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Old 09-18-2023, 05:58 PM   #1
City: Paradise Valley
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 1
1986 California motor yacht needinfo

Hi I just bought a 1986 California motor yacht 48. The previous owner had passed away so I had no one to explane the systems on board. If there is anyone that owns one or knows about this boat I would love to hear from you. At the moment I'm trying to find out how I fill the fresh water tank, I'm now hooked u to the pier but would like to clean that tank.
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Old 09-18-2023, 06:19 PM   #2
Delta Riverat's Avatar
City: Stockton
Vessel Name: Dream Catcher
Vessel Model: 1979 Island Gypsy 44 Flush Aft Deck
Join Date: Feb 2022
Posts: 621
You should have at least 1 deck plate marked water. I have five although I think 1 is plugged. Should have capacity marked also. While you are making the "rounds", you should find some marked diesel and another marked waste.

Very good to know and memorize these locations.
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Old 09-18-2023, 06:36 PM   #3
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City: West Palm Beach
Vessel Name: Sun Dog
Vessel Model: Mainship 34
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 426
When I bought our current boat the previous owner also passed away which is why his widow was selling. She knew nothing much about the boat. They did have quite a few receipts for me to go through. I had a survey done and had all items addressed. I also found a local mechanic where the boat was and he had a lot of direct knowledge of our boat. I had him go through the boat, explain as much as he could and left him with the request to "change or update anything you think needs attention as well as remedy all deficiencies noted on the survey" he worked for a week on the boat and had it in great shape.

After that, I hired a local captain who had a similar boat and we went out for a few hours going over procedures and nuances of the boat.

After all of that we brought the boat across Florida (7 locks. It's actually 6 but we did one twice) in 4 days. We had a great time and learned a great deal about the boat.

Once in our slip I rebuilt the interior, water systems, batteries, had everything from the deck up painted with awlgrip, had a bow thruster installed. Still ticking off projects but I had to crawl over and under every inch of the boat to figure it out. Even though there are plenty of resources on the web, undoubtedly, the boat has been changed or modified in some, or a lot of ways.

Enjoy the ride and never look back, unless backing into your slip!
Sun Dog
1983 Mainship 34
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Old 09-18-2023, 07:30 PM   #4
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City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Black Dog
Vessel Model: Formula 41PC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 20,205
Welcome aboard. The deck fills should be marked as said above. But if they arenít then find the tank and follow the large hose up to the deck. And then mark all the deck fills so you donít get fuel in the water tank and vice versa.
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Old 09-18-2023, 09:01 PM   #5
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City: Port Labelle
Vessel Name: Growler
Vessel Model: 1986 Marine Trader 36 Sundeck
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 118
You're in my shoes - and my boat - figuratively speaking of course.

I did the same thing as you only there was no widow and no mechanic that I could find. There was a little black book full of business cards, but after calling all of the ones for mechanics or electricians, I couldn't find one who knew (or would admit to knowing) anything about her.

And for the price I paid, I decided to forego a full survey and instead had a surveyor I know give her the once over for everything above the waterline - but nothing nearly as thorough as finding all the little stuff or mapping anything out.

Took us over a month of work to get her to the point where we felt ready to move her and even then, the day we slipped the dock lines off and left, I was a nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

She's on the hard now in a small boatyard near LaBelle, FL and we have a list longer than my arm of things that must be done before we can put her back in the water.

Everyone else covered the deck fills, so I will just say "good luck" and agree with PhilPB - the chances that most (any) of.rhe systems on board are still the way they were when she was built are slim. You will find the weirdest stuff done and the weirdest things hidden in the oddest places...

But this forum is a cool place full of good sailors who like helping other sailors, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting help.

And welcome aboard!
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Old 09-18-2023, 09:03 PM   #6
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City: Saint Petersburg
Vessel Name: Weebles
Vessel Model: 1970 Willard 36 Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 6,461
Welcome aboard, and this is a good place to get information. Be patient.

I do not know your exact boat, but in general, it has three types of tanks. Fuel tanks; water tanks; and sewage holding tank ("Black Water" holding tank - your boat is old enough that it probably does not have a "Grey Water" holding tank for sink/shower water).

90% chance your fuel tanks are 'saddle tanks' meaning they are outboard of the engines. This places them beneath the side-decks. Usually there is a deck-fill plate in the center of the boat on each side, above the fuel tanks. DIESEL ONLY

Water tanks are more variable in placement. Half the time they are under the aft cabin master bed or nearby. You probably hold 150-200 gals of water which is tough to hide, even in two tanks (which is common). HINT - water tanks are usually plastic, and the water pump is often fairly close, and there are often valves to isolate the two tanks. Even if there are two tanks, likely just one deck-fill, and probably in the back of the boat near the tanks.

Black water tank - this is the smallest, probably in the 40-gal range. Usually in the belly of the boat. There will be a single deck fill, often in the forward half of the boat as the tank is often in the forward 1/3rd of the boat, centrally located between the two heads. You can follow the 1-1/2" discharge hose from each head/toilet. There is often some valving to direct the waste either up through the deck pump-out fill cap, or overboard (perhaps via a macerator pump).

So Job #1 is to find the tanks. The deck fills will probably be nearby and overhead.

Good luck -

M/V Weebles
1970 Willard 36 Sedan Trawler
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Old 09-20-2023, 12:03 PM   #7
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City: West Palm Beach
Vessel Name: Sun Dog
Vessel Model: Mainship 34
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 426
Also, this may be helpful, or not. When I began my search for a boat sometimes I could see the name of the boat and did some searching online for the boat name, type and year. Not always, but many times after multiple search combinations, I would find the boat either had old broker listing as well as entries in different places (forums, groups, etc) that had information pertaining to the specific boat. I was surprised how many times I found information pertaining to maintenance, systems, etc.
Sun Dog
1983 Mainship 34
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