|nothing like watching the sunset while making a repair...|
I have lived aboard for about 13 years on two boats, and had many evening conversations with other cruisers. Talk among the men often turns to ‘what am I fixing this week’.
Here’s a short list of common failure points from our point of view, and other cruisers. And some suggestions for spares to carry for extended cruising:
water pump (usually the pressure switch fails but it’s faster to swap out
an entire pump).
regulator (we have had a couple fail, mostly because of exposed lockers
that see salt water splashes).
solenoid valve (these last us about 2 years, again due to salt water and
barbeque regulator/valve – the Magma ones are particularly bad.
Head – carry a rebuild kit. We have the cheapest Jabsco, both on this boat
and the last boat. They are actually pretty good if you go easy on the TP.
An entire spare pump assembly is cheaper than the parts for many other
more expensive models.
light bulbs – this is obvious, but the plastic lenses on the fittings
themselves can also fail due to UV. Errant sheets can tear off or damage
water pump impeller – again, obvious but do have spares.
motor kill switch – I’ve seen lots of these fail on our motors and others.
Usually you can easily bypass them, but if your motor won’t even turn over
make sure it’s not a missing key or a dead switch.
motor fuel hose connectors – O-rings tend to collect grunge and then leak.
They can be repaired sometimes but it’s tricky to get them out without an
fans – in hot climates you should have at least 1 spare. They can run for
24 hours straight on the hot days.
foot switches – again, an exposed location where they get frequent salt
water baths make them likely failure points.
made by Raymarine/Autohelm. I think it’s the British legacy of Lucas
Electrics coming to haunt them. They can’t seem to keep things watertight.
We try to mount all our electronics inside the boat. The only outside
electronics is a depthsounder at the helm chair and an external autopilot
ram. Everything else is inside, out of the rain and the weather.
bilge pumps – hairs around the impeller are a common source of failure,
jamming the rotor and then melting the insulation.
pump float switches – seem to have a lifespan measured in days sometimes.
- Galley ellectric hand mixers – Diane and Maia can kill one of these in a few short minutes when mixing dough. They tend to miss the smell of melting insulation until it’s too late. J