You’ve got to keep the boat reliable to enjoy this!

You’ve got to keep the boat reliable to enjoy this!

Can't see the whole post? click here. Anybody who has ever worked on an aluminum mast knows how hard it can be to disassemble fittings that have been in place for more than ten minutes. No–make that five minutes if they are made of dissimilar metals.

Now build yourself an entire boat in aluminum and imagine the scale of the problem. And it’s certainly true that aluminum has its own set of challenges, just like any other material, mostly to do with avoiding corrosion and achieving a good seal to pipes and tanks.

I got an insight into this early on in my sailing career, when I bought a yacht that had an Aries windvane fitted. Everybody told me just how wonderful it was, and I was really looking forward to using it on the first long passage home. The reality was somewhat less impressive than I’d been lead to believe, though, largely due to all of the bearing surfaces getting ‘sticky’ from salt build up and corrosion–it basically didn’t work.

So I took it off and set about rebuilding it. And then the fun started, as it was an early model that had several different metals employed in the construction, including such wonders as stainless helicoil inserts into aluminum castings, and it was seized absolutely solid. And I’m well aware that many people who look at aluminum boats think that it’s always like that, and it puts them off.

So when I came to rebuild the Aries–yes, I finally did get it apart, though I nearly quit on several occasions–I swore blind that there had to be a better way and I was going to find it!

Happily I’ve been greatly rewarded in searching for that Holy Grail, and now know that there are many simple ways to make life easier, and we now carry all the materials and products that we need to do so. Much of it is applicable to boats built in other materials, too.

Here, then, are some of the materials we carry and techniques to use them that:

  • make maintenance easier,
  • the boat more reliable,
  • are a boon for emergency use and repair on the move;

the result of much hard won experience!

Continue reading

Living In A 12 Volt World

After voyaging and living aboard their Ovni 435 for 7 years, Colin gives us an update on what electrical kit has worked and what has died, as well as a look at newly available gear he and Louise have installed or are considering.

Attainably Adventurous Children

Thinking of voyaging with Children? Aspiring to voyage offshore? Reading this account by experienced wilderness educators about their ten years tackling the same challenges will smooth your way.

Wing Controls

I'm in rant mode again, but not just to stir things up. This is a situation that genuinely scares me, and it needs fixing.

New AAC Server

This web site will be moved to a new, more reliable and faster server tonight (Wednesday over to Thursday. If all goes well, we should only be down for a few minutes. But that's like saying that if all goes well my new marine electronic system will work perfectly right out of the box. Anyway, [...]

New Comment Policy Under Consideration

We are considering a new policy on comments here at AAC and it's pretty radical so we want to give you, our readers, a chance to have your say before we go ahead with it. And what's the change we are plotting, you ask? Although comments will be visible on free posts to everyone, adding comments will [...]