In my last post, 10 Things–Part One, I covered the books I thought belonged on every cruising sailboat. This time I get to some of the maintenance “goos and gunks” that are needed to keep a boat working well. All of the products I list here are primarily about reducing or eliminating metal corrosion. Picking the first of this list is easy…
Anytime two different metals come in contact with salt water around, there will be corrosion. The most common scenario on sailboats is when stainless steel screws are used to attached something to an aluminum part. Either metal by itself is reasonably durable in a salt water environment. When in direct contact, however, the aluminum rapidly corrodes. This can weaken the structure, destroy paint or other coating, and make the stainless screw impossible to remove. All these disasters can be prevented by coating the parts with this teflon based product before assembly. I use this stuff every time I assemble anything on the boat. It is great stuff. It works. I have disassembled stainless screws set into an aluminum mast after 14 years–with a hand screw driver. It is expensive on a per-pound basis, but a little 2 oz tub will last a boat owner several years.
There are other good alternatives to this product, Lanacote is the most common. I have used many of them. I think TefGel is worth the small premium in cost.
Generally, for fast moving parts, oil is the lubricant of choice. But outside of the engine, most mechanical parts on a boat are slow moving, and are better lubricated with grease. There are dozens of greases, all claiming to be the best at doing what they do. I can not promise that this one is the BEST at everything, but it IS a VERY waterproof grease, that is very stiff and stays where you put it, and as it’s name suggests, if very good at preventing corrosion.
By now you have surely detected a trend… Corrosion is one of the biggest problems salt water boats have to deal with. Like so many problems, it is far better to prevent it than fix it. This product gets sprayed on on lots of things. Electrical, mechanical, it helps keep water out and prevent the problems it causes. Everything from fishing equipment to electrical connections.
I’ll have one more installment in my “every boat needs” list, focusing on tools that might be a bit unusual, but VERY helpful!