Why So Much Boating Work
28th February 2021
I have heard this question several times recently. At the beginning I also did not understand why a boat, even if it is new, like escape, has to be permanently repaired and serviced. You would assume that, as with a newly bought car, you have nothing to do with it for the first two years. Here are some of the reasons:
• A sailing yacht is permanently exposed to the elements. Wind, salt water, UV light and the high mechanical loads mean that parts often break or have to be replaced at an early stage. For example, on our last ocean passage from Chesapeake Bay to the Caribbean, escape had to go through a lot. The bow constantly banged into the waves, the boat was continually flooded with salt water, and the sails and rigging were exposed to high pressure. Enormous forces act on such a boat here.
• Most sailing yachts are manufactured in small series. From the CNB66 10 boats were built before escape. The manufacturing process cannot be compared to that of a car, which rolls off the assembly line in a 1,000-fold standardized manner. Deviations can occur.
• A sailing yacht like escape is not only a means of transport, which the analogy to a car would allow, but also a fully equipped apartment with all the comforts, which also has to withstand the loads already mentioned above. There are a number of components, for example more than 20 pumps are installed throughout the boat. So it stands to reason that something can break in this complicated system more often.
• escape uses a generator to produce its own electricity. For the production of drinking water we have a watermaker, a seawater desalination system in compact form, which is operated with electricity from the generator. These are sensitive systems that need to be checked regularly. A common problem is seaweed or other debris in the filters. That is why they have to be replaced or cleaned accordingly often.
Signs of use
• Leaving a drawer open at home doesn't look nice, but it won't break it. If you don't close a drawer properly on the boat before sailing, both the drawer and its contents will fly across the boat, causing damage. Repairs are therefore always necessary. On escape, of course, only 50% of the crew are responsible for these unsightly signs of use and are constantly warned by the other 50% not to cause any further damage under threat of draconian penalties 🙄.
• Because escape is always on the move, the maintenance intervals of the systems are reached more quickly. For example, according to the manufacturer's recommendation, the engine should receive a professional inspection every 400 hours, which is now due again at escape.
• The skipper does everything to keep "his baby" in the best possible condition. He works hard for that. Certainly one can discuss how much effort one would like to make here. Every skipper has to decide this for himself. At escape it is also a kind of "occupational therapy"😉
So now there is some work to do again. The skipper does some of the work himself, such as repairing our anchor chain. The first links in the hot-dip galvanized steel chain are worn out. They need to be removed. Otherwise there is a risk that the chain will break at some point while Escape is at anchor and the boat drifting up and away.
The dinghy is also being thoroughly cleaned once again.
We also work with various service companies who will meet at escape during the week
• Maintenance of motor and generator
• New software update for the Wassermacher
• Azero Antigua air conditioning service and refilling
• Rig check
The skipper himself regularly checks the rig. But after the stresses and strains of the last passage, we would like to have another confirmation from the professionals that everything is in order on the mast and the elements connected to it. During the professional rig check, two hydraulic cylinders are used to measure which forces are currently acting on the rig and whether they still comply with the manufacturer's specifications. In addition, everything is documented photographically.
At first I have to get used to the Caribbean working style. In most cases, it is not possible to make a specific appointment; I can be told at most one day in advance when the respective technicians will come. This makes it difficult to coordinate the various service companies that cannot work on the boat at the same time. If no one is there at 9:00 in the morning, the skipper wants me to call everyone to see when they will finally come 😅. But in the end everything works out very well 😊. In just one week, all external work is done and we can check off a lot on our to-do list 💪.
This was a small glimpse into the subject of "boat work". The old cruising sailor saying “You repair yourself around the world” is a pretty good match. to. Let us know if you have any questions about this. For the sailors among our readers: If you want to add something here or link your own blog posts on the topic, I look forward to it.
I have heard this question several times recently. At the beginning I also did not understand why a boat, even if it is new, like escape, has to be permanently repaired and serviced.