Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts


December of 2002 marked two decades since I last had a boat or had done any sailing, but for the week I’d recently spent in San Diego. There, at the invitation of an old partner and friend, we’d lived-aboard and sailed her Islander 36 “Alchemy” off the Pacific coast of San Diego -- an experience that awakened a long-dormant urge that I’d thought had vanished many years before. Upon my return home, I decided that I needed a sailboat of my own.

I decided my criteria and started looking for “something small enough to singlehand around Marblehead when I had the time and felt the urge, with a cabin so I could sail overnight if occasionally desired; fiberglass so it wouldn’t demand the restoration and non-stop maintenance of the big old wooden boats I’d lived-aboard and restored for some six years, and; was inexpensive so I wouldn’t need to dump a small fortune into it, a small ‘fixer-upper’ project that I could use more than work on.”

My old friend Brad Barrows, owner/partner of two of the previous old boats, knew of an older Catalina 22 that was available for what I could afford. I looked at it and it seemed to fit my criteria quite well. I purchased “Take Five” in December of 2002 for $2,500, including trailer and outboard motor, and brought it home where it remained covered until winter began to surrender to spring. That’s where this odyssey begins.

I should have known that my “criteria” wouldn’t stand for long -- I should have known me better.

I regret that, in the beginning when the restoration work began, I wasn’t as focused on recording the details as I’ve become as the projects have progressed. I didn’t know how much I’d put into this “inexpensive little boat” both in money and time, nor did I then realize the hunger for learning from other C22 owners’ experiences or the value of passing along one’s own hard-earned knowledge.

But I didn’t have this website back then either.

Marblehead, Massachusetts

“Take Five” unveiled, and the fun began on “Chip Ahoy”!

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


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"Take Five," the boat's previous name, was uncovered and unveiled in early spring 2003. I bought the 1974 Catalina 22 very used in late-winter 2002, for $2,500. The Volvo-Penta 9.9 hp outboard motor turned out to be trash; I soon replaced it with a used Tohatsu 9.9 hp. The trailer isn't far from dead either. My first job was to do a further, more detailed  inspection; begin prioritizing the many projects ahead.

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I knew when I bought "Take Five" it would take a considerable amount of work to fix it up, but had to wait until spring to learn just how much. The first obvious project was to remove all the teak trim and hand rails. What couldn't be refinished I replaced with new teak. The outboard motor mount was rusted solid, all the steel bolts and fastenings were corroded beyond salvage and had to be cut off; the 3/4" plywood mounting plate needed work, filling and refinishing at least.

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The sliding companionway hatch had been bent in its center, almost crushed from idle years with the mast resting on it otherwise unsupported. It had to come off too and undergo some fiberglass repair.
Access to removing the motor mount turned out to be easy through the port side lazarette; the four bolts fastening the mount through the transom were -- fortunately! -- stainless steel and came right out.

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The running lights unit at the bow appeared virtually useless, mounted flush on the deck behind toe rail, chocks, cleats, stem fitting and the pulpit. What a stupid place to put it!

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The cockpit after the weathered and rotten teak trim and sliding hatch were removed. It was still too cold to work steadily outdoors, so refinishing became a productive inside project.

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A close-up view of the interior through the companionway, and the defective old compass. (Its mineral oil had disappeared and there was no way to refill it: the card was spinning on its needle.)

Chip_Ahoy3.jpg (129094 bytes) The companionway from the cabin below looking aft.

Companionway with new and/or refinished teak trim and repaired sliding hatch. I attempted to refinish the cribboards, to restore them to their teak-look, but was unsuccessful as the finish was just paper-thin veneer. I decided to paint them white instead, then added a new hasp to lock the boat.  I also replaced the old compass with a new Ritchie and wired it into the running lights circuit.

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With my first projects complete, all the teak trim restored and a compass installed, I continued on with rebuilding the motor mount (removed here). Once completed with all new stainless steel hardware and nylon bushings, I remounted it and kept moving.

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The next project was to replace the deck-mounted (hidden) running lights unit with the new pulpit-mounted style. I ran the wiring through the pulpit tubes and down below deck, where I wired it into the original embedded wiring harness. "Take Five" was steadily evolving into "Chip Ahoy"!

"The cost for my own hole in the ocean"
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