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Butterfly Maintenance

Maintaining your Butterfly is easy and if done regularly, will insure your boat will last for a very, very long time.


A clean hull is a happy hull. With the mast, centerboard, and rudder assembly removed, have someone help flip the boat upside down on some saw horses. Be extra careful not to set the boat such that any weight is on the splash rail (we sell too many splash rails as a result of this mistake).

Clean the hull with soapy water. If the hull is stained such that warm soapy water doesn't clean it, use a tub and tile cleaner such as lime away. Spread a thin film on the hull and let it stand a few minutes, then clean it with warm soapy water. Do not use abrasive materials such as sand paper or Scotch-brite pads on the hull to remove stains as you could damage the gelcoat.

If you have road grime or other material remaining after the wash, I prefer to use a hull cleaner, such as Star Bright hull cleaner and protectant. It applies like a wax, contains a small amount of kerosene, which helps cut the road grime, and some very light abrasives which can help remove oxidation. Severe oxidation from neglect can be removed with several applications.

Protect the hull with a protectant. If you intend to race your butterfly, I prefer to use a teflon based protectant such as Star Bright protective marine polish with Teflon. These materials apply like a wax. Applying this Star Bright product generally requires two or more coats, but when you're done, you'll have an extremely slippery hull (be very careful not to let it slip off the trailer or dolly. Yes, it'll be that slippery!) If you don't intend to race, any good quality automotive wax will seal the gelcoat and provide ample protection.

Deck and Footwell:

The deck and footwell are maintained generally the same as the hull. If you have a no-skid deck, you may need to use a little soft scrub and a nylon brush if the boat is really dirty. Then, you can follow the same procedures as the hull. If your deck is smooth, you may not want to use Teflon polish where you're going to be sitting. (Some unplanned slipping and sliding may result with you swimming). Otherwise, keep the deck clean and protected and the gelcoat can look like new for decades.

Off Season Storage:

It is always better to store a boat in a building during the winter months, but that's not always practical. If you must store your butterfly outdoors, make a "tent" over the deck with a tarp so water and ice cannot get into the footwell. If you cannot do that, set the boat upside down (hull up). Be sure the boat is not making contact with the ground and take care not to damage the splash rail. Be sure to spend the time necessary to clean and polish the hull and deck before winter storage. Doing so will make all the difference and spring cleaning will be a breeze.

It is not recommended to store the mast, boom, rudder or centerboard out in the elements. It's too easy to get water inside the sail track, mast, or boom and if it freezes it can damage the aluminum. Excessive UV exposure from the sun will weather the finish on the woodwork in a few seasons which otherwise may not need attention for many years.

Care of Sails:

When sailing, be sure to prevent the sail from flogging in the wind for any extended period of time. This is the quickest way to destroy the coatings on the sail and shorten it's life. If you're going to store the boat on the beach for a while, take the sail down.

When putting the sail away for any period of time, simply make sure your sail is dry and stored folded or rolled. If you put a sail away wet, spread it out as soon as possible to prevent mildew. Modern sails do not decompose if left wet, but they can stain and discolor. Be sure not to "wad" your sail. A smooth sail is an efficient sail.

If you get a tear in your sail, you can temporarily patch it with sail tape. To avoid further damage, take it to a sail maker for repairs as soon as possible.