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Nor'Sea27 Owner's Newsline

#5  November 1996

Thirteen yards of upholstery fabric are neatly rolled in the corner of our computer/sewing room. My project is to recover all 12 of the cushions for the boat. Our interior has the original V-birth with a full "L " shaped dinette and then the quarterbirths. We plan to replace some of the foam, since it is 18 years old. I decided, I better get this newsline out before I get buried under cushions and fabric and all the other necessary notions.

There is an address correction on the list of owners that was included in the previous Newsline. Scott Wright is P.O. Box 611, Laveen, AZ 85339.

I'm sorry some of the phone numbers got cut off.

The database information has been mailed out to everyone who has sent in their complete information. Yes, if you will complete your database and mail it to me, I will send you the information, also. Please be sure to include $5.00 to cover the copying and the postage.

One of the Spring issues will cover trailering to the Sea of Cortez, in Mexico. Several NorSea owners have "been there, done that". One group from Arizona, including Scott Wright, will be sailing the Sea over Christmas.

Gary and Mari Campbell, #95 WINGS, have invited Nor'Sea27 owners in California to contact them for a possible get together in the San Francisco Bay area. The tentative plans are for a dinner at the Oakland Yacht Club and perhaps planning a summer cruise to Drake's Bay. Contact Gary & Mari for more info.

If you get the magazine, "Sailing", you may have noticed the ads for the "Nor'Sea Yacht Corp", of Dana Point California, 714-489-8227. One owner, Lon Zimmerman, #81, ETTLEDREE, has talked with Bob Eeg, of the factory, and reported "Bob was helpful and said the 27 was in production and the 37 could be purchased in kit form".

by Nancy S, editor

Founder's Feature - by Dean Wixom

I was asked to write about the early years of NorSea. It's hard to believe that takes me back well over twenty years! Memories dim over that length of time, but some are indelible.

The idea for the NorSea generated in the early 1970's. I wanted a small vessel that would be at home voyaging any ocean. There were a few good small boats suitable for cruising, but none that I would call voyagers. I began to sketch various profiles of my ideal boat. I then complicated the design process manyfold by deciding this boat should be capable of being trailered from ocean to ocean. This would make it one of the most versatile sailing vessels ever.

I won't elaborate on the design parameters and virtues; NorSea owners already know them. Ease of construction was not one of the virtues. Tooling the boat for production was a very difficult, lengthy and expensive process. Most 40 footers were tooled and produced for less.

One of the most difficult jobs was finding a naval architect. If I hadn't had the strength of my convictions, I might have let most of the designers convince me I was insane, or at least hopelessly misguided. "You want a trailerable 27 foot world voyager? A liveaboard? Big tanks, big diesel? Standing headroom? A low profile? Full galley and chart table?"

designers were cruel, some were not, but all shied away from the challenge. Then I met Lyle Hess.

Lyle has a fine reputation for small boats which came to light with the huge publicity of Lynn and Larry Pardey's 24' "Serafyn". Lyle and I talked on the phone a bit, met, and within minutes had rough ideas of what was to be the NorSea 27.

I can't recall who first mentioned an aft cabin, but Lyle seized on the idea. "With the fullness of the buttocks lines, we have plenty of room for a really useable aft cabin; let's do it!"

I concurred, thinking that the novelty of a really usable aft cabin in a 27 footer would get a lot of press attention, even though I truly believed the conventional aft cockpit version would eventually be more popular.

I have never been more wrong, as later production would bear out. I did build an aft cockpit version for my own voyaging and still feel it is a better sea boat, but NorSea owners disagree about 6 to 1!

Dean will continue his story in the next issue.

Owners Inquire:

1. Has anyone installed a YACHTSAVER floatation system? asks Cliff Peterson - MIND'S EYE #72

2. Lon Zimmerman, #81, ETTLEDREE, is anxious to get a NorSea Owner's Newsline web site set up. He would appreciate your thoughts and ideas on how it could be done inexpensively. See the list of owners with E-Mail addresses.

3. Jane and Karl Seng of GANNET, #75, would like to find a supplier for new opening ports. If anyone has any ideas, please advise. They have found a foundry which may be able to custom fabricate them.

4. What does your Nor'Sea weigh? John Lewis #19, PROPER MOTION, is curious. His boat was stripped and weighed before the Hawaii race (See March issue, #1) and it weighed 11,500 pounds.

We (Gale and I, ed.) weighed our NO NEWS, #76, on the scale the grain trucks and semis used and it was 9500.

6. Do you have suggestions for a trailer for the boat, whose dimensions duplicate those provided by the factory? asks Al Stevens, #399.

7. Larry Jackson, #101, TUMBLEWEED, asks for help. When the wind is blowing over 25-30 mph, the boat fails to come about. There are times when I would like to heave-to and short of starting the engine to come through the eye, I haven't been able to accomplish this maneuver. I have tried it with storm jib and reefed main, full jib and reefed main, reefed jib and reefed main. If you have suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.

Owners Reply:


Max Eldridge tells the saga a hull covered with little 1/4 to 1/2 inch blisters, of removing all the gelcoat (by hand), letting KESTREL, #2, dry for 6 months and then finishing with new epoxy and bottom job. After two years lots of the blisters have reappeared. His first question is "what could cause this flaw? Is there a potential safety and structural integrity problem? Will the boat be safe for blue water sailing and cruising?"

Jane and Karl Seng, #75, GANNET, removed many layers of bottom paint to get back to the original fiberglass. Karl writes, "Scrap, sand, collect and dispose of residue - what a job. We had decided to install a depth sounder and luckily the ideal location just happened to be in the area of the highest meter readings for hull moisture. When the plug was removed it appeared to be very dry; our surveyor sent a sample to be lab-analyzed. The result - metal flakes, not moisture! The next step was to apply seven coats of Interlux Interprotect followed by VC-17m bottom paint."

Soon after Gale and I had purchased our hull #76 in 1991, we got a call from the yard in Tacoma where she was being worked on, saying that we had a bad case of blisters. Our solution was to have the yard sand the bottom down to fiberglass and then apply Interlux Epoxy.

Then last Spring we discovered blisters along the waterline stripe. No corrective measures had been taken there, and since she was now sailing in fresh water, she was floating lower in the water. Not because of all the gear we carry on board. We gave those blisters the same treatment as the original ones, and then repainted, moving the waterline stripe up a couple inches.

Greg and Jill Delezynski have been transferred from the Atlanta area to San Francisco area and are currently living on board and LOVING it. Before they launched the boat in California, they spent about two weeks in the yard sanding off ALL the old bottom paint. Then they put on a barrier coat and then a product call "CopperPoxy". It's an epoxy filled with very fine copper metal. The company (American Marine Coatings) said it will last as a bottom coat for up to 10 years. It's also a barrier coat to protect from blisters, and being out of water does not degrade it like other bottom paints. "As time goes on I'll let you know how it works," Greg writes.

As noted in the September issue, #4, Seymour Shapiro used the WEST System and followed their instructions. He has had no recurrence of any blisters.

Michael Hulett, #155, ARK, has blisters, but feels the whole issue has been overblown. "Has anyone suffered serious or catastrophic damage as a result of blisters?", he writes. "For the present, I've decided to keep a watchful eye on them while taking no action. "ARK" lives in the water year-round, which may add to the problem. I'd like to hear from anyone who knows whether winter haul out and storage alleviates their spread."

Diesel Digest - by Gale Saint

While I fretted about the possible (probable) clogging or failure of my fuel lift pump, I did what all sailors do, I wandered into a new marine store. Idly browsing the outboard parts area, I spotted a gasoline fuel line squeeze bulb. AHA! The light bulb lit up my frontal lobe. Here was a way to move fuel through a line that someone had already invented! I would keep it in its sealed package, ready to install it as a bypass of the electric lift pump when the screen clogged (again). I should have known that such a childlike solution must give way to the experienced wisdom of experts I call "NorSea Salts". Herewith is John Lewis' #19 PROPER MOTION, suggestions.


You asked for suggestions for something to use as a backup for your electric fuel priming pump. The solution I came up with is to simply put an outboard motor squeeze ball in the fuel line and use that to prime my racor filter. The filter on my boat is located on a bracket I built that hangs it down in the opening of the engine compartment in the main cabin. I found that I could not reach the lever on the engine's fuel pump and came up with this alternative. It has been in place for about 8 years and has worked well. I took it apart recently to see if there were any materials compatibility problems with the diesel fuel but saw no problems.

The one negative on my solution is that my squeeze ball can't fill in for a broken fuel pump. Your electric unit can... I carry a spare Yanmar fuel pump anyway but there could be times when changing it might not be convenient. If you were to add the squeeze ball to your present system you would have the best of both worlds. If the electric pump stopped working, you could squeeze you way to a primed filter.

One advantage that my approach has over an electric priming pump is that it is possible to control the amount of fuel delivered very accurately. This helps minimize fuel spillage when priming the racor following a filter change.

I have thought about plumbing the overflow from the racor into the fuel return line through a valve. I would then be able to open the valve and pump away without worrying about loosing fuel into the bilge.

Thanks, John. Ed. Gale


A thread on "fuel line gimmicks" just arrived from Dean Wixom which we will include in the next issue.


A great, well not really GREAT, but enjoyable video for the family, is "Captain Ron", with Kurt Russel. You think your boat is a "fixer upper"!