by Kimberly McNath
Ask any boat owner what he likes most about his vessel.
Some will mention beauty, others will like the speed or handling ability.
A few like their boat's layout, the capacity to take chop or to ease through the waves without shuddering.
***C2Add.shtml***You can bet your bottom dollar not one will say anything about how effectively their bilge pump works... until there is an emergency and the need for boat repair.
Wooden boats are decidedly special, riding the swells between durability and beauty.
If you are fortunate enough to own one for very long, you will eventually experience an unsettling intake of water in the bilge or a spot of wet not normally found in dry areas.
These are signs the boat's structure may be compromised in some way.
A wooden boat is constructed to weather rigorous use, retain the safety of passengers and stay afloat.
In trade, she asks a bit more attention than her plastic and metal cousins, to keep her operating in top form.
Because of wood's appealing properties of pliability and strength, specific methods of construction have developed over the years to deliver strong, lightweight and naturally buoyant watercraft.
Each construction method has inherent weaknesses, however, making a practice of diligent and careful inspections of the hull mandatory.
Early detection is always money-saving; some areas are simply prone to developing leaks.
Storage in dry dock allows a wooden boat to dry out and drying wood tends to shrink.
Due to shrinkage, stresses on the wood hull can occur, causing gaps, un-natural pulls on the framing and loose connections.
Problems that allow water infiltration:
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