Boat smell - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 158 Old 03-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Boat smell

So, what makes a boat smell like a boat??

Even after a month or more sitting on the trailer in our back yard in the hot (drought-affected) Australian sunshine, our boat still has that musty boat-smell to it that reminds one of the wide blue oceans and all that other soppy romantic stuff...

I suppose that with good ventilation on dry land it would eventually go away and be replaced by a rotting-wood, neglected, kind of smell; but since our new berth cushions couldn't possibly be moldy yet, is it the paint? the salt? or something else??

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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; 03-24-2008 at 07:07 PM.
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post #2 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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Is it the head hoses?
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post #3 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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Install 2 solar vent place one on intake and the other on out take and the smells will go away.

S/V Scheherazade
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I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
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post #4 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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Thanks Freesail99. I bought 2 solar vents at the Toronto boat show in January and paln to do exactly that. I keep my forward hatch open a crack (in the locked position) and keep a 120v fan running all the time when we are away from the boat. It still has a distinctive odour when we lift the companionway boards each weekend. Nothing nasty... just distinctive.

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post #5 of 158 Old 03-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks Freesail99. I bought 2 solar vents at the Toronto boat show in January and paln to do exactly that. I keep my forward hatch open a crack (in the locked position) and keep a 120v fan running all the time when we are away from the boat. It still has a distinctive odour when we lift the companionway boards each weekend. Nothing nasty... just distinctive.
Yep, it's not unpleasant at all - just distinctive. I'm just curious to know what it might be. It seems to be common to all boats after they've been on the water a while.

And no, it's not the head hoses - our boat is not big enough to have one!

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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"

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post #6 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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Now that someone mentioned the solar vents, does anyone has any long term experience with them? I mean, they are not cheap, but not expensive either.

One of the PO's (last PO said he got it just as he passed it along to us) had them installed, now all there is left is the deck plate & cover, so obviously the motor passed on to a better life, which makes me wonder about the life expectancy of these vents, either solar or DC power. I appreciate you guys feedback.

1982 Gib'Sea 105

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post #7 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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I have 2 solar powered ones on mine - one is 10+ years old (still works fine) and the other I put in the last summer....Usually about the only maintenance one needs to do is replace the batteries every few years...

-- Jody

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post #8 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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New fiberglass boats smell because of the styrene and other chemicals outgassing from the laminate and materials on the boat. Old boats usually smell because of mold, mildew, leaky bilges, permeated head hoses, dead animals in the boat, etc.

The solar vents help keep the boat from getting mold and mildew... and help keep the air in the boat fresh.

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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.

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post #9 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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We run a dehumidifier when she is at dock. Huge difference- no mold! And the boat doesn't smell so weird. I also use Fabreeze antimicrobial to spray stuff down.
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post #10 of 158 Old 03-24-2008
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I don't care for the smell myself, but it does work, mothballs.

S/V Scheherazade
-----------------------
I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
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