Boat smell - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 158 Old 03-25-2008 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
There's nothing like the smell of uncured resin in the morning!
Ah yes, I remember it well... unfortunately (depending upon your ability to get high on the stuff?) modern resins like Bote Kote don't smell!

Alden68, you've nailed it!

SD, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining or wanting to get rid of it - but the smell I'm referring to is the same on all boats, steel, 'glass and wood.

... I was merely wondering if it could be bottled for household use : "Eau de Yacht" or something like that.

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"Honestly, I don't know why seamen persist in getting wrecked in some of the outlandish places they do, when they can do it in a nice place like Fiji." -- John Caldwell, "Desperate Voyage"

Last edited by Classic30; 03-25-2008 at 12:28 AM.
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post #22 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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Smells like home to me

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post #23 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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There is no way to get rid of the "old boat smell" completely. You can manage it, but can't completely get rid of it. It's just part of the sailing experience. Once you open the hatch and step inside, the smell hits you....you just know your on a boat. Funny smell, but it's the big ol' welcome from the boat.

IMHO, bilges....the culprit...all that water sloshing around, getting on all crevices, wood grain, etc.

1982 Gib'Sea 105

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post #24 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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So, what makes a boat smell like a boat?? . . . that musty boat-smell to it that reminds one of the wide blue oceans and all that other soppy romantic stuff...
Relative to boats, sight conveys an immediate reaction from my brain - enabling a quick and distant judgement of pleasure or disdain. I interpret these images to the various shapes, proportions, colors and textures which have become pleasing to my mind's eye, such as stored memories of classic sailing yachts. Like the sense of touch, these are tangible sensory associations which are easy to comprehend.

Upon boarding a boat however, my senses of smell and taste ( since they are both closely linked ) are perhaps the most enigmatic - stimulating a more complex mix of associations. Although I often pondered the source of these sensations - the derived associations are typically of pleasant experiences on the water.

It's funny though, to recall how different some of our past boats have smelled, while still having similar effects. The boat before our last, was a brand new production model consisting mostly of fiberglass, canvas, stainless steel and vinyl. When first unzipping the new boat's cockpit canvas enclosure on a warm summer's morning, the odors became locked away - only to ultimately become associated to many years of fun and adventurous times spent on the ocean - and at dock.

The smells from our last boat however, were totally unlike the boat before, with a vastly different medley of pleasant odors. Stepping onboard on a damp morning, the natural decks emitted an earthy teak scent, while an arid smell of wet rope and musty canvas permeated the air, laced with the underlying bite of crusted salt over varnished teak brightwork.

Upon sliding open the teak pilothouse doors, a pleasing scent of aged teak and varnish wafted through the stagnant air. Like tasting a glass of fine vintage wine, successive layers laced with the smell of old paper charts, faint but pleasing diesel scents, odors of lamp oil and permeated sea salt stimulated the senses. Even the subtle head odors released upon opening each teak door to the heads, evoked pleasing responses.

We have yet to find a combination of smells that even comes close to being reminiscent of our boats and times spent aboard - I truly do miss that boat smell.

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post #25 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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I think TB has gotten the point the OP was making. There IS a distinct aroma; and it might actually be individual to each of us. I know for me it's an extremely faint odor of gasoline and diesel, just a hint of sulfur, a bit of damp canvas, and the echo of fish.

No one of the aromas should be strong enough to make you look for a spill or anything, more like the memory of a smell.

There is a lot to be said for aromatherapy. We greatly underrate our sense of smell; but it is intimately tied to the memory areas of our brain. Even notice how a particular scent can transport you back to a place or time?

An interesting aside; one of the best (earliest) tests available for Altzheimer's disease is a smell test. The inability, or loss of ability, to smell certain aromas can detect the early onset of the disease years before any symptoms show up.

I got an Old Fat Boat
She's Slow But Handsome
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I Love Her Well, And She Must Love Me
But I think It's Only For My Money
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post #26 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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Band-aids

I'm with you WuWei. Febreeze is like magic. It's more like a bandaid, really, but it's a magical bandaid. Kinda like turning the radio up in your car so you can't hear the rattles. Effective, but...

Dawg - you should try Febreeze to cover up all those dead animals on your boat!
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post #27 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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Man, I love TB's post, reading it brings the faint smells of our boat together.

I would never want to eliminate or mask the smells, but the guy that said not letting one over coming the others is right, ya gotta keep the balance.

The other faint smell I'd add to the mix is fresh ground coffee, my wife has a pot brewing every night ( well, almost ) of freshly ground Kona beans.............Damn, what a life

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Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can change and Rum to accept the things I can't
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post #28 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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No dead animals on my boat... I generally eat them after a few days. : )
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Originally Posted by lbdavis View Post
I'm with you WuWei. Febreeze is like magic. It's more like a bandaid, really, but it's a magical bandaid. Kinda like turning the radio up in your car so you can't hear the rattles. Effective, but...

Dawg - you should try Febreeze to cover up all those dead animals on your boat!

Sailingdog

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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #29 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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Cameron,

I've noticed the same thing with our boat. Not an unpleasant smell, quite to the contrary, but very distinct and peculiar to the boat. I think it's just a combination of engine, bilge, the ocean, brightwork and yes, maybe the hoses. Whatever it is, it works. It makes me smile whenever I smell it.

V/R

Dave

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post #30 of 158 Old 03-25-2008
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Cameron,

I've noticed the same thing with our boat. Not an unpleasant smell, quite to the contrary, but very distinct and peculiar to the boat. I think it's just a combination of engine, bilge, the ocean, brightwork and yes, maybe the hoses. Whatever it is, it works. It makes me smile whenever I smell it.

V/R

Dave

PS - TB, you're a man after my own heart! You have the soul of a poet.

[/SIGPIC]Dave
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