“ Take advantage of the time the boat is out of the water to conduct maintenance and upgrades”
Maintenance is the key to keeping an older boat in good shape

Call me what you want. Cheap, tight, thrifty. I've been called worse. The fact is when my friends fork out $12,000 or more for a new motor, or a few thousand less for other upgrades or even a grand to have their boat winter covered, I scream in indignation. Yes I know there are thousands of marine mechanics and service people out there to make their livelihood from my friends. Sorry folks, I just can't afford it. I'll have to do it myself.

The first really important repair item I ever did on my boat was replace a leaking through hull fitting. I had an ongoing nightmare for weeks about the boat sinking. As soon as the boat hit the water, the lake gushed in and the boat went to the bottom in a matter of minutes.

Even after I'd done a workman like repair, the spring launch didn't go all that well once the young lady assigned to push the newly launched off the dock said "Hop on board and see if there are any leaks". Well it did dribble for the first couple of days but after that my bilge spent the entire summer as dry as a desert.

As I look back over the past couple of years I can see I've replaced the valve, made a new teak and holly sole for the cabin, a nice teak and holly counter for the head, a comfy cockpit floor cover, renewed the deck and hull and replaced the aging entertainment centre. I've brought value added to the boat,learned a lot and most of all saved a lot of money.

I was told years ago that sailing was similar to standing fully clothed in a cold shower while you tore up $1,000 bills. I don't have that kind of money to tear up but it doesn't mean I can't have a safe, comfortable boat. If I'm willing to do most of the maintenance items myself I can probably safe several thousand dollars a year.

This last summer a friend lent me his buffer/polisher. I spent most of the few good spring weekends buffing the hull with compounds and bringing back a resemblance of a shine to a formerly badly oxidized hull. That year I was the only guy in the yard who hadn't hired someone to do it for them.

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