Maintenance All Articles


Cover Your Asset

Fifty years ago no gentleman left the house without a hat, and no yacht spent the winter outdoors without a fitted canvas cover. Supported by a sturdy frame, the cover not only protected the yacht from snow and ice damage, but also from winter winds that would dry the wood planking, ruining the topside paint job, and opening the bottom seams. Drying's not a

This Ol' Boat

Late last winter, my crew and I were faced with a dilemma: sell our faithful 1987 48-foot Viking charter vessel, and be forced to purchase the best boat we could find, or refit her. Canyon Runner had more than 10,000 hours on her engines, and while they'd served the boat well, they were downright tired. But at the time the expense of a comparable vessel that could do 150 fishing trips a

The Hard Core Facts

Craftsmen apply core-bonding putty to the inner surface of the laminate.

It's probably just human nature. Whether the controversy is Ford versus Chevy, Yankees versus Red Sox, or simply "Tastes Great" versus "Less Filling," people love to take sides. Among yacht builders, one of the more impassioned topics of debate is which core

PMY Tries: Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment

Starbrite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment

My trawler spends plenty of time sitting in a slip with her fuel tanks semifull and her powerplant twiddlin' its thumbs. To deal with the consequences, I installed a fuel polisher last year to remove contaminants, a savvy move in retrospect because I've since been able to keep my go-go

Bare Her Bottom

Procedures such as the Farrow System are eco-friendly.

Eventually the day will come when you have to bare your bottom. No, I don't mean your college reunion or Mardi Gras—I'm talking about stripping your antifouling paint, taking your boat's bottom down to bare surface to prep for fresh primer and paint, to find and repair

Spares Solution

SeaKits' MMS keeps track of parts to save you the trouble.

Think about how many individual parts make up your yacht: The engines are full of them, as are the genset, stabilizers, air conditioning, watermaker, and so forth. Now think about how many of those parts can wear out or break. How can you carry spares for all of them? Heck,

Fending Off

I probably don't have to tell you about the benefits of having strong, solid, reliable fenders; when correctly positioned, they provide a cushion between your boat and the dock, preventing nasty scratches and often considerably worse damage. But finding ones that fit the contours of your particular boat and

Learn Your Lines

Few things aboard your boat are as simple—or as important—as rope. Docklines and anchor rodes will give you years of service if you take care of them properly, but ignore them at your peril: A failure of either can be disastrous. Fortunately the care and feeding of rope is both simple and cheap.

Once a year wash your docklines with mild soap and water to remove salt, dirt, and

Watch Your Winch

Heavy ground tackle makes for sound sleeping, but when it's time to weigh anchor, it can be a pain unless you have a windlass to do the heavy lifting. Fortunately for our lower backs, there are windlasses sized to fit any boat and no reason not to have one aboard as an unpaid hand. When properly installed, a windlass requires minimal maintenance. Here's what you need to know.

Water Worries

As more states mandate E10 ethanol-blended gasoline for off-road use, the problem of water accumulation in fuel tanks grows. And nothing can ruin your day faster than your engine dying from a lethal gulp of H2O. If you’ve been burning E10 for a while, you might already have what techies call “water bottom.”

Water bottom is simply water under the fuel in a tank, and it’s unfortunately become

A Fuel For You

There are plenty of reasons why the diesel engine is the best power choice for boats over 35 feet, and principal among them is its sterling reliability and reknowned durability. Compared with even the newest electronic gasoline engines, diesels are signifitcantly less likely to suddenly stop running and significantly more likely to outlive their owners.

But diesels aren’t perfect. They do

Bird on a Wire

While isolation transformers tend to be terribly dull, they are valuable.

Last summer I managed to cruise a snazzy, borrowed twin-screw flying-bridge boat from Maine to Connecticut. She was loaded with first-class, well-installed systems, most of which my relatively inexperienced crew and I learned to use pretty easily,

Painting Underwater Metal

Painting your boat’s bottom is a straightforward job: You, or your boatyard, apply new paint over old. But what about the running gear: struts, shafts, trim tabs, and propellers? Bare metal will sport a luxurious coat of underwater flora and maybe even barnacles by season’s end, especially if you don’t use your boat often. Excessive growth produces a domino effect: It creates unnecessary drag

Scientific Method

If you really want to know what's going on inside your engine, you need to know about oil analysis.

In the surfeit of CSI programs so popular with TV viewers these days, one scene is never absent: The investigators lock eyes with the suspect in the interrogation room and coolly announce that blood samples taken from the crime scene

Enclosures Exposed

A good enclosure is one that you don't even realize is there.

A little more than a year ago, I attended a rendezvous put on by a well-known express-boat builder. It was a great weekend, and it was obvious from the well-cared-for vessels and the enthusiasm of the event’s 40 or so attendees that the cruisers loved and used their

Springtime Without Tears

Launch day means spring has finally arrived. Soon you’ll be out on the water again, and all will be right with the world. That’s the plan, anyway. But first make sure the old barge is up to snuff, that the boatyard did everything you asked, and that gremlins didn’t create springtime problems that weren’t there in the fall. Here are a few tips, along with suggestions for routine maintenance that

No Sweat

Major-league names in new wood coatings.

My friend Don dang near had a conniption fit a while back when I made my little announcement. In fact, his gesticulations caused the waiter to hustle over to our table at our favorite restaurant and ask if everything was okay. Don’s wife Jiji also seemed to be a tad flustered, although she

Time For a Change?

Are you the parent of tired, rusty, and thirsty gasoline guzzlers, the kind of engines that keep OPEC happy? If so, your boat's overdue for repowering with more efficient diesel motors. Today's oil-burners are lightweight, compact, quiet, and economical—they'll save you money at the fuel dock and add resale value. What's not to love?

Okay, there's a catch: Repowering with diesels can

Gunk Be Gone!

After I'd delivered my Grand Banks 32 to her new Florida home, her whole schtick changed—she went from being a true long-legged cruiser to the maritime equivalent of a couch potato, with a travel regimen featuring whole weekends dockside (for dealing with maintenance projects left unaddressed during the jaunt down the Intracoastal Waterway from Maryland)

Ethanol: Should You Panic?

In the past year there's been a lot of worry among boaters about the ill effects of soon-to-be-universal E10 ethanol-blended gasoline. Depending on who's talking, the changeover from gasoline laced with methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) is a small problem, a catastrophe of biblical proportions, or somewhere in between. But what's the truth? Should we panic? Here's what you need to

Diesel 101

The author (left) and another student get a torque-wrench tutorial from instructor Larry Berlin (right).

A friend of mine who I considered to be a knowledgeable, experienced boater recently made a remark in passing that startled me: "The most important tool in my toolbox is my checkbook." He was serious. Every time he noticed a

Magnetizing Your Diesel Fuel

Near the end of the 2005 boating season, Richard Thiel, PMY's editor in chief, was in trouble. Just a few hours before he was about to fly to Italy, fuel problems had strangled his boat Ava T. in the middle of Long Island Sound. Since the fear of missing an expense-account junket to Europe haunts every member of the boating press, Thiel, an expert mechanic before moving to an

A Lick of Paint

Invest in a professional paint job for a big payoff.

When it comes to cost versus benefit, nothing beats a paint job. Investing in a fresh coat on your hull will not only make your boat look new again, but will also add to her resale value. Today, at least in the yachting world, paint means two-part linear polyurethane (LP). If your

A Fine Grip on Paint

When you're building yachts that cost tens of millions of dollars, it's crucial to give them a sophisticated, polished appearance, inside and out. While most people don't normally think of paint as one of the means to this end, a flawless, durable exterior finish is every bit as important as high-gloss woodwork and top-notch furnishings. And when it comes to yacht paint, one of the most popular