The New C-Dory Projects

How To Keep An Old Man Busy

Just buy him a new boat!

Purchased November 2010

I’m prejudiced as can be, but I think the projects were worth the effort and the $$$$$$. Check out the projects below:

 The Windlass

December, 2010:

The spill pipe (where the chain goes through the foredeck) is cut, and the holes are drilled for the bolts and wires. The uneven deck, due to the smooth and non-skid gelcoat, required rubber shimming to level the installation. The foredeck is balsa core composite construction – the balsa is visible in the spill pipe hole. The C-Dory hull, decks, cabinetry and pilothouse are all made with cored sandwich construction.

The windlass is bolted down, the chain threaded through, and the anchor in place. To complete the install,  I will seal the base of the windlass and apply several coats of varnish on the exposed balsa core. Next – wiring and installation of the switch and circuit breaker.

The up/down switch (top) and circuit breaker installed. (Just beyond wheel.)

Wires viewed from the V-berth, show switch to windlass is wired – and it works fine! Note chain coming through deck, dropping into chain locker.

This project is done! I am very pleased with the results as it works as intended. In February, after several more projects are completed, I’ll be trying it out on the Delta.

Dual Battery Installation

December, 2010: 

The project is shown here nearing completion. Note the open hatch at left; that’s the starboard lazarette where the single battery was installed, taking up much of that whole lazarette. That is also where the battery on/off switch, the negative buss for grounding, and several other electric items are placed. The battery was in the way of everything. So I moved it down between the tanks along with another battery that was in the port lazarette, but not connected in any way to the boat’s electrical systems.

The two batteries are now installed between the gas tanks, on the sole, and out of the way. Both lazarettes are now clear of bulky batteries. The port lazarette can be used as a bait tank as it is watertight and has a drain hole, but is not plumbed.

Here the new 1/2/both/off/ dual battery switch is installed and out of the way. I learned how to do this installation by doing it all wrong to start with, and taking a total of about eight hours over three days to finally get it all done right and working properly. Whew! Thanks to my very knowledgeable friends, Rich and John, for their counsel and advise which got me through this first time dual battery and switch installation.

 The VHF Antenna Moved

January, 2011

This is the VHF antenna, mounted on the roof. I knew when I  bought the boat, this mess would have to go!

This photo shows the re-location below the port cabin window – where it belongs! It wasn’t a big job, but it required drilling a few holes and making sure I got the mount at the right level. I hope it’s straight up when the boat sits on the water!

Done – and it looks great!

VHF, AM/FM and XM Radio Installations

January, 2011

The shelf is removed to install the radios.

Here the AM/FM radio and XM cradle are installed. Included but hidden behind the radios is the XM modulator which takes the signal from the XM satellite antenna (also hidden) and puts it into the AM/FM radio antenna which will be attached to the front window.

The shelf is back in place – and the XM radio is playing my country music, even though it’s coming from the speaker held by only a wire! Attached to the bottom of the shelf is the sub-panel which distributes 12 volts to the radios and fans.

All done! At the top of the shelf is the single speaker, the music radio and the XM radio. Below the fans are in place along with the sub-panel, etc. That little AM/FM radio was all of $30 from Walmart. It is a retro model with no push buttons and only a “bass” push button to give it a bit more bass for music. To change stations I turn the knob just like back in the 60s in a stripped down Volkswagen! I’m very happy with the electronics shelf.

The Heater is Installed

January 2011

(This is the old, un-vented catalytic heater; to see the new vented heater, scroll down the page.)

The little Olympian Wave 3 Catalytic heater hangs on the cabinet door, just inside the cabin door. It will be stowed in the cabinet, wrapped and secure when not in use. A brace will soon be placed under the cabinet door to support the weight of the heater and keep the door from swinging.

With this portable set-up, the heater can be turned to the outside as shown here. My hope is that it will warm my back as I sit in the cockpit fishing on cool days. Note the little propane tank which has yet to be secured.

The little heater is very efficient and burns much less propane than the typical open flame brick heaters such as the Heater Buddy types. And very importantly, it produces much less moisture. Next month I’ll be fishing aboard FishWisher IV for the first time, and I hope this little heater does all I expect of it!

 Balance Beams and Scotty Holders in Place

January, 2011

The balance beams are waiting for some action!

 Downriggers are Mounted

February, 2011

Downriggers are mounted and FishWisher IV is looking like a fishing boat!

Fiberglass Work and Color Change is Underway

February, 2011

Bora, my fiberglass repair man – and a darn good one – works with one of his men filling in holes in the cockpit area the prior owner had placed for canvas. I’ll be adding my own, much  improved canvas soon. The forward worker is prepping the black gelcoat which will soon be burgundy! I can hardly wait!

Stage one in hole filling: note the brown patches where holes used to be. They have been ground out and filled with fiberglass.

Stage two in hole filling: The fiberglass has been sanded and another substance has been placed. When dry, this will also have to be sanded, then gel-coat applied.

Here the boat is masked in preparation for spraying the new gel coat on the shear stripe (hull) and the roof line. I can’t wait for that black to be replaced with burgundy!

Wow! Love that color!

And… done!! I love the new look – but out of the sun the new burgundy is so dark it’s hard to tell it from black. But the plan is for lots of sunshine and lots of fishing!

The Boat Signs

February, 2011:

The boat signs arrived – and after what I consider “fun” work, they are installed. I’m real pleased with the appearance!

I purchased these signs from for a fraction of the cost of other lettering sites on the ‘net. They are good, quality signs and they shipped for free – and very quickly. I couldn’t ask for more!

The New Kicker Motor is Installed!

April, 2011

I sure would have preferred a Honda 8 HP kicker, but not for double the money of this perfect little Tohatsu! Tohatsu makes Mercury outboards 40 HP and below, and are used world-wide. This little beauty was about half price of the Honda, which would have matched the main motor, but aesthetics are worth only so much! I’ve already done some trolling with this lil’ kicker to put some hours on the break-in requirements, and, because it’s a two cylinder four stroke, it runs very quiet and smooth. Many thanks to my ol’ fishin’ buddy, John, for his help on this project.

The tie rod connects both engines so I can steer the kicker from the helm. This was made for me by my buddy, Rich, in Oregon. Thanks, Rich! It works great.

 An autopilot for FishWisher IV!

July, 2011

I was spoiled with an  autopilot on FishWisher I, my first C-Dory that I sold during that dementia period a few years back. That first autopilot was mechanical for use on cable steering, and was a very big project, cutting big holes in the dash, etc. What a job it was!

FishWisher IV has hydraulic steering, so the new autopilot is a bit simpler. It requires that an electric pump (included) be fitted into the hydraulic steering lines and coupled to the computer (included) to control the pump. And then the computer is connected to the GPS (already aboard) – and VOILA! A grand autopilot that will troll in a circle, zig -zag, and even do clover-leaves! Amazing!

The  autopilot came in this box with everything needed including even hydraulic fluid and the wrenches! I set about installing this amazing thing a few days ago.

The hoses were all complete with fitting on both ends, and I had to do a bit of changing to the steering behind the helm:

Behind the helm, the two steering hoses are removed in preparation for the new hoses to be added.

I’ve attached the new hoses to the electric pump and the rig is ready to install.

The old hoses are reattached to the steering and the new hoses from the pump are also fitted. The pump is at the lower left. Note the Raymarine computer attached at lower right which is ready to be wired. This is where it gets a bit challenging as computer, warning buzzer, switch, GPS and pump all get wired together.

What chaos – but I think I know what I’m doing so far. The computer is pretty much wired to everything else, and I’m in the process of connecting the NMEA output wires from the GPS part of my Raymarine A70D GPS/chartplotter/fishfinder unit to the new autopilot.

I spent a couple of mornings trying to get the autopilot and GPS talking to one another, and finally I got it figured out. Thank God for all the info on forums on the internet. When sitting still, and the GPS and autopilot are talking, the screen on the remote says “Too slow”. For two or three days I kept getting “No GPS fix” which meant the wires weren’t connected properly.

Here the little curtain behind the helm is back in place – sort of, due to the hoses taking up so much room – and the mattress lays near the helm.

Here is a clip of how I used the new autopilot, beginning at 3:40 of this video, and on for a few minutes. The video as a whole is about a  fishing trip to Suisun Bay – one of the many adventures I enjoyed there – and, I think, well worth watching.

Six months after this install and lots of frustration with the autopilot, I have learned that for the main reason I wanted an autopilot, trolling lakes, this one is useless. One must be cruising faster than four or five MPH for it to work. I troll much slower for trout and kokanee, so for that purpose it was a waste of money, time and effort. Still, it steers the boat nicely at any speed above 4 or 5 MPH. I noted deep in the owner’s info that it isn’t designed for slow trolling. It’s too bad they didn’t make that clear from the start! I would not recommend this autopilot for slow trolling! Live and learn.

New XM Radio Antenna &
Control King Control for the Tohatsu.

August, 2011

I was losing the XM radio signal due to the radar arch because I was using an indoor antenna. Depending on the boat’s location relative to the satellite, blind spot would simply turn off the music. With the new antenna attached to and above the arch, the signal is always clear and the music never stops!

The Control King:

The Control King sits atop the intake manifold of the Tohatsu 8 HP kicker. With this new device, I can control the engine speed from the helm.

The control for the remote throttle control at the helm. This sure beats running back to the transom any time I need to change speed while trolling.

Cabin Upholstery and Rugs Updated

December, 2011

The new upholstery and rugs are burgundy, matching the gelcoat much better and greatly brightening up the cabin.

Another view of the new upholstery and carpet.

The old gray/black upholstery once matched the black gelcoat of the shear stripe, etc. before I bought it. It is a dreary color and, again, I’ll never understand why anyone would want a boat with black stripe and interior!

New Delta Canvas installed!

February, 2012

2012-2-11 Canvas done 3The Delta gets windy – and now with the new canvas and large Eisenglass windows, I’ll have some shelter from the wind. And when it’s warm, the windows zip off and I’ll have shade and an open cockpit.

Sign over Cabin Door

May, 2011

I really like this old Irish proverb, so I placed it above my cabin door. Maybe it’s a bit much, but I think the sign turned out very cool. If true, and a feller spent all his time fishing, he could live forever! That is something to strive for.

New Platinum Cat Heater Installed

February, 2013

2013-2-8ab Vented heaterHere is the new heater mounted to a cabinet door. A block of rubber supports the door from the cabin sole. No weight is on the door.

The old catalytic heater which this new, vented, catalytic heater replaced was not vented, and the moisture in the cabin was intolerable. It also set off the CO alarm if run on high, so I had to run it on low – and with the windows cracked open a bit. I ran the new PlatCAt heater for 1½ hours with the cabin sealed shut and not a drop of moisture developed and the CO alarm remained silent.

The cabin was 37° when I fired up the heater, and 1½ hours later it was just 45°. The PlatCat is not a blow torch, but a gentle, extremely economical producer of radiant heat that produces heat upon contact with its surroundings. It would likely take several hours to heat the cabin from the mid 30s to the 60s. But in real life I will fire it up in the evening before the cabin gets so cold, and run it all night long. It comes with a thermostat so I can set a reasonable overnight temperature and the heater will cycle on and off as necessary to maintain it. The little heater consumes only 1/8 pound of propane per hour, so it is very, very economical.

2013-2-8b thermostat below helm seat
The thermostat sits just under the helm seat. This may be a temporary location as it may be moved depending on how it works here.

2013-2-8c heater vent
The vent sits outside in the cockpit. 100% of the combustion by-products are vented out of the cabin. In the event of any heater failure, it is designed to turn itself off. Still, I would not recommend using any heater without a CO alarm!

2013-2-28h new heater's glowHere the heater glows in the darkened cabin on my first overnight trip after the installation. The heater ran all night, about eight hours or more, and used only about a quart of propane. In the morning, the cabin temperature was 64° and the outside temperature was about 50°.

The Platinum Cat website is here:

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
This entry was posted in Boats I Have Loved. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The New C-Dory Projects

  1. Rich says:

    Fantasticly done,…..I could never be so organized,…..and I have to be honored that my name should even be mentioned in it all ! 🙂

  2. FishWisher says:

    Rich – I couldn’t have gotten it done without you and John!

    • Dan Thomas says:

      Dale After using your Lewmar 550 windlass did you feel it was adequate as far as power
      for your 22 ? would you buy another one ? Thanks Dan Thomas

      • FishWisher says:

        Hi Dan –

        An emphatic YES! I anchored many, many times and often in heavy currents on the Delta. It never missed a beat that I recall. I had another windlass on a Bayliner years before, not sure of the brand, but it had a hard plastic gypsy that eventually wore out and I had to replace. Be sure it has a metal gypsy.

        Did you get the gelcoat changed on your boat?

        Thanks for your comment, Dan. I don’t get many these days but I’ve always enjoyed them.


  3. Sam says:

    Hi Dale! I aways enjoy your posts, they are informative yet are full of humor! Are you going to put the sturgeon decal on your new C- Dory? I would like to install that decal on my Arima if I could get it 66″ long and if you didn’t mind. (since it is your signature) Looking forward to more of your posts from your new boat! Sam

  4. FishWisher says:

    Hi Sam –

    Thanks for the kind comments. The longest sturgeon decal I have is about 14″ or so. You could take the pattern (it’s not copyrighted; I found it on the ‘net) to a decal outfit that might be able to make one as big as you mention. It’s worth a try! Good luck with the decal. – Dale

  5. Pingback: The End of Sturgeon Season ’til Fall | FishWisher's Home Page

  6. Ron Puckett says:

    Hey Buddy, who are you kidding? The reason you sell and buy boats is because you like doing all the things that need to be done to bring a new purchase up to your standards.

    I finally bought a small boat. Well, smaller than my 32 footer. Bought a 21 foot Sea Ray Bowrider. Going to have fun with my grandkids on the delta this summer.

  7. FishWisher says:

    Hi Ron – Thanks for the visit. But I don’t plan to buy another boat ever again! It’s just too much work for an old man. Congrats on the new boat – I make a point of leaving the delta to you skiers, etc. all summer. You all can have the endless wind while I fish the lakes! Good to hear from you again. – Dale

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hi Fishwisher:

    Thank you for posting up all the details of your projects… very informative. I too am in need of some fiberglass repair and wanted to see if you have any suggestions? Basically someone honest, affordable and that does a good job. Thanks!

  9. Pingback: First Fishing Trip in over Three Months | FishWisher's Home Page

  10. Dan Thomas says:

    Dale I have purchased a c-dory 19 and it has grey trim (not my favorite) can you tell me
    how much Bora Prohm charged you to paint your trim on your last boat . I am curious
    Thank You Dan Thomas

  11. FishWisher says:

    Hi Dan – Thanks for the visit. I don’t remember what I paid years ago and the file on that boat is buried in a box out in the shed somewhere. But it was expensive, I thought. I don’t know if he’s still doing such work but you might check online or the phone book. It shouldn’t cost anything for a bid. You might check which is all about C-Dorys and get some more current advice. Good luck with your new boat! – Dale

  12. Brian Beckner says:

    Although this a an older post I just wanted to say that you do nice work. Hope you are still fishing…

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