Sometimes you have these conversations with your wife and sailing buddy. Then you realise it really is beyond the time to do what needs to be done.
For the last few weeks, I have been looking for my next role in work and this has meant that I have had more time than I usually get to do maintenance on the boat. To that end, I have tried to keep busy by fixing minor problems that have been hanging over us for ages.
The vast number of lines on a yacht can get covered in sea water and dirt causing them to get very stiff and go green. You know it is bad when you can’t tell what the colour the line was underneath the dirt! The picture shows mid way through cleaning, the bottom green part of the line had already been soaked for a while and was a lot cleaner than when it started – although still disgusting!
A standard way that people do this is to take the lines off the boat and put them in a pillow case within a washing machine. This is fine when it is your own washing machine, but our marina explicitly forbid this and we didn’t fancy trying it on at a 24hr launderette. The other problem is that EVERY line on the boat needed to be cleaned and so unless you are going to take down all of the sails too, you need to come up with a way to clean them “in place”. Our technique was to have a hot bucket of water with mild washing powder and fabric conditioner in it. Spray down the line with a hose to start with and then immerse it in the bucket for some time. Having given the water some time to get into the rope, I then painstakingly went through each metre of line with a soft brush, cleaning off the dirt. The final touch was to spray down the line with more cold water. It is tedious, hard work but very rewarding when you see the difference at the end, with the lines looking like new. They are also not stiff anymore so we should find that they work smoother and better than they did.
With in excess of twenty lines on Mariadz, this took a long time, but the added advantage of a metre by metre clean is that it gives you an opportunity to check every part of the line. I am now aware of a couple of places where we have some light chaffing of the line that I will need to keep an eye on.
The lesson for us, don’t leave it so long! Some of these lines had clearly not been done for at least five years, so long before we got Mariadz three years ago. I suspect that it will not be the last time that we do it!
Some top tips though… Firstly, it is a very mucky job, the brush nicely distributes the “green” all over the person doing it and the boat. So be prepared to get very dirty. Secondly, when the lines are done, wash the boat down really well. All that green has gone on the decks and the last thing you want is the teak or the lines that are on the deck getting all of the dirt!