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The Danger of Deferred Maintenance

2021 March 1

Fixing little problems at fitting out time can prevent dangerous and expensive issue laters

Clean out scuppers

It’s easy to see that this boat has had massive water intrusion, perhaps even looking like it has sunk, but this damage happened while the boat was on the hard. The boat’s scuppers were clogged, and after a long layup outside, the boat filled with melted snow and rain that was unable to drain. Obviously such damage is serious and yet it is easily prevented: just make sure the scuppers are not clogged and are functioning properly. A test with a hose is a good idea to get a feel for how quickly water will drain.


Look at chainplates

Ask any surveyor what the most concerning problem they see is, and they’ll tell you it’s damaged chainplates. Obviously any structure that helps hold the mast upright is critical on a sailboat but rusted, corroded chainplates aren’t the only issue. Water intrusion through the chainplates often leads to a wet core and deck delamination. Left unchecked, this can become not just dangerous but a very expensive and time-consuming fix.

The solution is to inspect chainplates for any sign of water intrusion annually. Look for rusty areas, damage down below to paint or wood, and any discoloration around them. If caught early, fixing the problem is usually a matter of properly rebedding the chainplate cover on deck.

But once damage occurs the repair gets more serious. Wet core will need to be replaced and that chainplate will still need to be rebedded. The longer you wait to fix the original problem the more problems it creates.


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