Die mold! Die! – Part 3

Boat Hacks and DIY Logo


When we first bought Tiki Trek she was somewhat languishing at the dock but by any measure you could imagine, she was in really good shape compared to most boats her age.




With that said… she had suffered some dock rash. Her teak toe rail had been pulled up from hitting the dock during a hurricane and this had been letting some water in at the toe rail when it rained hard. We also had some scuppers that needed to be rebedded.

Mildew Foothold

She had not been updated since she was bought. Although the former owners had kept her generally clean she still had 27 years of accumulated boat smell and humidity. Since the former elderly owners were no longer in a position to sail the boat, their adult son had been occasionally living on it without taking care of it. Although mildew had taken its toll, it was not pervasive. However, I am very allergic to mildew. So, with the boat in the condition it was, it was not a long-term livable situation for us.

No Shortcuts

As soon as we bought her we moved the boat to Herrington Harbor North to get her hauled out.

Cleaning Out the Boat

The second thing we did was dispose of or remove all the stuff that was funky.

Being naive boaters we assumed that if you cleaned everything out you could wash the mold and mildew away. After all, we read on Cruisers net that we could sail around the world on $500 a month and gosh darned if we are going to waste new money on cushions!

Well… after that much time whatever was mildewy is permanently mildewy [and smelly]. We made the mistake of bringing the cushions back to our house. We figured that we would remove the old foam, measure it and cut new pieces, and wash the old covers, then stick it back together. THAT would fix the problem… HA! Not really.

We even tried heavy applications of a commercial version of Febreeze and all it did was make the cushions smell like like an old motel. It was worse than before and it was making the house [we were trying to sell] smell horrible.

Reality Sets In

There was no way we were going to get them clean and this lead to our first real cruising lesson… there are no shortcuts. There are smart hacks and there are acceptable measures but mostly you just need to do something right.

Goodbye Mildew

So… to get rid of mold and mildew we started learning our next lesson – learn to let things go.

  • Cushions – the cushions were the originals that came with the boat. Outside of the smell they were in excellent shape and spoke volumes of the quality of craftsmanship from Cabo Rico. They had to go but new cushions cost a bundle – about that another time.
  • Pillows – Ditto the little pillows that say things like “Heaven is a boat” and crap like that.
  • Books – The boat came with a bunch of cruising guides that were years old and we wanted to keep them. Sometimes those old cruising guides give you ranges and things to look for that you cannot find in the new editions. In the end we ended up tossing them and just buying new editions or using Active Captain.
  • Magazines – we really didn’t need decades-old magazines but the owner had kept them because several of them featured Cabo Ricos.
  • Important Papers – here is the real hard part… our Cabo Rico came with a leather binder full of all the details about the boat. Its really nice.. embossed with the CR logo in gold… something you would see on in a executive boardroom. Sketches, plans, electrical plans, water plumping plans, listing of parts… everything. However, they were old and mildewy. We ended up using our iPhone camera to scan in the documents and got rid of most of the unneeded magazines but we kept this binder.
  • Everything else – the boat came with a full complement of the normal boating stuff. Bits and pieces, tubs, old parts, etc. We took them off the boat to clean them.

The Hard Part

Hopefully you didn’t have to tear up your boat too much to get rid of the leaks.

But….there is one last thing you may want to consider removing from your boat… your vinyl head liner.

Like many boats, our boat was equipped with a headliner. Some are nicer than others and when we were shopping for boats we looked at several that did not have nice liners or where the liners were mildewed and stained. Our headliner was in excellent shape so we have not removed it. However, we may replace it soon since we are fixing up out interior.

In the next episode, we will finally get our hands dirty cleaning and killing the mold and mildew.

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