Preparing your yacht for summer:

It’s that time of year again when we are looking forward to warmer months and weekends of sailing. Here at PBS we have been dealing with yacht servicing for decades, so we thought it might be useful to offer some tips on the most significant service items:


Antifouling: To get the best out of your antifoul start with it fresh before the water temperature increases, that way the antifouling will be at it strongest when the growth rate is at its highest and this will give you the best results. Darker antifouling is the most effective and certain brands are more effective here than others. If in doubt ask any professional local yard what works best in your area.

Note that changing brands is not to be recommended without the proper preparation, and in some cases primer. And never have a hard antifouling put on over an ablative antifouling, as the likelihood will be that they will separate over time. Similarly, different brands have different characteristics and may not be compatible.

If at all possible view your yacht after preparation and before the application of the antifouling itself. Never assume that the yard will do the job properly. We’ve seen far too many yachts, many antifouled at prominent yards, which have had to be soda blasted back to the bare hull due to repeated poor antifoul preparation. It’s a costly exercise!

Rigging: 1 x 19 wire which is the standard rigging on yachts stretches, so your rigging should be checked and tuned annually by a qualified rigger. Apart from being good practice to ensure that your rig doesn’t have any issues, not tuning the rigging will result in more forestay sag and a fuller mainsail, so your yacht will have more weather helm, be less balanced, and be slower!

Winch service: Don’t wait until that long awaited summer holiday to find that one or more of your winches has seized. Winches should be greased on an annual basis and be stripped and cleaned every few years, depending on weather.

Sails: Since we’ve had such a dry winter there should be no reason for sails to have become mouldy, but if you do have mould there is a great service available in Sydney from Vacu Wash who have a custom vacuum tank specifically designed and built for cleaning sails and canvas.

If the UV strip on your headsail is starting to show signs of wear now is the time to get it to your sail-maker and to have your sail serviced. If your sails are becoming full with age, but the sail material is otherwise in reasonably good shape it may well be worthwhile have a luff tuck done to take the depth out of the sail that has developed by stretching over the years. You will be surprised how inexpensive it is to do, how much it will improve the performance of your boat, and how much additional life it may give to your sail!

Sail drive service: If your yacht has a sail-drive the oil in this needs to be serviced annually and is best done when the yacht is out of the water for antifouling. Although the oil can be changed in the water it is difficult to drain the leg completely this way, whereas when out of the water it can be drained 100% from the drain-plug at the base.

Polishing: An annual acid wash and polish of the hull and all smooth surfaces will seal the gelcoat and prevent oxidation and absorption of dirt into the pores of the gelcoat. It will also protect it from UV damage, so a well worthwhile exorcise that will keep your yacht easier to clean all year, and increase its value when it comes time to sell it.

Teak: Although some owners prefer to allow their teak to remain natural and go dark there are compelling reasons to have it professionally cleaned and have Semco applied. We are not agents for Semco, but it’s simply the only product that we have ever found to work effectively without permanently staining the timber. It seals the teak and keeps it a natural clean colour for months, and re-application between yearly stripping and recoating is easily done by owners. We have seen it used now for over 12 years and can tell you that it will at least double the life of your exterior teak. And it makes it easy to rinse off things like sun cream, wine, chicken and other things that will stain untreated teak.

Through hull valves: It is rare to have to do anything with skin fittings themselves for a very long period of time, but there are a number of factors that can result in degradation of the valves themselves. If bronze or stainless they should be closed and opened on a regular basis, and be lubricated. Allowing them to remain unused for years at a time is a recipe for trouble. Generally the only valve which really cause problems are the toilet outlet valves, so it is a very good idea to have these replaced with plastic ones which will eliminate the issues with corrosion due to the caustic contents of the holding tank and dissimilar metals. The other value which we have seen deteriorate on a small number of yachts is the engine water intake valve, so those should be checked regularly.


PBS offers a one-stop shop for your servicing needs for yachts based on both Sydney Harbour and Pittwater, with pick-up and return delivery available. So, while having your yacht antifouled we can co-ordinate to have the hull polished, engine serviced, rigging checked, sails serviced and any other service or improvement work done with one phone call or email. Contact Damien on 9979 9755 or email service@performanceboating.com.au