Now that we have the boat in Seattle, there are lots of cleaning projects to work on. We’re discovering new ways to contort arms + legs to get into narrow cubby spaces and lockers.
It’s amazing how much stuff accumulates in the corners of a boat – some of the surfaces we’re cleaning probably haven’t been touched in 10 years. It’s a 30 year old boat, so we’re also discovering stuff from the 90’s – old manuals for equipment that was purchased, invoices, etc. It’s interesting seeing some of the old sailing equipment ads, and tracing the history of the boat.
The canvas for the dodger, bimini, sail cover, and wheel cover probably hadn’t been cleaned in 4 years, and the deck stanchions had 4 years worth of dirt / moss accumulated around them. So those items were first on the cleaning list.
We cleaned the canvas by soaking in a solution of about 1 cup bleach, 1/4 cup dish soap, and 3-4 gallons of water. Then we treated it with 303 Fabric Guard, which is a waterproofing and protective solution.
I pumped out and cleaned the bilge – the boat has a dry bilge now for probably the first time in quite a while! And topped up the batteries which the surveyor had said needed water.
Going up the Mast
I also went up the mast, which is my first time doing that on any boat. It was a lot harder than I expected!
I used ascenders (climbing equipment that allows you to ascend a rope unaided) because we had found previously it was too hard for Natalie to winch me up.
It was super tiring! Basically you inchworm up, moving 2 feet at a time, doing probably about 50 squats in total. But at the same time you’re trying to deal with the ascenders (not jam them) and avoid swinging into things protruding from the mast.
It was also scary. I didn’t expect this since I’ve climbed indoors a lot and outdoors a bit (mountaineering, a few rock and glacier summits) and heights don’t scare me normally. I think with climbing a mast it was different because you have no wall to grab on to – just a smooth aluminum mast – and if you fall, you’re likely to hit a spreader or impale your crotch upon the boom.
Fixing the Head
The next weekend Natalie and I worked on fixing the head (marine toilet). On the trip down from Canada it had clogged or something – the pump was very difficult to operate. We figured this was going to be a messy job and we might have to remove sanitation lines to clear a calcium build-up or other blockage. However, I realized the Y valve which controls where the discharge goes was set to overboard discharge. And the seacock for that line was set closed (as it should be, since discharging overboard is illegal close to land). So the pump was hard to operate because we were building up pressure in a line that had no where to go!
This ended up being the easiest head fix job ever.
I’m about to start a large cleaning project on a new to us boat in the Seattle area as well. I’ve been doing some research but would love to know what was helpful in cleaning the different parts of your boat.
Sure thing, just send me an email with any specific questions you have. And I’ll probably be doing some more cleaning related topics soon.
Interesting about the head. We made exactly the same mistake when we bought and delivered our boat. Mistakes of new boat owners, I guess.