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December 02, 2022 3 min read

Boat Maintenance Tips

Winter is a great time for boat maintenance, whether that be prepping for a winter series event or packing your boat away for the winter. Here are a few things we would recommend checking on your boat.

Covers

Covers have a life that will vary depending on how you care for them. Leaving them wet and screwed up on the ground and not attaching halyards to keep the water from pooling will damage the cover over time.

Make sure your cover is still keeping the water out. PVC covers are great for this but if they are damaged they can let water in and then it has no way back out. This water that is stuck inside can cause cracking and osmosis.

Trolley Wheels

You should treat your trolley wheels with regular checks for punctures and cracks. The wheels are a vital part that gets your boat from the boat park to the water. So why not invest in high-quality wheels that will last? The last thing you want is a flat tyre slowing you down getting to the start of the race.

Mast Step, Ball and Pocket Wear

The mast step is one part you don't think to check very often. This is vital for performance and safety on the water. The last thing you want is the mast falling down while you are sailing. Recently I had a new mast on my boat. I kept rigging set up the same as the old mast and something wasn't right. The wear on the old mast to sit lower completely changed the rig. The new mast sat higher on the ball as the plate inside was smoother. Wear may seem harmless but you are giving performance and boat speed away. 

Rigging Checks

Shrouds and bridal wires should be checked for loose strands and corrosion. Mast sheaves make sure they still run effectively and are not worn. Check for corrosion on mast fittings. Mast fittings are commonly riveted and bolted on, a quick check you can do is shake the fitting to feel if it is secured effectivly.

Universal Joint

The last thing you want when sailing is for something to break. The Universal joint is your steering on the boat. It is made from rubber and will have a short life if not cared for correctly. Reasons they break:

  • Left static under load for a long time in a foil bag or boat
  • UV from the sun will perish the rubber (centre boats are left outside without covers and will need to be replaced more often)
  • Temperature goes along with UV if you are planning on not using the boat take your tiller extensions off from the tiller

Regular checks when attaching the rudder to see for any cracks is easy and doesn't take long. If you see a crack replace it. It is cheaper to replace a UJ over a new tiller extension if you lose it overboard when it breaks.

Damaged Foils

Small nicks may seem not to be slowing you down but they are.

Older wooden, GRP and Foam Filled Foils will take on water through even the smallest scuffs. The water can get inside and cause other damages to make the foils soft therefore decreasing the structural integrity and that may mean you have to replace the whole foil. As well as that the foil will become heavier and more prone to more damage from osmosis as the water tries to escape the foil.

Questions?

These are just a few hints and tips of what you can check on your boat.

If you have any questions please get in touch with our team here at Sailing Chandlery.