Getting your sailboat ready for launch each season is essential for maximizing long-term use and minimizing damage. We understand wanting to go sailing as soon as nice weather comes around. Before hitting the water, a proper round of checks should be carried out.
The main things that can go wrong fall into two categories – navigational error or machinery failure. To avoid these complications follow these tips:
It’s important to regularly check the accuracy of your compass. To do this, you can switch it off to see if there are any issues with deviation. Record any deviation for future reference.
You should also check the chainplates and rig. If the stem cap is ‘smiling’ it’s time to replace it. Look for corrosion on the rig. The tension in rigs is essential to sailing.
Next, look at the seacocks. Worn-out seacocks can cause the vessel to sink, something no boater ever wants to experience. Most seacock failures can be found in the skin fitting to the valve or the hose tail connection. This is caused by corrosion of the metal casting. Valve fittings begin to weaken after five years of use. There are alternatives available to replace these brass fittings that may be worth looking into.
It’s also important to look for failures in the skin fitting hose. It’s not hard to check; you only really need a good LED torch. Hose tails are usually 3mm thick. Any less than that and you can assume they came apart.
If you’re not well-versed in sailboats and checking their systems, it’s not a bad idea to call a marine expert. Here are some items you may want to consult an expert to check:
- Check of mast, running, and standing rigging
- Mechanic for full engine service
- Check of hull, keel, rudder, and anode
- Sail service
- Marine electrician to look at wiring, lighting, and other issues
- Engineer to check for leaks
- Marine surveyor to deep dive into the systems