Boating Life, Preventive Maintenance

“Agadda Da Vida History”

Sailing among the whales

Sailing among the whales

Our 32′ sailboat is 35 years old. We have had her four of those years and have added to and replaced a lot of parts. We have added an anchor windlass, an inverter, extra lighting and stereo. We have replaced the running rigging, the bilge pump, the engine, the port-lights, the water heater, the water tank cover, the head, the cabin liners, the flooring and the wood stove. There are probably a lot of other items added or upgraded that I no longer remember. A boat is a labor of love and you have to show her a bit of love from time to time, not only to protect your investment but because your comfort and sometimes your life might depend on her being sound and sea-worthy.

The Basics

We have just finished our first haul-out since we bought the boat. With a week out of the water, we had the bottom pressure washed and painted. We also took the opportunity to buff and put a couple of coats of wax on the hull. I replaced the zincs and had the shaft and prop coated with a barnacle preventer. The price for haul-out, painting, and adjusting the water line was about $1,300.00.

Preventative and Repair Maintenance

Up and Out

Up and Out

Since we were out of the water for a week and because all of my through hull valves were old bronze gate valves, some of which worked and some of which were frozen shut or open, I decided to replace the lot of them. There were 7 gate valves. Three were toast, four still worked. With mushrooms, valves and tail-piece fittings the cost for Marelon ball valve replacements came out to about $100.00 per valve.

I didn’t worry much about saving the old valves so rather than try to fit a wrench into impossibly restricted spaces, used a butane torch and a cutting wheel to get the old valves out.

cut boat valve

Cut Valve

A lot of production boats are built hull first with all of the fittings in place and then the cabin/deck module is lowered into place and glassed down. Some of my valves were so closely spaced that there wasn’t enough clearance to turn them without first cutting off the valve stems. I cut the stems off, then carefully sliced down the body of the valve and used a cold chisel to separate them from the through-hull mushrooms. Since the mushrooms looked good from a metallurgical standpoint, I only replaced the two that spun loose during valve removal. Once a mushroom breaks it’s bond, it has to be removed and re-sealed or replaced. I replaced the two that broke free.

cracked hoses

Scary Hoses

The two mushrooms that broke free were on 1 1/4″ valves for my cockpit scuppers. After removal, I cleaned up the holes by taking a 1 1/4″ forstner drill bit and some sand paper to clean out the old calking. I bedded the new Marelon mushrooms with 3M 5200. I used Marelon valves and fittings because unlike bronze or stainless fittings, Marelon does not require grounding to prevent galvanic deterioration in salt water.

In addition to the valves, I carefully inspected all of the hoses and replaced all of those that looked cracked or worn. A couple of them were scary!

Water Strainer, Engine, and Propeller

Two years ago, after engine failure,we replaced our Yanmar 2QM20 engine with a new Yanmar 3YM30 engine. With the engine replacement, we went from 20 hp to 30 hp but did not replace the prop or the raw water strainer. Without a larger prop or more aggressive pitch, the extra hp doesn’t help you much. You can only push so much water with each revolution. A more aggressive pitch pushes more water. The old raw water strainer was connected to a 3/4″ valve, reduced to a 3/8″ pipe nipple and would get clogged anytime we passed through a patch of floating eel-grass.

Water strainers

Water strainers

During our haul-out, I replaced our propeller with a new one with a more aggressive pitch. I also replaced the raw water strainer with a larger capacity model and am now running 3/4″ fittings and hose from start to finish.

Our raw water cooling flow is greatly improved as is our speed under power. Our hull speed won’t increase but I now feel much more confident if I have to fight my way into a strong head-wind. The performance difference is very noticeable and allows us to maintain cruising speed at about 2/3 of our previous engine RPMs. At full throttle, we put up a wake like a battle ship!

Going Back In

After a week on the “hard,” a bunch of labor and a fair financial outlay, we are back in the water. The money and effort were well worth the time and price and we will cruise safer and sleep easier for the investment. If you are going to be out there; be safe, have fun, and take care of your boat so she can take care of you!

Going Back In!

Going Back In!

Great boat yard

As an afterthought, I have to acknowledge the great service given us by our boat yard. I had the boat hauled, washed and bottom painted by the Anacortes Marine Service Center. Their crew was polite, friendly, and exceptionally easy to work with. While they were doing the washing and painting, I was doing the interior and valve replacement work, The crew offered invaluable tools, advice, and experience while accommodating all of my needs. If I asked a question or for them to take a look at something, they did so without extra charge. The yard was open to me both before and after normal business hours, allowing me to get the work done that I needed to do. This is not a “Self-Service” yard as such, but they will let you do your work so long as it doesn’t infringe on EPA and Shoreline Protection regulations.

I would highly recommend Anacortes Marine Service Center. I am small potatoes compared to a lot of what they handle but they treated me as well or better than their Million Dollar customers. Thanks Guys!

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One Response to “Boating Life, Preventive Maintenance”
  1. Looking good!

    Very jealous that you can go 3-4 years between haul outs.

    We only get 7 months. Hopefuly that will end soon.


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