The best way to clean your bottom

Spring has begun and our itchy feet are starting to itch something shocking. Some good news though when this video goes out we will be allowed to do local sailing. On top of that Scotland will be opening up to visiting boats at the end of April. Wales is a little earlier, which is great, but we will be needing to go into marinas as there are few anchorages, however it does mean we should be able to explore places which is what we both want. So the last job that we need to do before we can go off is service our engine, but before that we need to get Salty Sausage out of the back berth and clean our bottom. Seeing as we are in the water and we are too mean to pay for a lift out and spray down, we experimented with a few ways that people have talked to us about so that we know what is the best way to clean our bottom.

Playing the boat game

The boat game is the little tile game that you play as children, where you move tiles around to make a pattern. Well when you live on a boat like we do then you find that you have to play this game quite often. In this particular example, we need to get to the diesel filters, which is under the dinghy, which is behind a load of other stuff that we have put into the back berth so that we can do projects and the like.

Cleaning our bottom

It might seem a strange thing to have to do before we start our engine, but our raw water intake is in the sail drive leg, so we need to make sure that is clean before we start the engine, but as usual we got side tracked into cleaning the entire bottom of our boat. Quite a few people have advised us on the best way to do this so we decided to try a few.

  • Angled brush - One of the live-a-boards at the marina has made an angled brush in order to clean his bottom, so we gave this a go. The brush is quite heavy, but the float at the end keeps the bush up and on the surface of the yacht. He made the brush especially for his boat, so the angle on the brush is designed for his boat, which is different to ours, so not quite right for us, but if you were going to stay in the one place for a long time then making something like this is a great idea. For cruisers like us storage would be a problem, but it could be done is need be.
  • Rope with knots in - Why the rope needs knots in, I have no idea, but this was the advice we were given. It works quite well, but it cleans the hull in corridors, the knots keep the main part of the rope away from the hull, so another reason why it creates corridors. Also the amount of dirt that is transferred to the side of the boat is quite shocking. Next time we will try it but with out the knots
  • Hessian sacking - This worked really well, and the hull was clear afterwards, we needed to wet the hessian before we started as it floated, and it was impossible to try and keep the two ropes that were controlling the sacking apart, so in the end we didn't bother, so the hessian was more like a large rope.
  • Big long brush - Having an angled bush is better than a straight brush but because it is much lighter then you can manoeuvrer it to some extent to get the right angle
  • Cleaning from the dinghy - Have a working rope along the side of the boat, then attach yourself to that, then as you push against the hull of the boat with your brush then the working rope will keep you close to the boat.

With the Rope and Hessian sacking method, both are stopped by the keel and you need to make sure that your speed logger is up before you start.

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