Tips & Wrinkles

Do you have a tip?  Have you tried any of the following?  Did they work or were they a waste of time? Please send your comments to the website editor

Wet-Cell Batteries
Power to crank the engine and run the lights comes from the storage batteries. If they are constantly run down and recharged at high levels, some electrolyte is bound to gas off. Charging a wet-cell battery with the top of the plates exposed will greatly reduce its life.

Don't just depend on the voltmeter on the engine panel or the electrical panel to judge the state of charge of your wet-cell batteries. Use a hydrometer, after running the engine to top up the batteries, to check for differences between individual battery cells.

Clean and grease battery cable connections, and wipe down the tops of the batteries with fresh water and paper towels after filling, charging, and cleaning. Make sure the cell caps are snugged all the way down.

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Cleaning au Naturel
Forget expensive and toxic cleaning products. If you have a jug of white vinegar and a box of baking soda on board, you’re covered for most scenarios. A paste of baking power and water will get rust off stainless steel and mildew off fiberglass and other non-porous surfaces. Just scrub and rinse. A 50:50 vinegar/water mix will clean varnished wood and fiberglass, and raw vinegar cuts through grime and is great for wiping down work surfaces. The smell quickly dissipates. Close the heads and galley sink drain seacocks and pour baking powder down them to clean and deodorize.

(Source: Sail Magazine 9 July 2013)

Heads Up!
It doesn’t matter how scrupulous you are about keeping your heads compartment clean if you leave your intake hose and toilet bowl filled with seawater when you leave the boat. Microorganisms in the seawater will die and give off that nasty rotten-eggs hydrogen sulfide odor. If you first pump through plenty of salt water to make sure no waste is left trapped in the hose run, flushing a quart or two of freshwater through the toilet will take care of the toilet bowl and outlet hose, but what of the intake hose? “Headmistress” Peggy Hall suggests connecting the heads intake hose to the sink drain hose (if close enough) via T-fittings just upstream of the respective seacocks; before you leave the boat for more than a day or two, close both seacocks and then pump a sink full of freshwater through the toilet, which will rinse everything out. If you do this every time you leave the boat for more than a couple of days, you can kiss goodbye to stinky heads.  

(Source: Sail Magazine 9 July 2013)

Prop Paint
You don't want barnacles or slime affecting your propeller's efficiency, but it's notoriously difficult to make antifouling paint stick to your prop. Here's how: rough up the metal with some 80 grit sandpaper, then apply a couple of coats of zinc chromate primer. Then brush on your choice of bottom paint. The primer will adhere to the metal, the paint will adhere to the primer, and the barnacles won't adhere to the paint.

(Source: Sail Magazine 9 July 2013)

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