in Southern waters. The analogy that
appeals to me is the difference between
wooden and composite tennis rackets.
Both are fine in use, but if you fail to
take exacting care of the wooden one
when not in use, it commits suicide.
The composite one just waits. Hulls are
like that. Wood boats are wonderful to
sail aboard, quiet and substantial-feeling,
but extremely vulnerable to neglect. The
question you need to answer is, how
much time or money are you willing to
commit to maintenance, and how conscientious are you? If you’re the kind
of person who sometimes lets things
slide, or if your life is so complicated
that time is sometimes just unavailable,
then you probably should stay away
from a wood boat. Wood boats are never
a bargain. Wood-boat ownership has to
be a passionate love affair. As for worms:
Painting the bottom carefully every year
is typically adequate to prevent or at
least severely limit worm attacks. A more
durable defense is fiberglass sheathing or
coating the bottom with a coal-tar epoxy.
HOW DRY I AM
In the October issue of your magazine,
there’s an article about keeping your bilge
dry. The writer states that when your shaft
isn’t turning, you should have no dripping
from the packing. I was taught that with a
stainless shaft, you need to have fresh (fully
oxygenated) water around the shaft to prevent crevice corrosion or pitting as the oxygen provides the oxide film that protects the
stainless. Is this correct or can I go tighten up
the packing nut and dry out my bilge?
Gulf Breeze, FL
22 are highly corrosion resistant and won’t
have a problem in a stagnant shaft tube,
whereas Aquamet 17 is much more susceptible to crevice corrosion (pitting). The
pitting I’ve seen comes from the lower-grade
stainless with very long shaft tubes ( 4-6 feet).
So, tighten the nut, it’s not doing much
good, and keep the bilge dry!
JOHN ADEY: The amount of oxygen
needed to keep stainless free of corrosion
can’t be obtained by a dripping packing
gland. Depending on the type of stainless
you have, you may never have a problem.
Higher-quality stainless shafts like Aquamet
I purchased a 2002 Sea Ray Sundancer
last spring and the surveyor noted a few
small blisters on the rear port and starboard
chines. The blisters are dime size or smaller,
about eight per side. He suggested they be
repaired when the boat is pulled in the fall,
which I plan to do. I stopped at a boatyard
this week to discuss the issue. The yard
suggested I should have the entire bottom
sandblasted when I pull it for winter storage,
allow the bottom to dry for several months,
We use a Honda 2000 generator at anchor
for our 120AC source and battery charging. However, I seem to “eat” shaft zincs
more when the Honda is supplying the
electricity than when in a marina or underway. Have you heard of any special tricks
to using a portable generator on a boat?
MEET THE EXPERTS
One of the most consulted experts on boat care and upgrades for 30
years. He and his wife cruise their 30-footer part of the year in the
eastern Caribbean. His books include Don Casey’s Complete Illustrated
Sailboat Maintenance Manual, and the recently updated This Old Boat,
the bible for do-it-yourself boaters.
The president of the American Boat & Yacht Council, John has been in
the industry since 1990, with experience from a yacht brokerage and
boatyard to owning a marine supply store. He and his family sail their
classic 1976 Irwin ketch, a boat he completely restored.
TOM NEALE: It’s best to not use a
portable generator on a boat. I hate to
say that because I used to use one many
years ago and it was helpful. But on learning more, I stopped using it long ago. A
boat has unique issues as to wiring and
electricity — different from land issues —
and these portables are intended for land
use. Without going into loads of detail,
a portable generator could be the cause
of your excessive zinc consumption and
many other problems. For example, a generator not designed and set up for boats
could introduce current into your boat’s
bonding system, resulting in zincs rapidly
deteriorating. Also, there’s the very serious
issue of exhaust poisoning. The potential
for CO poisoning with these units alone is
enough to not use them.
He’s cruised long distance with his family for most of his adult life. He
can take apart and fix almost every system aboard, has written two
books, filmed a two-set DVD on East Coast cruising, written for top
marine magazines, and has won nine first-place awards from Boating
Writers International and many awards for his technical writing.
The editor of Seaworthy, the damage avoidance newsletter of
BoatU.S. Marine Insurance, Bob has written hundreds of articles
on safety, loss prevention, and causes of boating accidents. His 2006
book, Seaworthy, Essential Lessons of Things Gone Wrong, is based on 20
years of real claims files. He sails a 36-foot sloop.
BoatU.S. Magazine’s new technical editor, Beth grew up powerboating,
waterskiing, and fishing on Lake Ontario. Since 1992, she and her husband have completed two circumnavigations by sailboat, doing all maintenance themselves. They also installed the systems on their 47-foot
aluminum sloop. Beth has written The Voyager’s Handbook, the how-to
bible for offshore sailors, and hundreds of technical articles.
CONTACT THESE AND ALL OUR EXPERTS AT WWW.BOATUS.COM/ASK
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