1. Keep your sails out of the sun
If you have furling systems, this may be just a matter of furling sails when not in use. For non-furling sails, this means covering or stowing sails. There are cover options for both mainsails and headsails, allowing the sail to stay rigged and protected between uses.
2. Protect your furled sails
Most owners use sewn-on sun covers to protect furled sails. Sunbrella and WeatherMax are the fabrics commonly used for sun covers. For racer-cruisers and some racing sails like furling code zeros, there are lighter weight options such as UV-treated Dacron.
All sun covers should be inspected regularly and repaired if damaged. Generally speaking, covers should be re-stitched every three years or so to prevent more extensive damage to the fabric that can occur from flogging due to compromised stitching.
To provide maximum protection for your sails, sun covers require care and maintenance. Remember, if you can see the sailcloth below the cover…so can the sun!
3. Keep your sails clean
After sun, the second-worst enemy of any sail is salt; but other types of dirt and debris can be just as damaging. Periodic sail washing is key to maintaining your sails. A couple common-sense rules apply to frequency: 1) a sail that has been exposed to saltwater should be washed sooner rather than later, and 2) all other varying degrees of grime should be removed when possible.
4. Protect them from the elements
Sailmakers generally refer to the life of a sail in hours or seasons, rather than years. The lifespan is affected by the amount of time sailing and the level of care given to the sails. In the mid-Atlantic region, the main sailing season can begin in early spring and extend late into the fall.
If you know your sails are going to be sitting idle on the boat in a marina for at least a month or more during a sailing season, you can extend sail life by taking the sails off of your boat and stowing them.
5. Inspect sails regularly
At least once-a-year sails should get a check-up. To do this yourself, find a dry place in good light where you can lay them flat, then work your way over every inch of the sail, looking for trouble spots such as abrasion or loose stitching. Small problems can turn into bigger problems later, so be sure to note even the smallest details.
We Continue to Discuss Ways to Extend the Life of Your New Sails
6. Tape the turnbuckle
Your toilet macerator experts talk about how if you’ve ever scraped your finger on a piece of hardware, then you know it’s sharp enough to damage your sail. Even seemingly blunt objects (like a spreader) can damage sails on a tack, so take a look around (and up) to see what can or should be covered to protect your sails. If you have an extra piece of spinnaker cloth, wipe it across every surface of your boat and rigging.
7. Check the leech
Even a well-protected spreader-tip or navigation light can wear a sail tack-after-tack. For these areas, a spreader-patch (or navigation light-patch, etc.) might be the answer.
8. Don’t wait for repairs
A lot of catastrophic sail failures can be traced back to a small repair that was never made. When you notice a small hole or a chafed spot that’s getting increasingly worse, save yourself serious head- and wallet-ache by addressing the problem while it is still small.
9. Bag It
Pretty simple here. There’s a good reason new sails come with a sturdy bag and it’s not just another place for a logo. That bag is a much cheaper sacrificial covering than the sail inside of it. Take a look at an old sailbag that’s scuffed and torn-up, now imagine if that were your sail.
10. If you don’t know, ask
Curious about some sail-care method you’ve heard somebody touting on the dock or trying to figure out if your sail could use a new piece of webbing on the tack? Feel free to call the service team at your local Quantum loft. We’re happy to field your questions and provide helpful pointers. Consider us a member of your team.
So don’t forget these great ways to keep your sails in great shape for a long time. 1) Keep your sails out of the sun; 2) don’t wait for repairs; and 3) tape the turnbuckle.
Quieting Your Boat’s Engine
The engine in my 1977 Down East 45 schooner, Britannia, is a tried and trusted — but noisy — Perkins 4-236, an 85-horsepower four-cylinder diesel.
I call the space the equipment bay. It runs 12 feet under the saloon floorboards and is 3 feet wide at the sole level, then tapers to just 15 inches at the bottom of the 41⁄2-foot-deep bilge. Seven removable floorboards give amazing access to all the equipment below, but the large space also acts as a massive boombox.
There are a number of products that claim to significantly reduce noise from machinery, and some are specifically designed for boats. The trouble with most of these is they are also specifically aimed at your bank balance!
In simple terms, the object of sound insulation is to absorb noise at its source, and thereby minimize what filters into the interior of the boat. It would be practically impossible to eliminate this altogether, but I had effectively reduced the engine noise from a similar diesel on a previous boat simply by installing a false floor beneath the cabin sole.
Before I started work on Britannia, I wanted to take a reading of the sound levels to have a numerical comparison after the modifications were complete. I downloaded a neat iPhone app, a decibel meter by Decibel Meter Pro, for the vast sum of 99 cents, from iTunes. It was very easy to use, and I took readings at head height in the center of the saloon.
Fitting the False Floor
To get started, it was first necessary to make support battens for the false floor panels to lie in, under the existing plywood sole. I bought a 24-by-48-inch sheet of ½-inch plywood and cut it into 4-inch-wide strips with my table saw. I also made ¾-inch square battens out of hardwood.
I screwed the ¾-inch square battens to the sides of each aperture to support the ends of the false floors. I painted the beams and all the new timbers white.
The sound-deadening properties of a ½-inch-thick sheet are actually better than the ¾-inch-thick marine plywood sole, which is roughly 35 pounds per cubic foot. (The MDF sheets were also available in ¾-inch thickness but would have been heavier and more expensive. In the end, I decided to compromise between weight, density and price, and go for the thinner stock.)
The simplest, time-honored method to handle boards covering apertures is to cut a hole in the board big enough to get a couple of fingers through to lift it in and out. But these MDF boards were too big and heavy for that, and it would also have allowed a little bit more noise and heat to escape.
The weight of the new fiberboards was 60 pounds, but it’s all positioned low in the hull, and it was a small price to pay for reducing the noise. When lying between the beams, their weight also keeps them firmly in place. The sole and subfloor now has a combined thickness of 1¼ inches, with a density of about 80 pounds per cubic foot.
Beat the Heat
To complete the project, there was one more thing I wanted to do. We could often feel heat permeating through the single-thickness cabin sole when either of the diesel engines had been running a long time, especially on our own soles when walking barefoot.
I bought two 4-by-8-foot sheets of Rmax Thermasheath R6 foam-board insulation from Lowe’s for $21.98 each. These are 2 inches thick, with aluminum foil on one face and an insulation rating of R6, which is the highest available for this thickness of foam. I cut them to the sizes I needed at the store using a sharp knife, which helped me fit them in my car.
The section of floor around the Perkins engine was particularly awkward because parts of the top of the engine were higher than the bottom of the floor beams. In fact, the valve cover was only an inch below the sole. This was, of course, the principal source of all the noise, so it needed special attention anyway.
I fitted battens all around the engine as I had in all the other openings, then shaped pieces of fiberboard to fit around the engine as well.
The remainder of the floor now had the ¾-inch plywood sole pieces, with 2 inches of foam glued underneath, then a ½-inch air gap, then the ½-inch MDF false floor. It was now certainly a compact floor.
After all this backbreaking work, I was naturally keen to take new readings on the decibel meter. With only the main engine running at the same revolutions per minute as before, my iPhone app meter read 65, a reduction of 20 db!
In addition to a considerable reduction in noise, there is now no perceptible heat coming through the floorboards, which helps to keep the living area cooler. Heat is carried outside by the engine-room extractor fans, and the noise from them is much reduced too.
Most projects I have undertaken on Britannia resulted in visible improvements, most notably when I renovated the teak-and-holly sole.
This method of sound insulation would be very worthwhile for any boat, offering excellent noise reduction for minimal financial outlay. I actually used some spare pieces of MDF to double the wall thickness in the spaces where my two air-conditioning units were installed, and this reduced the noise of the compressor and fan as well.
There are, of course, no labor charges factored into the cost of the job, which took me four days to complete, but messing about on boats is supposed to be fun.
Visit us at http://raritaneng.com/raritan-product-line/marine-toilets/seaera-et/ and see how Raritan Engineering provides you the best quality and selection in the marine sanitation industry today.
Be sure to watch our latest video on toilet macerators below.