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Maintenance

Maintenance Problem

Lead Line — April 2005
By Richard Thiel

Maintenance Problem
Who wants to rebed a fitting when you could be out boating?
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It’s been a long, tough winter. Whether you were forced to contend with blizzards, ice storms, torrential rain, hurricane-force winds, or some evil combination thereof, chances are you didn’t get much time on your boat, unless you happen to be a king-crab fisherman. Even now there are plenty of boaters who are still skating on backyard ponds and chipping ice off their windshields every morning. For them and a lot of us, it’s still too soon to actually venture out on the water, but not to plan that first trip. And it’s definitely not too soon to start getting the boat ready for the time when the water around us finally reverts to its liquid state.

“Getting the boat ready” is, of course, euphemistic for spring launch, a part of maintenance. My friend Phil says you can divide all boaters into two categories: those who own boats in spite of maintenance, and those who own boats because of it. Most of you, being sensible and logical, probably fall into the first category. You might enjoy puttering around on your boat every now and again, but when it comes to any sizable or dirty task, you call the boatyard. Who wants to rebed a fitting on a beautiful spring day when you could be boating?

The second group is not quite so well adjusted. They like to strip bottom paint, wax hulls, and change oil. You’ve probably got a few of these souls at your marina. They spend so much time working on their boat, you pity them. The unvarnished truth is, though, they aren’t happy unless they have a project. In fact, they’ve got a list of things to do, the length of which never changes—as soon as they’ve managed to cross one job off, they’ve added a couple more.

This disease is pervasive and affects a wide range of boaters. In this issue’s “At Sea,” our own Capt. Bill Pike writes about how difficult it is for him to sell his boat Scrumpy Vixen. He waxes poetic about all the wonderful experiences he’s had aboard her, including “those…plentiful hours spent on…bottom paint, waxing topsides, replacing engine filters and fluids, sanding and varnishing the louvered companionway door.” Now there’s a guy with a maintenance fixation.

Truth be told, I guess I have to admit that I have one, too. My own boat, Ava T., is coming up on her 20th birth­day, so as you can imagine, she offers all sorts of maintenance possibilities. But she’s also in great shape, and she’d be perfectly fine if I didn’t do a thing to her all summer long. But I love to tinker with Ava T. almost as much as I love to run her. In fact, I underwent a major withdrawal this winter when it got so cold and nasty, I couldn’t work on her interior, even with her shrink wrap and a sizable space heater.

But I’m fine now. Really. I’m back at work on Ava T., and just like that guy down the dock from me, I’ve assembled a whole list of things I’m planning on doing to her this year. And yes, that includes actually running her.

This article originally appeared in the March 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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