The encyclopedia of shipboard work | Chapter 1: hull and hulling

board workLiveaboard Fabio Portesan reveals in three installments his list of essential jobs to have a top boat in the coming season, how much time you need and how much they cost. Ready to get your hands dirty? Let’s start with the first installment: hull and hull.

Lhe neighbor’s boat is always looking better-or was it the neighbor’s lawn is always greener? The fact of the matter is that at the end of the good season many of us bring the boat back to the Marina where we are usually stationed. The next step is hauling in preparation for winter. This is the time when you can relax as your boat goes into hibernation and you can stop worrying about hull, deck, rigging, inboard, electricity until next year–nothing could be more wrong! You are a proud and determined shipowner and as such you are used to doing the worst jobs in the worst weather and sea conditions. So this winter you will devote it to the routine maintenance essential to be able to start in Pole Position next season. Winterizing the boat the right way is critical. It is not enough to get under the Travel Lift or Crane, wait for the boat to be placed on the reservoir, and from there on “bye-bye” until the next season.

Dry storage will allow you greater convenience for maintenance and cleaning and extra safety in bad weather, a winter classic. In addition, a boat pulled dry fears osmosis and moisture much less.

Let’s see what are those jobs we can do while the boat (which, for convenience, we have considered fiberglass, 12 meters and in good condition) is ashore considering both the time it will take to do them and the approximate cost of such operations. Nothing complicated so don’t worry! Before you jump out of your boat harnessed in goggles, suit and protective mask accompanied by tools of all kinds ask what the rules are for being able to do work in the marina or shipyard you are a guest of. Some jobs you can do independently while others you absolutely cannot. Come on, let’s get our hands dirty!

The encyclopedia of shipboard work | Chapter 1: Hull and Fairing

This work can be done in the vast majority of cases only on the reservoir unless you are an experienced diver with a great desire to catch cold in the water under the boat in winter…


When to do it: every year

How long: 12 hours

DIY: 150 euro (cost of pressure washer)

Have it done: 600/1000 euros (hauling and launching cost with cleaning included)

Almost all marinas or shipyards perform high-pressure washing to remove algae, micro organisms, and miscellaneous dirt from the hull after hauling.

If you perform this work yourself, then you will need to equip yourself with a pressure washer of adequate power that you can conveniently use for multiple trades. The pressure gun definitely occupies a prominent place in my lockers. Pass the entire hull making sure to pass the rudder and propeller system well. Be careful of any tapes and vinyl stickers, and most importantly, to avoid finding a disaster in the boat close all overboard outlets. The punishment of open sea intakes during pressure washing of the hull is well imaginable and difficult to remove from the sky ceilings in the bathroom, galley, and even worse from the mattresses in the cabin. Netting the hull as much as possible you will need to equip yourself with a good hand trowel or scraper and remove any dog teeth and other limestone formations on the live work. Clean the sea intakes well because they are particularly coveted by the mini baleen that proliferate among the grates.


When to do it: every year

How long: 2 hours (two weeks per treatment)

DIY: 0 euro (inspection only)

Have it done: 3,000 euro anti-osmosis treatment

By acting as described, the hull will be free and you will be able to check the status of your live work and sea intakes, as well as transducers and various sensors in contact with the water. There are many recommendations here depending on the type of hull but universally we can say that cleaning the hull can give you an idea of how to proceed during the winter.

You may notice some small bubbles. In that case it could be either moisture trapped between the hull and antifouling paint or osmosis. Anyone who sees a bubble will open it with a very small tip and smell the odor coming off. If it is an odor reminiscent of acid, it is osmosis. Caught in time it is absolutely not problematic but if the bubbles are small and few you can treat them individually if on the contrary they are many you will have to proceed to treat the hull with appropriate products. In 90% of cases the hull is more than salvageable.

There are several commercially available treatments, but my advice is to let the yard do this work, which will certainly offer a guarantee on the work done. Time and cost are variable depending on products. It estimates about two weeks and a cost per treatment from 3,000 euros and up.


When to do it: every year

How long: three days

Do it yourself: 500 – 1000 euros

Have it done: from 2,000 euros

Check well to see if the joint grout of the bulb to the hull has cracks and if so, proceed to renew it by removing the old material in favor of a sealant. Sealant or Epoxy? Sealant provides some flexibility while epoxy provides a better seal. Some situations involve the use of both. Here it may be a case of bringing in an expert for precise advice on what to use and how. It is a common one but if there is a crack I suggest you investigate the reason that caused it. Approximately 2 hours and cost varies depending on products used.

Make a check of the shadyness of the rudder. Hook the rudder on the front and back and try to move it in various directions. If it moves a lot you will have to check the shady system starting with the gasket. Same fate with regard to the propeller shaft. Check that it does not move. About ¼ hour check. The weather is variable.

Remove and change the anodes if you see fit. Pay special attention to the propeller anode. About 1 hour and cost depending on the number of anodes. Remove the propeller to check for dents. Refer to the propeller manual or the boat manual if you mount the original.

Leave the antifouling for last and do the work no more than 48 hours before returning to the water. This craft is also quite easy to do on your own. Get a mask equipped with filters, a disposable overalls, paint rollers. Bound the part of the hull up to which you want to give the paint with car body tape. Do not start antifouling if it threatens rain, if it is too windy or if it is too hot. Depending on the antifouling you want to use remember to give at least two coats, preferably three.

Also check the sea intakes. They must be perfectly firm to the hull. Optimizing the hull requires a full day’s work. Counting also the next antifouling application we approximate another two days of work and very variable cost depending on the paint wanted and the coats given, on average I estimate about 500 euros of product for two coats.

In the next installment: Blanket, anchor and windlass….

Who is the author of the article
Fabio Portesan lived aboard
for years of the Oceanis 430 Gentilina with his family. All the advice he gives you Are from his personal experience. Follow him on our Youtube channel!


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