What could let you down this season?

As you would expect we deal with a lot of boats year after year, and we manage the service of many, so what are the things that we see that may spoil the use of your yacht this season?

Assuming that the regular yearly maintenance has been done, then what are the regular items that we see causing owners grief when they come to use their boats more frequently in the summer.

1/ Battery failure: Virtually every single boat is different in terms of its power usage and charging, and we’ve seen batteries last anywhere from a year to over 10 years. The fact of the matter is that you can almost guarantee that your batteries will fail at the most inconvenient time! To determine the real condition of your batteries have them load tested by a marine electrician. Since most yachts don’t have an emergency parallel between the house and engine start batteries it’s a useful idea to carry a set of jump leads on-board. That way on Sunday afternoon when you go to start your engine to leave your mooring for home and nothing happens, you can simply jump the engine start battery to get you away and back onto your mooring or into your marina pen.

2/ A winch failure: Many owners rarely have winches serviced and wait until something fails before doing anything with them, but we are firm believers in preventative maintenance, so in the off season this should be on your job list, or have a professional do it.

3/ Valve seize: Ideally, at least as part of your annual service, all of the through-hull valves should be lubricated. Preferably all valves should be turned at least monthly. While some believe that all valves should be closed every time you leave your vessel the reality is that this is virtually never done. Don’t expect that the first time to go to close a valve that hasn’t been touched for years that it’s found to be seized! Fortunately all new Jeanneau yachts have been fitted with polymer outlet valves for the last seven years, so it’s extremely rare for these to require service, but the other valve to keep a close look on is the engine inlet valve (if you have shaft drive).

4/ Water inlet valve blockage: If a yacht has been unused for a period of time, especially at a time of the year when the antifouling is nearly spent, then it is remarkable how quickly a skin fitting/valve can become at least partially blocked. For sail-drives this is worse as the fins in the leg are relatively narrow, so they can block and weed particles get sucked into the body of the leg. If in doubt there are many divers available on Sydney harbour and on Pittwater who can clean key areas for not a lot of money.

5/ A halyard jamb: Headsails stretch, particularly Dacron headsails, and what a lot of people don’t realise is that this can change the critical angle that the halyard presents to the mast sheave via the deflector. How this often presents itself is with ‘bird-caging’ the forestay. The furler becomes stiff, and particularly with yacht with an electric winch the temptation is to wind it harder. If a halyard wrap has developed at the head sail head then it effectively unwraps the top of the forestay, eventually resulting in broken strands and requiring the forestay to be replaced.

6/ Mast furling mainsail jamb: In-mast furling has become particularly reliable, but there are three reasons why problems can occur. If you read the manufacturers supplied guide they state that the top and bottom bearings require cleaning and lubricating annually, so it is important to do this. Secondly, as the mainsail ages the sail gets fuller, particularly in the middle and this will cause the luff to curl on itself as it enters the mast. What is required is a luff-tuck, which is an inexpensive modification by any reputable sail-maker. Thirdly, in-mast furling mainsails are designed with the tack lower than the clew, so that as the sail furls into the mast the foot isn’t wrapping around the same point of the spindle so that it gets too think at one point and jamb. Therefore the boom must angle up towards the clew. If your boom is set horizontally this is incorrect and may cause problems.

7/ Toilet leak: Marine toilets require the kit of seals to be renewed regularly and you can purchase these at any marine chandlery. Changing the seals is very straight-forward, but if this is something you would prefer not to do it can be done by a professional.

The name of the game is to deal with these things preventatively, where possible. PBS offers a one-stop shop for the service of all boats power & sail on Sydney harbour and Pittwater, so if you are time starved and anything needs attention contact service@performanceboating.com.au or ring 9979 9755