Trouble free operation of Yacht Hydraulics

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One of the most important factors when it comes to trouble free operation of yacht / boat hydraulics is the cleanliness during repair, dismantling and re-assembly of parts. Luckily, for us at Berthon Spain, in Palma de Mallorca, we have Ezequiel – with his many years of experience, in charge of everything hydraulic.

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There are numerous applications for hydraulics on board most contemporary yachts. From lowering and raising the hydraulic bathing platform, deploying the hydraulic passarelle and tucking it away again once you have left the dock, to making sure your hydraulic steering and auto pilot system is operating correctly and keeping you on course. Hydraulic cranes used for lifting and lowering water sports toys, stabilizers, stern and bow thrusters, the list goes on. And – each system must be kept in tiptop condition to ensure a safely operating yacht.

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This month Ezequiel has been working on servicing the hydraulic Navtec rams involved with the rigging schemes on board various sailing yachts.

The vang on a Nautor Swan 68 – vital for holding up the Park Avenue boom and shaping the main sail – has been on the testing bench. After a nitrogen leak was found, a new piston collar was fitted and then the vang was ready to be re-installed with the help of our yacht engineering team. Nitrogen plays an important part in the hydraulic system of a vang due to its capacity to compress and therefore absorb shock pressure. Whereas this isn´t as necessary for other systems on board such, as a yacht’s hydraulic bathing platform.

A 24m Cyrus yacht has both her backstay rams in to be serviced. As you would imagine, this involves temporarily replacing the rams on board with tensioned rope, while the service can take place inside our workshop in Palma.

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It is of upmost importance to not only keep the system clean, but to also keep the hydraulic oil free from impurities. There is a vast amount of information laboratory analysis can tell you about your hydraulic system. We recommend a lab test to analyse the oil in the system at least once a year. Regular analysis allow for trend analysis and therefore the potential for predictive yacht maintenance rather than reactive problem solving. Test results can highlight if the seals are breaking down, whether or not the lining in the hydraulic hoses are still in good condition, if there is any water content in the oil, which would result in micro-organism contamination, and find any evidence of corrosion. An often-overlooked aspect is whether or not the oil has been over heated – a result of the whole system being overloaded which can change the composition of the oil itself.

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When we rely so heavily on hydraulics to work at their optimum, it is clearly something that needs to be handled by professionals. Berthon Spain can provide the regular care and maintenance required to keep you on an even keel.

Get in touch with andrew.fairbrass@berthonspain.com.

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