1991 Catalina 28′ 6″


April of 2022 my friend Kelly O’Brien docks at the St. Helens Marina to fuel up his cabin cruiser. Knowing that I’ve been bitten by the “bug” he asks if there are any boats for sale. There is. A sailboat sitting idle and neglected, just recently pressure-washed to get it ready for sale. The owner hadn’t been making slip payments for over a year. The marina was keen on helping the owner get it sold. On June 24th a 1991 28.5 Catalina becomes mine. The work begins.


It was an exhausting process, which included getting hoisted up the mast in a bosun’s chair to clean the mast. I had a diver clean and inspect the hull in July – he gave it a thumbs up / no issues / zincs good – but it was due for new bottom paint. The engine had a bunch o’ work done:  New GROCO ARG brass raw water strainer & fittings (great improvement over original) New Racor fuel filter New Facet fuel pump New Sherwood impeller & pump rebuild New belt New fuel lines Oil change & Filter <10hrs Coolant flush/fill <10hrs New Marine Exhaust Hoses (that was fun) and so much elbow grease, deep cleaning, sanding, refinishing … the list never ended.


While listening to the unending rain late in November, thinking about the leak in the bow hatch, the leak from a port stanchion, the mystery leak finding its way into the bilge, the soaking wet sail cover succumbing to the relentless growth of mildew, and contemplating the many months that would pass before pleasant sailing weather would arrive, I decided to “bail out” while I was ahead. I actually sold the Catalina at a profit, completely covering every single expense (slip fees, insurance, purchase, etc. etc.) and making a few grand – of course, not including the billion hours of my time I had spent working, not sailing. That was my downfall. Not sailing. Winter’s wet cloak had cemented the deal.