Other Maintenance Tips

By Joe Terry

The daggerboard on the Butterfly requires some care and maintenance. If there are minor dings, sand them out and make sure the board has a marine grade varnish protecting the wood. If there is a major ding, we recommend using an epoxy filler, then sand and put a few coats of varnish over the top.


The gelcoat finish on the Butterfly will last longest if the boat is kept dry and protected from the sun when not sailing it. A cover is a great investment to minimize polishing the gelcoat on the deck.

If the boat is being stored on a beach or yard, set it on something that won't scratch the hull and keeps it off the ground. Storing a Butterfly on the beach or directly on the grass may result in blisters in the gelcoat eventually.

To prevent damage to the hull, don't drag your boat up on the beach. If you want to beach the boat and take a break, pick up the end of the boat nearest the beach and float it as close as possible, then set it down. You may need to tie it off, but generally this will allow the boat to be placed on the beach without scratching it.

If the hull or deck is faded, it is because the sunlight oxidized the gelcoat surface. A good marine polish and some work can restore the shine. After polishing, a wax or protectant needs to be applied. We have had great luck with 3M gelcoat polish using various grades of buffing pads to restore a shine and a wax containing PTEF to seal it.

If your older boat feels heavy, it may have some water trapped inside. The old style boats have a open-cell foam between the cockpit floor and hull to provide additional strength to the floor. This foam can become waterlogged. To get rid of the water, open the drain plug and set the boat bow up, resting the transom on 2-2x4's or something to keep the transom off the ground so the water can escape. It may take several weeks for the foam to completely dry, but it will dry out.

Rudder/Tiller Assembly:

These are expensive to replace, and while we have both new and old style assemblies in stock, you can save a bundle by inspecting the safety spring a few times each season. If the spring gets bent it can typically be removed, tapped back into shape with a hammer, and reinstalled. When in doubt, replace the safety spring - they're super cheap insurance.

The tiller should be maintained with a coat of varnish. I recommend removing it, lightly sanding it with 220 grit sandpaper, and putting a coat of varnish on it every year or two. Left too long, it will need all of the old varnish removed, which is a lot bigger job.

Standing Rigging:
We often are asked "when should I replace my stay set?" As long as there are no broken wires you are good to go. We sell stays in sets or individually. If you have a really old boat with a forestay that attaches to the front of the mast with a tang and two screws, the standard forestay with a hound works just fine. You will need a slightly longer bolt, and we have those in stock. The forestay works with old and new style masts. You can bend the hound slightly by hand to fit either mast.

Time to go sailing!