Sundowner Tug Owners

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Sundowner Tug Owners Group


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I've tried to post pictures for some time showing the new shades I built for my Sundowner for the aft area and the outside pilot station. Hopefully this time I will be sucessful.

The panels are made out of Lexan polycarbonate material and are very light and quite strong.. Because of the flat low profile they shouldn't pose much of a wind drag. In case of huricane winds the aft area is made up of three panels which can be easily taken down and then strapped to the roof of the pilot house between the ears. Of course the pilot station shade is also easily taken down if desired and stored on the pilot house roof.

The framing is made out of 7/8" thin walled SS tubing and is joined by welding and fittings. Everything can easily be removed for any reason. The framing is extremely solid and can be used for hand holds when boarding without any movement.

Originally posted by Stephen Anderson on 20-Oct-16 04:48:30 PM UTC
I have a 30' Sundowner tug/trawler that displaces about 10,000 lbs. My original anchoring setup was a 15 kg Rocna anchor attached to a 40' heavy galvanized chain which was attached to a three strand rope. I would retrieve my anchor by sitting on the cabin top in front of the pilot house bracing my feet against the post. This required a lot of strength and since I'm often single handed made it difficult to clean the chain after the anchor was off the bottom since you are often under the gun to get back to the steering station. Not to mention there were several times I thought I would have to call a diver or cut the anchor to get free since I was having trouble raising it. While pulling up the anchor I would snub it off on the post when I was over the anchor using the boats forward momentum, built up from pulling up the anchor, to help break the anchor free of the bottom. I did not have an anchor windlass nor did I want the problems, weight, or cost of one. I of course was not satisfied with this so after some study and research I did the following. I bought a used hand sailboat winch and mounted it on the bowsprit in front of the post to use if I could not free the anchor from the bottom. I then bought a 50' piece of 5/8" rope with eyes at both ends to attach to the anchor. I then attached the chain to the heavy rope and the chains other end to the three strand rode. Since I usually anchor in less than 50' this meant that I no longer had to lift the full weight of the chain and the anchor at the same time. Now I could also swish the chain as I raised it to clean off the mud on it before the anchor was off the bottom. As you know chain links hold a lot more mud than rope. Another way of improving the holding ability without using the chain is to attach a weight to an all rope rode with a clevis, after lowering the anchor, and sliding it down about halfway to the anchor with a separate rope attached to the weight for retrieving. Then before pulling up the anchor you pull up the weight. This means you never have to lift both the weight and the anchor at the same time. The advantages of this are numerous. 1. I don't have to lift both the chain and anchor at the same time reducing my lifting by about half. 2. I can clean the chain as I raise it. 3. By moving the weight of the chain towards the middle of the anchor rode I've improved the angle of the pull on the anchor towards the bottom which improves its holding ability. 4. The manual winch is available to help break loose a stuck anchor.
Originally posted by Stephen Anderson on 25-Apr-16 04:44:26 PM UTC
I am trying to bleed my Wagner hydraulic steering. I have identified the bleed fittings on the opposite side of the line connections on the cylinder. Unfortunately I can seem to figure out how to open them. I thought it was a hex screw...but every thing I stick in the fitting doesn't seem to this some kind of push button fitting? What am I doing wrong? Any help is appreciated!
Originally posted by Matthew Layman on 20-Mar-16 11:01:17 PM UTC

Hi everyone. I have a 1982 Sundowner 30 for sale. This boat is located in the SF Bay Area. She has original Pathfinder diesel engine that is still running strong. I have full documents on this boat. She is in need of repair. The interior needs work and so do many other systems on the boat. There are many extra items included in the sale. I purchased this boat from a friend with the intention of overhauling her. She is now up for sale. This is an extremely rare opportunity to own a Sundowner for a fraction of the cost.

Please PM me for details and pictures. Price is $17,500.00

She needs work but is a prime candidate for a retrofit.


Originally posted by Aaron Bartling on 15-Mar-16 06:47:07 PM UTC

Joe, I started a new topic since I wasn't able to reply on your topic.

There are four ways I know to get out the old diesel tanks. 1. Cut up the tanks in place to remove them. I think this would be a very messy dirty and dangerous job in a confined area even if you were able to remove most of the fuel. 2. Cut a larger hole in the aft deck. I did this and will describe it later. 3. Remove the seat back in the salon and pull the tanks out through there into the salon. 4. Cut a hole in the starboard or port hull and remove them through this hole. This is an especially scary idea but is commonly done to replace motors and other large objects in yachts. I wouldn't consider doing this without an expert fiberglass man to repair the glass and gelcoat.

I just replaced my tanks by cutting a larger hole in the deck that was in a grout joint of the teak flooring. This worked out very well and I recommend it. Although my boat already came with a large rectangular hatch that I thought would be large enough to pull the tanks out but when you start to swing the tanks up they need a larger hole. The larger hole also gave me more flexibility when adding the new tanks as well as replacing the floor under the tanks. If I were to do it again I would look into removing the seat back in the salon as this might have been an easier option. If you currently have a small hatch cover I would recommend replacing it with a rectangular larger one which makes future access to the large storage available under there easy. Mine is fabricated out of fiberglass with a couple of half pipes glassed in for added strength. You can literally jump on it without any danger of damage.

My boat came with two 80 gallon tanks which I replaced with two 40 gallon tanks. Since I cruise at about 6-7 mph and only burn 1 gallon an hour this is if anything too large a capacity as I have no plans to cross any oceans. Reducing this size also allowed me to use a standard plastic 40 gallon tank to reduce costs and fit in the area without any problems as well as increasing the storage space in that aft area. At the rate of fuel burn I get I can travel for 7 days for 10 hours a day without refueling and still have 10 gallons which is an adequate reserve. Removing the heavy steel tanks with smaller plastic ones also reduced the weight significantly improving my boats slight tendency to squat down when under power.

Since I now have clean tanks I set up my fuel pickup tube to draw off the bottom so that there will be no future settling of any bad or contaminated fuel. All the fuel in the tank is now run through my fuel polishing panel. Now I don't have to worry about a storm agitating the tanks and introducing contaminants in the fuel when I least want an engine problem.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask and I'll reply to the best of my ability. Good luck! Steve

Originally posted by Stephen Anderson on 11-Oct-15 05:16:59 PM UTC


I've been reading all your posts over the years about the Sundowners... thanks so very much everyone--and especially Doug Robertson to whom I've sent a private mssg thanks. They have been incredibly helpful.

"Prelude" 1987 32' Sundowner #157 is on the market and I have an offer in.

I am very excited and also worried. The sale is "as is/where is" ... she is in Annapolis, MD, not too far from me. But the as-is is worrisome. The owner has put in many high quality upgrades-- she is gorgeous inside. Plus new alum. fuel tanks and a few other mechanical upgrades. But it is the rest I am concerned with... there's some gelcoat repair on the front chine and who knows what the bottom/prop/etc will bring. Very low engine hours and she did start right up.

My husband has turned this completely over to me... my dream & my project-- and we have been boatless for 25 years so the whole thing is daunting. Lived aboard a 40' Valiant sailboat way back when & really thought I'd be getting a larger trawler now that we're not going to cruise any more. Mainly going to use it as a condo down south for the winter. Hence, one of my other big concerns is the size-- no flybridge, etc to add roominess.

Any info or light you can shed on all of this would be greatly, greatly appreciated.

Thank you...

Linda Herdering

Originally posted by Linda Herdering on 09-Nov-15 12:08:24 AM UTC

I just recently purchased a Sundowner 30 from Maine and it has a prop cage installed on her. I have brought her back to Connecticut where others are suggesting to remove as it creates drag. I am looking for any feedback on if I should keep or have removed.

Originally posted by Jon Swift on 15-Oct-15 01:05:59 PM UTC

I have an SD-30 "Sea Turtle" 1984 with two 50 gal steel tanks (not SS) showing exterior rust - especially on top. I would like to replace these tanks before I have a leak or worse. Anyone done this? I assume you need to cut the tanks apart to remove them. But how do you drop in two (or more, ie. smaller) tanks without cutting the rear of the boat? Would appreciate any ideas or ?



Originally posted by Joseph Dunstan on 10-Oct-15 05:41:24 AM UTC


I am in the process of designing/looking at other designs for an aft sunscreen. I would prefer that it not impact too much on the overall looks or handling of her. I would love to see pictures of any covers out there as well as how well you like it.

Thanks Steve

Originally posted by Stephen Anderson on 18-Sep-15 02:46:06 PM UTC I just spotted #155 .... The first of the 32s . I am the wharfinger at Vesuvius Bay on Saltspring Island BC and owner of Chieftain ( SD# 161 ) . Much to my surprise a sundowner has been tied up overnight at the dock . Great fun to look in the windows and see a near spitting image of the boat I love so much . No one around so I will try and contact the owners in the morning . I have printed the history ( courtesy of Doug Roberts this site ) for him and will drop it off for the owners . I would have liked to search this site by boat name but could not . Am I missing something ? Cheers to SD lovers !
Originally posted by Derek Sowden on 26-Aug-15 09:29:48 AM UTC