Annual maintenance consists
of repairs to the hull, engine, bearings, fittings, bilge pumps, electrics,
plumbing, electronics, safety gear, paint, rails, glass, decking, prop...you
name it...if it's busted, it gets fixed. Needless to say, this can run
into some big buck$, but it has to be done. Good maintenance can make
the difference between getting back home or ending up on the bottom.
At sea in cold Atlantic waters, the boat is life.
Why paint a fiberglass hull? It's not just for cosmetic
reasons. The paint contains copper which discourages the growth of marine
organisms (algae, barnacles, etc.) on the hull. The U.S.S. Constitution
has a copper-clad hull, originally flayed on by none other than Paul Revere
(or more accurately, as was pointed out by a reader, by one of the many
companies he owned).
What keeps the metal parts that are constantly under water from
corroding? Seawater is essentially a solution of salts, and
as such, it is an electrolyte. When metals are placed in this solution,
electrochemical reactions occur that cause them to corrode. In general,
more electronegative metals corrode faster than more electropositive
metals. It is possible to protect an alloy (steel) from corrosion by
placing it in contact (either directly or via a conductive wire) with
a more electronegative conductor (zinc).