Blog Post: Weather

Let’s talk about the weather …

I know it’s a very British thing to do, but we really should …
I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but this week the weather has been showing off if you ask me. Here on the south coast of England, in the last few days we’ve experienced scorching, sunny days, unseasonably warm nights, and hardly a cloud in the sky for most of the week … until last night, when the heavens opened and down came the rain, fully accompanied by thunder and lightning. This went on for hours and while your garden may be grateful, your boat may not be so pleased.

You’ve no doubt seen the forest fires raging all over the UK this month. As May temperatures touch 30′ – double the normal monthly average – there’s the increased likelihood of thunderstorms occurring during the transition as pressure systems cross our skies. This literal swing from one extreme to the other can play havoc with your yacht, especially if it’s made of wood. The recent long dry spell during most of April and into May has left wooden craft even more vulnerable than usual. The deck and hull seams can sometimes open up above the waterline when it’s this warm meaning any sudden extra weight from an unexpected downpour could force the open seams below the waterline. Potential risks to boats include worn mooring lines, blocked cockpit drains, torn covers or canopies, plus submerged heaters, de-humidifiers and other electrical equipment not always covered by a standard insurance policy. In severe cases, the impact of such storms can be even more devastating, sometimes leading to a boat being sunk.

It’s not just wooden dinghies at risk, either. The most common way motorboats are damaged is when the exhaust outlets are submerged under the waterline. This can cause leaks into the boat or engine bay and along with cockpit lockers and engine covers sending water into the bilges, before you know it the boat could be a write-off.

Now’s the time to read the fine print on your insurance policy to find out if you’re covered for gradual water ingress. As most sailors rely on automatic bilge-pumps to keep their craft free of any problems, it’s also a good idea to make sure any such equipment is working properly. Many policies will not pay out if such damage arises in this way, but if you can prove your boat has been carefully maintained with this in mind, you may stand a better chance of any potential case being viewed more favourably. There’s usually a clause in there detailing the yacht must be kept in a seaworthy condition so check everything’s ship shape and Bristol fashion before it’s too late.

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