Everyone dreams about buying that new boat. Historically, PMY readers have traded up every three years. But for a lot of us, that usual step up is going to have to be deferred for a few months. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll have to put up with the same old boat. Take a look around, and you’ll see that there’s plenty of room for improvement onboard.
In this section PMY’s editors offer 14 great ideas for upgrading your ride. You’ll find projects big and small, expensive and affordable, do it yourself and strictly for the pros. Whichever ones you choose, you can bet they’ll make your time on the water more fun. But there’s a practical side, too. Think of upgrading your boat as a smart investment. When the economy finally does turn around and you’re ready to commit to that bigger, better vessel, the projects you’ve invested in today will make her much easier to sell.
Can’t step up? Then upgrade!
Slippery n' Slick
Cost: $119 to$259 per gal.
I remember helping my dad take the old bottom paint off his Downeaster. First a noxious chemical stripper would go on the hull bottom, then we’d wait, and finally we’d take scrapers to the hull as the falling paint—saturated with stripper—would turn our bare arms a cooked-shrimp pink as it burned our skin. Luckily, times have changed.
While the days of being able to scrape, sand, and paint your boat’s hull bottom in a yard are over for many boaters, some yards do still allow it. Regardless of who does the dirty work, periodically removing built-up bottom paint is a good idea, as it creates a smoother, slicker finish that can save you fuel. I’ve done it with a biodegradable paint stripper, a power washer, scrapers, and sandpaper, and enjoyed good results. (Always barrier-coat the hull bottom with primer before applying antifouling paint.)
As for bottom paint, I’m a fan of ablatives, mainly because in-season maintenance requires nothing more than a soft brush and minimal elbow grease. Growth is almost non-existent as the paint washes away over time, and when coating over an old coat—and the paints are the same type—all that’s required is a good cleaning and maybe a light sanding before adding the new antifouling formula. If the paints are incompatible, the bottom coat needs to be stripped and sanded.
Hard paints are also effective, and because they generally have more copper, boaters can get away with a few seasons before repainting. Antifouling paint comes in a variety of colors and biocides to keep your boat looking sharp.
--Capt. Patrick Sciacca
Cost: $100 to $500
Check out your bilges some time. What you may find is some water with a nasty slick composed of grease, transmission fluid, various forms of oil, and perhaps fuel. When you pump it—even in international waters—the result may be illegal and is undeniably bad for the environment.
To address the issue, bilge-filtration technology has surfaced over the past few years and is gaining wide acceptance among builders, vessel owners, and even classification societies. British exhaustsystem manufacturer Halyard is one of the leaders in the recreational field with a Lloyds-approved filtration system it calls Wavestream. The system splices a bulkhead-mounted filter housing (several sizes are available) into the hose that leads from your bilge pump to its overboard discharge port. The housing contains a filter cartridge made of a material that bonds with oil and can absorb immense quantities of the stuff.
Wavestream units for yachts look very much like residentialtype “whole-house” filters and work in much the same way. Contaminated water flows down the outside of the filter cartridge (where oil bonds with the filter media), then up through the center of the cartridge to eventually exit the unit, virtually oil-free. Because filtration materials do not plug up in the conventional sense, clogged bilge pump lines are of no concern.
Prices vary in accordance with the size of the unit or units you purchase for your vessel.
--Capt. Bill Pike
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.