Annual Boat Service
My Boat Needs a Service…But What Happens on the Day?
So you’ve bought your dream boat, you’ve enjoyed a wonderful year of cruising, racing and relaxing onboard.
Now you’ve just received a reminder that she is due for her annual service. You’ve booked her in but you are wondering what’s really going to happen to her…
We’ve gone behind-the-scenes with Iain Bishop, from the Windcraft Group Service Centre to find out a bit more about what’s involved in an annual boat service…
It’s Annual Service time – What actually happens?
A basic service involves a number of checks and procedures. Here are some detailed examples of what we do on service day and why…
SLIP, WET RUB AND ANTIFOUL – We lift your boat out of the water and inspect the condition of the hull, keel and rudder. We take photos and send them to you for your records. Then we apply antifoul, which slows down the growth of subaquatic organisms. These little organisms are a real pain because they attach to the hull and can affect your vessel’s performance and durability.We use Altex No. 5 Antifoul – the industry’s most popular cruising paint and now standard on all new boats. We also need to stop erosion round the rudder and saildrive. To do this we apply an aluminium friendly paint. How the paint holds up over the year depends on how you use the boat and also where you keep it. We see lots of different hull and rudder conditions at annual service time.
PROP SPEED – For the prop we apply a paint with less stick to improve performance.
KEELBOLT, STEERING AND SEACOCK INSPECTION/OPERATION – Over the year parts will move (and I’m sure some would admit to rubbing the sea bed a couple of times!) So this is the chance to restore the factory settings with specialist equipment. All cables are set to factory specifications and seacocks are checked for their condition.
Iain’s Tip – A handy tip for lengthening the life of your seacocks is to go around and open/close them a couple of times. This will stop them from seizing up. This should be done every three months along with a general check of the deck equipment and fittings. It’s also a good yachting practice to check all your shackles are tight and lines are in good condition. It may save a breakage or failure when you least want it!
ENGINE SERVICE – This involves a check of all running parts for wear and any leaks. The service includes: oil drain and re-fill, replace oil filter, replace primary and secondary fuel filters and bleed system, strip water pump and replace impellor. We also check the coolant level and run the engine.
SAILDRIVE SERVICE – Most modern boats now come with a saildrive rather than a shaft drive. There’s a reason for this. It’s because there’s better weight placement, improved motoring performance, and reduced noise and vibration with a saildrive. During the service we change the oil, check the gears and replace the anodes.
THRUSTER SERVICE – We check operation, replace the anodes and clean the area.
HULL POLISH – This is really important as our Aussie sun is very unforgiving and the effects will show in the gel coat in a short amount of time.
Iain’s Tip – If you want to keep your hull polish in good condition, you need to wash it regularly and apply a fresh coat of wax every three months. At the annual service we give your boat a special machine buff.
DECK POLISH – Maintaining the condition of the deck and gel coat is very important, especially when you come to sell your boat. It’s one of the key selling points and shows how much care has been put into keeping her well maintained.
STAINLESS STEEL POLISH – We polish and brighten up the stainless steel so your yacht looks smart and elegant.
TEAK SCRUB AND BRIGHTEN – A good scrub of the teak really refreshes the feel of the boat. Plus it’s a great feeling stepping on to the boat after the teak has been cleaned!
SHEET WINCH SERVICE – Rain and seawater gets into the the winch tops if they are not covered. This isn’t good, as it will degrade the internal lubricants. At the service we disassemble them and clean all the grease/oil off the parts, then re-grease/oil and put them back together.
Iain’s Tip – If you want to try this yourself…read how to do your own.
WINDLASS SERVICE – This involves disassembling the winch and checking for wear and damage. We remove the old grease and apply new grease for another years work. Then reassemble and check operation.
So that’s the Annual Service…What other types of maintenance does your Service Team perform?
It’s always buzzing with activity at the Windcraft Group Service Centre.On any one day the team can be servicing boats anywhere in Australia, New Zealand or even Europe!
In Iain’s words – “I love it when it’s busy. Sometimes we can have 4 boats on the dock in a day, all having various work done. As an example, here’s some of the other maintenance work we’ve done this week.”
- Customised cabinetry and storage solutions
- Removing and replacing a cockpit seal
- Outboard service
- Inflating tender
- Supply and fit genoa car system
- Ordering new sails
- Information and ordering water-making systems
- Quote for installing additional seacock in hull for secondary bilge pump
- Supply anodes
- Replacement toe rail, fairleads and stanchions
As you can see there’s never a dull moment in the service centre. We are kept very busy with Windcraft boats and their owners…and we LOVE every minute!
When my boat comes in, who works on her?
It depends on the day and location but we’ve got 6 dedicated Windcraft staff in the Service Centre, including a shipwright and marine electrician. These are two valuable trades that are a great support for the majority of problems you may encounter. Their expertise takes them all over the globe! And with onsite mechanics, riggers and trimmers it means the Windcraft Group Service Centre is a one-stop shop for all the servicing and maintenance you may need.
What makes a Windcraft Boat Service different to any other boat service?
Because the service centre is a dedicated Windcraft centre, it’s set up to service mainly Windcraft yachts. This means we always have a large range of replacement parts in stock. If we don’t have the parts, then we have the contacts to source them quickly. Our technicians know the Windcraft models intimately, we complete work quickly and to a very high standard. Most services are done at our service base in Pittwater. But if you can’t get your boat to us yourself, there’s a cost effective pick up and delivery service. So it’s completely hassle free for you, the boat owner.
What is the most unusual maintenance job you’ve done at the centre?
There’s not much you could class as unusual really. If it can be done, we do it. From davits and bow sprits to re-designing cabin layouts. There is only one inquiry I would class as unusual and that was looking into adding a “sugar scoop” onto the back of a Hanse 445.
Are there any challenges you’ve faced recently where you’ve found a great solution to a problem?
There are a couple that spring to mind. The first is Halyards slipping…This is an issue for all boats but more significant for those racing, as it can sometimes affect your sail setting – especially when boats and ropes are new. This is because the wax makes the ropes slip and it’s before the natural softening and flattening of the ropes occurs with use. After contacting Spinlock we found that we can use a different insert to the clutch that substantially improves the clutch performance for lines up to 12mm.
The second problem is the height of lazy bags. On the larger yachts it can be a long way up to pack up the main sail. This is one of the reasons inmast furling is becoming more popular. We solve this issue with well-placed mast steps and we have modified some of the Lazy Bags by installing zips down the side rather than the top. Iain’s solution is to simply climb up into the sail bag! In general we do a huge variety of jobs at the service centre. We’ve redesigned cabins, added fridges and heaters, we’ve measured for Leisure Furl and internet systems. We’ve prepared boats for CAT ONE and all other race categories.
We’ve also added underwater lights and davits for a keen spear fisherman. Plus added an air compressor for divers. We’ve added sides to a dodger to create an outdoor room. And added watermakers and solar panels…the list goes on! There’s not much we can’t do … and we are always up for a challenge!
If your boat is ready for an Annual Service or needs some maintenance work, contact Iain and the Windcraft Group Service Team today.