Like last year, I plan on flying down to Punta Gorda mid-summer to check on Terrapin and do a few maintenance items so we won’t have as much to do in November when we want to go sailing. The number one priority before splashing Terrapin in November is to remove all traces of barnacles on the bottom, the prop shaft and propellers. Then put on another coat of bottom paint. Bottom paint on boats is a whole science/art in itself. Most boats in warm tropical waters have some sort of soft ablative paint. The ablative material is usually copper suspended in the paint. I’m talking a lot of copper! The copper is supposed to retard growth of marine organisms on the bottom, but it is only a partial solution. The other property is the fact that the paint is soft, particularly when it is wet. This allows the paint to slowly sluff off over the season when the boat is sailed or when scrubbed with a pad. So, bottom line is that there will be some bare spots on the leading edge of the hulls and keels that will need touching up. So, I plan to spend a few days scraping barnacles and touching up the bottom paint. It’s also a good opportunity to check that there is no water leaking inside or bugs. Last year, we had a few ants in the cockpit and some wasps making a home in the boom, but nothing terrible.
I will also be checking on the batteries. Terrapin has four deep cycle golf cart type batteries to serve as the house bank, and two starting batteries for starting the diesels. Lead acid batteries do not like to sit for long periods of time without being charged as they will self –discharge and go dead after a while. Terrapin has a 145W solar panel and a charge controller that monitors battery voltage and delivers the proper charge from the solar panel. Last year, this worked perfectly and kept the house bank fully charged. However, the solar was not hooked up to the starting batteries and they had lost quite a bit of charge over the summer. This summer, I hooked up jumper cables to the start batteries so they should also be charged by the solar panel. We will see how they look. I will have another separate post about battery charging.