Originally Posted by orsailor
As part of my preparation for cruising (on a limited budget), I would like to find out what repair/maintenance skills experienced cruisers feel are essential with regards to:
Boat electrical systems
Not a long term cruiser but here's my 2 cents - These are skills IMO that are useful when you start - your experience will definitely grow over time.
Diesel Engines - Understand fundamental Diesel Engine operation, i.e. how it works. Change accessories (starter / alternator
/ Pumps), impeelers, oil
, injectors. Troubleshoot fuel
system and cooling
system. No need for "overhaul level skills" although you may gain them over time.
Outboard Motors - Similar to diesel - depends on 2 stroke
vs. 4 stroke
, but understand gasoline engine operation. Troubleshoot fuel
, spark and cooling
Boat electrical - The more you know here the better off you are. Most used boats I have seen are a disaster in regards to electrical systems. People add a system and they seem to add a pair of wires in the most direct route
possible, bypassing distribution panels
and fuse boxes - LOL. You should know DC electrics pretty well cold. You should know how to repair a circuit and design and add a circuit. You should become intimately familiar with battery
. You should be an expert on alternator charging
systems and have a good working knowledge of solar
. If your boat has an inverter
and A/C systems you will need to become very knowledgeable on AC circuits.
Standing Rigging - You should be able to inspect and determine when standing rigging is getting past its use by date. You should be able to tension and adjust the standing rigging. Depending on your boat you probably won't ever end up getting the equipment
needed to effect chain plate
repairs, swage new shrouds etc. but you should be able to understand the terminology and supervise the work.
Fiberglass - I doubt these skills will ever be used seriously unless you buy a project
boat. I helped a guy design a repair for a pretty nasty ding he got in a collision
. The repair area was at the hull
joint, encompassed the toe rail. The guy had sailed half way around the world (from Canada) had been sailing 30 years and had never done any fiberglass work. YMMV.
Emergencies and Creativity - I think it is more important to continue building a set of basic skills and learning, if possible, creative problem solving skills. Many of the situations you will run across will be out of site of land and will require a little or a lot of creativity to solve.
Couple of examples -
Mainsheet blocks broke - swapped out boom vang
and lashed boom vang
Starboard stay failed - stabilized mast
with spinnaker halyard
Impeller raw water
leak - fabricated gasket
out of a granloa bar box