DE 38 Fuel Tank Replacement

When we bought our Downeast Cutter 38’ in March 2014 we knew were in for a project. The boat had actually taken on a considerable amount of water partially submerging the engine, flooding the transmission, and fully flooding the aluminum fuel tank in seawater. The seawater had risen to about 18” into the salon between the two sofas. The owners agreed to get the engine running, pump out the water, and clean up the boat. I spent a few months doing various repairs, including a complete transmission removal/rebuild, as the salt water had gotten into some critical parts of the engine room. In the end, the damage seemed worse than it really was. However, after one particular day out, it became evident to us that the fuel tanks were in need of replacement.

The Downeaster 38 has a large Y-shaped fuel tank directly beneath the floor in the galley. The original tank appears to have been made from aluminum and was installed before the furniture was built in an effort to maximize the capacity. Beam-to-beam, the wings on the top of the tank extend as far as underneath the stove and part of the navigation station. Fore to aft, the tank is between the galley sink and the engine room. What’s particularly interesting is that the keel for the boat drops off abruptly into the deep sump under the engine, so the center of the tank is not flat on the bottom. Rather it follows a stair-stepped shape on the bottom to accommodate the keel which protrudes partially into the space below the galley.

Previous Owner’s Sketch of Tank…


The first step was to get all of the fuel out of the tank. This was important not only to make it possible to work on the tank, but to […]

Downeaster 38 Lost near Santa Maria in 2011

This is actually old news but I had never heard of it. I ran accross mention of it on a DE owners website

 In last year’s Baja Haha, we had a sailor fall asleep and the auto pilot took this Downeaster up on the beach at Santa Maria.  She was lost a few days later.

and on a search came up with this  report in Latitude 38.

For the record, Dachyon, the DownEast 38 that went aground north of Bahia Santa Maria was not part of the Ha-Ha fleet. But it’s not uncommon for Ha-Ha boats to come to the assistance of non-Ha-Ha boats, be they on the beach or otherwise disabled and in need of a tow. After all, helping others is part of the fun of cruising as well as part of the Ha-Ha ethos. By the way, we’re happy to report that Mark Cholewinski, who owned Tachyon, now has a new steel boat that he is fitting out for more cruising.

I’m very sorry to hear of the loss of a DE and for Mr. Cholewinski’s loss. Happily it looks like he has anew boat already. I think this happened in the fall of 2011.

The Cold of Winter

So after a great post title like that I have to admit anyone north of us is going to hate me when I tell how cold it is. 🙂 mid 40’s to 70ish

So we don’t have it that bad but it has been getting pretty cold on the boat. In an effort to fix it we have been looking at heaters/stoves etc.. The propane one that we have works great but providing it with propane is a bit of a pain as well as expensive.

We have been using a little resistive electric floor heater. One of the little ones and it has been doing ok and surprisingly not costing a huge amount to run. Our top power bill so far has been 50 dollars. After finding that just about anything in the way of buying and installing a diesel/wood/anything stove/heater is going to start at a base of a grand and go up I decided to postpone that project and trying something a lot simpler. 🙂 One 10 dollar window shrink kit from Home Depot.

I have to say after doing each of the 6 port lights, both the forward hatch and salon skylight as well as the 4 big windows in the salon that we have noticed an large difference. It is much warmer. The second thing we have done is cut out inserts using reflectix insulating material and putting it outside the port lights between them and the screens. On the one hand this definitely helps keep it warm but it also stops all light through the port lights.


The double sided tape goes on the vinyl trim


vberth hatch


galley curtain rods are a great place to store sippy cups


Tape, Scissors, knife, shrink wrap film and reflectix. The only think missing is the hair dryer. 🙂 have to […]

From Dock Queen to Offshore Cruiser by Sailing Seabird

Thankfully we have had a mild winter here in Portland and Seabird has had very few adventures “sailing” on her dock.. Aside from one experience just after we finished wrapping her. I was able to deduce that I, or more likely one of the kind folks that helped me shrink wrap, failed to properly hitch my bow line. A few days later when the wind piped up to 30 knots the line slowly payed out as it was merely wrapped a few times around the bitts. I have never heard a story of a boat misbehaving that didn’t happen in the middle of the night when the operator was in the nude. Seabird must have read this book as I was woken up in the early morning when the electric heater turned off. It does turn off from time to time but I happened to be looking at it out of the corner of my eye and I could not see the little red light. Reluctantly, I got out of bed to find we had no power on board at all and my reverse polarity light was on to boot.

Frankie was very helpfull

I didn’t even know the reverse polarity light worked, let alone ever see it on. I sprung into action. When I opened the shrink wrap door I noticed that my boat was slightly out of position and in fact her nose was about to start hitting our neighbor. This move to starboard had pulled our shore power cord out of the receptacle but only a little. It was enough to cause problems but an easy fix was figured out and life returned to normal shortly thereafter.

this is a Camrea Phone picture taken of the new larger sleeping area

Sophi and I are planning to sail to […]

Medocino Queen Attacked in the Caribbean

I spoke with Mr. Andy Turpin the Managing Editor at Latitude 38 where this story was published. He graciously consented to us re-publishing  it on the Downeaster Yachts website. Please take the time to jump over to Latitude 38’s website and check them out. They have a great free periodical that I think compares with any of the subscription periodicals. It actually is probably better in many respects.


Medocino Queen Attacked in the Caribbean

July 15, 2011 – Baradel Island, St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Allen and Kate Barry, liveaboards and worldwide cruisers for 20 years aboard the San Francisco-based DownEast 38 Mendocino Queen, report they were assaulted and robbed around 10:45 p.m. on the night of July 2 while at anchor just off Baradel Island in the Tobago Cays Marine Reserve of St. Vincent & The Grenadines. Having spent thousands of nights on the hook from Hong Kong to East Africa, and having travelled to and through 35 countries by boat and land, this was the first time they’d been assaulted. This is an edited version of a report by Kate.

Allen and Kate Berry suffered a violent attack on their boat Mendocino Queen on July 2 while anchored at the Tobago Cays. Photo Courtesy Mendocino Queen © 2011 Latitude 38 Publishing Co., Inc.


“We spent the day snorkeling the outside edge of Horseshoe Reef, where we found sharks, a good number of turtles and a lot of reef fish. Because of a tropical wave, only four boats remained in the anchorage that night. Night came on very dark with no moon. And thanks to the wind, the surf on the reef, the chop lapping against the hull, and the ground tackle groaning, it was not a quiet night.

“At about 10 p.m., Allen, who was […]