Category Archives: Maintenance

Boating Equipment; Portable Gas Barbeque

When the summer boating season winds down, we all still need our boating fix. One of my favorite ‘off season‘ ways to get that is to look for new items to make next summer’s experience that much better.

Looking forward to next season’s great boating times

Summer Boating Passion

When haul out time arrives, there’s no quicker way to re-ignite visions of fun on the water than perusing those items that you didn’t have time to get over the summer. Remember all those times when you told yourself ‘Next year, I’m going to have to get a new . . . ‘? Well, now’s the time to do some shopping :-)

I was recently commissioned by eBay to put together a number of boating themed eBay ‘Collections’, a new feature that I’ve shared on my profile page. With 24 Collections in total, there is a lot to see and I’m sure there’s something there for everyone. From boats of all styles, sizes and vintages to equipment, collectables and more, it’s amazing what I have come across when building this feature. The fun was in coming up with my own short introductions for each listing – these things wrote themselves!

Grillen’ and Chillen’

One of my favorite collections that I put together was, believe it or not, for BBQ grilles. That was the feature in my Collection titled ‘Grillen’ & Chillen’.

 So, where does my inspiration for something as innocuous as the simple act of cooking come from, you ask? Read on. . .
BBQ on the boat -a summertime tradition.

BBQ on the boat – a summertime tradition.

Summer and boating go hand in hand. And what’s one of our favorite things to do at the end of a great day on the water? Eat! But before diving in, we get to prepare that tasty meal on the BBQ. No longer is one merely performing the simple task of ‘cooking’, but rather, entering into to a tradition that invariably becomes a social event; talking to family or friends while flipping burgers or showing off your prowess on that perfectly grilled steak.

Portable Solution

Take a look at my video for our Magma Grill that we currently use aboard ‘Boogaboo IV’. It quickly converts from a mounted unit to a portable BBQ that easily removes from the boat. Best part is that no tools are needed to make the switch!

No Hurry

Yup, a meal prepared outdoors becomes something more, made even better on the water. And not just for dinner time. Consider breakfast on the back of the boat; no rushing through a quick bite and running out the door. No, no, no – we are on the boat now and not going to hurry through this, but instead, savor the morning.

Mmmmm, I can smell the bacon and eggs gently frying, sipping from mug while gazing across another idyllic setting on the lake. No sir, we are not going to rush this one bit.

Boating Guides; Washing, Polishing and Waxing

How To Clean And Wax Your Boat

There is nothing like the anticipation of getting your boat ready for the water, be it the spring launch or a mid season scrub and shine. And having it sparkling clean adds more than just pride in your ride, but real value.

Washing

Before you shine, remove the grime! Washing all the dirt off before polishing/waxing is critical to avoid scratching the finish, so grab a garden hose and let’s get to work.

An environmentally friendly  boat soap takes care of removing the dirt deposited from air borne pollutants, bird and insect droppings, as well as plain old dust. We are fortunate enough to keep our boat in a larger marina with the convenience of being able to park our car right behind the boat slip. The only drawback with this arrangement is that the boat is continuously exposed to the associated dust kicked up by incoming vehicles. A good, soft bristle brush will show that dirt who’s in charge, while saving your back. Regular washing throughout the season is also a good practice, making this one of the most commonly used tools aboard!

Deeper stains left behind from bird and spider droppings, tree sap and seeds may need a more concentrated spot cleaner. These areas may require a little more elbow grease and these types of cleaners should help do the trick.

If you have residue from old stickers or stripes, glue left behind will clean off with basic acetone. Keep in mind that acetone is highly flammable and can cause skin irritation. As well, it will cause dye to run from fabrics and other material, so use extreme caution while handling and always test an inconspicuous are first.

After everything has been washed and rinsed thoroughly, use a genuine leather chamois to wipe away any standing water. These also come is handy after a rainfall to avoid water spots. It’s also a good habit to dry things off on the mornings after a particularly ‘dewy’ night. This helps to keep the bugs from sticking to the boat!

Polish & Wax

Restoring the shine on your hull is an easy task when using the appropriate tools and polishes. For dull and chalky finishes, a power polisher with a more aggressive polishing compound may be required.

Care should be taken when using a polisher as, depending on the quality of boat builder, some gel coat finishes may be thinner at sharp edges and subject to ‘burn through’. If this happens and the fiberglass matting is exposed, repairs would be required – so go easy in these areas.

For gel coat finishes that are not as faded, a ‘one step’ type of application could be all you need. These offer cleaner and wax in one bottle and, when dealing with smaller areas, can be easily applied by hand.

If you are waxing a larger hull or superstructure areas, a random orbital waxer/polisher will get the job done quicker – and save your arm muscles.  A random orbital works by both spinning the bonnet in a circular motion, while also moving around in an elliptical fashion. What this does is help to apply the wax more uniformly and effectively so that you don’t miss any spots.

While the wax is drying, this is a good time to thoroughly inspect the entire work area to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything. Making sure that the more difficult spots to get at, such as under the rub rail or anchor roller, vent ports or inlets, cleats, etc. have been covered ensures they are protected as well.

Once the wax has set up and is dry to the touch, it’s time to buff off. Wipe off the residue with a circular motion using clean micro fiber cloths. Gently hand buff the entire area to bring up a lustrous shine.

Now it’s time to stand back and enjoy the results of your labor. Knowing that your pride and joy has been protected from the elements will lead to more relaxation on the water. With everything gleaming and shining,  you just might need a ‘cool’ pair of sun glasses to enjoy that ‘hot’ looking boat ;-)

Boating Guides; Choosing an Anchor

Unlike the hit song from the 70’s, the last thing you want to do is ‘Drift Away’ after setting your anchor. A bit of planning and the right equipment will make setting the hook a secure experience.

Anchor Styles

A smaller boat needs a smaller anchor and a bigger boat needs a bigger anchor, right? This is not always the case, as size is an important consideration, but not the only one. Our experience has shown that the style of anchor has a greater bearing on its holding power than mere bulk.

When deciding on an appropriate anchor, take the following into consideration;
•    Size of boat
•    Bottom structure
•    Sea and weather conditions

Considering at the various styles, think about where most of your anchoring will take place. Will it be a lazy afternoon at a quiet, inland bay or for days on end alongside a more exposed Caribbean island? Either way, take into account the bottom conditions to determine the corresponding style.

For small runabouts to larger cruisers, the most popular choices are;
•    Claw or Bruce. Designed for mud bottom.
•    Danforth. Best suited to a sand bottom, as the sharp flukes will dig in with tremendous holding power. Can also be used in a mud bottom, but may be more difficult to break free than a plow when retrieving.
•    Delta or Plow. As the name implies, this anchor is designed to work its way into the bottom, much like a farmers plow. Good all-around anchor in many conditions, including weeds.
•    Scoop Style (Spade, Rocna). These are relative newcomers to the scene and report fast setting with superior holding power. Down side is that they may be more difficult to retrieve and bring up lots of mud/weeds when set in those sea floor conditions.

We generally boat where the bottom is mud or sand and use a delta style anchor as our main, with a smaller Danforth as a backup or stern anchor. Our inflatable dingy has limited storage, making a folding grapnel style or mushroom anchor feasible choices. Although small and easy to store, these compact units are best suited to short term use only.

Anchor Construction

Most anchors are forged from steel with a galvanized coating to prevent rust, as they are relatively strong and reasonably priced. This mass production material is the most common used and we have never had an issue with this type of construction. Although more expensive, stainless steel anchors are another choice as they offer considerably more strength and can be polished to a high gloss shine. Think of it as having both ‘bling’ and ‘brawn’ for your bow ;-)

 Rope or Chain?

Now that an anchor has been selected, we need to secure it to the boat. Use an anchor shackle to connect the anchor to the rode or chain. A piece of stainless steel locking wire should be run through the removable pin and tied around the shackle to avoid it turning out from vibration. No stainless wire on board? For a short term solution, a common zip tie can be used in a pinch, but is more susceptible to deterioration from use or UV damage.

The anchor rode (or line) is the next common element, produced from rope, chain or combination of both.

The advantages of an all rope anchor rode is its light weight and ability to stretch. The three common rope configurations are; traditional ‘twisted’ line, ‘single braid’ or ‘double braided’ line. Nylon is the preferable material, having the desirable characteristics of good elasticity and resistance to UV light.  Another choice is Polyester, which is not quite as strong as nylon, but has better abrasion resistance and more UV resistant. The disadvantage of all rope is that it is considerably more susceptible to chafing and deterioration than chain.

More Chain = More Weight

Going with all chain will offer more weight, tending to improve the angle at which the anchor sets on the bottom. Chain is also preferable when anchoring in coral or rocky bottoms to reduce chafing that might otherwise occur on an all rope line. The disadvantage of going with all chain is that in very windy conditions the chain may go tight, with no slack or give. This could cause the anchor to break loose or damage deck fittings. Introducing a separate snubber line close to the deck would help relieve that strain.

Our choice matches that of many cruising boaters; a rope/chain combination, which gives us the benefits of both materials. Whichever way you go, be sure to have a ratio of at least ten times the length of rode to the depth of water you will be anchoring in – having even more on hand is advisable.

Windlass

The ‘First Mate’ on our boat loves the convenience of our mechanical windlass, which hoists the anchor up and down at the flick of a switch. Windlasses come with specific chain or rope sizes that they can work with, so match the rode to the unit you will be using.

It’s important to keep in mind that when using a windlass and the anchor has been set, it is imperative to take the load off of it, as it is not designed to bear the force generated by the boat’s weight. We have seen a fellow boater’s windlass that was damaged beyond repair when it was not properly tied off on a windy day. To avoid this yourself, relieve the windlass by attaching the rode directly to a cleat, or use a chain lock for an all chain rode. A mooring snubber will further reduce the strain on both the rode & boat.

Whatever your choice in hardware, once anchored it is vital to keep an eye on everything, checking periodically to make sure you are maintaining your anchorage. Changes in wind direction or speed, current or wave action can all affect the anchor’s hold, so be sure to be aware of these changes and adjust accordingly.

With a sound anchoring solution, you can relax to a ‘Peaceful, Easy Feeling’.