December Tidbit

This is an informational post from your FSS  Vice Commodores /Safety guy / Mast Wedge Inspector on various things that are boat (Friendship Sloop) related.

Well it’s officially winter. We here in Massachusetts have experienced our first hard freeze and the Rhododendron leaves are curled up tight. At times like this it’s hard to think about working on the boat but there are still lots of tasks that can be accomplished out of the weather, things that can accelerate your return to the water in the spring.

  • Take all the sheets, halyards and dock lines and put them in a tub of fresh water to soak out the salt. A little mild soap won’t hurt them but remember, don’t use harsh chemical cleaners. Whatever you do don’t put them in the washing machine or you’ll be untangling the gargantuan knot until sometime next fall.
  • Use the deep sink in the basement as a tub and a plumber’s plunger as the agitator. Any mild laundry soap, without bleach, will work. (The plunger also works well for clamming, but that’s another subject.)
  • Overhaul your blocks. A fresh water rinse of the bearings and a little light oil do wonders for older traditional blocks. The newer high tech blocks only need the fresh water rinse.
  • When the lines dry look them over. Now is a good time to renew the whipping on the ends or re-splicing loose or worn out thimbles.
  • It’s a good time to renew any chafing gear that’s attached to dock lines or mooring pennants.
  • How about the sails? When was the last time you gave them a good inspection? This may be a little ambitious if you live in a small house but a sailmaker is more likely to get the job done before spring if he gets the sails now rather than in March.
  • Sail covers and cockpit covers should also be included in the inspection but that you can do yourself. They could probably go into the washing machine without causing much of a problem.

Now sit back and reflect on the great activities the Friendship Sloop Society had last year. We are certainly looking forward to more this coming year. Happy Holidays everyone.

Bill Whitney is Vice-Commodore of the Friendship Sloop Society and master and owner of GAIVOTA, FSS #214

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November Tidbit

This is an informational post from your FSS  Vice Commodores /Safety guy / Mast Wedge Inspector on various things that are boat (Friendship Sloop) related.

This post originally started; “Well it’s October and time to think about putting the boat up for the winter. How depressing!” But now it’s November 1st and all the northern boats are probably out of the water! If you store the boat where it doesn’t freeze you don’t need to read any further. I, on the other hand, have to finish decommissioning GAIVOTA. Being somewhat forgetful, I need a decommissioning list and thought I’d send this out just to jog your memories. Most of you have been on the water as long as, or longer than I, but I know I forget things. Maybe one or two of these tidbits of information can help you protect your boat.

  • Boat stands should be spaced approximately every 8 ft. down the length of the hull and placed where the interior bulkheads can help distribute the load. And remember, the keel blocks bear the weight of the boat, not the boat stands. They should be snug, but not tight. Don’t forget to put some wooden pads under the stand legs to keep them from sinking into the ground during the wet/dry cycles. The yard/storage facility should do it but …… they’re kind of busy this time of year.
  • When is the last time you checked the freeze protection capability of the anti-freeze? It may be full but if it has not been replaced within the last five years it may not give you the protection you expect. Go to the NAPA Auto Parts store and buy yourself an anti-freeze tester. Let’s see, $5 or and engine overhaul? Spend the five bucks!
  • And speaking of anti-freeze be sure to winterize the rest of the cooling system. Remove the impeller from the raw water pump, drain the heat exchanger and raw water filter, and leave the raw water valve open. (This assumes that the boat is out of the water of course!)
  • Loosen the alternator or generator, remove the fan belt.
  • Drain /refill the oil.
  • Top up the fuel tank to keep moisture out.
  • Drain the fresh water tank.
  • Remove the port-a-potty, flush the holding tank, and winterize the commode.
  • Fill any fresh water tanks, holding tanks, hot water tanks, pumps and plumbing systems with enough potable anti-freeze to prevent the water you couldn’t drain from freezing.
  • Take all the glasses, coffee cups and dishes home. And your cloths. And all the other stuff that has been accumulating in the nooks and crannies for years. (I’m continually surprised by the things “rediscovered” after years among the missing.)
  • Take the batteries home and put them in a nice warm, dry place after you charge them up. Lead acid batteries need to be topped up and recharged once or twice over the winter.

Now put up the frame, cover up the boat and go home. Fix yourself your favorite libation, hug your wife or significant other, pat the dog and/or cat (or both), and retreat to the depths of your man/woman) cave. Visualize warm summer days next year. Crying won’t help!

We will be offering special counseling at the bar for those who attend the annual meeting on Saturday the 12th. As long as you keep buying, we’ll keep counseling!

Bill Whitney is Vice-Commodore of the Friendship Sloop Society and master and owner of GAIVOTA, FSS #214

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