3 quick sailboat repair tips

November 3, 2015

Major repairs of a sailboat should be handled by a professional, but some small repairs can be handled by you. Read on for tips on how to repair your sailboat yourself, saving time and money.

3 quick sailboat repair tips

1. Repairing old lifelines

  • Your boat's lifelines are crucial to your safety. If they are rusted or weak, it's important to repair them quickly so they don't break. If they need to be replaced, you can purchase fittings at a boat supply store.
  • Measure the length of the wire between fittings very precisely and follow the instructions that come with the fittings.
  • Use a hacksaw to cut the wire and pass it through the existing hole. Continue following the fitting instructions to make sure the outer pieces are tightly screwed together so the wire cannot pull out.
  • Once you have assembled all lifelines from bow to stern, you can tighten the turnbuckles to make the lines taut.
  • Remember, if you have any doubt as to the efficacy of your repair, call a professional. Safety onboard is the top priority.

2. Spider cracks

  • Spider cracks can appear in fibreglass boats. They are small, hair-like cracks that are usually cosmetic, but should be dealt with so they don't get worse over time.
  • Start your repair by removing all hardware and accessories from the area around the spider crack. Sand the entire area and remove all grease and debris with an acetone wash.
  • Add a primer and sand with an even higher grit, then apply a top coat of high quality paint.
  • Wait for it to dry and apply another coat.

3. Oxidation

  • Oxidation is inevitable, but it can be delayed by waxing your boat's hull.
  • First, remove the dull build-up from the hull by buffing it slowly with a medium cut polish. Be sure to keep the buffer moving consistently as you cover the entire surface, then wash the hull with soap and water.
  • Apply a new coat of wax to protect the boat from oxidation in the future.
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