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post #1 of 21 Old 05-30-2006 Thread Starter
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After Sail Checks/PM

Can anyone share their "best practices" for after returning to the docks in a 30ish foot keel boat? My wife and I are new sailboat owners (Oday 322)and such details are not covered in the ASA 101 class.

Our boat is a typical sloop rig with 18hp Yanmar Aux. What check list items should we include after returning from a sail on the Chesepeake Bay? I noticed some folks raise the sails and rinse while others just sprayed off the sail covers. Is a wash down maintence or just a matter of personal pride? What about care and feeding of the diesel aux? Any secrets to keeping the DC system happily charged ie engine run time/frequency to keep water, toilet and lights etc? What items do you always make sure get done before leaving the boat til next time?

Later this summer we will take some more training on our boat, but want to fully understand the fundamentals from the 101 class first, so we get maximum value out of the addtional training dollars. We just want to insure we are taking decent care of the boat for the month or so, until we feel ready for addtional training.

Thanks for helping us avoid some rookie mistakes,

Bill and Jill
SV Palmetto Moon
Stingray Point, VA
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-30-2006
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Diesel cool down...

Don't shut off your engine right when you get in your slip. Let it run in idle about 5 minutes so that the water can pump through your engine and cool it down.

Bonus tip:

Especially with Yanmar's - every time you run your engine, after warming it up, you should run up your RPMs up to max, and let it run at high rpm for a good bit. This will keep your exhaust elbow from clogging up.

Last edited by LaLeLu; 05-30-2006 at 05:57 PM.
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-30-2006
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A lot of what you do is a matter of religion. Letting the diesel run for a few minutes evens out the heat loads in the block while the cooling water is still running, so it cools down more evenly and the oil cools down as well, so it should coke less (cook & turn into tar) after you do shut down. Some folks would say to run an engine room ventilation fan until the engine REALLY cools down. Most folks just idle it a bit then shut it down, in the belief that diesels are robust animals.

Charging? Yeah, in theory the batteries should be fully charged before you go away, of that's convenient. As long as they are not heavily discharged and not left alone for many weeks, not critical.

Washdown? In the long run, if you can, probably worthwhile. Salt crystals are good abrasives, getting them out of the sails and lines is a good idea, but most folks don't have that luxury. And, you wouldn't want to store them outright WET, so most folks just put them away if they are dry.

More important is probably to make up a list of "secure for port" "secure for lunch", "secure for heavy weather" etc., that runs bow-to-stern with a list of what you need to do to secure the boat. Ideally you memorize all this stuff and never forget (sure!) so making up a list and referring to it at the start of the season isn't a bad idea. All the water intakes/drains should be closed, all the hatches need to be secured (on the "vent" setting sometimes, totally secured other times), all the switches turned off and then the main power switch off, with the bilge pump/alarm left on as you choose, etc.

If you plan to be off the boat for any length of time in humid weather, it helps to prop up all the cushions so air can circulate under them, to prevent mildew.

And both getting on and off the boat, first and last thing might be to check the bilge--just in case.
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-31-2006
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I have always checked the shaft stuffing box before I left the boat to make sure I didn't have more than the normal drip there. Let's just say that it paid off well one particular time....

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post #5 of 21 Old 05-31-2006
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Before leaving the boat and locking our pilothouse doors, we always turn off the fresh water pump circuit breaker. With a prior boat, we neglected to do this and the hose to pump connection had sprung a leak. The entire water tank content ended up in the bilge - but was discharged by the bilge pump.

Of course, this would not have been a problem, since our last boat's tank capacity was only 30 gallons. But with a 140-gal tank on this boat, if the bilge pump failed and a line leak occurred, that's a lot of water, potentially immersing our diesel engine.

True Blue . . .
sold the Nauticat
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-31-2006
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Ok, here's some more rituals I have:

More or less just common sense:

1. Clean your air/water intake screens/filters once a week if you are running your systems. This includes fridge intake and ac intakes (air and water). Lack of air/water flow will kill your equipment.

2. Keep batteries at or above 3/4.

3. Waterproof exterior canvas.

4. Turn water pump/heater off when you are not on boat.

5. Check bilge for water and test bilge pump regularly.

6. Clean waterline and prop regularly. While you are down there, check cutless and zincs.

7. Fresh water wash boat after each use.

8. Keep maintenance log and be diligent about changing filters, fluids etc.

9. Check oil every time before starting engine.

10. Know where all of your sea cocks are!!!!!

11. When plugging in shore power, turn power off at box while you are connecting.

12. Check every moving part regularly and keep them lubricated. Some parts need to be greased (sea cocks take water proof grease), some need to be oiled and some dry-lubed.

13. Check engine belts and hoses regularly. Listen to your engine - once you get to know its purr, you will notice the difference when something is going out.

14. Keep your engine clean. This makes it easier to keep visual watch on what's going on with it.

That's all the comes to mind at the moment. Feel free to add to the list...
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-31-2006
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I don't do anything to the sails when I return from a trip as long as they are dry and bug free. My first set lasted 15 years.

I do turn off the master breaker because I once forgot to turn off the light in the head. When I returned to the boat, the light was melted and scorched. Lucky the boat didn't burn to the waterline.

I leave the battery charger on - it's new and the wiring is in good shape. I also installed an automatic bilge pump in case of a new leak while I'm gone. Some sailors close all seacocks - I do too if I willl be away for a few weeks.

I also dry the bilge as best I can. I recently fought a battle with blisters and every knowledgable sailor informed me that substantial quantities of water can travel through the fiberglass from the bilge.

During hurricane season (I'm also in the Chesapeake), I leave extra dock lines where the dock master can find them in case I can't get to the boat.

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post #8 of 21 Old 06-01-2006
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I close the engine seacock before I leave the boat. I also pull the speedo transducer and replace it with the blank one provided by the manufacturer. Both are done to prevent marine growth.

During the cooler months, I kill the shorepower on the boat. During the warm months, I keep it on to run the refrigerator and freezer. I have canvas covers for my helm, main sail, dodger, and winches. I put on the covers each time before leaving the boat.

I check my engine zinc about once a month. I check the fluid level in my batteries each time I use the boat, unless it's less than a week since the last time.
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post #9 of 21 Old 06-02-2006
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Originally Posted by SailinJay
I also pull the speedo transducer and replace it with the blank one provided by the manufacturer.
Quick question: I thought you'd have to be out of the water to do that. How do you not flood the boat?
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post #10 of 21 Old 06-02-2006
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Very...very.... fast.
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