(These notes based partly on information provided by Phil Burgess [ADFRSA President] & Mike Jefferys [Qld DF65 Class State Champion & Qld DF Coordinator] July 2020)
By following a few simple recommendations and by taking a little time to regularly check over your boat you will keep it in perfect condition and it will also be reliable on the race course. No matter how fast your boat may be, gear failure will give you a bad result and could be costly to repair.
Do not leave your boat in direct sunlight.
Hulls, fins and rudders will easily distort if they are left in temperatures above the resin curing temperature (20 -30oC) so at events keep the boat in the shade and do not leave it in a hot car. A light sheet can help to keep the boat cool.
Keeping water out of the boat before launching
Water in the boat is bad news. It slows the boat down and risks damaging the electrics and metal components inside the boat. The boat comes with a few deck patches to put over the cover, but you will soon use these up. You need to buy a roll or three of tape to seal the hatch cover. Use a good quality tape such as Joysway Water Seal Tape
Duct tape can also be quite good, depending on the make. Electrical insulation tape is OK as a stand-by, but it is not the best option.
Whichever option you choose, first ensure the taping surfaces are clean and dry. Adhesive from the previous taping can be removed with citrus dissolver and/or methylated spirit. Do NOT use acetone, it will dissolve the boat and most of the plastic fittings! Press the tape down smoothly with your thumb to remove air bubbles, and run your fingernail along joins where the tape overlaps.Make sure the bung is in before launching!
Keep the boat dry and well aired after use.
After each use, hose down the boat and rigs with fresh water. Use warm soapy water if there are any salt or oily deposits. Drain out any residual water and remove the bung and deck cover to allow full circulation of air. Store the boat on a stand (with the fin removed if possible, or at least keep the weight of the fin off the hull). Keep the boat indoors if possible.
Electrical equipment and batteries
Ahead of any event make sure you have fully charged the transmitter and boat batteries in accordance with the supplier’s recommendations (worth reading). Carry spare fully charged batteries and change out batteries before they have depleted.
A small battery tester is a valuable tool to carry. Regularly check over all electrical connections and immediately replace any that show signs of corrosion or damage.
These are the engine of the boat and should be handled very carefully to avoid damage by creasing or stretching. When removing a rig always slacken off the kicker and luff tension before releasing the backstay. Always keep your sails in a well ventilated sail box or bag and make sure that the sails and box are dry before storage. If you are keeping the rig on the boat, always slack off the backstay, mainsail cunningham and jib cunningham when putting the boat away.
Check all rigging for wear
Regularly check over all lines and wires for wear or damage especially the jib swivel lines, rigging wire crimps, sheets and elastic chord on the sheet drive line. Apply a spot of machine oil on rigging screws and the kicker turnbuckle. Immediately replace any items that are worn or do not function properly. Lines often shrink with time so check that the rig settings have not changed due to shrinkage. Mainsail luff sail ties are notorious for shrinking and should be replaced if the sail ends up tied too tight against the mast.
Use silicone adhesive (from aquarium shops) to re stick the bow bumper if it becomes loose.
Protect the fin, ballast and rudder. Pipe insulation material is a good way to protect the ballast during transit. Corrugated cardboard taped up makes a good protector for the fin or rudder.