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.
CONTACT THESE AND ALL OUR EXPERTS AT WWW.BOATUS.COM/ASK
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laminate and to make the bottom of the boat
smooth again. Even small pockmarks will
affect performance. The repair is really nothing more than cleaning out the blisters and
roughing their inner surface with sandpaper,
then filling them fair with epoxy putty. As to
whether failure to make any repair presents
a risk either to the boat or eventually to your
pocketbook, the answer is probably no.
With the boat no longer in the water except
during use, the likelihood of the laminate
absorbing water is negligible, meaning new
blisters are unlikely. The existing ones may
continue to crack open and the cap peel
away, leaving additional depressions in the
How should I take apart the engine exhaust
hose on our 400 Sea Ray Sedan Bridge?
There are clamps on either end of an insert.
Does it slide either way to enable it to come
apart? Michael Holaus
Green Cave Springs, FL
JOHN ADEY: I’m not familiar with your
specific model, but it sounds like you have
two flexible hoses joined by a fiberglass or
metal section. This should (with some effort
depending on age) slide to either side to
allow removal. Check around first; it may be
easier to remove an upstream or downstream
connection first. Replace BOTH CLAMPS
when you reinstall; this is an ABYC requirement and an important carbon-monoxide
protection that prevents exhaust from leaking into your cabin. Likewise, if you damage
the hose during removal, replace it if you
can’t achieve a proper seal.
HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?
I have my boat in storage and it will remain
there for the next two years. The outboard
was winterized three years ago. How long
can it stay without further service? What
service should it have?
Basking Ridge, NJ
TOM NEALE: It isn’t clear from your
question how long and under what circum-
stances your boat has been laid up, but it
sounds like you stored it three years ago.
How much longer you can go depends on
the type and quality of service already per-
formed and how it’s stored. For example,
your outboard should have been flushed
with fresh water and the cylinders should
have been “fogged” according to manufac-
turer’s recommendations. Also the carbure-
tor and/or jets should have been flushed
with a product to prevent gas from turning to
a varnish-like substance and then run dry to
remove any gas. The gas in the tank will have
expired, even if you added good additives.
So you’re probably going to need to have
the tank drained by a qualified professional.
If it were my motor, I’d have a qualified
mechanic check it all out now and do the
things the manufacturer recommends for
storage. Even if it was done well the first
time, after three years, it’s a good idea to
do it again. Some things aren’t going to fare
well, regardless. For example, the impel-
ler blades in the water pump have been
cramped in one position all this time, and
before you start using the motor again, you
should replace the impeller.
If the boat is stored inside a climate-
controlled area, you should be in much
better shape than if it’s stored outside and/
or under a tarp. Mold, mildew, and rot can
cause serious problems when a boat is just
sitting. The boat should be well-ventilated
to help lessen this. Other problems, such as
freezing of your control cables inside their
sleeves (if that’s what you have), can be min-
imized by working the controls periodically.
Boats need to be run, and if you’re letting
it sit for this long, you or a good mechanic
should periodically visit it, inspect and work
components (if it’s safe to do so), and make
sure all is well.
HIGH AND WET
We had to leave our home in Oriental, North
Carolina, midsummer for about a month in
July of 2011, so I put my 25-foot Carolina
Classic on the trailer and parked it in the
To see Don Casey’s article on basic
blister repair, see this article online,