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Maintenance

  • 91. Top Tips Tuesday - Protect Your Threads - Galling

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    Last Tuesday in my TOP TIPS TUESDAY blog the headline I used was ‘Stainless Doesn’t Rust (or does it)' I then went on to talk in the article about crevice corrosion, and I also stated that crevices can form under welds, WRONG* (but more about that later!)

    Galling is the term used when two surfaces in contact seize up as a result of cold welding. The problem (also known as adhesive wear) is most common in materials such as stainless steel and we in the marine trade come across it occasionally where you have stainless rigging screw body** and a stainless stud or fork. To help prevent galling make sure that the two surfaces are clean and free from any contamination, do NOT use a mild steel brush to help you clean the threads; consider the Shurhold Detailing Brush which has stainless steel bristles and a squirt of WD40. My recommendation after cleaning is to use a lubricant such as Lanocote or Selden Rigging screw oil to lubricate the threads.

    ** most good turnbuckles these days either have a chrome plated phosphor bronze body, or if the body is stainless there is a bronze threaded insert both ends which prevents galling however, threads should still be clean before adjusting.

    Incidentally when mooching round our local boatyard a couple of years ago I came across these very simple homemade covers (made from old bits of hose pipe) for protecting the threads and help keep them clean.

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    Some skippers of course leave their mast up when lifting out, me, I prefer my mast to be down and then you get the chance to check everything out, rigging, nav lights, mast head equipment etc and of course all the fastenings used to hold the fittings in place.
    As a consequence of last weeks article I did get a response from an ‘avid reader’, a retired metallurgist, who wrote and I quote "Your summary of the significant subject of crevice corrosion is fine - that is it is caused by a lack of oxygen in the crevice leading to a breakdown of the oxide film (chromium oxide) that gives stainless steel its corrosion resistant properties (see below image showing the results of crevice corrosion).
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    * However you also mention corrosion associated with welds. This is commonly known as weld decay and is brought about by the heat of the welding process causing the chromium present in stainless steel to combine with any carbon present to form chromium carbide - thus depleting the steel in the vicinity of the weld of its essential chromium. (Lose the chromium and you say goodbye to any corrosion resistance). This problem can be overcome, at a cost, by adding titanium to the alloy. Titanium has a greater affinity for carbon than does chromium, hence mopping up the carbon to form titanium carbide and thereby leaving the chromium behind to do its corrosion resisting job". Thank’s to Peter Baylis for putting me right!
  • 88. Top Tips Tuesday - Winterising Your Marine Engine

    Following on from our previous Tips and Advice on Laying Up For Winter, this week Andy looks at Engines and Winterisation covering both Inboards and Outboards.

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    Inboards:

    At the end of the season we strongly recommend that you fill your diesel tank to the brim as this will help prevent a condensation build up, however, before doing so we suggest you also add the appropriate amount of diesel fuel additive like Marine 16. This, along with the full fuel tank, will help prevent the dreaded diesel bug.

    So, should you do your oil change now? Most experts prefer to do it at the end of the season, some say “best in the spring”, but  all agree that you should run the engine under load (in either forward or reverse gear) for at least twenty minutes before draining the oil and changing the filter. This warms the oil making it easier to remove as well as putting any particles into suspension in the oil so they are removed at the same time. Our mechanic has always used a Pela vacuum pump to remove the oil which is retrieved via the dipstick hole. It’s sucked straight into the pump’s container which lessens the chance of a spillage. Not quite so robust is the Seago Extract-It but it was still awarded best buy by PBO. On a tight budget? Consider the traditional brass cylinder type this may be the answer, however you do need to collect the oil in a separate container! If you are like Rob (of advancing age and suffering from arthritis in the wrists) and have difficulty in undoing the oil filter, the Boa Constrictor strap wrench takes the pain away!

    If your boat is being stored on dry land, once she is up on the hard stand we suggest that you close the water inlet seacock, open the water filter and with the engine running pour in an appropriate antifreeze mix. Carry on pouring till you can retrieve the mixed antifreeze from the exhaust outlet. Once you have done this, stop the engine and turn off the diesel tap. If you intend to leave your boat in the marina or on moorings don’t follow this procedure with the antifreeze as you will pollute the water. In this case we would recommend draining the seawater system. Next, disconnect the starting circuit from the battery and consider taking all batteries home and storing in a warm place, however, if you are leaving the boat on the water make sure there is still a battery to run the bilge pump!

    If the engine could do with a clean, consider cleaning it down with an engine cleaner and degreaser, this will remove any ingrained grease and grime. Don’t forget to keep on top of any rust spots; surface should be prepared with the appropriate primer than follow up with the correct colour paint. Spray all exposed parts of the engine with Quicksilver Corrosion Guard  then get a couple of oily rags and stuff them up the exhaust pipe and engine air intake.

    If you have access to shore power a tube heater will stop any moisture from freezing as it circulates warm air round the engine bay. Check, however, that a heater can be left unattended; some yacht clubs don't allow heaters to be left unattended in their boatyard.

    At this time of year it’s worth checking the condition of all water hoses and belts. Check the impeller (out of sight out of mind), the engine anode and of course the thermostat. Incidentally, to check a thermostat is working all you have to do is remove and place in a bowl of boiling  water and check it activates, depending on the make of engine it may either open or close when placed in the hot water so make sure you check the status before you drop it in. Throttle and gear shift cables can snap where the cable exits the outer casing so examine closely by gently flexing the cable and check for broken strands. If old, stiffness in the operation may mean the beginning of cable failure. Check along the full length of the outer casing for any signs of damage.

    Finally, for what it costs, a replacement primary and secondary fuel filter should be fitted regardless of the condition of the old. If you are using your onboard spares stock, don't forget to replace the spares whilst it's fresh in your mind.

    Outboards - 4 Stroke

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    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in then wash off with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to your fuel tank. If you have an internal fuel tank fitted in the boat, the best way to add the stabilizer is to add the correct amount (for the fuel remaining in your tank) to 1 litre of fresh fuel, mix thoroughly then add to the main tank. Next place your engine in a fresh water tank or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine for 15 minutes to get the mixed fuel completely through the fuel system and to remove any traces of salt from the cooling system.

    After you have stopped the engine and disconnected the kill cord, remove the plugs (beware they may be hot) and add a small amount of engine oil into each plug hole. Rotate the flywheel manually to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Remove the thermostat and check for correct operation by dropping it into boiling water. Change the engine oil and filter as well as the gear box oil.

    At this stage its worth touching up any exposed alloy surfaces with the appropriate primer and correct colored paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally, store the engine upright to allow water to drain out.

    Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.

    One thing that’s worth noting is if your engine is still under warranty you need to check the terms as carrying out even basic maintenance like changing oil and filters may invalidate the warranty, particularly where your engine is subject to an extended warranty offered past the standard manufacturer's warranty.

    Outboards - 2 Stroke

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    Clean the engine down with something like Yamalube Pro-Active Cleaning Gel, let it soak in for five minutes and then wash down with fresh water. Add the correct amount of fuel stabilizer to any built in fuel tank(s), however, if it’s a small auxiliary engine with a separate tank or integral tank, empty contents into a petrol engine car AFTER carrying out the following procedure. Either place your engine in fresh water or connect a flushing attachment and run your engine in neutral for 10 minutes. Increase speed to fast idle then disconnect fuel supply. Just before engine starts to stall (and it could run for up to 3-4 minutes!), quickly spray Quicksilver Storage Seal into carburetor until engine dies from fuel starvation. After disconnecting the kill cord, remove the spark plugs (once again beware they may be hot) and inject 1oz of Quicksilver Storage Seal around the inside of each cylinder. Rotate the flywheel manually several times to distribute the oil in the cylinders then reinstall the spark plugs. Remove the thermostat and check for correct operation by dropping it into boiling water. Drain and replace the gear oil and at this stage its worth checking for any bare metal surfaces that may need treatment, first use the appropriate primer followed up with the correct coloured paint. Spray Quicksilver Corrosion Guard on all external metal surfaces (except anodes). Finally store upright to allow water to drain out. Should your engine be fitted with remote controls and steering, ensure you grease all lubrication points as per manufacturer’s recommendations.

  • 84. Top Tips Tuesday - Laying Up Your Boat For Winter

    84. LAYING UP YOUR BOAT FOR WINTER

    Winter view of a marina in Trondheim

    SAIL & CANVAS WORK

    When laying up your sailboat we suggest that you, weather permitting, remove ALL sails once you have stopped sailing. You would be surprised at the number of furling head sails we get in for washing just after the start of the sailing season all with a ‘lovely’ green stripe down the inside of the sacrificial strip! Please also be aware that a lot of insurance companies will NOT cover you for the loss or damage to a furling genoa if it comes adrift and flogs itself to death whilst either on the water or on dry land!

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    Once you take the headsail off the foil we strongly recommend you run a foil saver up the furling system track and tension the extrusion using a 6mm pre-stretched line tied back to the mast. By using a saver it will save the foil joints from shaking themselves stupid on a windy day.

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     For both powerboats and yachts with canvas work, be it canopies, spray hood, bimini, dodgers etc, winter gales and chafe are enemy no 1. They can shorten the lifespan of a canopy etc by at least 50%. Enemy no 2 is bird droppings (seagulls and of course starlings eating berries at this time of the year leave purple poop stains) so remove these fabric items asap after you have stopped using your craft. The exception to the rule? Only if the canvas work’s sole purpose is protecting bright work, instrumentation or seats and you cannot protect by the use of a tough tarpaulin. However if using one do make sure you create a ‘ridge pole’ effect so that rain runs off and secure it well! If you have a tailor made winter cover, brilliant, if not maybe consider one especially if you have teak decks, they are not cheap but worth their weight in gold. If your budget allows, send your sails and canvas work to us and we can wash (this removes airbourne contaminents and the salt crystals that damage the stitching and fabric) dry them and if applicable reproof, check over and store till the start of the new season.

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     If you would rather D.I.Y, our Yachticon Sail and Canvas Cleaner is excellent as is Iosso its a brilliant all round cleaner that can be used to remove mould, mildew, tough to shift dirt in fact most stains. It is of course safe to use on fabrics, vinyl, plastic, fibreglass and wood. For canopies manufactured from Weathermax, Holmenkol Textile Wash is the one, can also be used for washing Goretex, Coolmax and Thinsulate garments. Granger’s Fabsil Gold is the industry standard when it comes to re-proofing if you have just cleaned your acrylic spray hood or canopy. The  proofer to use for Weathermax fabric is Holmenkol Hightec Proof. A word of warning, DO NOT, under any circumstance use a high pressure washer to remove bird droppings or green mould/alge. This method of 'cleaning' can knock the stuffing out of the fabric and blow stitching apart in five seconds flat. The ‘softly softly’ approach of soaking and the careful use of a sponge/soft brush is the only way.

    SPARS, HALYARDS & MOORING LINES

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    If you have lifted out we strongly reccomend that the mast is removed, we have all seen or read about the domino effect in boatyards however before its unstepped, we suggest that you mark the threads of the rigging screws with PVC tape so that come the spring it is easy to replicate the same rig tension. Once the mast is off and before its stored on a mast rack or trestles, remove all the rigging both standing (after labeling) to avoid an electrolitic reaction between the stainless wire and the alloy spar and the running rigging. Wash the mast down with fresh water and apply a coat of alloy polish. If the mast is fitted with an Aquasignal Quickfit Tricolour remove and cover the terminals with the purpose made cap. If the mast does not have a mast foot make sure you cover the end as birds and other creature are liable to build their nests inside! If you are NOT removing the mast and boom for whatever reason, purchase some thin strong line, attach to the tail of the rope halyard and carefully pull them through.

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    After you have stripped the mast, remove jackstays and at the same time don’t forget your danbuoy, man overboard horseshoe, etc. To keep the ropes in good condition when not in use, hand wash them (warm water only) to remove salt and dirt deposits. If your boat winters afloat check the condition of your mooring lines, especially where they go through a fairlead or are made off on a cleat. If you haven’t already done so consider purchasing some mooring compensators, when fitted they take the snatch away preserving lines, fairleads and cleats and should you be spending the night aboard they help to ensure that you get a good nights sleep. Last but not least, any lines taken off the boat should be coiled when dry, avoiding kinks and finally do not store in direct sunlight.

    THE GALLEY

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    Make sure you disconnect the gas cylinder at the end of the season. After that I would suggest you check the date printed on the flexible rubber hose, it may well be past it's sell by date! For cleaning galley surfaces my favourite cleaning products is Vistal (almost the same as Universal Stone which we used to sell however Vistal is 'home grown' ....made in the UK) its great for hobs and work surfaces including Corian. Check for perishable foodstuffs and remove, likewise any out of date tinned ‘emergency’ supplies often stored in the bilges! Take all the alcoholic drinks home and drink whilst planning next year’s on the water activities. Make sure fridge and freezer lids are left propped open after thoroughly cleaning , likewise, lockers and cupboards.

    THE HEADS

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    Heads I win, tails you lose. Cleaning and winterising the heads is a job that I just love (to avoid). If you have holding tanks fitted, discharge them and add to the tank some Clean & Green (which helps to break down the waste) and fresh water, then flush through and empty again. To ensure that you keep the uric scale build up to a minimum I always tell my guests to pump at least 20 times to clear the lines, however at the end of the season I am a great believer in using LeeScale fast marine de-scaler, which I suggest you leave in the system overnite for maximum effect then flush system thoroughly. For cleaning the toilet bowl I use and recommend Starbrite’s toilet bowl cleaner, it’s specially formulated not to damage seals or valves.

    WATER SYSTEMS

     

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    Don’t forget to drain down your fresh water systems and run non-toxic Freezeban through the system to protect water pressure pumps, pipe work, taps and calorifier. With the cold snaps a few years ago we have had quite a few boat owners coming in late Feb/early March reporting damaged water pressure pumps, water filters, impellers, taps and shower heads. Even though most systems had been drained down, sufficient water had been trapped to expand the appliance and cause, in some cases, an expensive repair.

    SOFT FURNISHINGS

     

     

     

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    Down below, remove as many of your soft furnishings as you can, however be careful where you store them. Mice do so like to make their nests out of fabric and foam as well as low and high tech sails! So if they are going in the attic or garage or wherever, worth loading up a couple of traps with some rind from that rather nice Stilton that you have just polished off.

     

     

     

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    For cleaning vinyl we would suggest either Starbrite’s Vinyl cleaner and Shampoo or their Vinyl Cleaner and Polish. For woven fabric, Sunbrella fabric/vinyl cleaner or Iosso are both excellent products that we have used with success. Peek Spray Away is a superb spot cleaner (saved our skin on a couple of occasions when our fitter has walked muck through the chandlery).

    SURFACES

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    Make sure you wash down all hard surfaces in the saloon and cabins with something like a mild solution of Iosso, remember a little goes a long way. Starbrite Citrus Bilge Cleanerwhen added to bilge water will remove grease, scum, floating oil and keep the bilges smelling sweetly. Don’t forget to wash and dry the underneath of the floorboards if possible leave up so air can circulate. Stubborn stains on most surfaces including those that are painted or varnished can be cleaned with Vistal. As it’s 100% natural, it’s safe for use when there are children present, allergy sufferers or pets.

    FOULIES, LIFEJACKETS & CLOTHING

     

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    Remove all foulieslifejackets & clothing and take them home. For foul weather gear we recommend that you wash them with Granger’s 2 in 1 which is a combined cleaner and proofer. It can be used with confidence on Goretex and other breathable fabrics (to maximise water repellency tumble dry afterwards on a med heat setting) Lifejackets; If auto, remove the activation unit and gas bottle then wash the jacket by hand in warm water and dry naturally. Check your jackets for chafe and before reassembling/repacking check the expiry date on the activation unit and if bottle is rusty or has rust spots, discard. For further advice on the care of your lifejackets, if you go onto either the Crewsaver or Baltic sites you can get some first class tips. We do carry rearm kits in stock for the majority of popular life jackets and for the few that we don’t, they can be obtained within a few days.

    FIGHTING OFF THE DAMP

     

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    If you have the luxury of a 240 volt supply its worth investing in a tube heater. They are available in a variety of sizes, with thermostats, and prices start as low as ?29-95. These low power consumption heaters create air circulation in enclosed spaces and help to prevent condensation, dampness, mould and mildew. If you can leave hatches a tiny bit open it will also help.
    240 volt dehumidifier is worth considering. If you do decide to take the plunge go for one which has the facility to drain directly into the sink outlet. The Meaco DD8L Junior (best on test according to Sailing.com) operates using the ‘desiccant principle’ and will work at a lower temperature than those using a refrigerated coil. No power supply? Then the Starbrite No Damp Dehumidifier is great for removing moisture and of course refill packs are also available.
    FINALLY
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    Wet & Forget is superb at keeping away the green algae which tends to form on boats in the winter (especially the side that does not see so much sun). You dilute it 5:1 with water then simply spray it on decks be they teak, grp or painted. If you decide to leave halyards, covers or canopies on (sailing throughout the winter?) Wet & Forget will keep the algae at bay with NO HARD LABOUR NEEDED!
    If you are ever worried about your electricity consumption whilst using either a dehumidifieror tube heater you can check your consumption with a Metermaid, just add the ‘maid’ to you shore supply cable and you can keep a close eye on your outgoings!
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  • 77. Top Tips Tuesday - Brizo! Back By Popular Demand (And At A Much Much Lower Price!)

    Some four years ago we were introduced to BRIZO and no it’s not a washing up powder but it does help to keep things clean! After field testing the Brizo at our local sailing club I then wrote an article in our July 2011 newsletter (issue 43) about the advantages of using this excellent bit of underwater cleaning kit and I make no apologies for repeating them, see below. So impressed was I with the performance of the Brizo, that I then took the kit out to the Canaries where it helped keep the underwater surfaces of our Channel 31 clean. What with only being able to get out to the yacht every three months or so we used to get more than our fair share of fouling, so the day after we arrived, out would come the Brizo and after a max of one hours effort the result was once again a clean  bottom, keel and rudder. When the time came to sell the Channel you could still get Brizos and I thought nothing of selling it on to the new Spanish owner, however soon after, the company selling them stopped and as footballers are often heard to say ‘I was gutted!’ The new Brizo is on for sale at £80-00 less than the original, quality is still the same however by careful sourcing of the various components the retail price is now only £150-00!

    The advantages?

    • I’m sure we don’t need to remind you of the costs of hauling out? A survey of 10 random marinas in the UK found that the average price of a haul out and pressure wash was £195.
    • It doesn’t matter whether you are using soft or hard antifouling paint because the Brizo can be used on either.
    • For the power boater, reduced fuel consumption as you can drop your revs off whilst maintaining speed.
    • For the racing yachtsman a cleaner bottom will give you that competitive edge on the race course.
    • For the cruising skipper more miles covered in a day’s sailing 1/2 a knot over 12 hours is 6 nautical miles, 24 hours 12 miles!
  • 63. Top Tips Tuesday - Secure enough to prevent a M.O.B?

    Jackstay underside (hidden from UV)      Jackstay Topside (exposed to UV)

    Secure enough to prevent a M.O.B?

    Had a skipper in the chandlery on Saturday, brought in his old jackstays and asked us if we could make up a new set to exactly the same length, my reply "yes no problem I would agree the stitching looks well past its sell by date" his response, "Didn't notice the stitching, I just wanted to smarten up the deck!" Anyway instead of making a set up (turn around in our extremely busy sailloft doesn't match his equally busy sailing schedule) he purchased a set of Baltic Adjustable Jackstays and went away a happy skipper. Later that day, just out of curiosity, whilst I was in the sailoft I gave a sharp tug of the stitching, it failed with very little effort, even with my arthritic wrists! and as can be seen from the footage taken later whilst pulling the other end, just as weak!

    If you haven't already done so we do strongly recommend you spend half an hour checking the condition of your jackstays this weekend. Attachment points, be they U-bolts or folding padeyes (my preference) and securing shackles (check the monel seizing wire is still intact) and whilst you're at it even the industry standard hooks can occasionally fail to operate properly! As can be seen from the second image featuring a safety line, this particular one was recently condemned to the bin.

    Shackle Fail       Safety Line Spring Fail

    If the unthinkable does happens and you have to abandon your boat, for the month of May only we are offering free delivery (mainland UK only excluding Highlands) on all Seago liferafts.

     

     

  • 23. Top Tips Tuesday - Shurhold Detailing Brush - The Shurhold Detailing Brush, perfect for cleaning those hard to reach areas . . .

     

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    My new build which is taking three more years that I had thought to complete is called Hindsight, nuff said! Sadly the exterior of Hindsight does get gets a little bit neglected during our busy season so by the time the spring and early summer rush dies down she does need more than a little bit of TLC to bring her back up to scratch. Cleaning the deck is relatively easy, I use Starbrite Non Slip Deck Cleaner and that gets most of the dirt off, however it's those hard to get to areas where the Shurhold Detailing Brush comes into its own. It's of medium stiffness, it quickly removes grease and grime and is ideal for trim, mouldings, teak and much more.

    THIS WEEKS OFFER:  BUY 3 DETAILING BRUSHED FOR JUST £11.95! 

    Shurhold Detailing Brush

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