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Thread: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

  1. #1
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    Default Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    I tend to over analyze things when going into personally uncharted waters, so I don't know if this is a case of it or not. I've fallen in love with a 21 ft Fenwick Williams Alden 21 located in Maine. I love in Birmingham AL and have a slip on a local lake at our sailing club. The boat has a trailer, and she is hauled each winter and stored in a dirt floor barn the owner has. I would leave her in the water except for when I pull her annually for needed below waterline maintenance and bottom paint. Depending upon how easy it becomes with practice to step and lower the mast, I'd like to take her to 2 to 3 Wooden Boat festivals a year.

    Surely (I hope but that's why I'm asking) wooden boats have been in fresh water for thousands of years, so I wont have any more challenges docked in freshwater than I would in brackish or sale water right? I also understand that most issues come from freshwater(rain) finding it's way into the boat from ABOVE the water line and causing issues over time, but that has to apply to being moored in either fresh or salt since rain is rain. It will be my 3rd wooden boat but the first that wont be garage kept. I should also add that although there are things I will have to learn in coming years such as recaulking, etc, I see many skills transferring from my 30 years of owning slip kept fiberglass boats ranging from 19 to 34 ft. I get as much pleasure from varnishing, painting decks, minor repairs and things as much as I do sailing. I share that because I'm no stranger to maintenance and enjoy doing it. I also know how much love and attention a wooden vessel requires so I'm not stepping in blindly.

    To summarize, I just wand to hear some opinions on giving all the above, there is no reason not to purchase her and put her in my lake slip.

    Thanks in advance for those of you willing to share experience and wisdom.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    I don't see a problem. As you say - the important thing is to keep rainwater out. There are quite a few wood boats here on Lake Champlain & all seem to do fine.

    Do keep an eye on anything metal that's below the waterline - as the marina may have some stray electrical currents going on if a number of boats are hooked up to shore power.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    No reason at all that you can’t moor in fresh water. Out here (Seattle) it’s by far the norm and has no particular risks. In fact there are a number of salt water problems that you don’t get in fresh - barnacles and worms to name a couple.
    - Chris

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    A precaution to help calm your nerves: Sprinkle Timbor over anywhere fresh water can gather. It will be dissolved and act as an antiseptic for the timber.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Just two things you should do anyway:

    Ventilation - Lots more. For this boat maybe lots of mushroom vents which can be closed in rough water - one each corner of the house, one way aft, one atop the forehatch. And maybe a nice louvered barge board for the companionway.

    A fitted canvass cover to protect from rain and sun.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    All the above plus;

    We now have zebra mussels in southern lakes so you should pull her more frequently to scrape those things. They clogged our centerboard case before we knew we had them.Maybe there is now a bottom paint that can dissuade them

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Thank you for that suggestion !

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Thank you sir! The mushroom vents are an excellent idea. The louvered hatch boards will be one of my first projects.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    I jet sold a boat of similar size so Ill have the same slip. I guess we are lucky this far in that if we had a Zebra mussel issue in our lake I would likely experienced and definitely have heard about their presence.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Zucker View Post
    All the above plus;

    We now have zebra mussels in southern lakes so you should pull her more frequently to scrape those things. They clogged our centerboard case before we knew we had them.Maybe there is now a bottom paint that can dissuade them
    Could a rubber slit at the bottom of the centerboard case deter/prevent this from happening?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Quote Originally Posted by schoonerjay View Post
    Could a rubber slit at the bottom of the centerboard case deter/prevent this from happening?
    No. https://www.caryinstitute.org/sites/...fact_sheet.pdf
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Quote Originally Posted by schoonerjay View Post
    Could a rubber slit at the bottom of the centerboard case deter/prevent this from happening?
    Freakin' NUTHIN' seems to prevent zebra mussels.

    Do not use bare hands to remove then - they are razor sharp. Divers use kevlar covered gloves to protect from them & they do not last long.

    Can you tell I'm a big fan of 'em?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    I had my Coquina in a slip on Lake Lanier for a couple years. No issues. I did use a bottom paint formulated for fresh water.
    Birmingham Yacht Club? Lake Logan Martin? Raced Lasers and Nacra cats there back in college.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Put rock salt in the bilge to bleach the water that does get in. Keep the frp off of her bottom as that will kill her.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dannybb55 View Post
    Put rock salt in the bilge to bleach the water that does get in. Keep the frp off of her bottom as that will kill her.
    See post #4.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Wooden boat in a fresh water lake slip?

    Our Drake has summered in fresh water every year since 1947. It's the decks that gather rot, not the hull.

    Bottom paint discourages zebra mussels, of which we have trillions in the Great Lakes. But they do not invade our CB trunk for some reason. Mind you, when I check the engine fuel strainer for water, I always toss the couple of tablespoons of diesel into the CB inspection slot.

    In August, when the bilges start to slime-up, I find that a short squirt of car anti-freeze in a few places under the floorboards works wonders. It's hydroscopic, and mortal to all mould.

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