One hour/day maintenance
13 September 2020 | Maupiti, FP
Russ Whitford | perfect
"I plan for one hour of maintenance per day." said Gavin when I dinghied up to Slingshot. Slingshot is a very cool Deerfoot 64 with unstayed, carbon fiber mast. Gavin explained that it was custom built for an owner who wanted the unusual rig. It has worked well for Gavin, Jen and their two children. Gavin explained he keeps up with the systems on this large and complicated boat, one hour every day.
He mentioned a French cruiser he met who spends three hours/day on maintenance. The Frenchman built his 80 foot ketch out of wood. I can't imagine keeping up an 80 foot, wooden boat. Oh, the boat had a tiny seaplane too! Well the French owner finally gave up and sold the boat. Three hours/day was just too much. I have met several owners who have quit cruising because maintaining a cruising boat becomes too burdensome.
We met a cruiser at last year's Tahiti Pearl Regatta who cruises with his family in the Med. They have a Nyack, high quality Swedish boat. He said, "I can't go a week without something breaking. Can you go a week without something breaking?" Lisa and I looked at each other and said we didn't remember the last time something broke. We have short memories but Uproar's systems work pretty well.
We work at it. After over five years of cruising, we now have a good routine for preventative maintenance. None of it is that difficult. And when things do break, we have a lot spare parts on board. For example, our propane system has a 12 volt solenoid that shuts off the propane when not in use. If that fails, you can't cook! We have always carried two spares. These we have occasionally loaned to fellow cruisers whose solenoid has failed. Then we order another one from Amazon to be brought by the next guest, $11.
I returned from Slingshot, feeling a bit guilty about my maintenance-as-necessary routine. A plumbing project came to mind. OK, a sanitary plumbing project. As previously reported all human waste gets flushed overboard. We have no choice. Uproar is equipped with holding tanks but there are no facilities in French Polynesia for pumping the tank out. The same is true for the Bahamas and Caribbean. If you fill up the holding tank (only a week or so) there is no way to empty it. Some boats have the ability to dump a holding tank. This is illegal in the Great Lakes.
But we are returning to the US and pump-out facilities are everywhere. The Y valves which switch the waste plumbing from overboard to holding tank were stuck from lack of use. We didn't want to return to the US and not use our holding tanks. I got out the tools and easily freed one of them. The second one was quite a challenge. I had to soak it in acid for hours. That brings up another cruising fact-of-life. Urine mixed with sea water produces Calcium deposits. These deposits can completely close off plumbing. I had to remove the hoses and beat them to break up the Calcium "rocks" lining the walls. Project creep. This took me the dreaded three hours.
Thanks Gavin for getting me inspired to perform this nasty task. Uproar is now ready for clean cruising in the US. But I'm still not going to punch that one-hour clock daily for maintenance.
The picture of me is sailing Slingshot's dinghy. Great fun and reward for completing a maintenance project.