Unless you have a man or a woman who does it for you, every boat owner will be familiar with the never-ending list of “wee jobs” that need done on your boat. I’m hopeful that there won’t be any major maintenance to be carried out this season, just the usual antifouling, cleaning, polishing and engine servicing. I’ve spent the last few days trying to shorten the list of “wee jobs” on Jess, still some left to do, but it’s going down, slowly.

Space is always at a premium on a boat and whilst there are a lot of cubby holes, lockers and stuff lockers on Jess, I am always looking for more. It’s always a good idea to make a thorough inspection of any boat you are invited on to to look for tips and ideas you can use on your own boat. Recently I was on another Moody 31 in Largs and I picked up quite a few ideas. The first was a very simple idea of creating a shelf in what most owners use as a stores locker. Essentially, it’s just a big locker that I stuff dry goods, food jars, condiments and the like. By adding a small shelf I have been able to better organise the foodstuffs and have freed up some additional space in a stuff locker behind the cushions which will gave more storage for visiting crew. 

A job that I have been putting off is servicing the heads. Last season I had to twice replace the joker valve. This seemed a bit excessive as I would expect it to last at least a season. Nothing else to do but strip the whole thing down and investigate. I watched a YouTube video and studied the diagrams in the Service Pack.  It all looked pretty straightforward and I decided to strip down the whole thing and remove the plunger/flush mechanism and all the attached hoses.  Apart from the service kit you don’t need many tools or materials.

  • Service kit
  • Long shaft screwdriver (slotted) and small screwdriver (slotted)
  • Mole Grips (to remove handle)
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Hairdryer (used to make pipes more pliable)
  • Bucket and disinfectant
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plenty of cloths
  1. I started by loosening off all the jubilee clips and then used the hairdryer to warm the ends of the pipes to soften the plastic. With a bit of coaxing, they eventually came off.
  2. Next I detached the whole flush/plunger mechanism by removing the four self tapping screws at the base.  I had a bucket of disinfectant ready and I removed the joker valve and elbow and placed these in the bucket ready for cleaning.
  3. I carefully unscrewed the shaft seal which holds the plunger and gently pulled the plunger out (shaft seal still attached – see below)  and put that in the bucket as well. There was some calcification on it, but not a lot.
  4. There are six screws that hold the valve cover on and unscrewing these and gently removing will reveal the cam and the top valve gasket. Depending how much calcification there is, these may remain inside the valve cover. I removed these and decided to discard them and replace them with new ones from the service kit.
  5. I put the pump cylinder into the bucket and set about cleaning it all, scraping off the calcification. Once done, I put them aside for the moment.
  6. In the base you’ll find the flapper gasket. I removed this and disposed of it.
  7. I then cleaned everything else – the base and pipes.
  8. Before replacing gaskets, seals and reassembling, I took the chance to give the area behind the pipes a good clean and renewing the sealant at the joints of the plastic sides, back and base, behind the pipes and pump which is difficult to get to when everything is in place.
  9. To remove the old shaft seal I clamped the plunger shaft with Mole Grips (I wrapped a cloth round first to prevent damage) and gently unscrewed it using the handle. I slipped the new shaft seal onto the shaft and screwed the handle back on
  10. I replaced the seal in the plunger – I gently poked out the old one with a screwdriver. and then began to reassemble. 
  11. Reassembly is really straightforward as the gaskets and cam can only fit in one way. I was careful not too overtighten any of the screws or self-tapping screws.
  12. I used a little vegetable oil around the inside of each of the tube ends to help them slip on more easily.

I checked the assembly the following day and needed to tighten a couple of jubilee clips to stop a wee leak.

There are four teak handrails on Jess’s coach roof and over the last seven years of maintenance I have simply rubbed them down and added a new coat of varnish.  This build up has begun to look quite bad, to such an extent that a crew member complained that they looked shabby. I sanded the handrails right back to the bare wood. It has been really cold for the past couple of days so I doubted whether a new coat of varnish would dry properly. Not really a problem, when the weather gets a bit warmer I will quickly rub them down and apply new varnish.

Next I turned my attention to the dodgers which are now eight years old. They still look OK but there was some staining from mildew and they are beginning to look a bit threadbare in places, but after a good scrub they looked much better and I hope to get one or two seasons out of them before they need replaced.  

I have a car stereo on the boat for radio, music and podcasts. From what I remember I decided to spend a bit of money on it and go for a well known brand. I chose a Kenwood, no, not the mixer and home appliance company but a Japanese company responsible for some very respectable hifi and car audio. However, it’s an older model with CD, radio and Aux input but no Bluetooth and as now most of my music is streamed on Spotify I have to plug in a cable or use a Bluetooth adaptor – neither particularly reliable. A quick rake through Amazon and I see I can get what I need for less than the price of a good night out. in the pub 

I have no idea who it was manufactured by, but for less than £30 it is absolutely brilliant. I had to do a wee bit rewiring but soon had it up and running.

Well, I am pleased to have  made a start to reducing the wee jobs list, a few more things I want to complete and will be returning in a couple of weeks to get them done.

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