The time to cast off the moorings for the August cruise is approaching, all the more reason to check every detail on board, because big problems can arise from small things. After the first installment, our checklist for smooth sailing continues.
RESPECT PARTS AND EQUIPMENT
The number of spares to bring on board varies depending on the type of cruise you will take, but it is best to abound. Prepare a checklist of tools and products to go along with your normal toolbox with which, for a relatively small footprint, you’ll sail safe and sound: don’t forget the engine oil, grease, spun vaseline, throttle and gearbox cables (some people even start with a double wiring harness: in case of breakage, you simply detach the broken cable by attaching the respecting one), the alternator belt, a few stainless clamps of all sizes, a few meters of the various water and diesel pipes, various hydraulic seals (including the one for the underrated toilet!) and, finally, electrical cables and fuses. Wanting to exaggerate, for long sailings, one can opt for a respectable propeller.
Although it is best to leave the boat with a new filter and oil, you can provide it before the summer cruise. When changing the lubricant, you need to run the engine for a while before proceeding so that the oil is warmed up and fluidized. Equip yourself with a container to collect the exhaust, and to empty the circuit help yourself with the pump. Then disassemble the filter with the appropriate wrench, and before putting on the new one, clean the connectors and lubricate the gasket. Reassemble and fill the circuit with the new oil. You can add some additives useful in maintaining the quality of the lubricant and indicated for the prevention of sludge and mold.
Stuff for “geeks”: if as a layman you open the electrical panel of your boat, especially if it is dated, you will be confronted with an incomprehensible tangle of wires. Don’t worry, leave out the technical aspect of the construction and just check its efficiency by checking all fastons (the blade connectors) and terminal blocks. In case there is oxide, it should be removed with special products for electrical circuits. These are the “critical” points: the system, due to oxide, interrupts the passage of current, causing a contact resistance that has the effect of dissipating heat and thus increasing absorption or, even worse, voltage drop.
Since Sept. 18, 2002, a regulation has regulated the construction and use of liferafts for recreational vessels and mandates that they be overhauled every two years, at locations authorized by the manufacturer. The costs of such an overhaul will be your responsibility so before shipping the raft to the nearest authorized overhaul center, get a detailed estimate. After the overhaul, a certificate will be issued that contains the results and verification of the work performed and should be kept on board at all times. Every 5 years, the condition of the inflation cylinders should be checked; every 6 years from the first packaging shown on the identification card, the raft should be subjected to a special inspection that includes an overpressure test equal to 25 percent of normal operating pressure for 30 minutes and a tightness test at operating pressure for 6 hours.
There are two types of marine toilets: manual and electric. The latter can operate by maceration or vacuum. Every type of toilet system has its weak points, including gaskets that swell and stop flowing with time and the use of harsh detergents; you will want to keep a set of spare parts on board and use only specific cleaners. In electric toilets, monitor, before you leave, the status of the fuse in the breaker and-if you have a macerator system-the macerator in the bowl, to avoid malodorous surprises when sailing.