Join Date: May 2010
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Sorry to hear you are having so many problems, I have a 1983 25" Macgregor with none of these problems. I am not sure why you do, I'll try and comment though I am not expert.
#1 - steering while using my 6hp outboard is not problem whatsoever. I just use the tiller and keep the motor straight. Are you sure your motor is straight? Get it aligned by taking your hands off the tiller and moving the outboard handle until the boat starts going straight, then you know you have the motor straight. Lock it down at that angle if you can, or tie it down if you must. Now steer with the tiller. My boat handles great like this.
#2 - Bilge pump. What I did was to drill holes in all the separate compartments so all the water collects more or less in one spot ( I don't know if this is a good idea or not ). I connected the bilge pump hose via a T junction to just below the cockpit drain, to avoid more thru hull holes. I use 2 stopcocks on the hose, one at the cockpit drain end and one at the bilge pump end so water in the cockpit stays out and water in the bilge hose stays in. Still will not get the boat anything like dry, to do that I put it on the trailer and tilt the whole thing back until the nose is up in the air. All the water drains to the very aft, and I take it out with a manual bilge pump ( which you should have anyway ).
#3 - The mast. I rigged mine so I can put the mast up and down by myself even with a torn rotator cuff. I used a 6 foot aluminum slider track from a closet door. On one end is a carabiner, the other end has a block. The carabiner attaches to an eye in the side of the mast about 2 feet up. I lead a line from the gib foot through the block and back to a block at the jib foot, then back through the main halyard cleats ( tie a stopper knot. ). Also I have two short lines attached to the block on the end of the aluminimum track. These two short lines have carbines at the other end, which attach into the base of the shrouds ( the short ones for supporthing lowering the mast ). It took me some experimentation to get the length right but I got it eventually. Now attach the shot lines to the base of the shrouds by the deck, and attach the gib halyard to the end of the aluminum track ( where the two short lines attach ). Hall like hell on the other end of the gib halyard until the track rises up and is approximately perpendicular to the mast. Get this as tight as you can. Should be a "mini boom" but in the other direction ( toward the front of the boat ). The two short lines should be taught. If your 'mini boom' is not perpendicular to the mast take it down and change the length of the two short lines. Do it again until it is perpendicular. You just need to get this right once... When you do, make sure to cleat off the gib halyard well! Now go aft where you lead the line through the main halyard cleat, and tied a stopper on it, right? Haul on this line hard until your forestay slackes enough to undo. Take off the forestay. Now go aft and slowly slacken the line in the main halyard cleat until the mast comes down. Presto. You can stop it at any angle by re-cleeting the line. Mast goes up the same way it comes down. The only tricky part is getting the mast up ( or down ) past the first (comming up ) or last ( going down ) 15 degrees or so. With my setup the 'mini boom' goes over to the side at this critical angle. I just hold it up past this angle, with the help of the line and cleat, and it works fine even w/ a torn rotator cuff. Don't forget to put on the thingy to catch the mast if you are taking it all the way down... But hell, make the VHF work anyway.
#4 - Other things I recommend if you value your life:
a) boom vang. Mine didn't have one. You will want one in the wind.
b) a reefing setup. I have a single line reefing setup that went in easily and is worth it.
c) On my boat the end of the boom is attached to the main sheet with 1 small aluminum pop rivet. I first noticed this while under a full press of sail, and nearly wet myself. I drilled out the whole thing and replaced it with a large stainless tang attached with a thick stainless eye bolt running into the boom, with the eye inside the boom, and a perpendicular stainless bolt with an aluminum compression tube running through the eye.
d) My shrouds were attached to the deck with clevis pins and cotter pins, and no swivels or turnbuckles. The first time I got it out in the ocean, pop, clang, suddenly no clevis pins and no shrouds. I fixed this by using bigger bolts w/ "airplane nuts", and I have not had any further problem with the shrouds. Probably turnbuckles and swivels would be better.
Hope this helps.