Fall boating preparation
As you enjoy these last days of the boating season, take time to perform some essential fall boating preparation. While your boat is under way, check the following:
If you have a sailboat, check running rigging and sails for excessive chafe. Are leads fair? Furling-line leads often become misaligned, causing an uneven wrap around the drum. Ideally, the line should exit perpendicular from the furling drum. Check for spreader chafe on the sail. Are your chafe patches doing their job?
If yours is a tiller-steered boat, see if there’s too much play in the rudder bearing. Thoroughly check wheel-steered systems—cable and sheave, push-pull cable, or hydraulic—while underway to avoid surprises in the spring.
You should have done final adjustments on rig tension in the spring. Now’s the time to double-check the tension and note the turnbuckle or tensioner settings for next season. Seldén offers a helpful guide to rig tuning.
Blocks, vangs and travelers
If you’ve added any new deck gear, take a close look at its performance. Check the bearings for friction, UHMW plastic components for cracks and stainless steel bits for corrosion.
With a sailboat, go below while beating on each tack. Listen at the mast step for creaks and groans. Is everything below staying put? Drawers and cabinets latching securely? Are there any improvements or modifications that might improve comfort and storage below while underway?
Are all the sensors working correctly under way? Is the depth sounder transducer working? How about the masthead instruments?
If you approach your autumn sailing hours to inform your winter projects, the checkpoints usually become self-evident. Each boat will have additional things worth inspecting. –Greg Watt
Feel at home on the water
Learn to boat with confidence by taking the Boat Handling course online from America’s Boating Club.