Dec 22, 2022

Halyard KnotThis is the time of year for planning next season’s special voyage. This may be a trip up the coast, across the lake, or multi week sail to the islands or a favorite anchorage. We love to think that we can just jump on the boat and sail over the horizon when the mood strikes, but boat maintenance schedules sometimes limit when we can cast off those lines and sail away. The good news is that now is the time to get the boat ready to go.

 

Running Rigging
Fresh halyards and sheets make a huge difference in making a boat easy to handle. Stiff halyards, chafed furling lines, crunchy sheets…. This is an easy DIY project.

Most cruising and club racing boats are well served by good quality double braid polyester halyards and sheets like StaySet, XLS, or DoubleBraid. These ropes are relatively low stretch, easy to handle, and very durable. You can splice them or just tie them to a D-shackle with a halyard knot. See Fig 1 – Halyard knot

Standing Rigging
New cotter pins. Did you ever realize that new cotter pins always go in those tiny holes easier. Most rigs fall down because of a missing or damaged cotter pin that costs less than parking for 15 minutes!

Cotter PinsFig 2 – Cotter Pin

Sometimes a dab of silicone on the spread part of the cotter pin will keep it from snagging on sails, sheets, halyards or hands. I’m not generally a fan of silicone on a boat, but this is a perfect application.

Silicone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 3 – Silicone for cotter pin ends

Turnbuckles
This is also a great time to lubricate all of your turnbuckles. You can use a lanoline-based product like FluidFilm or a light protective oil like Ballistol. I usually take the barrels off and spray them with either product and put them in a zip lock bag for the off season. You can pull them out when you assemble the rig and wipe off the excess. Good as new!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Figure 4Fig 4 – Light oil for Turnbuckles

Furling
Service your furling system and mast track. Some furlers require a good cleaning with soap and water, and others require greasing. Follow your instruction manual and do a good job while it is easy and the sails are down. The mast track is also a very important part of the mast to service. This needs cleaning, lots and lots of soap and water. I usually use Dawn dish soap and after it is well cleaned, I brush on a layer of soap with a small brush into the deep recesses of the mast groove. This will make the slide go up and down smoothly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Furling MaintenanceFig 5 – Furling Maintenance


Take a close look at all of the fasteners on the mast at the same time. Sometimes there are rough edges than need some filing or sanding, and many screw heads get a small burr on them if the screwdriver ever slipped. Sometimes a quick zip with a flat file will take care of it and you can also use a small dab of silicone to make it smoother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



ScrewsFig 6 – Screw Burrs

Foul Weather gear
This is also a great time to get some new foulies (holiday gift, perhaps?) You never think you need them until you do. A cold rain or splashing waves can quickly lead to hypothermia even in the summer. A good jacket and salopettes make for comfortable passages.

 

 

 

 

 

 



FouliesFig 7 – Foulies with a person deep inside! So comfortable they had a nap on deck.

 

Keven Piper, two-time Shark 24 World Champion, founded Hamilton, ON-based Bay Sails in 1998. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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