The "off" season...

Maintaining a 90-year-old wooden sailboat involves various tasks to ensure its longevity and seaworthiness. Regular hull inspections are crucial to identify any signs of rot, cracks, or damage that may compromise the boat's structural integrity. Caulking between planks should be checked and repaired as needed, while weak or decaying planks require immediate attention. Additionally, the deck, cabins, and superstructure must be inspected for leaks, rot, or other forms of damage, with prompt repairs or replacements undertaken to maintain the boat's watertight integrity.

The rigging and sails of the sailboat are carefully examined. Standing and running rigging, including masts, shrouds, and stays, are inspected for wear and tear, with damaged components replaced. Sails are evaluated for any signs of deterioration and repaired or replaced accordingly. The boat's mechanical systems, such as the engine and propulsion system, require regular checks and maintenance. Engine servicing, oil changes, and filter replacements are confirmed to be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, ensuring all systems are in good working order.

Electrical systems, including wiring, batteries, and navigation lights, are inspected and maintained to guarantee safety and functionality. Applying fresh coats of paint and varnish to the wooden surfaces helps protect them from the elements. Regular sanding and refinishing of the woodwork maintain its appearance and longevity.

The Duen has the added challenge of being a Transport Canada licensed vessel and subject to rigorous yearly inspections and compliance. As a one-of-a-kind ship, this can get complicated. However, we enjoy an excellent relationship with the Transport Canada inspectors who assist in keeping our ship "old but safe" for all our customers.

When it comes to Transport Canada's requirements for transportation vessels, including sailboats, safety and operational standards take precedence. Vessels used for transportation purposes must be registered with Transport Canada and display the assigned registration number. Sailboats must carry appropriate safety equipment, such as life jackets, fire extinguishers, distress signals, and navigation lights, based on the vessel's size and passenger capacity.

Navigation instruments, such as compasses, charts, and depth sounders, are required on sailboats. Larger vessels need additional communication systems, like radios or satellite phones. Transport Canada has established stability and construction standards to ensure the vessel's structural integrity and seaworthiness. Compliance with pollution prevention regulations, including proper storage and disposal of fuels, oils, and waste materials, is necessary. Licensing and certification requirements, are necessary for captain and crew.

This year we were pleased to upgrade our foresails to roller furling rigs - a little modern convenience that helps us put up the right amount of foresail and make adjustments rapidly to match conditions. We also cleaned and varnished the hull - the most beautiful part of the boat is underwater!