MEET OUR EXPERTS
BoatU.S. Magazine’s technical editor, Beth grew up powerboating, water-skiing, 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 other awards for his technical writing.
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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ricane hits, would you recommend tying to
the marker poles? Rudy Rundlett
BETH LEONARD: Tying to marker poles
isn’t a good idea. They’re meant to be aids
to navigation, not to take the full windage
of a boat in hurricane conditions. Tying to
government aids to navigation is illegal, and
it’s possible that these markers might fall
into that category. Depending on how you
tied up, you might block the channel, which
could endanger others. In general, hauling
out in a marina that’s protected from wind,
surge, and waves where they tie the boat
down has proven the best solution in Florida
with the highest likelihood of protecting
your boat. You’re fortunate to be well inland,
so if there are no marinas where you can take
your boat to haul, securing it in a narrow
channel would be another option. But you’ll
need to tie to substantial and well-anchored
tether points in a place where you can center
the boat in the channel without obstructing
I come back to the boat a day or two after a
nice long cruise up the Potomac River and
there are dead bugs everywhere. I’m forever
vacuuming them up and wiping them away.
How do I keep the bugs out?
TOM NEALE: I’m assuming from your
description that the bugs are small, they fly,
and that you’re talking about the areas under
your boat cover, not inside the cabin. If, for
example, you had the infamous Caribbean
cockroach coming aboard, you wouldn’t
be able to vacuum it up. It would probably
eat the vacuum cleaner. Are you leaving one
or more lights on in your boat? This would
attract bugs in and under the cover and
they’d die there. These bugs have a much
easier time finding their way in than out.
Turn off the lights if you don’t want the bugs.
Or you may have spilled something and not
noticed it. It may be that dock lights around
the boat are attracting them, or someone
spilled a drink on the dock and they’re just
coming in to crash after the party. If that
were the case, I’d turn off the dock lights and
hose off the dock.
There are sprays, but you’d need one that
works for your visitors. Some sprays stick
to the surface for a while and that could be
good or bad. Some are also more toxic than
what you’d want on the boat, and some
might damage your covers, so you’d need to
experiment with small patches. If your boat
is under a shed or boathouse, you could be
suffering from bird lice infestation. That’s
pretty serious and a professional bug man
may be needed.
A survey found moisture in the stringers
under our engines. Short of tearing them out
and replacing them, is there something we
can inject into the stringers that will solidify
and maintain structural integrity?
San Ramon, CA
JOHN ADEY: This all depends on how
extensive the damage is and if you can find
the original cause of water entry. Are the
mounts totally saturated or just in localized
areas around the mounting hardware? These
mounts are critical; have a good repair yard
give you a full report on the extent of the
damage. A moisture meter and hammer tap-
ping will only tell you so much. Experience
and an infrared camera are the next steps. Get
a solid second opinion; there’s a big differ-
ence between a reading on a moisture meter
and rotten stringers that need replacement.
Either way, find the cause and area of water
entry ASAP. If you can isolate and thoroughly
dry the affected areas, you may be able to
“honeycomb” (drill a bunch of small holes)
the stringers to let small areas dry before you
inject your choice of epoxy or urethane-based
“goo.” Once dry, evaluate the repair for struc-
tural integrity. I would then re-glass the area
where the holes have been drilled.
If damage is excessive, I’m afraid nothing
short of cutting, grinding, and rebuilding will
solve your issues. Keep in mind how much
the engine torques these mounts! They’re
subjected to big forces and are the first line
of defense in keeping your engine/drive-train aligned. If the alignment isn’t proper,
it can cause vibration, premature wear, and
failure of parts.