Bottom cleaning W/Dock heel? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 01-13-2011 Thread Starter
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Bottom cleaning W/Dock heel?

Ok i am sure some one has covered this, I just cant find it.
Another sailor talked about cleaning the bottom of his boat by attaching the main halyard to the dock and heeling the boat. I never tried it. Has any one done this? What might the pitfalls be. I imagine lateral movement by the boat might happen. Should I be woried about the mast? I dont think I need to heel to much. The draft on my C&C 24 is 4'.

Your thoughts would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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You can pull a 24 footer over by its mast, but its not easy and frankly it does not expose that much of the bottom. And if there are any defects in your rigging you risk the mixed blessing of learning about it the hard way (but at least you are at the dock and not far offshore. Frankly, while I have pulled boats over by their masts for other reasons, it is way too much trouble just to clean the bottom of a 24 footer.

Obviously in summer the easy thing is to snorkle and clean the bottom with only the keel and rudder being the hard part. If you are not racing there are simple tools that allow you to clean your bottom from the dock. My favorite tool for this is what I jokingly call the Jeff_ H Mark III bottom scrubber. This is can be made for a less than 10 dollars by buying a 12 foot length of 1" electrical conduit (EMT- Electrical Metal Tubing) and carefully bending it using a forked tree into a 'J' shape with the radius slightly larger than your bottom and the curve equal to half your beam.

Then get a 2 foot or so length of 4" rigid PVC drain pipe. Pack the inside of the PVC pipe tightly with rigid styrofoam (this can ususally be salvaged from foam packing material) into the tube. Drill a 1 1/8" hole through the center of the PVC tube and through the foam. Insert the curved end of the J of the conduit through the hole. Drill an 3/16" hole in the conduit just above and below the 4" PVC. Put an 1/8" dia. bolt each hole and tighten. (There is a fancier, concealed fastening Mk II version where there is a short length of 2 x 4 inside the PVC pipe but that versionis harder to build and the last one that I made I decided that it not worth the effort.)

Wrap the entire PVC tube with carpet (which can usually be gotten free in small offcut pieces from a carpet installer). The carpet should be longer than the PVC pipe and hang over the ends an inch or more. Screw (with perhaps 3 self-tapping screws each side) the carpet sample over the outside of the pipe with the screws in line with what will the top 1 1/8" hole of the scrubber,and if you really want to get fancy put a crutch tip on the open ends of the EMT.

Now you are done. Here is how it is used. You stand on deck and sweep it down over the bottom perpendicular to the center line of the boat. The stryrofoam floats the end of the scrubber up against the hull, and the carpet does the scrubbing. You can do the whole boat in less than 10 minutes. If you only draw 4 feet you should be able to do the rudder and keel.

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post #3 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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Or you could do it the proper way.
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post #4 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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post #5 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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The best thing I did for my bottom was buy a wetsuit, flippers, and sponge for myself. The first few times it's weird and you'll bump your head. After that, you get used to holding your breath 3' under water. I do mine once or twice a week in the summer.

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post #6 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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Or, like Fastbottoms said, you could contract with a professional to do it on a regularly scheduled basis and have it done by someone who knows what he is doing. The bottom will be cleaner and your paint will last longer as well.

It must be a regional thing, because these questions and various solutions like this come up frequently on this and other boards, yet here in SoCal I don't know anyone who doesn't use a regularly scheduled dive service for bottom cleaning.
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post #7 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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Obviously, I'm going to be biased. But I will once again describe the the shortcomings of the Dri-Diver and other, homebuilt versions of the concept:

1.- You cannot control the amount of scrubbing force being appiled to to the hull. Got an ablative paint that requires a real gentle touch? Too bad. Paint in less than perfect condition and needs a little extra elbow grease? Bummer.

2.- You're working blind and you will miss spots, maybe lots of 'em. Guaranteed.

3.- Forget about cleaning the rudder, keel, thru-hulls, transducers and running gear. Not happening.

4.- What's going on with your zincs? Dri-Diver ain't gonna tell ya. And even if it could, it ain't gonna replace 'em.

All-in-all, it's a real half-assed way to go. IMHO, of course.

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post #8 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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Some places (marinas etc) prohibit bottom cleaning for various presumably environmental reasons. In that case, while you may get away with some top-side scrubbing, they will be very unhappy at the site of someone in scuba gear with a squeegee on a dock.
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post #9 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brak View Post
Some places (marinas etc) prohibit bottom cleaning for various presumably environmental reasons. In that case, while you may get away with some top-side scrubbing, they will be very unhappy at the site of someone in scuba gear with a squeegee on a dock.
See, the irony there is that you are much more likely to scrub paint off into the water doing it from the dock than a knowlegable, properly equipped diver is, doing it underwater.

Fortunately, places that do not allow in-water hull cleaning are few and far in between.
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post #10 of 21 Old 01-13-2011
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gonna try my dads old idea the marina im in now has a haul out grid and pier just park boat on grid and put on chest waders when tide goes out boat is "on the hard for a couple hours. i draw 3'6" so as soon as keel has settled im in waders and wet. with my use of the boat once a month is plenty here in the PNW. the waders help on days when there isn't much tidal flow during the day. all i need is for less than 4 feet of water. (cheap chest waders 10 bucks cheap sandals to wear with them 5 bucks at walmart) they last a couple years

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