restore the color and shine. More polishing
will just make your situation worse, and waxing won’t help the discoloration.
LET’S FIND THAT LEAK
I’m having a problem with heavy leaking
of water in the aft head on the port side. It
appears to be coming from rain. I’ve caulked
various places in that area, to no avail.
Huntingdon Valley, PA
hours a year. I change oil and both oil and
fuel filters annually in the fall. Your answer
addressed seasonally used boats and is probably appropriate for northern boats, laid up
in the fall, often on the hard, unused for five
to seven months. But the question was from
Alabama, not a cold-climate state requiring
extensive winter preparations, unless this is
a lake boat in the Ozark mountains. I guess
the best advice is to follow your manual and
use common sense.
oil changes. But saving an oil change every
other year seems penny wise and pound
foolish. Also, much of the confusion comes
from the differing requirements between diesel and gasoline engines. Diesels are hard on
oil and regular changes are essential. Better
filtering can certainly extend the life of the
lubricant, but filtering doesn’t remove acids
or restore additives, so even with a super
filter, I wouldn’t leave old oil in my diesel
when it will be idle for a while. You’re right,
you can’t go far wrong following the engine
TOM NEALE: Often the most difficult
part of fixing a leak is finding it. On fiberglass
boats this is especially problematic because
liners, grids, and other internal components
often lead the water away from the actual
leak. A good way to locate a leak is to station
someone down below looking at the area
where you’ve been seeing water. Have another person methodically run water from a
water hose (just use normal pressure without
a nozzle) onto the boat in the vicinity of the
leak, starting at the LOWEST areas and working up and/or forward (uphill from the leak).
Wait a while before moving the hose to
another spot because you want the water to
have time to run to its destination inside.
Slowly use a process of elimination to find
the leak source. When the person inside sees
water, you’ve isolated the area.
Windows are a prime spot for leaks to
occur. Over the years, gaskets and seals wear.
Also a boat will work and this may loosen
joints here and elsewhere. If you have a high-ly suspicious spot such as windows, start
there. Once you find the leak, the exact fix
will depend upon the nature and location of
the leak. It may be that sealant, new gaskets,
or something else is needed, but that call
can’t be made until you know what you’re
fixing (see Skills and DIY, page 80-91).
DON CASEY: The questioner asked about
seasonal use and, more important, the specific question was, should he drain the
engine and leave it empty until recomis-sioning. The answer to that is no, period.
Beyond that, I tried to make the case that
your oil can’t be too clean. I’m unimpressed
by environmental concerns; we should certainly conserve oil, but by burning less of
it, not by scrimping on lubrication. For a
boater running lots of hours, there’s a financial incentive to extend the time between
BEST BET DURING A
I’m reading the stories of boat owners in the
Northeast after Sandy. Statistically speaking,
are you better off anchored in a hurricane
hole or on the hard?
BETH LEONARD: Thirty years of experience handling hurricanes at BoatU.S. has
taught us that, in most storms, your boat
MEET OUR EXPERTS
BoatU.S. Magazine’s 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.
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.
NEVER TOO CLEAN
Don Casey’s response in the December
BoatU.S. Magazine regarding oil changes
may have muddied the waters. Another
source recommends adding a bypass filter
to extend oil life and, based on regular lab
analysis, extend change periods significantly
beyond a year. My owner’s manual recommends every 250 hours or annually. I have
a trawler and could change oil several times
in a year when I did extended cruising. Now
I use the boat locally on the south coast of
North Carolina and don’t accumulate 250
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.
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