Discover how to repair common issues with your tender and keep it in top shape for safe and enjoyable sailing adventures.
How to Repair Common Tender Issues
Welcome to our unique and adventurous website, dedicated to those who are leaving the rat race behind, purchasing a boat, and setting sail to explore the world with their families. In this article, we will discuss how to repair common tender issues that you may encounter during your sailing adventures. Our aim is to provide you with practical advice and insightful guides to help you navigate this exciting journey.
Tenders and dinghies are essential companions to any cruising sailboat. They serve as your primary means of transportation to and from shore, allowing you to explore remote islands, go grocery shopping, or simply enjoy a leisurely ride around the anchorage. However, like any piece of equipment, tenders can develop issues over time. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover the most common tender problems and provide step-by-step instructions on how to repair them.
Table of Contents
- Inflatable Tender Leaks
- Outboard Motor Issues
- Tender Hull Damage
- Dinghy Davit Problems
- Tender Steering and Control Issues
- Tender Electrical Problems
- Tender Maintenance Tips
Inflatable Tender Leaks
Inflatable tenders are popular among cruisers due to their lightweight and easy storage capabilities. However, they are also prone to leaks, which can be a major inconvenience when you’re far from shore. Here’s how to identify and repair leaks in your inflatable tender:
Visual Inspection: Start by inflating your tender and inspecting it for any visible signs of damage, such as cuts, punctures, or abrasions. Pay close attention to the seams, as they are common areas for leaks to develop.
Soap and Water Test: If you can’t find the leak through a visual inspection, mix a solution of dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution all over the tender, focusing on seams and areas with suspected damage. Bubbles will form where air is escaping, indicating the location of the leak.
Clean and Dry the Area: Before you begin the repair, ensure the area around the leak is clean and dry. Use rubbing alcohol or acetone to remove any dirt, grease, or soap residue.
Patch the Leak: For small punctures or cuts, use a patch kit specifically designed for inflatable boats. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the patch and adhesive. For larger tears or seam leaks, you may need to use a professional repair service.
Reinflate and Test: Once the adhesive has cured, reinflate your tender and perform another soap and water test to ensure the leak has been properly sealed.
Outboard Motor Issues
Outboard motors are the workhorses of tenders, providing the power needed to get you to and from your sailboat. However, they can also be a source of frustration when they fail to start or run properly. Here are some common outboard motor issues and how to fix them:
Fuel System Problems
Clogged Fuel Filter: A clogged fuel filter can restrict fuel flow and cause your outboard to run poorly or not start at all. Replace the fuel filter and ensure you’re using clean, fresh fuel.
Dirty Carburetor: If your outboard is running rough or stalling, a dirty carburetor may be the culprit. Remove the carburetor and clean it with carburetor cleaner, paying close attention to the jets and float bowl.
Ignition System Problems
Faulty Spark Plug: A faulty spark plug can cause your outboard to run poorly or not start at all. Remove the spark plug and inspect it for damage or fouling. Replace it if necessary and ensure the spark plug gap is set to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Bad Ignition Coil: If your outboard is not producing a spark, a bad ignition coil may be the cause. Test the ignition coil with a multimeter and replace it if it’s not within the manufacturer’s specifications.
Tender Hull Damage
Whether your tender is made of fiberglass, aluminum, or plastic, hull damage can occur from impacts, abrasions, or general wear and tear. Here’s how to repair common types of hull damage:
Fiberglass Hull Repairs
Gelcoat Repairs: For minor scratches and chips in the gelcoat, use a gelcoat repair kit to fill and color-match the damaged area. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and applying the gelcoat.
Fiberglass Repairs: For larger cracks or holes in the fiberglass, use a fiberglass repair kit to patch the damaged area. This will involve applying layers of fiberglass cloth and resin, then sanding and finishing the repair to match the surrounding hull.
Aluminum Hull Repairs
Dents and Scratches: For minor dents and scratches in an aluminum hull, use a hammer and dolly to gently work the metal back into shape. Sand the area smooth and apply a coat of aluminum-compatible paint to protect the metal.
Cracks and Holes: For larger cracks or holes in an aluminum hull, you’ll need to weld the damaged area. This should be done by a professional welder with experience in aluminum boat repair.
Plastic Hull Repairs
Scratches and Gouges: For minor scratches and gouges in a plastic hull, use a plastic repair kit to fill the damaged area. Sand the repair smooth and apply a coat of plastic-compatible paint to protect the material.
Cracks and Holes: For larger cracks or holes in a plastic hull, use a plastic welding kit to repair the damaged area. This will involve melting and fusing plastic rods to the hull, then sanding and finishing the repair to match the surrounding material.
Dinghy Davit Problems
Dinghy davits are essential for lifting and securing your tender to your sailboat. However, they can develop issues over time, such as corrosion, wear, or damage from heavy loads. Here’s how to repair common dinghy davit problems:
Inspect and Clean: Regularly inspect your dinghy davits for signs of corrosion, wear, or damage. Clean them with fresh water and a mild detergent to remove salt and grime.
Lubricate Moving Parts: Apply a marine-grade lubricant to all moving parts, such as pulleys, sheaves, and winches, to ensure smooth operation and prevent corrosion.
Replace Damaged Components: If you find any damaged or worn components, such as cables, pulleys, or mounting hardware, replace them immediately to prevent further damage or potential failure.
Tender Steering and Control Issues
Steering and control issues can make your tender difficult or even dangerous to operate. Here’s how to troubleshoot and repair common steering and control problems:
Inspect and Lubricate: Regularly inspect your tender’s steering and control systems for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Lubricate all moving parts with a marine-grade lubricant to ensure smooth operation and prevent corrosion.
Adjust and Align: If your tender’s steering is stiff or unresponsive, check the alignment of the steering cables and components. Adjust as necessary to ensure proper operation.
Replace Damaged Components: If you find any damaged or worn components, such as steering cables, control cables, or linkage, replace them immediately to prevent further damage or potential failure.
Tender Electrical Problems
Electrical issues in your tender can range from simple blown fuses to more complex wiring problems. Here’s how to troubleshoot and repair common electrical problems:
Check Fuses and Breakers: If you’re experiencing a loss of power to certain electrical components, check the fuses and circuit breakers for any blown or tripped connections. Replace or reset as necessary.
Inspect Wiring and Connections: Regularly inspect your tender’s wiring and electrical connections for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Repair or replace any damaged wiring and ensure all connections are clean and secure.
Test Electrical Components: If you’re experiencing intermittent electrical issues, use a multimeter to test the various electrical components, such as switches, relays, and motors, for proper operation. Replace any faulty components as needed.
Tender Maintenance Tips
To keep your tender in top shape and prevent future issues, follow these general maintenance tips:
Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect your tender for signs of wear, corrosion, or damage. Address any issues immediately to prevent further damage or potential failure.
Clean and Protect: Keep your tender clean and protected from the elements by washing it with fresh water and a mild detergent, and applying a UV protectant to any exposed surfaces.
Proper Storage: When not in use, store your tender in a dry, protected area, such as a garage or covered storage facility. If storing your tender outdoors, use a high-quality cover to protect it from the elements.
By following these repair and maintenance tips, you can keep your tender in top shape and ensure it’s ready to serve you and your family on your sailing adventures. Remember, a well-maintained tender is not only more reliable but also safer and more enjoyable to use.