All-Out Haul Out Page 2

All-Out Haul Out - Maintenance April 2001
All-Out Haul Out
Part 2: Scraping the Hull and More
 More of this Feature
• Part 1: All-Out Haul Out
• Part 2: All-Out Haul Out continued

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You’ll probably be surprised at how few supports are necessary to safely stabilize your vessel once she’s back on terra firma. The experience of the yard staff plays an important part here, since over-blocking the hull unnecessarily covers hull surface that will need attention sooner or later. In some cases blocked areas will need to be prepped and painted in relative haste after the boat is lifted again, so the fewer, the better.

Once your boat has been lowered gently onto her supports, it’s time to scrape away whatever foreign matter the pressure washer couldn’t remove. Again, you (or more likely the yard staff) will be taking off paint along with barnacles and other marine growth. At Rybovich Spencer and other environmentally responsible yards, a felt dropcloth will be placed beneath the hull in order to catch this matter so that it can be properly disposed of.

Inspect your boat’s hull as it is being prepped. On a fiberglass hull, look for osmotic blisters caused by moisture that gets trapped beneath the gelcoat during lay up. These will have to be ground out, filled with epoxy resin, and sanded down. If your hull is blistered over a wide area, you may want to consider a gelcoat peel using a plane-like stripper that precisely removes gelcoat as well as a thin layer of fiberglass. Done properly, this will free all moisture so that once the new gelcoat is applied, you will not be troubled with blistering in the future. Wood hulls should be checked for wood parasites and planks and caulking that need replacing. The paint-prepping process is also a good time to look over your hull for areas of impact from touching bottom or bumping floating debris. Such areas may need anything from a little extra sanding to an all-out patch.

Now is also the occasion for you to inspect every through-hull on your boat, including the transducers. Remove and clean any strainers, and look for stress cracks (which can develop when through-hulls are mounted too tightly) on the through-hulls and on the surrounding hull area. On metal parts, look for corrosion. Clean your through-hulls completely; even the thinnest film of slime compromises their effectiveness. You should also take the opportunity to disassemble, clean, and lubricate seacock valves within your boat. (For more details on proper seacock maintenance, see “Don’t Go Off Half-Cocked,” this issue.) You can replace your zincs at this stage, keeping in mind as you examine the old ones that too little material left may indicate a need to add to their numbers. Always use those with a specification of Mil-A-1800J or a higher letter.

Finally, inspect your boat’s running gear. Using precise instruments technicians can check the balance and pitch of your boat’s props, the alignment of her shafts, and the snugness of her cutlass bearings. It is also a good time to check and, if required, repack the packing glands on your shafts and rudders. The sooner you determine whether any repairs, replacements, or adjustments on running gear are necessary, the better, since this work is likely to be time consuming.

If your boat is not hauled out for the full season, the yard’s workers will likely take care of as many tasks as possible concurrently in order to minimize your stay. But considering the many possible projects that can pop up, never haul out on too tight a schedule. Ribovich Spencer’s Withey says that for a 40-foot boat, a general checkup plus the prepping and painting processes can be completed in about a week or less. However, additional work can add significantly to your dry time. Of course, the larger the boat is, the longer the stay.

You’ll find the time out of water can be time well spent. The folly of the notion “out of sight, out of mind” could not be better illustrated than in relation to your hull. Even if your yard takes care of every last detail of the work, stay involved and keep apace of its progress. Once she’s back in the water, you’re likely to be more confident in your boat than ever.

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This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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