Late Season Maintenance Items

Continuous maintenance is key to keeping our boats from dissolving in salt water, and descending into decrepitude. So, as little bits break off and fall apart under the sun and salt of the bay, I replace, repair, refinish and renew. Three most recent items rose to the surface lately – well, not lately, but I took care of them lately.

Last year I broke the plastic (Bakelite?) throttle knob that tops the throttle control on the Morse dual control assembly. I never thought I would find a replacement for it, though I looked through several hardware stores for items that would serve. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to search for a replacement part provided by the manufacturer. . .  At any rate, I googled “Morse throttle control knob replacement” and numerous links appeared immediately. I ordered the one offered by for $9.18, and another $9 for shipping at their slowest rate. It arrived two days later, fit perfectly, and was installed in about 90 seconds. Easiest boat repair ever, and one of the least expensive.

Gotta love how they put their name all over the image.  Saves me from having to give photo credits.

Gotta love how they put their name all over the image. Saves me from having to give photo credits.

Secondly, I’ve watch my boat speed decline a full knot since spring launch, so it was time to scrub off the bottom again, and scrape the prop. This time I motored over to a cove on the southern end of Herring Bay and eased into the shallows, stopping at about the 4-foot depth line. I dropped the anchor, then went over the side and stood chest deep on the sandy bottom. Several easy non-scary dives under the stern with a putty knife had the prop scraped clean again. After that, I thoroughly brushed the soft growth off the hull again standing beside the boat. The advantage of doing it while standing in the shallows is that I don’t have to move the dinghy and re-tie for every three feet of hull I scrub. I was also able to thoroughly scrub the sides of the keel, right down to the bottom, which isn’t really possible from the dinghy. So I got the best in-water cleaning job done ever. Maybe I’ll do that one more time this year – late September – before the water gets really cold. Result was recouping hull speed by almost a full knot.

Lastly, it’s time to freshen varnish on a few pieces, so I’ve had the tiller and hiking stick off (replaced with the temporary tiller), and sanded them smooth. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks building up the varnish coats, and should be done in the next day or two. I recoated the sliding hatch decking with the unused varnish – it was time to re-coat that as well.

Drop boards and companionway decking.

Companionway decking freshly varnished.

  1. A few tips that might further help. I settled on these after trying other things.

    * The cove JUST south of the Deale jetty is also nice and very close. You can turn south just a few hundred feet outside the jetty, before the final marker. Generally it is better protected from waves than further south.

    * I find that berber carpet squares work really well. They take off the slime without much effect on the paint.

    * Plastic scrapers are handy for the occasional hard growth. A wooden handle makes them float. Home made, of course.

    • Thanks Drew. I never considered that area. We often raise or douse sail there, so I knew there was a fair amount of water depth-wise.

      The Berber carpet squares are probably more effective than the deck brush: the brush bristles are almost too flexible. Eventually they push the gunk off, but it takes a number of strokes to clear a patch. The carpet would be better, especially at lower growth density.

      I only dropped my scraper once, but found it immediately, as I was scraping the prop and was just a foot or two from the bottom. A tether or floating handle would definitely provide insurance against loss.

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