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We’ve already seen what to check and how to intervene on the engine before cruise season.
Now, it’s time to get on the deck and check our equipment.
Let’s start from standing rigging. On cruise boats, they are generally some cables made up of a twist of steel rope-yarns. Here, dirt and oxidising agents can penetrate by provoking corrosion and possible damages. A regular maintenance of stays consists in recurring cleaning.
Cleaning is also a good occasion to check junctions, spreader passages, insertions and chain plate joints. This way, we can verify the eventual presence of damages or anomalies.
A non-written but self-perpetrating rule establishes that we must replace stays every 10 years. It’s better to call an expert for a complete check every 5 year. With some impregnating or even X-ray liquids, he will be able to find some cracks absolutely not visible by eye.
Now, it’s the turn of stoppers and tackles. In addition to the possible cracks or deformations, we must check all nuts, bolts, pivots and cotter pins in all equipment. A problem to this kind of equipments can cause some serious damages even to the crew.
The same applies to the mainsail traveller and genoa carriages. Their chrome and synthetic parts only need to be washed often with some freshwater and a non-corrosive-dishwasher detergent. If we want to follow producers’ instructions – and we want to spend more – we can use a specific product.
Now, let’s check the jib furler. It should be dismantled and checked every 5 years. If we are not sure about our skills, we can call an expert. But before such an important intervention, a good maintenance consists in washing the extruded parts, the barrel and the joint where the halyard is fixed frequently with some fresh water and a dishwasher detergent,
In winter,regardless whether we use our boat or not, all the ropes exposed to atmospheric agents become older and this happens to both traditional ropes and more modern spectra ones. The first rule for a good maintenance is to wash them frequently. If this is simple for sheets and mooring ropes, it becomes a little more difficult for halyards. However, they must be removed, washed, dried and then put again on the boat every year.
Finally, to make all current rigging turn is not a bad idea. This way, we avoid that they are rubbed and stressed on the same points.
If we haven’t already done it, we must dismantle and wash winches, too. We will dismantle them by removing the end and being careful to not damage all their inner parts, especially springs and nuts. They will be dirty and with some grease, so we mustn’t forget to prepare a large cloth where to put them. All parts must be soaked in some fuel oil and washed with a brush. Then, we’ll dry them with a cotton cloth.
Some people prefer to use petrol instead of fuel oil especially if there are some oxidised parts, or some more specific products.
When all parts are cleaned, we can check the eventual presence of wear signs; so, we assembly everything again by brushing all parts with a thin layer of marine grease, except for ratchets which must be oiled with a specific oil.
The same care must be payed to windlass which should be dismantled in ordet to check an eventual corrosion and to clean it. The electric contacts and the engine pins must be checked and greased, too. Finally, but we must do it more times in the year, we must check that the adaptar doesn’t loose any oil.
Finally, the steering gear circuit. The parts which suffer the greatest use are wheel chains. They must be checked properly. In particular, the two most important points are: the junction between the wheel chain and the transmission chain and the cable portions running near sheaves. There, wheel chains suffer the greatest use and cracks.