A typical cruising boat has thousands of electrical connections. The consequence of failure range from a light that doesn't work to a fire that can cost lives.
Regarding your recent report on Seacocks (Beneteau Responds to Seacock Query, PS August 2018) I owned a 1987 Catalina 30, Mark II. It had four gate valves instead of seacocks.
They were off the coast of Bequia in the Grenadines, near the end of a breezy passage on a 34-foot cruising sloop. Just as the boat reached past a rocky point, trouble struck. The steering wheel suddenly turned freely in the skippers hand.
With $655 million dollars marine vessel insurance claims from the 2017 hurricanes Harvey and Irma, there is no shortage of broken boats accumulating in salvage yards. The nations three big damaged boat liquidators - Certified Sales, Cooper Capital and U.S. Auctions are gradually thinning out their listings from Irma and Harvey, but Florence will surely bring a new crop. But just how salvageable are these boats?
The very first project tackled on my new-to-me catamaran a decade ago was to wrap the helm wheel with line. Our delivery trip home took place in late December on the Chesapeake Bay, and I didn't want to spend the next three days with an icy stainless steel wheel sucking all of the heat from my fingers. Instead, I spent a productive hour before dinner wrapping the wheel with line.
The irregular shape of welds makes them difficult to inspect using ultrasound technology. Visual inspections can also be deceiving-especially with new welds. The prettiest bead can have internal voids and poor fusion. After a while, that pretty bead will begin to bloom with corrosion and cracks.
While many potential failures are easy to spot, some flaws are hidden under paint or within the structure, or are so small that a routine visual inspection won't pick them up. Standing rigging, hulls, decks and hardware fittings are the most common places where hidden structural weaknesses can lead to big repair bills, or even loss of life.
Single taps cost about $15, though you will need a handle. A small set (#8 through -inch) sells for about $60. Carbon steel taps are fine for aluminum. High speed steel is required for stainless steel. Chose starting taps for typical through-threading work. Taper and bottoming taps are used sequentially for blind holes and are harder to start.
With more time than money on our hands, the sailors innate resourcefulness kicks in. Here are a just some of the penny-pinching projects tech editor Drew Frye has undertaken to improve his sailing life.
I own a 42-foot Pearson 424 with lots of bright work. Ive absolutely had it with Cetol! There must be something that is easier to use than this. It forms a dark coating after a few years and begins to peel in splotches. Then you have to remove it, clean the teak, and start over. Oh, the stuff goes on clear so if you spill a drop on your gelcoat, you can't see it until it ambers. Once that happens, you can never get it off. Im trying Semco Natural. I tried a small area a couple of years ago and so far have had good luck. While it isn't as durable as Cetol, it doesn't build-up.