped him off at the Kitty Hawk Kite site, but by noon and wind had died down. Kris had learned everything about flying the kite in the water, but he hadn’t gotten a chance to actually get on the board. Sadly, the actual kite boarding will have to wait for another day. Still, it was an excellent way to round off our wind driven adventures.

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

April 25 – 28, 2011

From Southport we traveled ever northwards to the Outer Banks. After traveling for nearly 24 hours, we stopped in Ocracoke to rest up for the following day’s travels. Ocracoke is a nice little place to stay for a night. A town based chiefly on tourism in the vacationing season, it is filled with boat, bike, scooter, and golf cart rentals, restaurants, fudge and ice cream shops, gift shops, and a small but well stocked grocery store.

Kris jumping off Jockey's Ridge with his Power Kite.

In the morning we traveled further up to Roanoke Island. Pop up scattered storms brewed out on the Pamlico Sound as we traveled, but we made it safely into the marina in Manteo, NC. We’ve been here for the past few days. The first evening here Kris and I went to see The Adjustment Bureau at Ye Old Pioneer Theater in town. Kris and Gary picked up a rental car yesterday and we’ve been exploring the banks. We’ve seen Jockey’s Ridge, Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brother’s Museum, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and more. Tomorrow Kris is going to take a 6 hour kite boarding class. He was inspired by the crazy kite boarders who were out on the water in 30-40mph winds today. They were soaring off the water and 15ft in the air!

Here are a few photos of our adventures thus far. More details to come later!

Little River and Southport, North Carolina

April 21 – 24, 2011

The cyprus swamp.

From Georgetown we traveled up the ICW toward Little River, NC. The stretch of the ICW that we passed through was bordered by a beautiful cyprus swamp. Ospreys nested in the tall trees on out on the channel markers. I posted a few photos of these fishing hawks in a previous post: Down the Intracoastal in South Carolina We traveled more quickly than anticipated and made it to our planned anchorage too early. The tide was down and the entrance too shallow. With several hours of daylight to go, we headed for what appeared to be another good anchorage. Once we got there though, the current was ripping through the little river inlet and neither anchor was holding. Luckily for us there was a restaurant was dockage on the river. Kris pulled into the dock magnificently, despite the strong current that pulled him off to the starboard side. Carol and I assisted from the dock, pulling the bow and stern lines to keep Kris from pulling too far to the right and away from the dock. It was an exciting and exhausting night.

Range marker and signal flag.

The following day we left early to journey up to the Cape Fear area. I’m still not entirely sure why it’s called Cape Fear, but I believe it is because of the numerous shoals in the area, particularly the one that stretches out from the point about 10 miles out into the ocean. Ships unfamiliar with the area would have a hard time safely navigating into the harbor. That is where the town of Southport comes in. For centuries pilot boat captains have been guiding ships through Cape Fear waters and into port. Southport is now a quiet little town, with a few restaurants and shops that do their real business in the vacationing season. The houses around town range from the 19th century to present day. The Southport Marina is a nice place to stay for a few days, with electric, water, showers, laundry, and diesel and gasoline readily available. However, if business is not too booming, you can tie up for free at the Provision Company in town. Docking is limited but the food is quick and good.
We stayed in Southport through most of Easter Sunday. At 5pm we headed out on a 24 hour trip up to the Outer Banks.