Aluminum Hull Maintenance (AKA the Grind)

Last summer we spent a few days hanging out on the dock in Anacortes, Washington, seeing some friends and checking out the local boat building scene. It so happens the dock to which Wind Horse was securely affixed was the perfect height for touching up our topsides.

When you consider Wind Horse had been on the go for the better part of 24,000 miles without our once having done any maintenance, it became apparent that the time had come for some serious cleaning.

We had a series of small stains. Everything from black tire marks, to red paint from the dock in Cordova, Alaska, to a couple of scrapes from nails projecting from pilings, and of course the odd bit of creosote on the rub rail.

polishing Wind Horse's Hull

The process was simple. Plug in the four-inch (100mm) Makita grinder, give a couple of swipes, and move on to the next spot.

Makita Grinder

We have found that the best results come with 3M Scotbrite pads.

Scotchbright grinding pads

These attach with Velcro, and are easy to change as they load up.

The entire process, after all those miles, required less than an hour, half of which was spent turning the boat around.

The topsides and toe rail were then nice and clean, ready for the next 24,000 miles.

Posted by Steve Dashew  (January 4, 2008)

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