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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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What’s in Play d’eau’s make-up bag?

Often I’m asked if I have any favourite products for looking after Play d’eau.

Wurth Brake Cleaner
click to enlarge

I do, and here are some of the key items you’ll find in her ‘make-up bag’.

Engine Room

De-greaser and oil remover

When carbon tetrachloride (‘carbon tet’) was taken off the market because it was too dangerous a chemical for us lesser mortals to use (inhaling it apparently caused all sorts of illnesses, some more fatal than others), the task was to find a powerful degreaser which left no residue.

A great engineer introduced me to Brake Cleaner from Würth UK Ltd which I’ve found to be better than ‘carbon tet’. To make it easier to use and to reach difficult areas, I use Brake Cleaner in Würth’s 1 litre pump spray bottle.

The info says ‘A fast, effective removal of soot, grease, brake dust and oily residues. Residue-free cleaning. Acetone free. High material compatibility to paints, plastics, seals and rubber. AOX and silicone-free.’

Comes in various sized pressurised cans, or larger containers for use with a Würth spray bottle. A brilliant product.

Spray grease

This is another Würth UK Ltd product and one which I’ve used for years. HHS-2000 is a ‘highly adhesive, pressure-resistant, synthetic grease’.

Wurth HHS 2000 spray grease
click to enlarge

In other words, a thick sticky grease in a penetrating solvent.

Spray it and the solvent penetrates the smallest of orifices taking a thin film of grease with it. As the solvent evaporates the grease is left.

I use it for linkages, moving joints and for keeping camper hood press studs easy to use.

Verdigris and Rust remover

Now here’s a great product. Biox from Conservation Resources UK Ltd.

It’s a bio-degradable gel which literally eats verdigris and rust. Brush it on, wait for to do its work, and wipe and wash it away. Result? Clean, gleaming metal with no residue.

Far better than using wire wool or carborundum paper which leaves ‘bits’ which are so difficult to remove completely and which will cause further problems.

I use Biox on Play d’eau’s water strainers and stuffing boxes, and anything that’s become rusty that I hadn’t noticed!

Engine room cleaner

More recently, I’ve found Muc-off Marine to be a great general cleaner for around Play d’eau’s engine room and transom.

Spray it on, and using a soft rag or small scrubbing brush the area comes clean as a whistle. Note: Don’t use a scrubbing brush on polished gel coat!

Biox verdigris and rust eater
click to enlarge

Body Work

Gel coat cleaning is an area that’s guaranteed to start endless debate from both ends of the spectrum. So without ducking for cover, theses are some Play d’eau basics.

Household cleaners like Cif and Fairy liquid all have abrasive particles within them leaving a minutely abraded surface which will trap dirt more quickly next time. As time goes on, the surface becomes more and more damaged and harder and harder to keep clean. Not a good scenario.

Now for the products we’ve found which work really well without damaging Play d’eau’s bodywork gleaming.

Gel coat cleaner

I’ve replaced my usual Farecla Deep Clean with Muc-off Marine which lifts off those stubborn black streaks really easily.

Fender and dinghy cleaner

In the same way you shouldn’t use abrasives to clean gel coat, don’t use them on vinyl.

Instead, Play d’eau’s make-up bag contains Poly Marine Ltd’s Inflatable Boat Cleaner and Inflatable Boat Finish. Spray the Cleaner on and leave it a minute or so before cleaning using a small gentle brush, or a rag. Dirt just lifts off.

Muc Off Marine general cleaner
click to enlarge

Then don’t forget to use the Polish. Again, it really works keeping the surface shiny and less able to attract dirt.

Teak

Now here’s a real point of contention. So many of us will dig our heels for what we believe works, so for what it’s worth, I’ll start with some Play d’eau basics.

  • Teak is a natural oily wood, so there’s no need to add oil to it. Adding a dressing of oil does nothing for the wood apart from attract dirt.
  • Scrubbing teak will damage it by taking out the soft wood leaving ridges of hard wood. In time, the teak will need sanding back.
  • Brushing along the grain will also take out the soft wood. We don’t do it.

The three main issues teak suffer from are litchen (light green when wet), mould (black), and dark green algae. Left untreated, the litchen especially can cause damage. So what works?

  • General cleaning should be with a hose with not too much pressure. Follow this with a dousing of salt water to discourage lichen and mould.
  • If you feel you have to use a brush, only use a soft brush and only across the grain.

However, maybe once a year, a more radical treatment is necessary to rout out lichen and mould so out comes the Wessex two part Treatment, an acid and an alkali. When applied properly your teak will look brand new and will have suffered no damage.

Poly Marine Ltd’s Dinghy and Fender cleaner and polish
click to enlarge

Pressure Washers

I won’t have a pressure washer anywhere near Play d’eau.

On teak, pressure washing rips out the soft wood leaving the grain standing proud and soon sanding will be the only option for any restoration provided the teak is thick enough to withstand sanding.

Gel coat is also damaged by pressure washing. Not only is gel coat easily scratched, we know it’s porous (aka osmosis). Put both these together and you can see that pressure washing can so easily cause damage. Although ‘instant’ results can be achieved, the longer term is damage requiring repair.

For gel coat, there’s nothing like elbow grease and a low rpm electric polisher. Takes a lot more time, but the results are so worth it.

Piers
from the Engine Room of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

You can get in touch with us any time by using our Contact Form.

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