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 dieselpro.com 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.
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.