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Preparing For Summer

May 25, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

There is nothing more exciting or depressing than firing up a wooden boat after a long winter’s nap. An antique boat with a period engine requires a bit more attention than a modern fiberglass boat might. The wood, an organic material is decomposing, even though it is mostly sealed in varnish or perhaps encased in a resin. For those who enjoy taking on the challenge of winterizing and launching in the summer, there are a few items to keep in mind.

While resting in a covered environment for six months, many of nature’s creatures may have appreciated your care and preparation. Squirrels are the worst at making nests in just about everything. Air intake covers are a favourite, cushions are also enjoyed. Beyond the obvious cleaning and vermin checks, the fuel, water and electrical systems should be reviewed.

Fuel now may contain ethanol, and the life of the fuel is about three months, unless a stabilizer has been added. It is best to have drained the tank in the fall. Gasoline can also create a varnish or coating inside the tank and other areas where it flows and is left sitting. This can clog lines and fowl carburetors. Lacquer thinner and acetone are said to be able to clean gasoline that has turned to varnish.

Another factor that is easy to forget is shrinkage when wood sits out of the water for a while. The concept of letting a wooden boat soak for a bit is straightforward for boats that haven’t seen new varnish in many years, but the bolts around fixtures that go through the hull bottom may be lose and need tightening. The same applies to fastenings generally. Grease cups and other points of lubrication should be checked and lubed as needed.

By Tim Du Vernet

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