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Old 01-15-2020, 11:13 PM
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My A4 adventures

Hi everyone, so here it goes:

The back story:
I've been bitten by the bug many years ago and have been searching for a sailboat, off and on, for the past 10 years. I saw ones I've liked throughout the years but I didn't jump on them until I found the "Tiare" in October 2018. (A Tiare btw is a type of Gardenia Flower found in Tahiti)

Note: Just because I searched for a long time doesn't mean I knew anything about boats, let alone motors. In fact, I had absolutely no knowledge about either other than making sure it floats and maybe changing spark plugs.

The Honeymoon:
I took her out maybe 10-12 times from Oct 2018-Aug 2019 and we started getting acquainted. A mini adventure was finding a dinghy for her (maybe another thread, but I had a steep learning curve on that adventure as well).
She taught me a lot during that time (she is a year older than me after all), but I began noticing little issues (rain water seeping through her port side aft eye, minor minor deck wear here and there etc.) but what bothered me the most was the stalling of her A4 heart, which to a tremendous lack of piece-of-mind. I want to feel comfortable sailing with my two children, family and friends who will be looking to me if anything happens on the water.

The Afourians:
I googled "A4 expert in San Pedro" and that's when i found you all. The post I read was from a guy who coincidentally had the same problem as mine...stalling. He said he searched the forum and is pretty sure the problem is coming from the carburator, but that he was not confident removing let alone rebuilding a carburator. Sounded a lot like me, except that I didn't even know what a carburator looked like.
He asked if someone would recommend a mechanic and two offered to go out to take a look. Those two were Thatch and Ndutton. I looked them both up and saw a weird moniker next to their names, which read "Afourian MVP". I immediately reached out to both of them and Ndutton came out to see me.
A few hours of talking with Ndutton was worth many many many hours of researching and re-searching for answers. He talked and I listened and took notes. When we were done, I felt confident I could remove the carb, rebuild it and what parts to order and what I should do next (which was to refresh the whole fuel system). I refreshed the fuel system only with the advice and thx to ndutton whose patience in dealing with my newbie questions is still remembered and cherished and dare I say it, continuing
The motor worked so well in fact that I ran it and ran it hard. I was so impressed that I forgot the fact that engines need oil... and it soon developed a knocking and once ndutton came by and heard it for himself I found out that the knocking was one that would require it being pulled out of the boat. No, I didn't cry fyi. I was happy to know exactly what I had to do thx again to ndutton. Oh ya..and he told me that the motor was an early model A4, where it should've had a late model A4 so I assume the Tiare wasnt telling me everything and that she had been around this block before.

Rebuild or buy?:
$3500 rebuilt vs. ~$2000 to rebuild is what I found. Until I found a late model on FB for $900! Made sure it worked, borrowed a truck, scooped it up and brought it back along with a million other parts and toys that the seller unloaded on me for just another $100 (such as a whisker pole and sails for it, magna stabilizers, half of the EWDS, full set of brand new gaskets, adjustible alternator arm, etc, etc etc) realizing (too late) that I have no way to take her out the bed of the truck once I get back into town, and I had to return the truck to the owner. Guess who saved my ass. You guessed it...ndutton, that's who. He brought over two planks to make a ramp and we wheeled her off (yes, she was on wheels thk goodness).
So, my question was answered for me...the answer is Both.

The swap:
So as the story goes, I had one working late model on the slip that I was buying new and improved additions for (EWDS, therm + housing, water pump, water jacket stud kit, etc etc..I guess Don can chime in and say what else I got and one handicapped early model on the water slowly being dismantled.
A few days before the swap (I had a boom mounted winch) the Marina told me that I'd have to do the swap at a boat yard...mind you I could've motored it to a yard before I had taken it all apart...now I'd either have to put it all back together to motor it or just tow it. Thankfully I had US Boat Towing and they towed it for free. Might as well get the bottom painted $$$ (I got sick of seeing the monthly report from the bottom cleaners saying the bottom paint was "poor"). Might as well have it buffed $$$.
Got it back a week later (end of Oct. 2019...about a year after purchasing it) and had to tow it back bc the new motor wasnt nearly ready to run (prop shaft not even connected). Took the old motor to the house and began tearing into the block while slowly reconnecting the new motor.
All the random research I did in the past was now making sense and paying off with info on such things as feeler guages, motor mount adjustments, EWDS bell and whistle placement etc.

To conclude (though it may never end):
New motor - I just put the wiring on the new motor so she has power and I put MMO under each (brand new) spark plug. Just ordered a brand new the instrument panel (bc I really dont want to put the EWDS display anywhere else) and the OPSS. When I get those, I will install them and maybe, maybe fire her up before that just bc I'm curious...but not until I add oil :)
Old motor - I found that the knocking was coming from the trashed journal connected to the piston in cylinder #2. Got a quote to hone and machine the crank shaft (~$200), but not to straighten it (which I wont know if it needs it until I take it in). Now I need to contemplate if I will rebuild or sell off the good parts. What you guys think?

Final Note: every little thing I did was a pita...nothing, and I mean nothing was easy. Removing bolts for example was a mini adventure...I had to buy a specific wrench to remove a stripped thread. But nothing worth while is easy and it is a really nice hobby to have IMO and I love it and consider it fun. So there you go. I'm sure I'm with like minds. "Hi everyone, my name is Ando and I'm an Afourian"
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:31 AM
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Welcome Ando!

Keep plugging away, one step, then the next and soon it'll be all there!

You are in great hands out there with the fount of wisdom locally and backed up on here.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:50 AM
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Thumbs up Great Start

Ando, well stated. Bill, this could be an intro "article" for the MMI site. Anything can get done with determination and good helpful information.

Welcome aboard. You were in good hands with Neil & Tom who are among the some of the Afourians I have shared stories and a beer or two. I still hang around the site as I am an old engine nut now without an old engine. I still have a sailboat but it is diesel powered and I still get good maintenance info regarding the boat stuff here first if possible.

Fair winds _/) _/)
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:37 PM
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Great story Ando, and similar to many of us who've had to "learn by doing" on these A4's. My story is similar to yours, except my knocking turned into an errant connecting rod blasting a hole through the block.

I think you'll find the biggest benefit to your effort is you now know your motor intimately, and no matter what happens to it you'll be able to fearlessly and knowledgeably dig in and make it all better. That should go a long way toward confidently taking your family out on the boat.
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Old 01-16-2020, 06:39 PM
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I'll chime in on the early model A4. The last year they were used is about 1969 and then a few 'hybrids" appeared. I have a virgin great running one in my 1966 Morgan 34 which I have had for 44 yrs. [I change oil often and thank the forum]. My point is that they were installed in what are now pretty old boats with old owners if they still around [our wooden boat fleet is gone]. We have about 700 boats [majority sail] in my Chicago harbor [I am the informal A4 go to guy] and I have not run across another early A4 - many late models still running good. I also have a rebuilt late model A4 in storage that I bought 25 yrs ago thinking I might need it one day - don't yet.

My comment is I don't think there will be any substantial demand for good running early model A4. I 'd limit my efforts and $$'s. However it only takes one buyer who would want a direct replacement?
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:09 PM
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I've driven down a lot of roads in this life. Some were paved highways with lots of signs, etc - others were dirt, single lane, showed up as dotted on a Topo map, and suitable only (maybe?) for 4 wheel drive with plenty of ground clearance. You tear the muffler off, it's going to be a noisy trip the rest of the way.
Which roads do you think I've enjoyed the most? Which do you think I'll remember the longest?
These roads were taken in full awareness that AAA charges a LOT more for a recovery than a tow!
A lot of 4WD vehicles have an electric (hydraulic?) winch. Usage is about 50/50 for saving someone else and saving yourself!
What does this have to do with older sailboats & A4 engines? Not sure - seemed germane when I started...
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for all your comments so far. Really appreciated.

Since the instrument panel is coming, I'm starting to get ahead of myself and think about my next project(s) to re-wire/clean-up this bundled mess. Getting ahead of myself again because the motor isn't officially running yet. I will keep y'all posted.

In the meantime, maybe I'll set up a poll as to what to do with this early A4 or a poll to see if I should do a poll ha!

Thanks again and a special thanks to Mr. Ndutton
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Old 01-16-2020, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Schober View Post
I've driven down a lot of roads in this life. Some were paved highways with lots of signs, etc - others were dirt, single lane, showed up as dotted on a Topo map, and suitable only (maybe?) for 4 wheel drive with plenty of ground clearance. You tear the muffler off, it's going to be a noisy trip the rest of the way.
Which roads do you think I've enjoyed the most? Which do you think I'll remember the longest?
These roads were taken in full awareness that AAA charges a LOT more for a recovery than a tow!
A lot of 4WD vehicles have an electric (hydraulic?) winch. Usage is about 50/50 for saving someone else and saving yourself!
What does this have to do with older sailboats & A4 engines? Not sure - seemed germane when I started...
haha...I'm actually looking into a 1970 Ford Bronco 4x4 (bc I need another project I guess), so your post is actually perfect. I'd say serendipitous. Regardless, it is appreciated and noted. Thankfully, the Bronco has a winch. Not sure if it works, but now you can be sure that I'll test it before my first test drive.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:13 PM
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I'm glad you found my observations helpful but it should be noted that most members of this forum would do the same thing. Someday in the future you will too.

Quote:
seemed germane when I started...
Channeling Sheriff Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit:
The God %@#&ed Germans got nothing to do with it.
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Old 01-16-2020, 11:03 PM
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[QUOTE=ndutton;119613]Someday in the future you will too.[/I][/QUOTE

I sincerely look forward to that day
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:18 AM
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UPDATE: I got the nerve to put the key in and turn it...wa wa waaa. She didn't start. New fuel lines, new gas/water separator, rebuilt carburator, new water pump, water jacket stud kit, new thermostat and thermostat housing, OPSS, EWDS, new spark plugs and many many many hours and dollars and nothing

Ndutton came by and we ran a bunch of tests...
Compression: #1 was at 115, #2 at 95 (sparking stopped), #3 100, #4 100
Spark: Only #1 was blue/white and the others were yellow
Timing ok
E-fuel pump test (external tank to inlet, outlet to jug: ok, fuel pump is pumping fuel
Fuel tank/carburator test (line from external fuel tank to e-fuel pump inlet): tbd...I havent done it yet. I'll let y'all know. If the engine fires up, I'll know that the issue is coming from somewhere between the internal fuel tank and the e-fuel pump.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:01 AM
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I can add a little more information. On Sunday we performed a few basic tests:
  1. Ando had already done a spark test. There was spark at the plugs but not of the highest quality. See item 6 below.
  2. As Ando mentioned, compression test
  3. We disconnected the fuel hose at the carburetor, put it in a container, jumpered the OPSS and turned on the ignition. The electric fuel pump clicked away as it should but zero fuel flow.
  4. We removed the polishing filter to be sure it was neither clogged nor installed backwards. All good except no fuel in the filter.
  5. We did a full timing exercise from scratch (the balloon compression stroke indicator is so cool). Timing and firing order are confirmed correct.
  6. The coil is in poor physical condition (cracks and leaking around the top). Ando has a replacement MMI coil that he will install. We measured the primary resistance, 3Ω.
  7. We set the idle mixture adjustment 1Ĺ turns off the seat so it is ready for initial starting.
  8. By the sound of the starter slowing down, the battery is anemic.
Our conclusions/project assignments at this time: replace the coil, test the fuel pump operation (done), find out why there is no fuel pumping from the on board tank and get better battery power either with charging or replacement.

edit for accuracy: the tester I used to measure the coil resistance was a very low end V-Ω-A digital meter that rides along in my A4 kit I use for helping others. It reads only integers so although the coil resistance I reported was exactly what the meter displayed, it was not precise. The next time I visit Ando I'll bring my better meter and report back
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Last edited by ndutton; 02-12-2020 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ndutton View Post
I can add a little more information. On Sunday we performed a few basic tests:
  1. Ando had already done a spark test. There was spark at the plugs but not of the highest quality. See item 6 below.
  2. As Ando mentioned, compression test
  3. We disconnected the fuel hose at the carburetor, put it in a container, jumpered the OPSS and turned on the ignition. The electric fuel pump clicked away as it should but zero fuel flow.
  4. We removed the polishing filter to be sure it was neither clogged nor installed backwards. All good except no fuel in the filter.
  5. We did a full timing exercise from scratch (the balloon compression stroke indicator is so cool). Timing and firing order are confirmed correct.
  6. The coil is in poor physical condition (cracks and leaking around the top). Ando has a replacement MMI coil that he will install. We measured the primary resistance, 3Ω.
  7. We set the idle mixture adjustment 1Ĺ turns off the seat so it is ready for initial starting.
  8. By the sound of the starter slowing down, the battery is anemic.
Our conclusions/project assignments at this time: replace the coil, test the fuel pump operation (done), find out why there is no fuel pumping from the on board tank and get better battery power either with charging or replacement.
I knew I failed to mention some of the things we did Thx, Neil. The balloon compression stroke indicator btw really IS sooo cool! The coil has been replaced. As soon as I get back to the boat, I will connect the fuel system to an external tank and run a test and luk what happens.
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:25 PM
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I attached the fuel system to an external fuel tank and after a few (ok, many) tries, it fired up. Iím very very happy. It sounds really nice. I then reconnected the actual fuel line and the motor started and continued to run. Dare I say that it miraculously fixed itself?

I then opened the thru hull valve and water was, letís see whatís the word...ĒgushingĒ out? No but it seemed that way to me as the parent of this baby. After a barrage of morning texts to Neil (sorry buddy), I found the following thread and it helped clear up all my thermostat leak questions.

http://www.moyermarineforum.com/foru...831#post119831

I hadnít put permatex on the bottom of the gasket AND found that the nuts werenít nearly tight enough. So I worked on those two things and am letting it sit for the day. Hopefully the issue is resolved when I go to start the motor tonight (with an open thru hull valve).

To be continued...
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Old 02-13-2020, 04:27 PM
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A couple other observations:
1. Exhaust fumes are emanating from the connection between the motor and the exhaust;
2. She doesnít like it when I give her throttle; and
3. She doesnít like it when I open the choke
She stalls out when I do #s 2 & 3
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Old 02-13-2020, 08:44 PM
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Ando, #1 - Permatex or similar in the flange gasket area?
#2 These updraft carbs sometimes stumble on throttle up..fine tuning of various things can help here..most often I've found is the teeny holes in between the main butterfly valve might be dirty. I use bread twisty ties to clean these..they are small!!
#3 - Maybe related to #2..airflow problem maybe..they all work together.

The real key we've all found is to do one thing at a time and re-run and try again so you know which thing helped or did not help it run better.
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Old 02-14-2020, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sastanley View Post
Ando, #1 - Permatex or similar in the flange gasket area?
#2 These updraft carbs sometimes stumble on throttle up..fine tuning of various things can help here..most often I've found is the teeny holes in between the main butterfly valve might be dirty. I use bread twisty ties to clean these..they are small!!
#3 - Maybe related to #2..airflow problem maybe..they all work together.

The real key we've all found is to do one thing at a time and re-run and try again so you know which thing helped or did not help it run better.
Iím back at the lil yachty.

As for the permatex: I donít know...Iím just following the instructions on the thread I hyperlinked above...but it didnít work all the way. It helped, but thereís still water seeping out the base of the thermostat housing. And I torqued it down as hard as I could (I donít have a torque wrench). Maybe Iím just weak? Or weaker than I thought?

As for the carb: ✅ x 2 (or three times) when I pulled the carb. I put a metallic wire down those tiny holes a few times during the carb rebuild. I stopped when I found myself questioning myself if I was needlessly scraping the inside of those little holes to be sure.

As I said, Iím back at the boat and have the following to report:
1. I turned the idle mixture adjustment screw a quarter turn clockwise to see if it makes a difference. Ran a bit and died.
2. While it ran for the short time it did, I opened the through hull valve and as above, itís still leaking, albeit a bit less than it was earlier today; and
3. bc it stalled out and wouldnít re-start, I was not able to play with the throttle and choke;
4. As for the exhaust fumes from the connection between the motor and the exhaust pipe, I need a 15mm wrench which I donít have right now so thatís a tool I gotta grab from the house and thatís to be continued too.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:23 AM
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Re the water leak on the thermostat housing, would it help to get/do I need a stand alone thermostat housing spacer? Or maybe even the spacer and stud kit?

As for the power, after an attempt or two to starts (ie after few rotations...ok maybe many rotations), there seems to be a drain/loss of power as ndutton describes above. Should I just get some new batteries? Like, itís not cool to have to wait 30 or so minutes to give the batteries time to recharge and try turning the engine over again.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:17 AM
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Iíve also come to the conclusion that the fuel supply issue has not miraculously resolved itself bc the motor is again not starting despite numerous attempts this evening.
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Old 02-14-2020, 02:30 AM
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If You're Using Bolts......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ando View Post
A couple other observations:
1. Exhaust fumes are emanating from the connection between the motor and the exhaust;
The threads may not be up to par so the bolts, even though tight, are not exerting enough pressure on the fitting. If tightening the bolts further does not stop the exhaust leak try switching to studs.
I never like to over tighten - it makes it hellish to get 'em loose the next time - especially in the exhaust area.

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old 02-14-2020, 07:36 AM
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I can bring by a graphite based sealant rated to 750įF that may help. It can be used on the pipe threads and gasket.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOHN COOKSON View Post
The threads may not be up to par so the bolts, even though tight, are not exerting enough pressure on the fitting. If tightening the bolts further does not stop the exhaust leak try switching to studs.
I never like to over tighten - it makes it hellish to get 'em loose the next time - especially in the exhaust area.

ex TRUE GRIT
I too hate to over tighten for the very same reason. I am now questioning myself bc I cannot recall how I got this on in the first place without a 15mm wrench on board so I will bring the wrench from home and try to tighten them with the proper tool and see what happens from there.
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Old 02-14-2020, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
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I can bring by a graphite based sealant rated to 750įF that may help. It can be used on the pipe threads and gasket.
Thx, Neil. I may take you up on that after I try to tighten it with the proper tool...or should I take you up on it and then use the proper tool to be extra sure? Itís always nice to see you.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:00 AM
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Btw, last night she started up for a bit with the idle mix turned an extra quarter turn clockwise and died and wouldnít start up again. This morning I set the idle mixture back counter-clockwise and she started, stayed running for about a minute and died again. Iím not planning on starting her up again until I get some suggestions on how to re-work this thermostat housing so that it doesnít leak water.
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Old 02-14-2020, 11:20 AM
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ndutton ndutton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ando View Post
Thx, Neil. I may take you up on that after I try to tighten it with the proper tool...or should I take you up on it and then use the proper tool to be extra sure?
Why not go the full Monty from the start? Make it as good as it can be. As for the thermostat, for the time being I'd remove it and close the bypass as a temporary measure until you get the engine running the way it should (you do have the bypass valve, right?) She'll be a little cold blooded but that can be dealt with later.

Right now I'd dial in the engine running off the auxiliary tank, then get after the on board fuel delivery problem.
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1977 Catalina 30
San Pedro, California
prior boats 1987 Westsail 32, 1970 Catalina 22
Had my hands in a few others
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