Julia Jones, Yachting Monthly's literary reviewer discusses The Boatyard Book by Simon Jollands: "Although his advice is to ‘Know your limitations’; his personal approach is determinedly DIY."

The Boatyard Book: Book review

This well-presented and useful volume is a guide to making the best use of boatyard time and facilities by careful planning and good organisation.

It’s primarily aimed at the domestic yacht owner following the usual cycle of laying up for the UK winter and relaunching in spring.

That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be of use to someone preparing for longer cruises who might find themselves fixing their boat in more exotic locations.

The central importance of logging work done, parts used and costs incurred and establishing regular maintenance cycles is equally valid.

As almost all owners discover, the purchase of a modest-sized sailing or motorboat is but the beginning of an apparently endless stream of disbursements – buying a hole in the sea and flinging your fivers in, as my father-in-law described it when we proudly announced we’d bought a boat.

Many of us flinch from totting up our annual bills but Jollands insists that this is necessary and may indeed be the first step towards reducing them, or at least ensuring that the expenditure represents value for money.

Viki Moore of Astrolabe Sailing offers a specimen maintenance log which initially looks daunting.

Nevertheless the process of itemising individual tasks within wider servicing areas may well encourage owners to consider which he or she might reasonably manage for themselves and which will certainly require professionals.

Jollands devotes the bulk of his book to focussing on the demands of different boat areas: the hull, the deck, the mast and rigging, sails, engine, electrics, interior.

Although his advice is to ‘Know your limitations’; his personal approach is determinedly DIY.

Have-a-go inspiration

He even explains how he took his Beta 14 engine home to disassemble over the winter.

Though I read this section thinking there was no way I would consider such a thing.

Yet his example and explanations certainly helped reduce some of the fear factor and should improve my conversations with professional engineers – or even my ability to have a go if there was no alternative.

The only slight disappointment was the glossary which looked somewhat ‘off-the-peg’ – offering definitions for things I didn’t need (GMDSS for instance) and failing on specifics such as ‘reefing iron’, ‘spacers and brushes’, ‘mousing lines’ and the ‘joker valve’ (part of the marine toilet).

Perhaps it might become more specific in a subsequent edition.

Otherwise I recommend this book without hesitation and will certainly be buying extra copies as prudent gifts for my yacht-owning children as they begin flinging their own fivers into holes in the sea.

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