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Old 01-12-2009, 16:04   #1
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Clean Boat Outside - Disaster Inside

Last weekend I pulled my boat out onto a slip to be antifouled. This is not an unusual occurrence and anyone with a boat on the water will know this has to be done regularly and I have done this to the two boats I have owned almost annually for the past 15 years. So, you think I would know better!

The boat came out and considering that I had left it a lot longer than normal to clean it looked in good condition. The slipway is one of the few in Sydney that still allows owners to do their own work and they provide an amazingly high powered pressure/water jet (Gernie) for the purpose of removing all that nasty scum and things that have taken up residence on the hull. It does a fantastic job and within about an hour I had the 35 ft (10.4m) hull beautifully cleaned. The weather was warm and windy so it was drying out quickly.

As an afterthought and with the Gernie in hand I decided that it would be a good idea to flush out intakes and outlets for the sinks and the head. Seemed like a good idea at the time and a lot of other little living creatures and grit was easily removed by placing the nozzle of the thing into the skin fitting for a few seconds and then watching the rubbish pour out. What a brilliant idea that was I thought. The sink in the galley and in the head had been a little slow to drain recently and that should have really given them a great clean out. And it did!

The day went on as usual with more cleaning then taping and then applying the antifoul. By the end of the day I looked like Papa Smirf… grey beard and blue skin but the boat looked fantastic and I retired for the evening.

I returned to the boat the following morning, looked at the wonderful job I had done on the outside and felt very self satisfied. I climbed up the ladder to get a couple of things from the cabin to find that the wonderful idea of flushing the pipes to the sinks from the outside had resulted in most of their contents being sprayed around the inside of the boat. The galley wasn’t too bad because there were some plates and things in the sink that blocked or at least inhibited the massive jet of water and crap. The sink in the bathroom however was not plugged nor did it have anything to block what must have been a geyser erupting. I thought a lot of rubbish came out when I was outside but what was now splattered around the bathroom was indescribably bad and took the next two hours to clean.

So much for thinking how clever I was at cleaning the outside when it took longer to clean the bathroom than it had taken to clean the whole of the outside of the boat!

Gernie’s work really well at cleaning things but think about where the high pressure water goes if you shove the nozzle into a skin fitting!
Colin
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Old 01-12-2009, 16:13   #2
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Wow - Thanks for sharing that. There but for the grace of God and all that stuff...

I have briefly considered doing something similar to the head intake. What a disaster that would be if the head over filled - yikes...
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Old 01-12-2009, 16:20   #3
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High pressure washers can do lots of damage (as you know) forcing water past shaft seals and gaskets and lifting paint finishes. best to keep them a good distance from whatever is being cleaned. On land vehicles they are famous for bending radiator fins.
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Old 01-12-2009, 16:33   #4
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One of the things I religiously do on the boat is to make syre that the stop cocks on the intake and outflow for the head are closed and only opened for use. The thought of what could have happened ... I would really have been in it then...
Funilly enough, in the past I have generally used a piece of coat hanger wire to dig out the little critters in the skin fittings.. won't be using the Gernie again...
Colin
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Old 01-12-2009, 16:46   #5
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Hair of the dog...

Have you reconsidered using a towel or similar to absorb the blast?
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Old 01-12-2009, 17:04   #6
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One of the things I religiously do on the boat is to make syre that the stop cocks on the intake and outflow for the head are closed and only opened for use. The thought of what could have happened ... I would really have been in it then...
Funilly enough, in the past I have generally used a piece of coat hanger wire to dig out the little critters in the skin fittings.. won't be using the Gernie again...
Colin
I did give all the saildrive intake holes a good gouging out one day. I was very pleased with myself for getting all the little crustaceans out of there.

That is until all the debris I didn't get out went into the raw water impeller and failed it next time out.

Seawater intake filter is on my list of future upgrades...
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Old 01-12-2009, 17:22   #7
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how about doing it from the inside instead? same concept, but blow the gunk out!
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Old 01-12-2009, 18:27   #8
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EX-Calif and Sara,
Sara, I have done exactly as you suggest for my saildrive. I close the seacock, disconnect the hose that goes from the seacock to the raw water strainer (at the strainer), and attach a regular garden hose to the "seacock hose". After all connections are water tight, I open the seacock and turn on the water on the dock. I forgot to say that I use a garden hose nozzle for this to provide the pressure not a pressure washer. This "backflushing" seems to remove most of the critters, and it can be done in the water or on the hard. If on the hard, it can be somewhat messy and you should use pipe cleaners to further clean out the water intake holes. I don't think I would backflush any of my water drains using a pressure washer. I would only use the available water pressure "Boosted" by the use of a garden nozzle. That should be sufficient.
Hope this helps,
Tom
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Old 01-12-2009, 22:23   #9
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Thanks for the tip Tom.

Unfortunately my saildrive is under the cockpit sole under a panel with about 16 screws. Also on my. "Wish I had" list are quick release dzeus fasteners for this panel or even a quicker release system.as the batteries are also under there. As it is now I open this panel once every 6-months or so for an inspection of the battery mounts, cables, fuel lines, raw water line and saildrive oil.
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Old 01-12-2009, 23:37   #10
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I thought a lot of rubbish came out when I was outside but what was now splattered around the bathroom was indescribably bad and took the next two hours to clean.

Hi Coliin,

Thanks for the tip. Lucky the sink was blocked or the saloon would have taken far longer to clean!

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Old 02-12-2009, 02:28   #11
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Sarafina,
In those few minutes when I looked at the chaos and the stuff splattered around inside I did think of that.... I think I will stick to the coat hanger wire.
And I spent another hour today cleaning more of the splattered stuff I missed.
A towel might have been a great idea... I wish I had thought of that. My slack cleaning ( I am really quite fastidious on the boat) meant that there were a few things in the sink and that saved the inside of the saloon... but there was at least two cups of sandy gritty greasy stuff in the sink today.
I am glad I am not the only one who has realised that the high pressure tools are less effective in some situations...
Colin
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:44   #12
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Some things you are just so darn grateful to be taught by others...Thanks mate!
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:56   #13
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Am glad to be a source of mirth as well as advice (wish some bastard had told me earlier)
Colin
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:07   #14
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When I worked in a "yard" (before I came to my senses) we had a rash of speedo failures on sailboats.......peopele would bring their boats into the yard for a short haul and when they left, their knotmeters wouldn't work........"somehow" the impellers were missing.......We figured it out that the mo-ron who was blasting the bottoms got a real kick out of watching those impellers spin to transonic speed when he hit it with the pressure washer.
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Old 11-03-2011, 06:34   #15
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Re: Clean Boat Outside - Disaster Inside

Sounds like the kind of thing I would do. At least you had the night to feel staisfied that you had done a good job
Your theory was sound it just didn't turn out the way you wanted it too.
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